Many realtors and lenders become especially frustrated -- I know because I have talked to many of them -- when they need to schedule a manufactured home inspection that is subject to the very specific HUD financing requirements.
HUD demands an extensive, and very specific, permanent foundation inspection or certification and a professional engineer must sign off on it. (The foundation below would not pass that HUD foundation inspection by the way, for a multitude of reasons.)
Normally, HUD requirements also call for an inspection for wood destroying insects. (Photo below is carpenter ant frass thrown down onto a bath cabinet by carpenter ants in the attic of a manufactured home)
This need for two professionals is where scheduling delays come into play. Almost no home inspectors are licensed professional engineers and almost no licensed professional engineers are licensed pest inspectors or home inspectors. Therefore, to schedule the two inspections, the realtor or lender has to make two phone calls and coordinate scheduling, timing and all of the details with the two professionals
The next dilemma is this: What if the PE is first on the scene and says that the foundation has failed the inspection? If that happens, then there is no need for the pest inspection. On the other hand, the same thing could happen in reverse. To some degree, this is unavoidable but, if the two professionals are communicating and working together directly, then the problem of the client having to pay for two inspections, when the first one failed the place, can be minimized.
In my market, to try to streamline this process for buyers and their agents or lenders, I have entered into a cooperative agreement with Pinner and Associates, a professional engineering firm. For more than 20 years they have provided engineering services here in Whatcom County. Pinner understands the HUD requirements. As a result of this cooperative agreement, any realtor, lender or buyer can place a call to my firm and I will take care of the rest of the scheduling. There will be two separate contracts -- one for the inspector and one for the engineering firm -- but the scheduling is simplified.
Since my firm and Pinner and Associates have an excellent working relationship, if the professional engineer goes on-site first and finds that the structure will not meet HUD requirements, then he will immediately contact me so the second inspection will be delayed or cancelled. And, if I go on-site first and find a problem, I will contact the engineering firm and tell them to hold-off until the problem is resolved. Obviously, it is possible that the first inspection will be satisfactory and it is the second inspection that will unearth a problem. In that case, the client would still owe for the two inspections but the world is imperfect and we are doing the best we can for the client.
Entering into this professional relationship with the engineering firm is my way to try to streamline a cumbersome process.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections