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Inspect Your Home Inspector

This article was written by in Real Estate and Home. 6 comments.


This article was written for Consumerism Commentary by Antelope, an entertainment lighting designer working hard to achieve financial security.

In the last year, my wife and I have sold a house in one city, and bought and sold another house in another city. After a bad experience with a home inspector when we were buying our second house, we learned a ton about home inspectors. You can do all of the research you would like, but sometimes you learn things in the School of Hard Knocks.

Believe it or not, some states have no certification requirements for a person to call themselves a “Home Inspector.” if you live in Delaware, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, California, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Ohio, Wyoming, Kansas, Iowa, or New Mexico, your state does not have licensing requirements for home inspection companies. This means that a person could call themselves a Home Inspector, charge you $300 for an inspection, and completely miss major issues. Even when dealing with an inspector in a state with licensing requirements, you are not protected from bad experiences. My wife and I had one such experience with an inspector in Oklahoma City — Oklahoma has licensing requirements — who lied to us during the inspection. After we realized we had to immediately drop $20,000 for a new roof, the inspector told us he thought the seller was a criminal and we should have never bought the house. Unfortunately for us, we had already signed a document holding the inspector for a monetary amount covering only the cost of the inspection.

If you’re interested in finding out what each state requires for its Home Inspectors to undergo for licensing, check out this information provided by Kaplan. States are all listed with the requirements and classroom hours each inspection candidate needs in order to complete state licensing. The Independent Home Inspectors of North America has useful information on this topic as well.

It also helps to check up on references of home inspection companies. Check places like Angie’s List to find reviews for inspectors or their companies and the Better Business Bureau to see if a particular inspector is involved with any disputes or lawsuits. Even searching Google for your selected company can reveal issues with their reputation.

Unfortunately, sometimes you just get dealt a crappy inspector who delivers a crappy inspection. Life isn’t perfect, and real estate often brings out the worst of it.

If you enjoyed this article, please stay tuned to Consumerism Commentary for more from Antelope.

Published or updated August 12, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar jim of Blueprint for Financial Prosperity

Wow that sucks, I had no idea they didn’t have to be licensed. I was always under the impression that the inspector had to get the OK from the lender if you were borrowing funds because ultimately they’re on the hook if everything falls through the cracks (then again, tons of unqualified borrowers got loans so I bet that was just a checkbox on a form). I’m glad I didn’t have similar problems here in Maryland.

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avatar Antelope

Ah, Maryland. Marylanders (is that right?) are pretty fortunate, as inspectors trying to gain state status have to have a minimum of 72 hours of commission-approved instruction before they even consider a request for licensing. I guess the best advice I can give is that you must definitely hone up on your people-reading skills. Those skills are priceless in dealing with these situations.

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avatar Vince Santos

It’s true that in my state, Michigan, certification is not required. In fact there is nothing required other than perhaps a flashlight paper and ink pen. As a result we have our share of under qualified inspectors selling their services at “bottom of the barrel” prices and providing basic inspections. Unfortunately most clients are not aware of the fact that there simply are no requirements in their state or the importance of formal training and continuing education when choosing an inspector.

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avatar Sam

Additionally, home inspectors referred by real estate agent. Sometimes to work together to give your “killer deal”.

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avatar Roshawn at Watson Inc

Very useful article. I was unaware that not all states required licensure. I also liked the recommendation of checking out home inspectors via Angie’s list and the BBB. You mentioned that you signed a document releasing the inspector of liability. Is such a liability waiver typical?

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avatar Leia

Our home inspector was from the American Society of Home Inspectors and did a great job. He was very thorough and gave us a binder full of copies of his paperwork arranged by area of the house.

You can find the society at http://www.ashi.org/customers/ (this is opposed to the society join at the home page)

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