Anyone thought about being an EXPERT WITNESS??? for our industry?

I was curious if it was worth it to pursue an avenue in the Expert witness market for the home inspection industry?!?!!?

If anyone has information, I would appreciate your input.


Here is a definition of an Expert - Ex is a has been! Pert is a drip of water! So if you want to be a drip that has been, there is no future in it just a person people wash down the drain. The biggest thing you need to do for this position is have many years of being a perfect inspector with no mistakes. You will lay yourself out on the line and all the inspections you have done.
Basically it sounds to me you just want to be another wannabe Gold Digger out to hurt other people. A person who wanted to be a Lawyer and could not pass the Law Board.
The only time someone like that would be called in is to go against the HI to prove the HI did something wrong. That is why we have Standards so people can messure us up against them. We don’t need someone out here telling people how we are suppose to do something. Especially if in a certain circumstances you won’t be there to observe it.


Hi to all,

there are very few inspectors, who in MHO are qualified as expert witnesses, and athough I have done expert witness work I do not believe that I am one of them.

The problem with this business is the more you know, the more you know you need to keep learning, I am at the point now where despite having been involved in several litigation cases, I would probably not accept another one at this time, at least until I felt that my qualifications were at least the match of whoever the other side brought in as their expert.

Does that make sense ? (sorry coffee hasn’t kicked in yet!)



Rickey - not entirely correct. An expert can be used to defend an HI, as well as tests against builders or other contactors. It does require that you are an Expert, not a generalist. At the very least, ICC Certification would be needed.

Also, I see it as a risky venture, but one that is certainly being filled by someone - so regardless of motive (and aren’t we all in business to make money?) considering all angles for business growth is wise. Besides, there ARE bad inspectors out there -just like there are bad docs, lawyers, etc - and someone should be protecting the public from them.

This one may have more risk than reword though unless your credentials are impeccable.

Sounds like another type of “Certification” in the making.:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Not sure it is the same…but I was called in to be expert witness for a fellow HI of mine on some electrical issues a few years ago. I would not call it expert witness…just my professional licensed opinion.

Ok…J.Ferry…Define Witness for me…lol…maybe I was…lol

Rickey… I enjoyed reading your comments. And as Joseph stated, there are bad contractors and other professionals out there that do not serve their clients best interests… Its not like I would choose any case, the case would have to have some merit…

For instance, I had a client call me about work a contractor did in his bathroom, my client did not pull any city permits, a mistake on his part! The bathroom construction was okay, from what I could see… but the contractor didn’t even install GFCI protected outlets near the sink! So my inspection actually helped my client.

As for being an expert, I am not… and I am an ICBO/ICC certified Building Inspector and I work as a building inspector for a municipality. Even in this field I am a generalist. I never worked as a contractor, so I do not have any “expertise” in any particular trade, but I can crack open a code book and find anything.

As for the money issue, yes don’t we all want to make more money!?! And Ricky, if I really wanted to be an attorney, I could have easily went to law school and passed the bar, by the way I have Bachelors of Science Degree as well… your post didn’t sound to educated, but I did enjoy reading it.

Joseph, thanks for the good points.


There’s a good, recent thread on the old BB about just this topic. I looked for it last night but couldn’t find it. In it, Joe Ferry takes a different tact than I would have expected. It’s a good read, so I’ll go look for it again unless someone else knows the one I’m referring to. ***Aha…here it is, not an exact fit but pretty darn close to the topic:](***=


 I have a Degree too and as for sounding educated was not my point.  I just was trying to get a point across.  Basically if you are looking to be the expert witness. I suggest you become above all inspectors contractors and everything else.  Because everyone will call you from everywhere.  

Basically if you are inspecting something someone did wrong in a construction stand point. 1. There are codes that people goe by either state minimal or local standards. 2. There are also referance standards. 3 There is the Manufactured Guidelines. All three of these catorgory is what you can pull all the information from. These are what you go by then get certifications for everything because when you go to court and the attorneys turn your world upside down. Then the media gets a hold of it. Guess what? All your paperwork and opinions won’t be able to buy a cup of coffee.
I agree with you all totally and this is one reason I am in favor for all Licensing in all states. There are some terrible contractors, inspectors, real estates salespeople, attorneys, etc. The list goes on. But if we all have to meet some kind of education and standards with repercussions for our bad actions. As loosing our licenses and out of business. What the States need to start doing is Licensing Contractors too. Some times I call Contractors - Human Termites! They just cut up buildings in some serious damaging ways.
If you want to be the expert witness Good Luck! Don’t count on the big $$$ as the attorneys get.


Mike – the post you provided the link for is exactly on target with the direction of this thread.

Justin – I would suggest you try this line of work.

I have provided “expert witness” services for the state of California. Although it was related to engineering and I am a licensed professional engineer. I was very reluctant to step into this area work because I felt that any licensed structural engineer would be able to impeach my testimony. I have learned, that is not the case.

Anyone can provide an opinion. You don’t have to be an expert or more knowledgeable than anyone else involved in the case. If you come across more personable or more believable on the stand and you tell the truth; that is all that matters.

In the other post, the HI was asked to document the crack in a sidewalk. The other side could call an expert in human physiology with a background in walking/cadence. He could also have a second degree in mechanical engineering (specifically dynamics).
But none of that changes the fact that the HI went out and documented that there was differential height if 1/8” on either side of a control joint in the side walk. Yes, the lawyers might have you on the stand for eight hours over two days asking you about your education, certification, job history, marital status. The way the HI handles these questions could make him a better witness than the other side’s expert witness.

I have talked with several experts with much more experience than I have in this area. Of all the advice they offered, the consistent themes were: Document well, tell the truth, clarify everything as your opinion (or YOUR interpretation of……code, test results, etc.), and charge a lot of money (or a variation on Joe’s statement).

My advice is to set a minimum fee of $100/hour for “expert” witness work or work related to a legal case or court. This fee should apply to drive time as well as report writing. You should have something that allows for billing of reimbursable expenses and mileage. I would then outline a per day fee for testimony. This would include depositions as well as in court. It should outline wait time as part of your testimony time. It should be higher than your “expert” rate and I provide a minimum per day fee (I charge $150/hour and a minimum of $1,500 per day). Although I know some experts actually charge by the minute or 15 minute blocks.

As far as liability goes, I would think that there is little or no liability for such work. An “expert” can provide his opinion without retaliation as long as it is truthful.

Search the old board for posts by Dan Bower out in Kansas City. He’s done a bit of EW work.

Expert Witnesses are on both sides of the case. Quite often representing the Home Inspector’s side.