No Licensing for Home Inspectors

Home Inspector with 20/20 Home Inspections

No Licensing for Home Inspectors

The home inspection report is the only disclosure report created specifically for the home buyer.  It is a very powerful tool that can be used in several different ways.  Its primary purpose is help the buyer make an informed purchase decision.  While the law says it is designed to report "material defects," it can also be used to identify areas on the home that will require repair or maintenance.  The experience and education of the home inspector will greatly influence the content of the report.

What is a home inspection?  I ask myself this question every time I walk into a home, or any building for that matter.  Home Inspectors are not like the typical professional because we are always surrounded by our jobs.  We might not be on the clock but we are always on the job.  It is impossible for a professional home inspector to ignore material defects, or safety issues.  Whenever we go into a friends house the inspection starts.  Hi Joe! How ya doin?  Oh, by the way did you know your water heater is going to explode if you don't fix the drain?  Sometime this doesn't go over so good.  Joe doesn't always want some guy critiquing his home.   Especially some guy who is dumb enough to lose his doughnut money on an inside straight at the monthly card game.  I learned many years ago to keep my findings private unless someone asked for my opinion.

What is not commonly known is that there are no licensing requirements for home inspectors in the state of California.  Virtually anybody with a business card can go into the business and call himself a home inspector.  This leaves the industry open to many different levels of knowledge and experience.  I have seen men who have recently retired from accounting get into the business for a little extra income and I have seen men devote their whole life to the business.  Accordingly there is a wide range of education, training and experience available to the home buyer.  The problem is the home buyers usually don't even know enough about the business to know, how much they don't know.

"Ring, ring."  "Hello, I need an inspection on my home.  How much do you charge?  That Much!  Joe's friend down the street will do it for THIS MUCH LESS!" 

What I hear is "I want the lowest bid to inspect the most important purchase of my life."  And let me tell you there are some very low bids out there today.  Low bid equates to inexperience; low bids greatly increase the probability of a poor inspection.  The typical person cannot tell the difference between a poor inspection and an outstanding inspection until something goes wrong....

Ring, ring.  "Hello, you did an inspection for me about two years ago and you missed a crack in the the FHA appraiser will not approve the loan until the crack is fixeeeddddddd."  Now is that low bid inspection really the low bid?  Or is it just a screw job equivalent to an unlicensed contractor doing a crappy remodel? 

This is the first question you should ask when interviewing potential inspectors.  Ring, ring. "Hi I am buying a home and I want to get a professional home inspection.  What is your background and qualifications?"  The last question that should be asked is how much do you charge?  The difference is usually only a few dollars. These few dollars can be the difference between a happy and successful purchase transaction and a horrible learning experience.

Brad Deal opperates 20/20 Home Inspections and is a very experienced Home Inspector serving the Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced  Counties.  Merced, Turlock, Modesto, Tracy and Stockton are target areas.

Comments (4)

Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Hi Brad----how true how true.  Welcome to AR----if I can be of any assistance just give me a call.  We just had licensing start in WA State----it will make it to CA sooner or later I am sure.

Nov 29, 2009 07:47 AM
Alix Pinzon
Open Mortgage, LLC NMLS # 2975 - Downey, CA

I think that we're all expecting the States to change over to a license only system, but not soon enough for the consumers.  The good part is that it should be E & O insurance premiums down.

Nov 29, 2009 09:10 AM
Gene perez
Greater Mortgage Solutions & Valley Hills Realty - Santa Maria, CA

I bet with the way things are now and not because they are looking after the consumer but because the state needs money there will be licensing and cont ed and renewals anything they can make you get a license for will need a license

Nov 29, 2009 09:20 AM
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Gene, something people don't realize about licensing is that these programs are not really "money makers" for the states----most have to be self-supporting----there really is no designated portion of the funds collected that goes to do other jobs around the state.  At least here in WA.

Nov 29, 2009 09:29 AM