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Lets clear up some myths and misconceptions about the inspection process. Many states require state certification or licensing. Whether your state requires this or not, all Home Inspectors work to the ASHI (American Society Of Home Inspectors) Standards Of Practice. These standards set the bar. However, an inspector can exceed the standards as they see fit. The standards are pretty low BTW. Some inspectors have little to no technical knowledge but get by working to the bare minimum of the standards, they may also be articulate, good communicators and good at kissing Realtor ****. Some are technogeeks who see things only in black or white and cannot put things in perspective. Some will load the report with dumb s... that doesn't belong in the report. This is to make up for a lack of technical knowledge and makes it look like they were very thorough.Unfortunately, many got into the business because they were sold the idea that they could make good money after a short training period. The inspection "schools" love these guys. The inspector you want is someone that has at least 10 years of practical residential construction experience. In the biz at least 5 years and has performed at least 1000 paid inspections.If the article is correct about there being 25,000 of us nationwide. I have some bad news. Based on the level of incompetency, lawsuits, and disciplinary action I see with my competitors, about 2/3 of the inspectors are worthless and should go back to selling used cars or whatever job they came from. My best advice? Ask to see a sample (recent) report. That's what you're paying for and that's what your bargaining Chip is, if it's not an "as is" sale. If you do not clearly understand the report comments and pictures during the 1st read, move on till you find one you can understand. P.S. Don't let the Realtor pick your Inspector. Do your own homework.
I suppose you should use an inspector that is bonded and insured. Or perhaps you could just line through the exculpatory clause. There is much to this thought. A building contractor would not think twice to act to save $100.00 that will cost the homeowner thousands later. If an inspection fails to notice or mention a defect your general recourse is to file for your fee refund. No jackpot to cover the error they missed or omitted.
So for the poor bastard to list every nit picking item is not overzealous. You have the choice to act, react, or de-act over a listed defect.
Thought this might be a good profession to take up if I ever lost my regular job. Maybe not...
Have an M.E.E. so there is nothing technically that would stump me, built multiple homes (had an Uncle that developed housing projects, swung a hammer from the time I was 16 until I was 25). Spent five years as a Civil Engineer responsible for municipal buildings before finally getting into the specifics of my Masters. 30+ years of that...now, if my job goes away, figured the home inspection route would be a good semi retirement gig.
Even have a good size rolodex of bank managers and mortgage officers that would offer support.
And my realtor did not give me a name of an inspector or a repair company. We researched that ourselves.
From personal experiences: Bought house #1 no inspection 20 years no problems. Bought house #2 the inspector found a loose toilet mounting. Bought a condo in new construction Should have had an inspection by REAL ENGINERS but even the eventual Engineers that were hired by the HOA were useless. Where I live now is a 55 and older community so few vendors DO NOT rip off our inexperienced board members.
I started in the electrical business in 1962 as a union apprentice while also working at residential side jobs for licensed people. In 1972 I got my Masters license and opened an electrical construction shop, in 1991 I got my real estate Broker's license Then in 2001 I got my General contractor's license. With all the licenses I still hired a home inspector so I would not carry the liability of a bad inspection on my insurances and to satisfy the mortgage company's requirements. As a Realtor I suggested that both buyers and sellers get physical conditions examined by qualified people that they might know or get a referral. The sellers appreciated the idea so they could fix problems and keep their asking price tight. Mowing the lawn, sweeping the floors and painting the hallway only goes just so far for appealing to a buyer. I have always been liability conscience, as such I was only sued once by a new home owner that changed his plans and I charged him for the changes. Where we were friends he thought the charges should have been a gift. I never trusted home inspectors as they are required to take a couple of weeks of courses in 10 building trades jobs where it takes 2 - 5 year apprenticeships to be qualified for each trade's license. How dumb is that?
Hey Stephen and anyone else that reads this....My top list to AVOID!! My Cred: 25+ years in residential Home building and remodeling. North Carolina (when I still lived there) Real Estate License.
1) NEVER, EVER use an "Inspector" that the "REAL-TOR" recommends! It is a feeding frenzy and you are the bait!
2) RE: Item #1: One word folks....Kickbacks! Wait...it gets better/ mostly worse for you!
3) "REAL-TORS" recommended "Inspector" will ( I PROMISE YOU) come up with what we call a
"Laundry List" of problems/defects....mostly minor and a few that could be legit...older props.
4) They just happen to know "A Guy" who can take care of it all! YUP, you guessed it; kickback
5) Almost every "Inspector" I dealt with over the last 39+ years was an individual that failed;one
way or another in the Construction Industry.
6) RE: Item #5: Bonzo the Chimp can get "Certified/ Licensed" as an "Inspector"! Personally I
would trust Bonzo since he would not grasp the "kickback" concept that the upright bottom-
7) YUP! I know what your next question is. What do I do? Call your own "Inspector"!! Refer to
8) Get one of these ASHI guys BUT; keep in mind that they have contracts/ agreements that
offer no legal recourse if they(frequently) miss or screw up!
9) Seek out the most highly rated Remodeling Contractor in the area and hire them to perform
the Inspection on your dime. No kickbacks and loyal to you the"Customer". Make it clear you
will use them for needed work AFTER closing!!
10) In Summation: NEVER, EVER ignore or forget Items #1 Thru #6!!!!!!!!!!
PS: If the property has a Swimming Pool this list gets wayyyyy more complicated!!
I am a G.C. in Florida and carry a secondary state certified roofing contractors license and this article has some merit, but take it with a grain of salt.
I can do home inspections and on occasion do them. My fee is a flat $150.00 and I don't care if it is a bungalow or a mansion. It also states in my contract that I am excused from bidding any work that may need to be done and I can offer no recommendations to any contractor. I don't and I won't.
I send a report to the homeowner and one to the realtor ( if the owner has one ), past that I am out of the game.
Home inspectors are generally honest but a contractor is the better choice and one with more than one state license is best. Once I accept to do a home inspection I have to take myself out of what makes my living or I am of no use to either the seller or the buyer.
Sellers, never ask the inspector if he knows someone, buyers always ask if an inspection has been done and look at the report.