The best home inspector in Columbus Ohio

by Maureen McCabe on May 10, 2007

Maybe asking for the home inspectors measurements (shoulder measurement) is silly. So long as they can fit in tight spots I can agree with Barry Stone up to a point.

“Three schools of thought critiqued” was a column in Inman News on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 written by Barry Stone

“Dear Barry,

As a real estate agent, I have had many discussions with fellow professionals about how to recommend home inspectors to buyers. We want to give buyers good advice, but we also want to limit our liability. Here are the three schools of thought on home inspector recommendations:

1. Provide a list of available inspectors and advise buyers to research and choose whomever they want.

2. Recommend one inspector who regularly works for the real estate company, who belongs to a large network/franchise, and who indemnifies the real estate agent and company.

3. Don’t recommend anyone: just tell buyers to investigate home inspectors on their own.

Which of these options do you advise? –John

Barry Stone replied in part including the problem with each of Johns three options and offered a fourth school of thought:

Dear John,

“If agent liability and client representation are primary considerations, there are problems with all three options. Fortunately, there is a fourth choice that better serves the needs of everyone. “

To paraphrase Barry Stone’s points on John’s options 1 through 3:

1. The list provides both unqualified inspectors and qualified inspectors.
2. Inspector is being chosen for the wrong reasons!
3. Barry didn’t say it but it is the “weenie way out” consumers need a real estate agents expertise.

Stone make up option 4:

“The best way to serve the interests of your clients, while minimizing your liability, is option #4: Recommend the home inspector who you have come to recognize as significantly more thorough than the competition. If two or more inspectors meet this high professional standard, that’s even better. Then you can provide a list that consists of the distilled essence of the profession.

In the world of modern business, there is no way to fully immunize oneself against liability. The best we can do is to minimize exposure as much as possible. When recommending home inspections, option #4 is the most practical way of achieving that end.”

I like Criterium Lizkay Engineers and ProCheck best, I think. They are tough. They are engineers. Both have a stable full of inspectors… lots of talent. I really like Craig Carson of Craine Engineering too… skinny but I am not sure about his shoulders. I believe I have the three of them on my Home Inspection page on my website.

P.S. I have a help wanted sign out in the blogosphere… I am looking for a home inspector guest blogger, small shoulders not required. I thought maybe with a title like “the best home inspector in Columbus Ohio” I could snag one. He or she has to be able to write though…or be trainable. Active Rain is a great place to learn to write. Active Rain is a great place to network with real estate agents… matter what part of the country you are the best home inspector in.

Hellllloooooo is anyone out there?

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1 dave May 10, 2007 at 09:49 am

I like Criterium too, but you have to get the right engineer. Nick Sung is their best and when my recent home inspection happened, they sent in his understudy because Nick was sick. This guy was terrible and it cost us one of the biggest financial blunders of our life. And when you close – that’s it. No recourse.

Pick carefully!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 MaureenMcCabe May 10, 2007 at 12:19 pm

Funny. I have blogged about Nick here but not by name. I have only had Nick once… but he shimmied in a crawl space I thought was impossible. Nick can be very busy. I like a number of the inspectors with Criterium and a number of the inspectors with ProCheck but not all with either.

I know another agent in my office who thinks Nick is horrible.

3 dave May 10, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Interesting. I guess it depends on the job. They all have their strengths and, unfortunately, weaknesses. I think the next home I buy – although my goal in life is to rent – I’ll research the inspector a great deal more. Good post.

4 Gene Molloy May 10, 2007 at 04:48 pm

Option #4 hits the nail on the head as far as I am concerned (and really, that should be enough for anybody because after all, I’m Gene Molloy). The home inspector I know the best, work with the most and want my clients to use, is one who keeps the clients best interest up front. He is well trained and thourough, with a background in engineering. Because he is so good, I am not the least bit concerned about liability. He will not hesitate to put the brakes on a deal if it is in the clients best interest.

