Should I hire a home inspector for a new home?

Most experts recommend having a home inspected, new or old. For new home, ask the builder to provide copies of any inspection reports on the property, architectural plans, surveys and pertinent construction documents for your inspector to review. Your inspector should either be a professional home inspector, an engineer, an architect or a contractor.

If you hire a professional inspector, look for one who belongs to one of the home inspection trade organizations. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge about structures and their various systems and appliances are a prerequisite.

Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $400, but costs go up with the scope of the inspection.