Although Hawaii does not require a license or have any state regulation or oversight, a good home inspector will come armed with his or her own certifications, experience or professional associations. Checking up on those qualifications is typically very simple as they are generally transparent at the corresponding websites such as interNACHI or ASHI (Which are the two largest). The bad home inspectors will simply not last as it can be a tough and competitive industry and those bad apples just get weeded out. You can always inquire or check how long the company has been in business through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or if the company is in good standing with the state as they should be a LLC or S-corps entity. Additionally, any good home inspector will have insurance, Error and admissions and general liability.
Before you hire someone, here are some questions you should make sure to ask:
What are your qualifications? (See above for more detail.)
How long have you been doing this? Newer inspectors can do a good job, but you probably don’t want to be an inspector’s first client!
How much do you charge? Grey Owl Property Inspections cautions that if someone is asking significantly less than other candidates, that could be a red flag.
How long will the inspection take? The answer will be a ballpark figure, but if an inspector quotes you just an hour for a 100-year-old house, you might want to think again.
Can I come along on the inspection? The answer to this should always be yes! It’s imperative that you understand the issues in the house, and having the inspector show you in person will always be better than reading a report. Also, most inspectors will point out things to you that aren’t necessarily a problem, but will require maintenance at some point. The inspection is a great opportunity to learn how to take care of your new home, and perhaps to get a punch list of things that will need to be repaired or replaced in your first few years of home ownership. For first-time homeowners especially, this is an incredibly valuable service that you won’t want to miss.