October, 2018
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

In Memoriam: Milton Goldstein


On July 28, 1915—103 years ago—Milton Goldstein, the founder of the American home inspection profession, was born. He died July 9, 2018. 

Milton Goldstein was a hard-working, intelligent and modest man. He was also my father and I’d like to share some highlights from his life with you, my fellow home inspectors.

He was born to uneducated immigrants and sold newspapers during the Depression to earn money so he could attend college. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s engineering school in 1937. Many homebuyers asked him to look at the houses they were buying, so in 1938, he founded Building Inspection Service, the first home inspection company on record in the United States.

In 1945, he found a row house in Philadelphia with peeling wallpaper and paint. When he inspected it, he found it to be in good condition, so he bought it. My mother cried when she saw it, but we fixed it up and lived there until I was 13 years old. This was the first of more than 50 single and duplex houses that my father inspected, bought and fixed up. 

In 1968, he convinced FHA—which was the primary lender for home purchases at the time and which was requiring plumbers, electricians, roofers and termite inspectors to issue five separate certifications from four different people—to accept all five certificates from one trained professional inspector such as himself for each house. 

In 1962, he took me on my first home inspection and in 1970, he convinced me and trained me to do inspections full time. I did more than 50 inspections with him before I did one on my own.

When he was 98 years old, I asked him to fully retire. His answer was classic: “What are you trying to do? Kill me?!” And just a few days before he died, he asked me if I had any inspection work for him.

Among my father’s last words were, “Life is good. Enjoy.” My dad didn’t care about notoriety. He did care about improving the world in which he lived and the lives of as many people as he could.

Thank you for allowing me to share a little background about the contributions of a modest man, my dad, who sought no notoriety, but who was the founder of the first American home inspection company. His goal was to help people to the very end of his life, and he set a good example for me and for all professional home inspectors.

Marvin Goldstein
ACI, ASHI #32, ASHI Past–President (2012), mgoldstein@inspectpro.com