Fear seems to be driving some homeowners to hire home inspectors to review the work of remodelers. “They want checks and balances. We're brought in as a consultant — as an objective third party,” says Stephen Gladstone, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors ( www.ashi.org), in Des Plaines, Ill.

He says this is especially true on larger and more expensive jobs. Homeowners often ask for the inspector's opinion. “We are objective house detectives — writing a report that is not influenced by the sale,” Gladstone says.

He notes that consumers in their early 30s are buying or renovating for the first time. Internet research makes them aware of the issues that exist in older houses, such as mold, asbestos, and lead paint.

Some home inspectors are promoting “health and safety inspections,” where they check attics and basements for hidden leaks, termites, mold, and the like. That could be a boon for contractors. “When we find things that need to be done, remodelers get the jobs,” Gladstone says.