Have you checked your home inspector’s license lately?

Home Inspector with Trace Inspections, LLC TN #17

Have you checked your home inspector’s license lately? Now why would you want to check the license of an inspector that you have used for years?

Well, with the downturn in home sales many inspectors are no longer active and have changed professions or just stopped doing home inspections. Yesterday, I counted 207 home inspector licenses that have not been renewed in Tennessee. Most of them were from the first round of folks that entered the profession back in 2006, when the state started licensing. I’m betting that we will see another 100+ dropping out over the next 6 months.  On a whim, I also checked on Mississippi inspectors and found about 90 that had not renewed for the year.

I was surprised to see a few of the names that had not renewed their home inspection license, I saw one of them the other day in their truck with ladders and their company signs on it! Hey, maybe they are installing cable TV with their home inspection signs still on the truck..... 

If you are in need of an inspector be sure that you verify that they are still licensed in the State of TN, or whatever state you are in. It is for your wellbeing and it will not impede the sale of the home. Besides it being against the law, an unlicensed home inspector can actually delay the close of a home, as it is not considered to be a valid home inspection.  Most states make it very easy to check on the status of a license.  Just do a Google search for --- your state----- Home Inspector License board and should find it.

Comments (9)

Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection - Framingham, MA

Hi Scott.  A very good observation.  Additionally this is important to Sellers.  Why should a seller accept the results of an unlicensed home inspector (or home inspector with a lapsed license) ?   A seller may have a legitimate reason to hold the buyer to the initial offer.

Feb 23, 2009 02:02 PM
Scott Patterson, ACI
Trace Inspections, LLC - Spring Hill, TN
Home Inspector, Middle TN

Absolutely!  If a home inspection is done by an unlicensed home inspector (does not matter if their license has lapsed by only one day!) then the report for that inspection is about as good as a blank sheet of notebook paper.

What many Realtors and agents don't realize is that if an unlicensed inspector is used that the agent is in violation of their own license law in several of the states that have home inspection licensing.

Feb 24, 2009 12:47 AM
Rick Bunzel
Pacific Crest Inspections - Anacortes, WA

I agree Scott. We have already been seeing some Washington Home Inspectors who didn't renew their WDO licensing or there association memberships but still promoting themselves as if they were.

In Washington State Home Inspectors will have to be licensed or start the licensing process in July. Its going to cost us about $1,000 to go through this process. I expect this will weed out another 20% or more. I am not a big fan of protectionism but in this case with the current market I don't mind one bit.




Rick Bunzel, CRI
Pacific Crest Inspections

NAHI Member of the Year 2008

NPSAR Affiliate of the Year 2006-2007
Fax 360-588-6965

Toll Free 866-618-7764

Feb 24, 2009 01:47 PM
Jack Feldmann
Clayton Inspection Service, Inc. - Knoxville, TN

What I think is really funny is when I see license numbers in TN over 700. What prompted them to decide to get into this business now?

Feb 26, 2009 06:31 AM
Scott Patterson, ACI
Trace Inspections, LLC - Spring Hill, TN
Home Inspector, Middle TN

Hey Jack,

When I counted the expired licenses on the State site, I could not belive all of the licenses that were issued since November 2008!  I think the license numbers are up around 860+ now.

With my #17 I feel like an old codger!

Feb 26, 2009 06:42 AM
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

We only had 37% renew in Illinois Scott.

So many times I am getting calls from price shoppers that say my price is double what the last guy quoted and either there are many desperate Inspectors out there or they are doing it on the side with no License.

i always tell the caller to check and make sure they are real inspectors by looking up their license numbers.

Good thing in this whole mess is Draw Inspections seem to be up.

Mar 06, 2009 05:54 PM
Andrew Haslett
Van Warren Home Inspections, NAHI CRI - Fort Knox, KY
Heartland of Kentuckynulls, Best Home Inspector

I hear that a fair number of licensed home inspectors in Kentucky have dropped out, too.

When licensing became effective in 2004 / 2006, the numbers of home inspectors dropped from some 600 - 700 down to about 200, or so I've heard. Then, the number of home inspectors climbed a bit in 2007.

What I'm seeing from time to time are people who advertise as home inspectors, but are not licensed. And, the realtors have stopped checking on license status, so these folks are getting work!

It is confusing to the realtors, because some legitimate licensed inspectors are not following the rules about how to identify themselves as licensed, such as having their license number on business cards, vehicle signs, etc.

What is an appropriate way to bring these issues to the attention of the licensing authorities?

Mar 12, 2009 06:33 AM
Scott Patterson, ACI
Trace Inspections, LLC - Spring Hill, TN
Home Inspector, Middle TN

Hi Andrew,

Bottom line is that it is the licensed real estate agents responsibility to make sure that the inspector that they or their client is using is licensed with the state.  It is part of their fiduciary duty with their client and if a unlicensed inspector is used they will be in violation of their own license law.

As for making the licensing authority aware of a person who is advertising and performing home inspections without a license?  Pick-up the phone or email works best!  They will need proof in the way of a website, brochure or a report that this person is doing home inspections or is attempting to do home inspections without a license.  Nobody else is going to police the unlicensed if it is not done by other home inspectors or the real estate agents.

It hurts everyone when an unlicensed person is used.

Mar 12, 2009 06:45 AM
Kevin Welch
American Bulldog Home Inspection Inc. - Rutland, MA

In nearly 6 years, I have only had one person ask to see my license. Most just assume that it is current and never question it. Not only are there several inspectors who are still working on a lapsed license, there are some I have heard of who never received a license. Buyer beware.


Apr 19, 2009 01:21 PM