The popular belief, conjured up in cyberspace and feed to the masses, is that agents will only recommend a home inspector who will be friendly to the agents interest and do everything in their power not to kill the “agents” deal. I fear some agents do play by that rule, but I happen to be a guy that believes that it my clients deal, not mine. If the home inspector uncovers a deal killer, so be it, onward through the fog to the next house we go. There are just so many of them out there these days.

5 MaureenMcCabe May 10, 2007 at 06:06 pm

Dave: My post about inspectors with small shoulders is about Nick. He is in demand.

Gene: I remember reading somewhere earlier today that Mike Pignotti (?) is the best inspector in Des Planes Illinois

6 John Goad May 17, 2007 at 10:28 pm

I am not much of a writer, but if you are looking for “best” home inspectors I’m your man.
I like the attitude of the agents that have posted & you are correct, the best protection against liability is a thorough home inspection.
I do not agree that engineers make the best inspectors, I have been hands on involved in homebuilding since a kid & have worked in all the trades. You can’t get that kind of knowledge in a few years of school or a home inspection course.
I’m in Tn where they just required licensing in 2006, 90 hrs of class time & a state test. To me that’s a good start with some that absolutely should not be in the business still getting through.

7 MaureenMcCabe May 18, 2007 at 06:41 am


Thanks for the comment.

I just hate it on a home inspection when a thoroughly quailifed home inspector needs to suggest that the buyer or seller pay for an engineer to come in. I would hate it worse if they did not make the suggestion if warranted.

Of course even with a home inspector who is trained as an engineer when the inspection goes beyond the scope of a normal home inspection, there is more expense involved for the consumer.

In a market with so many good home inspectors, many of whom are engineers why not suggest the consumer use an engineer to begin with? I really like a couple of home inspectors here who are not engineers, who have worked in the building trade for years. I even have at least one on my list.

The inspectors / engineers I am recommending to my clients are not only trained with in “a few years of school or a home inspection course.” They’ve worked as home inspectors for years and are trained engineers.

We do not have home inspector licensing here.

I thought of you (from a previous comment on another entry… at least I believe it was you ) in a class yesterday when the topic of home inspectors NOT going on roofs came up.

Do you know Pam Hoffman? I am trying to remember who else I know in Crossville TN… Tyler Wedel? Dave DeVos?

Are you on Active Rain? If not join us:

We can always use intelligent, articulate people in the home inspection field to discuss the issues.

8 John Goad May 19, 2007 at 08:51 pm

I’m in Clarksville not Crossville.
The background of a structural engineer would be very helpful for a home inspector, but there is so much more to know about a home.
It is almost like when former building and codes inspectors become home inspectors everyone thinks they must make the best home inspectors & from what I have seen & heard it just isn’t the case. It is good to know codes, but home inspectors are not supposed to inspect by codes & knowing codes does not translate into knowing how a home & all it’s components are supposed to work.
I have no doubt that the ones you use are good thorough home inspectors, my point is use a home inspector because they have a reputation of being good not because they are an engineer or have a doctorate in construction, it can give a sense of security that is not warranted.
There is a lot to know, my grandfather built houses, my father built houses, & I’ve built houses. I know a lot, but I still don’t it all & I hope I never think I do.
I am not on active rain & really not familiar with it, but I will check it out.
Have a great weekend!

9 MaureenMcCabe May 20, 2007 at 05:22 am

Thanks for the comment. IMHO the best inspectors in Columbus are all engineers… or most. Maybe it is just a coincidence.

I don’t see the value to a former code inspector doing a home inspection unless of course he leaves all that behind, forgets that an inspects the home as expected by the buyer per the terms of the contract with the seller. I don’t know that I have run into any of those.

Crossville, Clarksville… too confusing but I probably couldn’t tell Columbus from Cleveland from a couple of states away before moving to Ohio. I will have to look at a map.

