Hiring a Home Inspector?

Hiring a Home Inspector? In previous years when evaluating a home it was common practice to have a relative or friend walk through the home and identify concerns, or possibly a contractor for a specific need. However today when selling or buying your home it is common practice to have the home evaluated through a professional “Home Inspection”. The “Home Inspection” is performed by a “Home Inspector”; the inspection consists of a visual inspection of the home and the homes major components. Today it is common for the current owner of a property as well as a potential buyer of a property to have a Home Inspection performed. When you hire a Home Inspector you are hiring a generalist that looks at all aspects of homes everyday, this alone provides a wide range of experience.

Hiring a Home Inspector?

When you are ready to hire your home inspector you will find that not all home inspectors and inspections are the same. One of the best resources is positive referrals from family, friends, co-workers and Real Estate agents. As with any major decision, you will want to first research the home inspection company. Confirm the inspector and company are both in good standings with the State in which they operate (licensed if required) and the local Better Business Bureau. It is also recommended that you verify the inspector is a member in good standings with the professional associations which they are members of. Below are additional considerations:

Licensing
Kentucky and Indiana have licensing requirements for Home Inspectors; Ohio does not have a license or certification at this time. In Kentucky it is a class B misdemeanor to advertise or perform a home inspection without a Kentucky Home Inspectors License. Kentucky licenses the individual inspector, not a company or business entity. In Kentucky a common misunderstanding is that a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) does not need a license to perform a “Home Inspection”, the PE does not require a license to perform engineering functions but to perform a home inspection a Home Inspection License is required. Both Kentucky and Indiana licensing laws require general liability insurance and continuing education. Ohio has no insurance or education requirements. Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O) is not a requirement in the three states.
Professional Associations
Many Home Inspectors belong to professional associations; membership in state and or national professional associations is a positive. The following is a snapshot of the most recognized associations, over and beyond the items identified these associations have educational and internal membership requirements and various levels of membership:

  • Kentucky Real Estate Inspectors Association (KREIA) is a state association; Inspectors are required to have a valid “Kentucky Home Inspectors License”.
  • American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), Certified Inspector requires 250 documented inspections and to have passed a proctored exam.
  • National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), Certified Real Estate Inspector (CRI) requires 250 documented inspections and pass a proctored exam.
  • National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), pas a non proctored exam.
Inspection Agreement
Prior to hiring a Professional Home Inspector, it is advised that you read and understand their “Inspection Agreement”. The agreement identifies the Standard of Practice (SOP) they operate under and limitations of liability, what is included in the inspection and other pertinent information. This agreement may also be used as a formal release for the inspection report to be released to any other parties that you may wish to have copied on the report. Kentucky requires a signed Inspection Agreement. If the Home Inspector has E&O Insurance, for the insurance to be in effect a signed Inspection Agreement is needed.
Standards of Pactice
During the inspection the Home Inspector will perform the inspection per their chosen Standards of Practice (SOP) and Code of Ethics. The inspector may or may not walk on roofs as an example, per most of the SOP’s the inspector is not required to walk the roof, but is required to report on the roof by another means. Will the home inspector enter attics and crawl spaces, does the inspector remove electrical panel covers etc. It is in your best interest to understand how the Home Inspector operates.
Inspection Reports
All home inspections and reports are not the same; the average home inspection performed by one home inspector will commonly take approximately two to three hours. Reports are commonly in one of two formats, paper hand written or computerized electronic documentation. Reports may be delivered upon the completion of the inspection on site, delivered the same day, or may take up to two days for delivery. Checklist and hand written reports are usually less detailed than narrative reports, many of the computerized reports are a combination of the two formats and often include photographs.

Before hiring a Home Inspector, be to review this questionnaire with them.