A License is Not a Qualification

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Home inspector licensing has been a trend across the nation for quite some time. My state, Connecticut, has had a licensing requirement for around nine years. Washington, home of the naked inspector Charles Buell, has become one of the newest states to adopt a licensing law for home inspectors.

What exactly does a license mean to a consumer shopping for a home inspector? Does it show experience? Expertise? Or simply the licensee has passed a minimum set of requirements to be given the privilege to perform the job of home inspector.

Too often consumers call my office and ask if I am licensed. An obligatory question at best, but certainly not a probing inquiry. Often this question is accompanied by the other standard; are you insured? The next if not the only question is what are your rates?

Having a license does not in any way show level of expertise or care at performing the work. Everyone who drives a car has a license and we all know how well some people drive.

It therefore becomes imperative to dig a little deeper into the home inspectors' background. Peel back the proverbial onion and see how many layers are present. The more layers you find would tend to suggest more depth and care. After all it takes time and effort to be multilayered.

James Quarello
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

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Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

I am thinking that someone should report someone for breaking poor Nutsy's toe. I don't know... does Nutsy have a home inspectors license?

Jim, you are so right about this, the problem is that often the funds are very limited. All funds are tied up and they just hope that what they are being told is true.

Jul 31, 2009 12:24 PM #11
Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Agreed, James, agreed...

Jul 31, 2009 01:30 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mrs Andrea,

I am a certifried home inspector assistant.

Mr. James, the tale I have to tell about Mr Charles is too miniscule to warrant a further discussion.

Nutsy

Jul 31, 2009 03:43 PM #13
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Kate, Send her by.

Andrea, I think a little research on the buyers part is all that is needed. Even with limited funds you want the most value for your money.

Jay, I would assume by your answer you have licensing.

Nutsy, Nuf said.

Jul 31, 2009 11:03 PM #14
Rainmaker
122,504
Jim Valentine
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Gardnerville, NV

This is an important point.  We have inspectors that we can count on, and others that totally botch the job.  How can the public know the difference?  Schooling isn't the only answer - look at all the lousy attorneys that know how to pass exams and got their ticket.

Aug 01, 2009 03:31 AM #15
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector
Jim, The consumer has to take some initiative and research before they call.
Aug 01, 2009 05:24 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,042,941
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

How about our state of Arkansas.  Do we have a license requirement? 

Aug 01, 2009 02:54 PM #17
Rainmaker
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James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Barbara, You do not have licensing in Arkansas, but there is a registration, education and insurance requirement.

Aug 01, 2009 10:53 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

There are low-life bums in all fields. The other thing licensing does do, is the laws usually put some rules in place that actually allow consumers, and the state, to enforce the laws. The legislation in this state has some big fines involved for certain things.

Nutsy, certifried and high quality

PS -- Mr Charles is away and I am running his firm and fielding enquiries for him.

Aug 02, 2009 04:34 AM #19
Rainmaker
174,893
Kate Kate
San Diego, CA

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO HOMEOWNERS

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO HOMEOWNERS

Aug 02, 2009 04:40 AM #20
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Nutsy, You missed the point, as if that's a surprise, of my blog. I agree that licensing is good. It's just not a qualification when everyone who works as a home inspector must have one.

Kate, Red lettering would be more appropriate considering the level of danger.

Aug 02, 2009 10:33 AM #21
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Not just red lettering as James has said----MUCH BIGGER too.

Aug 02, 2009 12:13 PM #22
Rainmaker
174,893
Kate Kate
San Diego, CA

HOMEOWNER DANGER ALERT: SEVERE

RABID SQUIRREL LEFT UNATTENDED BY BOSS

IF CONTACTED CALL AUTHORITIES AT ONCE

ALL BOUNTY HUNTERS WELCOME

 

Aug 02, 2009 12:57 PM #24
Rainer
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Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC

James,

As with everything. Caveat Emptor. Do the homework.

Aug 03, 2009 05:28 PM #25
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Terry, I think many people do not because they are misinformed on what a license means.

Aug 03, 2009 11:12 PM #26
Rainmaker
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Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

James,

Your point is well taken and, once licensing is in place that is true. On the other hand, and I say this from experience being on the board and with BTC, but I am surprised by the number of home inspectors -- some with a decade of experience -- who seem to be giving up because they are afraid they cannot pass the two part test. And, in talking to some of them, it is apparent that they might not know enough about the diversity of things that we look at to do the job or to pass the test.

One wonders about the service they have provided to clients in the past. At least someone who has passed the test might be competent enough to know a beam from a joist or understand how to determine which foundation problems are serious and which ones are related to other issues such as joist spacing. Also, if these people want to participate in the future, they have to follow the rules or risk the consequences. Today an inspector can arrive on-site, knowing that he or she will not come within 30' of the roof -- that is changing here as a result of licensing. Once people are licensed, there will be good ones and bad ones but, hopefully, with licensing some of the worst ones will have been, shall we say, weeded out. I will know more about this in a year or so I suspect. Right now, in this state, it is shocking how few people seem to be getting lined up to legally inspect.

One month from L-day, we have just over 200 people signed to take the test or who have taken the test. Predictions had been around 1500 inspectors. Where are they? In my community, some well-known names are yet to be on the list. Maybe dragging their feet, but not sure.

Aug 05, 2009 02:12 PM #27
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

I was not a participant in the licensing of home inspectors in CT. I was not an inspector at the time that all took place so hearing your perspective is interesting to say the least. From what I heard here in CT, there were a lot of foot draggers and non conformists. It literally took years to weed these people out of the industry.

My feeling is licensing is a good thing for much of the reasons you stated. Raising the bar on competency of individual home inspectors will ultimately be beneficial to the consumer. But as I have stated that is a starting point. WA is in the process of raising their standards which will have great benefit for the wise consumer.

Aug 05, 2009 10:34 PM #28
Rainmaker
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Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

James,

Part of licensing in this state included raising the fees it takes to inspect from under a hundred bucks a year to about a grand, just to get into it. Therefore, there will be many inspectors ratting out anyone who is not complying....of that I am sure. This law really will lead to self-regulation.

Aug 06, 2009 05:34 AM #29
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

All good points guys.  I think there are a couple of things that are different here from other states with regard to licensing.  The education requirements and thus costs are significant.  Testing is significant.  Consequences are significant if caught working without a license.  The cost of the license and testing is significant.  A rough total to get started as an inspector (tools etc---assuming one has a vehicle:) would by my calculations be around $6400.00---and this would not be counting insurance---being a licensed structural pest inspector----or belonging to any inspector associations.  Add those in, and you might be looking at another $5,000.  All of this adds up to a significant commitment----way above the previously required $12.00 for a set of business cards.  The thing that most people don't keep in mind is that over 2/3 of the inspectors in the state of WA, previous to licensing, held no membership in any of the inspector associations, and thus operated under "whoknowswhat" standards of practice and code of ethics.

Aug 06, 2009 08:05 AM #30
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

I am very surprised at the costs of becoming a home inspector in WA. Has anyone thought this can lead to a backlash from the public. People looking to get into the field may cry foul saying your requirements and costs are too high. This happened in NJ a few years ago. Someone sued the State saying the requirements were too restrictive and won. NJ was forced to lower their entrance requirements for home inspectors.

Does anyone foresee this occurring in WA?

Aug 07, 2009 12:11 AM #31
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