Funny I just sent you an invite

10 John Goad May 20, 2007 at 03:36 pm

You are right I’ve been through Ohio & I’m pretty sure I’ve been through Columbus & Cleveland, but could not tell you which was which.
On the engineer thing, what type of engineers are they? I mean an electrical engineer is not going to have an extensive knowledge of structures & a structural engineer won’t know alot about an HVAC system.
I think one thing though that may give them an advantage is just the way an egineer has to think, the troubleshooting process along with experience is how you can take visual evidence & get to the underlying cause.
I guess the main thing is you got yourself some good inspectors which will lead to satisfied customers for you, good word of mouth, & yes, more sales.
You sound like a dedicated agent & that is great.
Thank you for the active rain invite, I have joined & will try to familiarize myself with it. Any tips or preferred areas on the site?

11 Maureen M. May 23, 2007 at 08:17 pm

Cleveland is on the lake. Cincinnati is almost in KY. Columbus is in the middle.

12 Mark Cassidy July 22, 2007 at 02:24 pm

To all:

It has been my experience up here in Cleveland is that most structural engineers have nothing but schooling behind them. To be a good inspector takes about 200 inspections under their belts. But, before this, one has to have a construction background. Look for solid backgrounds. Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, or even like myself who has built a few homes before and was in the plumbing industry. Also the inspectors that are good keep up on their trade by being active in their selected associations.ex: ASHI or NAHI.

Mark Cassidy
ASHI #246393

13 MaureenMcCabe July 23, 2007 at 10:58 am

Wow what a difference 143 miles make (that’s what Google Maps says the distance is between Cleveland and Columbus)

Mark Cassidy’s experience in Cleveland: “It has been my experience up here in Cleveland is that most structural engineers have nothing but schooling behind them.”

My experience the home inspection companies that employ engineers have experienced inspectors who also happen to have engineering degrees. Why would the two markets be so different?

I have a link to the ASHI site on my website. My company recommends using ASHI inspectors. I happen to like exprienced, educated inspectors. Engineers don’t usually cost any more in this market than inspectors with considerably lesss education. And since they are not inexpreienced, why not usre them as they have lots more than “schooling behind them.”

In fact many of the engineers in this market who I think do an excellent job of inspection are also members of ASHI.

So does Cassuidy’s denigration of engineers as inexperienced include those people in ASHI?

Some ASHI Inspectors in Columbus who are engineers include:
Dina Ketz Procheck Engineering
Steven Schira Pro Check Engineering, Inc.
Nick Sung Nick Sung Engineering, LLC
Craig F. Carson P.E. Craine Engineering Consultants
Henry Pope Polaris Inspection Services

Some of these are the inspectors recommended on my website’s inspection page. I am not recommending inexperienced inspectors.

All in this list but Nick are full members of ASHI so in no way inferior inspectors to Mr. Cassidy. They have experience and education. Nick was with another inspection company for years and has also done a lot of inspections. He is not some newbie home inspector cutting his teeth in inspecting homes. The first comment above is from a consumer praising Nick.

I notice you are a member of ActiveRain. This comment borders on comment spam. Akismet set it aside for moderation (asking me to make the deterrmination if the comment is legitimate or comment spam.) It was a tough decision whether to approve it or mark it as spam. It is such a fine line.

I hope your involvement on ActiveRain will give you some experience in how to interact professionally online and not come off as a spammer slamming other ASHI members and the true professionals in your field. What makes you look like a spammer to Akismet is probably feeling the need to use ASHI and your number in the comment. Think about the AR guideline about not using others blogs to promote your business, it applies in the real world too. You do ASHI a disservice trashing professionals in your industry.


14 Maureen McCabe December 21, 2007 at 04:14 am

Thanks for the comment. I don’t allow spam though so I removed the link.

15 John Murray June 25, 2008 at 03:42 am

I have to agree with Mr. Goad.

