2. Get references. Because state laws regulating the licensing of inspectors are generally toothless, certification from trade associations is often a better barometer of an inspector's experience and skills. ASHI's Web site (www.ashi.org) maintains a list of certified inspectors, searchable by Zip code. Word of mouth is still the most common way to find an inspector. But even if the recommendation comes from a friend or real estate agent, it's a good idea to check for certification, call references, and consult the local Better Business Bureau to make sure previous jobs have been without incident.

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