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What is your Home Inspector preference, Certified or Licensed & Insured?

Home Inspector with Ambassador Home Inspections, LLC.

With today's drastic Real Estate legislative changes being made at record pace, from State to State. Depending on your State legal and governmental mandated licensing requirements, which do you look for as a professional Home Inspector or Inspection company for your clients; what is your Home Inspector preference, Certified or Licensed & Insured?

Nothing against all of the outside non-profit home inspection certification organizations out there; they have been both a great and valuable asset to the Real Estate and Home Inspection Community. However, with new State legislative licensing requirements to be a Home Inspector or legally perform Home Inspections, DBA (doing business as) in several states already. Are these non-profit organizations being relied on, (in states requiring licensing), as the major source for home inspector referrals based on their certification of an inspector over a States list of Licensed and Insured? 

A few STATE Application Requirements, Texas, Maryland and Florida to view: 

State of Florida; EXAMINATION: Individuals seeking licensure as a Home Inspector must first take and pass the, National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE). EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: The applicant must demonstrate proof of completing a course of study approved by the department of not less than 120 hours that covers the 8 components of a home and has passed the examination required by the department. And this is not a complete listing of educational and experience requirements. FINGERPRINTS: An applicant must have a background check as part of the licensing process. INSURANCE: Applicants are required to attest that they have obtained commercial general liability insurance in the amount of $300,000. FEE: Pay the required fee as provided in the application, payable to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. 

State of Texas: To become licensed as a real estate inspector or professional inspector, a person must satisfy: (1) the education and experience requirements outlined in §1102.108 and §1102.109 of Chapter 1102; or (2) the substitute education and experience requirements established by the commission pursuant to §1102.111. Effective September 1, 2011, a person may satisfy the 90-hour education requirement for licensure as a real estate inspector pursuant to subsection (a) (1) of this section by completing the following coursework: 10 hours in foundations, 8 hours in framing, 10 hours in building enclosure, 10 hours in roof systems, 8 hours in plumbing systems, 10 hours in electrical systems, 10 hours in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; 8 hours in appliances, 4 hours in Texas Standards of Practice, 4 hours in Texas Standard Report Form/Report Writing; and 8 hours in Texas Legal/Ethics, (the list goes on). 

State of Maryland: The MANDATORY deadline for when an individual shall be licensed by the Commission as a home inspector was January 1, 2008. The applicant must complete an application and remit photocopies of course certificates reflecting their completion of seventy-two (72) hour of an on-site classroom-based training course approved by the Commission. Provide evidence of having obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent, provide an examination score report verifying successful completion of the National Home Inspector Examination or its equivalent and Remit a non-refundable application review fee in the amount of $50.00. If the initial application is approved, the applicant will be mailed an application and instructions that will allow them to proceed with the application process and to receive a license.  In order to receive a license the candidate is required to remit a license fee in the amount of $400.00, along with proof of having general liability insurance in the amount of at least $150,000.  Thereafter, they are issued a license for a two year term. 

So again I readdress; what is your Home Inspector preference, Certified or Licensed & Insured?

Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi David, I never really thought about the difference. I guess it depends on the states regulations. Now I have to look and see what Oregons are. The inspector I usually use is licensed as well as certified..but not sure about insured unless that comes with being licensed.

Mar 14, 2011 04:00 PM
David Stokes
Ambassador Home Inspections, LLC. - Spring Hill, FL

Hi Cindy, As of January 2011, only 16 of the 50 States in America, DO NOT require a home inspector to be licensed, (Oregon being one of the 16). However most of the 16 States that do not require licensing, do however, require that home inspectors be properly trained, educated then certified by taking and passing a state recognized exam. Prior to 2006, ASHI, NAHI, NACHI and other organizations were established and relied on. Not that they did not have good intentions or have not grown, but these organized were established by jealouse and angry home inspectors that were losing their established clients and inspection jobs to newcommers. The industry became saturated and anyone was performing an inspection, without ever being trained or educated. 

One licensed home inspector said it best when saying this; "I can pay a membership fee and become a member of the National Association of Realtors, but that does not train and qualify me to sell houses or property, as a Real Estate Agent or Broker." I'm sure, (my own opinion) is that these 16 states will soon introduce legislation of their own requiring home inspectors to be licensed and insured. So now states are involved, ensuring that the consumers/clients are being protected through the education, licensing and insurance laws.

Mar 15, 2011 05:48 AM
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

HI David, that just makes sense to have the required training. I'd be very leery of an inspector that didn't have any training. You're so right..just paying dues and belonging to an organization does not make you qualified. Thanks for saving me the time to look it up!

Mar 15, 2011 05:52 AM
David Stokes
Ambassador Home Inspections, LLC. - Spring Hill, FL

You're welcome Cindy and no problem..., I would not have raised this issue 5 years ago, but reflecting on my education experience. I was trainedby an ASHI member, and I the student, a 26 year licensed electrician, had to assist him with instructingthe electrical code portion to the class. Although I was honored to have been asked, it reminded me of several situations, involving the builders and clients. They were not pretty moments, which is why I inspect houses now. I felt bad for the clients and their lack of code or building knowledge through construction phases.

By the way, thank you for taking the time to read my blog! 

Mar 15, 2011 06:03 AM
Clark Cook
1st Choice Realty of Fayetteville, LLC - Fayetteville, NC
Marketing Homes For Sale In Fayetteville NC Area

Hello David! Like Cindy, I'd never given it much thought, because for the last 4 years I've used the same inspector with NPI. You've done an excellent job of explaining the differences in state requirements, and this is certainly good information to know. Thanks for posting!

Mar 19, 2011 01:39 AM
David Stokes
Ambassador Home Inspections, LLC. - Spring Hill, FL

You are very welcome Clark, I have a bad, (good) habit of doing extensive research before diving in the deep end. As with being a Home inspector, I chose Texas to be educated and an institute withinthe university at that. After 26 years as a licensed electrician, and retirementaround the corner, I wanted something to fall back on. So far, it's been an uphill battle and a lot different than doing work on buildings like the white house, Pentagon or tha national cathedrial, but then again I was doing work for someone else.

I pray it will all pick up soon and I'm glad that I could offer some, even if little, advice! 

Mar 21, 2011 07:35 AM