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Aug 2, 2014 1:58PM

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.

Jul 30, 2014 4:46AM
Back during the housing crisis, we had to move due to having twins, which the realtor knew and told the sellers we were eager for a decent offer.  The buyer's "inspector" came up with a long list of expensive requirements (on a 3-year-old home) and they knew they had us over a barrel because the housing market was terrible.  We'd already had the house on the market for 9 months, so we ponied up for a bunch of stupid improvements just to get the house sold.  (Line the substrate?  Please.)  Then buying our new house using the same realtor.  First, the she tried to refuse to take our lower offer to the seller until we insisted.  The seller accepted.  We used an inspector - set up by the realtor - and he found NOTHING wrong with the house.  Except when we actually moved in - the fireplace didn't work, the washing machine flooded, half the electrical outlets were dead, one of the bathrooms none of the faucets were installed correctly.  A bunch of crooks.  We will NEVER use a realtor or inspector again.
Jul 28, 2014 8:22AM

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.

Hmmm...maybe not.

Jul 27, 2014 10:59PM
I can't believe the comments on here.  MSN has always been anti-realtor for some reason.  I'm a Realtor and I always recommend 2-3 different inspectors whose work I have found satisfactory.  I have never received or been offered any type of kick-back.  This Realtor-phobia is a disservice to the public.  A Realtor has a code of ethics which distinguishes them from Real Estate Agents.  I take my duty to my clients very very seriously and as long as I represent them I will always put their interests ahead of everything including my own.  That's what the job is all about.  That's why it's an AGENCY relationship.  Also, Realtors must disclose any business relationship they or their brokerage may have with any company that the client may do business with.  Sure, there may be some bad apples as in any profession but they are fewer and further between than you would expect after reading these comments.  In fact, I think you'll find there is a larger percentage of internet trolls handing out bad advice than there are Realtors misrepresenting their clients.
Jul 27, 2014 7:06PM
I bought a home where the inspector reported the floor joists and the wood on the foundation were rotted through.  The homeowners spent $10k on repairs before closing.  Best $350 I ever spent.  And the inspector came back out to inspect the work done.

And my realtor did not give me a name of an inspector or a repair company.  We researched that ourselves.

Jul 27, 2014 6:23PM

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?

Jul 27, 2014 5:24PM
WOW!! Jawbreaker must be an "Inspektor"!!  HEY JAWBREAKER....RUN AWAY FROM the "REAL-TOR recomendation...it is the beginning of the "Kickback Express"!!!!!!!
Jul 27, 2014 4:54PM

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-

      feeders LOVE!

 7) YUP! I know what your next question is. What do I do? Call your own "Inspector"!! Refer to

      Item #1.

 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!!


Jul 27, 2014 4:49PM
Sheesh, what a bunch of victim, crybaby posters. If you're going to whine, please use your Mr. Bill voice.
Jul 27, 2014 4:42PM
An inspector isn't magic and they can't see through walls. How in the H*ll are they going to predict how long something is going to last?!  Believing they can do so is childish. They tell you how it is to the best of their ability based on their observation, education and experience. If they tell you to hire another expert, don't whine, just do it. You should be adult enough to make a rational decision from that point.  If you can't do that, you shouldn't be buying a house. So what if it's stressful, grow up and deal with it. Any broker/agent/builder/lender who tries to steer you away from an inspection is nothing but a crook, run away.
Jul 27, 2014 4:21PM
After reading through a few of the comments, all I can say is the states very greatly in regulatory oversight. I am a General contractor and Home Inspector in North Carolina, with over 11 years of inspection experience. In our state Joe Blow can't just decide to become a home inspector; when I became Licensed, in order to take the exam, you needed to be a Licensed General contractor, an Architect or an engineer; prior to licensing. As well as attend 12 hrs of continuing education every year and 16 hrs a year for each of the last 3 years. Now the rules are even more stringent; before you can sit down to take the exam, you need something like 200  hours of training; I think its 120 classroom and 80 in the field working with a licensed home inspector who has performed a minimum of 1000 inspections with NO complaints registered with the licensure board. North Carolina takes the licensing of home inspectors very seriously; maybe all states should come here and see how it is done. I think I herd from someone that only 20% pass the test.

John Garner
(910) 465-1212
Garner Inspection Services
Wilmington, NC

Jul 27, 2014 4:15PM
The inspector looked at my roof from a ladder, never got up there and suggested I hire a roof inspector. The inspector checked my central AC and told me to hire a professional HVAC tech. Very similiar to my yacht surveyor. Looked at the boat and told me to hire a  diesel tech and an electrician for further evaluation. Just like my doctor, here's your bill and I'll refer you to a specialist, one of my golf buddies for followup. They all had nice software, nice pictures, but added little of no value for a pile of money.WTF? .
Jul 27, 2014 3:53PM
I moved to FLORIDA 25 years ago with over 30 years experience in construction, licensed as a residential builder & mechanical contractor from the mid-west.  I saw the opportunity to be a 'home inspector' and no state requirements existed.  Spent some serious dollars getting setup & within 6 months I had 2 calls!!  And those folks wanted me to inspect for free!!  I switched gears and became a licensed real estate broker and did quite well.  Years later when home inspectors became a recognized evil, I would NOT refer to any of them.  Most were college idiots that didn't know squat about construction.  But they were licensed & certified by the state!
Jul 27, 2014 3:30PM
I have been a Home inspector for 12yrs..I also have 20yrs construction experience, I tell anyone they should make sure the inspector is ASHI certified and the have construction back ground. A good home inspector will point out all the minor and the major, take the time to explain each items importance and some value on it, my job neither makes or breaks the deal...the house does.. .like any trade you get better with time...I have done over 10,000 inspections... I have seen most everything you can imagine and I have seen more issues where the city or building inspector plain missed or did not care about... I see most of the comments are from people who have no clue of the process, as there is no back paying they agent.. reputable agents don't take any percentage or pay for referring inspectors...btw I have done hundreds of new home inspections and the builders are always surprised at whet I fine...builders today do not do the work themselves...they have subs and subs make mistakes and the building inspector missed items are abundant, I did 2 house last week that had certificate of occupancy and both house had new roofs with no venting at all and all the bathroom fans vented in the attic, not out threw the roof and the one house had bats in it..23k worth of damage...the seller, roofer and city missed all that....
Jul 27, 2014 3:15PM
If you are buying a home  the best thing to do is inspect it yourself.
Jul 27, 2014 3:13PM
I used a home inspector out of Wilbraham MA that belong to American Society of Home Inspectors, he was an idiot> I found thing he over looked like a dropped header over the cut off garage doors, rotted clapboards and a few outer problems. He never mentioned the furnace being a converted unit from oil to gas> this made for a very inefficient heating system. After my wife became a realtor we told people about independent inspectors instead of the national setup. All the guy wanted to so was to seel a service to the selling realtor.     
Jul 27, 2014 2:53PM
The home inspection business is a complete fraud, for the reasons this article suggests. Who's better qualified to inspect a home, someone with 250hrs of training and two years apprenticeship or a builder with a lifetime of experience in new and remodeled construction? Can the builder automatically get licensed? No, they have to go through the same process. It's a complete sham. This industry doesn't want people who know what to look for. I could kill every deal out there just by telling the truth on every home inspection. Most inspectors don't know anything about proper venting, air exchange, drainage, the list goes on and on. Any home more than 20yrs old needs all new mechanicals, if it has not already been done. California? The standard home out there would be torn down in Vermont. 

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.

Jul 27, 2014 1:45PM
pure corruption as there in the scum Realtor kick back scheme
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