There are two key things that make for a good inspection.
They are wisdom/experience and attention to detail.
Knowledge is available to anyone on the internet. Wisdom, on the other hand, is the accumulation of years of knowledge and the process of having put that knowledge together to have a path or plan to achieve the desired goal. You know this be true or you would go watch a video/read a book, do your own inspection, and save yourself a few hundred bucks! You can get the knowledge but not the wisdom.
My years of hands-on tinkering, home repair, renovation and flipping houses has put a wealth of knowledge in my head, more than any book or video will give you. My use of that knowledge has given me the wisdom to be an excellent inspector.
My innate curiosity is why I learned to fix almost anything years ago. That same curiosity has driven me to be a better inspector. If I encounter something odd or different, I leave no stone unturned until I know the cause. If that means your inspection runs long, so be it; I get paid for answers, not vague statements like “further inspection by a licensed contractor is advised”.
Many inspection companies tout past experience working in the construction industry. Then they say how shoddy new construction can be and how important it is to inspect new construction. That seems (to me) like a circular argument for NOT hiring that person as an inspector.
Having personally performed over 3000 inspections, I have the experience aspect more than met. The combination of wisdom and experience, brings it all together and allows me to do (what seems) effortlessly what novice inspectors struggle to accomplish.
The second part of a good inspection is attention to detail. Many inspectors walk around with a notebook computer or palm pilot device and just punch in what the screen prompts them to do. How much attention is really on the property versus the device? This is like texting and driving.
Some companies schedule 3 or 4 inspections per inspector each day. Volume is money, particularly if you have a franchise and pay fees to a national company for branding and a cool webpage. With drive times and traffic in the Atlanta metro area, I have days when I only schedule one inspection based on the property size, complexity and location. I NEVER scheduled more than two in all my years in business. I do not worry if your inspection takes longer because I do NOT have a schedule to meet.
Even if there is attention to detail, lack of knowledge/experience comes into play. If you do not know what you are looking at, seeing something creates more questions than answers.
Think about this as you peruse the web pages of other firms.
Northern Inspections is an Atlanta, GA based Building Inspection company. We perform inspections all around the Atlanta metro area and the North Georgia region. If the zip code begins with 30 we probably go there, or will for a small additional fee. If in doubt, call us at 404-274-9435.