STATE of FLORIDA: REQUIREMENTS FOR HOME INSPECTORS:
Florida now has Standards of Practice on performing Home Inspections
For additional information please refer to the Standards of Practice section.
Very Important. Please read.
Recently, a former client called and asked if I could do a home inspection that had to be done in the next two days. I told her that I was booked up and could not do the inspection.
Later that day I received another call from this former client who asked if I knew anything about a Home Inspector that she was thinking of using to perform the inspection. I told her that I did not know the inspector but I would look for some information about the inspector.
This inspector claimed that he was a Home Inspector and a Termite Inspector.
The first place I looked for information about this Inspector was Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) in the Verify a License section. This is where you can verify people and their licenses. After typing in the Inspectors name it showed that the person was a Home Inspector, But his license was late in renewal for over six months.
This person can not perform any Home Inspections in Florida until his license is renewed.
One of the first things you need to do when considering the Home Inspector to perform your inspection is to go to DBPR's website and verify that the person has a current valid license.
The following link is to DBPR's website.
The following link is to DBPR's website to Verify a License section.
CHOOSING YOUR HOME INSPECTOR
In an email urging the Governor to sign the 2007 Home Inspector Legislation, members of Florida's 150,000 Realtors®, stated:
"While some transactions are "made" by the inspection, a great many are also lost, and in almost in every case, a home inspection leads to further negotiations by the parties, where it's not uncommon for thousands of dollars to change hands as a result of a home inspector's findings. . . . . . Sadly, I must report that every Realtor I know can recount numerous, and often times outrageous, stories regarding incompetent home inspectors. . . . . . Poorly performed inspections have serious financial consequences, by dooming perfectly viable transactions, or leaving defects undiscovered until after a transaction has closed and the previous owner cannot be located."
It is to your benefit to choose the most qualified inspector that you can!
PREFERRED HOME INSPECTOR CREDENTIALS
A Home Inspector should be knowledgeable about home construction, building codes and the various trades involved in home construction. A good starting point in choosing the Inspector would be the points the Legislature was considering:
- Has the Inspector completed a course of study of not less than 120 hours? (The more hours, the better!)
- Has the Inspector received a passing score on a valid examination to test their knowledge? (Valid!! This should be a test such as the National Home Inspector Examination, given at certified testing facilities throughout Florida, not over-the-Internet-for-a-fee.)
- Discloses to the consumer approximate number of home inspections performed for a fee or the number of years’ experience as a Home Inspector.
THEN OBTAIN THIS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- What other qualifications and credentials does the Inspector have?
- Are they now or have they been a contractor?
- Do they have prior experience in the building trades such as carpentry, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, or electrical?
- Do they belong to Building Code Organizations and/or are they certified in building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical areas, to ensure that work on the home was done in accordance with the current building code? (This is especially true for newer construction since Florida has been under five completely different building codes in the past fifteen years!)
- What professional associations and organizations do they belong to? The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and most respected organization in the United States. Its members agree to inspect to a recognized Standard of Practice and to adhere to a Code of Ethics. Don’t even think of using someone who is not a member of ASHI. Read more about ASHI at www.ashi.org.
- What standards do you use for inspecting? Many inspectors do not use a formally recognized Standard of Practice. The ASHI Standard of Practice is the most widely used and recognized.
- How is the report prepared? Handwritten, computerized, can it be e-mailed? When will the report be available? Are pictures taken and included?
- How long will the inspection take? (Anything less than 2 and a half or 3 hours on an average size house is not sufficient and larger or older homes will take longer!)
- Who will perform the inspection? If you call XYZ Company, they probably have employees who are trainees or apprentices. The multi-inspector company’s owner may have a long list of qualifications but the company owner probably won’t do your inspection, so what are the qualifications of the inspector that’s being dispatched to do YOUR inspection??
In the process of buying a home there are many stressful and time-constrained situations that come up. If you take time to choose your Home Inspector, with a personal interview and a review of his qualifications, you will benefit greatly from making an informed choice.