Get the best home inspection, not the cheapest. It always amazes me that people price shop for a home inspection on the biggest asset they will ever purchase, and will choose their inspector based on as little as a $25 difference. Before you choose an inspector, ask to see proof of the following:
1. Is the inspector certified/licensed by the state or federal authorities in your area?
2. Does the company have liability insurance (should be a minimum $1million)?
3. Does the company have Worker's Compensation for its inspectors?
4. Does the inspector belong to a recognized national home inspectors' group such as ASHI or NAHI, which mandates continuing education?
5. Does the inspector indemnify the realtor against any lawsuits for whatever reason, and does the inspector carry Errors and Omissions insurance?
There are many other reasons to hire an inspector, but if an inspector can't satisfy me as to all of these, I won't allow my buyers to hire him/her. I also ask for all these qualifications from inspectors before my sellers will allow them into my listings, on behalf of a buyer. I feel I need to protect my sellers as well. In these tough and litigious times, it only makes sense to protect your buyers, sellers, and yourself as a realtor.
In tough times, many home inspectors let their insurance, their national home inspectors' group memberships and continuing education lapse, because it is very expensive to keep up. If they are offering a cheaper home inspection, it's often because they don't have propert qualifications, credentials, experience and insurance. Don't assume that someone who had those things a year ago, still has them. Ask to see all of the above at least once a year, from whoever you recommend as an inspector.
Price shopping is not the way to choose a home inspector.