Engineers do not make the best Home Inspectors just as an Electrician or a Plumber do not make good home inspectors. Home Inspectors are generalists. Engineers and trade specific individuals have been trained specifically at their respected diciplines.

Home builders and general contractors have an obvious broad range of knowledge and they make the best home inspectors in my humble opinion. At least that is how I see it here in Cincinnati OH.

Just as a home inspector at times needs to rely on the specific professional opinion of a structural engineer when 12% of the main support beam exhibits rot and another 15% has prior termite damage. By referring to a structural engineer, a home inspector is saying that he is not certain on whether the main beam needs replaced since additional damage within the beam may be present and that structural calculations are outsie the scope of the inspection. By doing this he is trying to save the homebuyers and sellers money by having the situation further evaluated instead of saying, “replace the main beam” (a $15,000 job) that may not be necessary after further invasive analization.

16 Maureen McCabe July 10, 2008 at 03:27 pm

I have to respectfully disagree with you and Mr. Goad. Not taking anything away from you but I admire the skills engineers bring to the inspection and this is my blog, so that’s what I’ve expressed here.

How sad that you’d have to belittle those skills.

I was not ignoring your comment I’ve been locked out of my blog…

17 Nick Sung May 13, 2009 at 12:57 am

Hello, Nick Sung here. One of my clients found this blog and booked an inspection with me, thanks for all the kind words (and the business).

I do agree with many of the points made in the various posts. Having an engineering license does not insure a qualified home inspector. In fact, most of the engineers I know would make terrible inspectors. But, at least we do have a license which we risk losing. It’s not easy to get an engineering license, so we do not take it lightly that on each inspection, we risk losing it by performing a poor home inspection. Engineers also take an oath to only practice in their area of expertise. So, when you choose an engineer as a home inspector, you can be pretty confident that they know what they are doing.

But, a license does not guarantee a good inspector. I have found that there is simply no substitute for experience. No matter what their background or previous work history, the number of home inspections is the most important measure of a good inspector. Over the years, during various home inspector conventions, it seems that right around 500 inspections, all of a sudden, something just “clicks” and you have a good, qualified, experienced inspector. Then, around 1000 inspections, you get another “jump” as you have really mastered the art. There does not seem to be much improvement after that as you have seen just about everything by then. It also takes several years to get up to 500 or 1000 inspections, so if they can last that long, you can rest assured that they know what they are doing. Also, it doesn’t hurt if the inspector is with a national home inspector organization, such as ASHI or NAHI. They have regular meetings and continuing education to keep them up-tojdate on the latest issues.

Wouldn’t it be great to find a licensed engineer that is with a national organization, that has over 1000 inspections and who has been around for several years? There are not many of us around, but we are out there.

18 Maureen McCabe May 13, 2009 at 09:14 am

Thanks for the comment Nick. You are featured elsewhere on my blog.
Not by name necessarily but about you doing a great inspection for buyers long ago… May 2006?

I prefer buyers use home inspectors who are engineers. Simple as that.

19 Travis Moyer November 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Are you still looking for a home inspector blogger? I would be very interested if so. Please give me a call @ 506-1598.
Travis Moyer

20 MaureenMcCabe November 9, 2009 at 04:35 pm

There is a new comment here showing on my dashboard but it is NOT here? This is why I hate WordPress.

21 SPAMMY CALIFORNIA home Inspector site December 12, 2009 at 04:37 am

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22 MaureenMcCabe December 12, 2009 at 09:47 am

Your site is spam. The comment was spam so got caught in my SPAM filter. I removed it from the spam filter and removed the links. This site is about Columbus Ohio. It has nothing to do with your spammy California website!

DEATH to SPAM sites!

23 Certified Home Inspector February 10, 2010 at 07:05 am

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24 MaureenMcCabe February 11, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Edited out the link in the body of the comment and removed the link a legitmate comment would have given you. Buzz off.

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