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How to Find the Right Home Inspector


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The Florida home inspection industries' landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years.

Gone are the days when anyone could pick up a flashlight and clipboard and call themselves a home inspector. (Or are they?) There are over sixty home inspection companies servicing the West Palm Beach area alone and all of them are looking for your business. As of July 1, 2010 The Florida Department of Business and Regulation required home inspectors in Florida to be licensed and insured. Previous to the deadline there were more would be home inspectors trying to get certified through various types of home inspection training schools than there were actual home inspectors working. Florida has twice as many home inspectors than any other state. This was due in part to the rise and fall of the housing market. After the bubble burst it left a lot of people in the housing industry looking for ways to earn a living and since there were no regulations in place at the time Construction Workers, General Contractors, Real Estate Agents, Mortgage Brokers and a lot of other people saw the home inspection industry as a way to make ends meet. This and the the resulting lawsuits are what lead to the home inspection industry being regulated by the state. Public safety issues were another reason for our new found regulations. There's not a home inspector in the business that would complain about these regulations. They were meant to weed out those home inspectors that are less experienced and frankly, those who have no business calling themselves a home inspector. Unfortunately as most laws usually do, it has had the opposite effect. For 6 to 8 months prior to the laws going into affect there were home inspection training companies heavily marketing to the masses and there taglines were all the same " Become a Home Inspector, No Experience Necessary." The law provided a loophole (as most of them do) for people to be grandfathered in and the only criteria was you had to be certified by one of these nationally accredited home inspection training schools. This is all the fertilization home inspector training schools needed to start popping up like politicians at a Palm Beach political fundraiser. A lot of these inspectors couldn't tell you the difference between a dormer and a driveway. Even the more experienced contractors such as a plumbing contractor or an electrical contractor for example, may not be experienced enough to give you a thorough home inspection. Sure he may do an excellent job inspecting your water heater or your electrical system but how much do you think he's going to be able to tell you about the condition of your HVAC system?  When ever I get a call requesting a home inspection the first question asked by the client is usually "How much for a home inspection?" Rarely do they ever ask what is your background, are you licensed and insured or what type of reports will I receive. With all of the FREE online advertising outlets out there such as Craigslist, Yellow Pages, and Google Places it's easy to find someone willing to inspect your home for a lot cheaper than a qualified home inspector. A cheap inspection should be your first clue that something is not right. These unestablished, unlicensed and uninsured home inspectors can afford to inspect your home for cheaper because they don't have the overhead expenses that a professional home inspector has. It's only a matter of time before these types of home inspectors will be out of business. One good lawsuit and they will be finished. It's like playing Russian Roulette when hiring them and hopefully you wont be the one facing them in court. Always remember that a thorough home inspection is seldom cheap and a cheap home inspection is rarely good. You should always do your best to find out what a home inspectors background is. What gives him the qualifications and the right to advise you on one of the biggest financial investments that your ever likely to make. Choosing the right home inspector is just as important as choosing the right home. At Beacon Home Inspection Services it is our job to make sure your getting the home of your dreams and not someone else's nightmares.

Below is a link to a blog about an incompetent home inspector costing the seller the sale of his home and the buyers (his clients) a chance to purchase a home that they had there hearts set on. (From the sellers point of view.)



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Some of the questions that you may want to ask your prospective home inspector are...
  • Are you a licensed and insured Home Inspector? Probably the most important question you can ask a home inspector. If they are not a licensed and insured home inspector run fast and run far. This is a good indication that you will not be dealing with an experienced, professional home inspector. (You can find them really cheap on places like Craigslist.)
  • How long have you been inspecting homes and what type of background do you have? An experienced home inspector should have spent most of his career in the construction or building maintenance industries and the more formal education he has had the better. The more diverse your inspectors knowledge on different aspects of a home and the components within, the more reliable your home inspection will be. (If you hire someone with a lot of experience in landscaping chances are he's going to give you the best, most detailed home inspection report possible about the condition of your landscaping but he's not going to provide a very good inspection on the rest of your property and the major components within. (Don't laugh...there are former landscapers out there as we speak that are licensed home inspectors.)
  • What type of home inspection services do you provide? There are three inspections that a home owner should insist on getting before closing on a home. The first obviously is the home inspection itself. A good home inspector will also include a visual inspection for mold and Chinese Drywall (Chinese Drywall only applies to homes built between (2000 to 2008) during the home inspection process. These two issues if undetected could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars after you purchase the home. If one of these issues are detected during the home inspection there are optional testing procedures that should be followed to document the condition of the home at the time of the inspection which gives the buyer the power to negotiate on price or walk away from the deal completely. The second is a formal mold inspection and air quality testing. With so many homes and foreclosures on the market in West Palm Beach some of these home have been sitting vacant for awhile while no electricity. Coupled with the high humidity in South Florida conditions conducive for mold growth are probably some of the highest in the nation. When viewing a home you may not see signs of mold because the seller may have cleaned or replaced items of these tell tale signs but that doesn't mean that these remediation processes where done properly which while on the surface everything may look OK but the home could still be full of unseen dormant mold spores. The third inspection a home owner should consider when buying a property in South Florida is a termite inspection. Termites, especially subterranean termites are very common in Florida the high humidity, improper drainage of your property and old stumps in the yard that were not removed are all magnets for termites and other Wood Destroying Organisms (WDOs) and left undetected can  ravage a structure doing massive amounts of damage in as little as a couple of years. 
  • What type of home inspection report do you provide? (A check list or narrative type report?) Check list type home inspection reports are done quickly and are very vague with little information. Narrative type reports are going to be more detailed and informative. A good home inspector will always include details in the report on things you can and should do to update your home to make it more safe, comfortable, and efficient. These types of things are not provided in a checklist type home inspection.
  • Are you affiliated with any of the nationally recognized home inspection associations? (InterNACHI and ASHI are the most popular) This is important because these associations have continuing education guidelines that must be followed to ensure home inspectors are keeping up with the ever changing conditions of homes.
  • How long will my home inspection take and how soon after will I have my report? A thorough home inspection should take between 2 to 3 1/2 hours depending on the size and age of the home. There are a lot of home inspection companies that will send in a team of home inspectors and print or email you your report as soon as they're finished. This is more for their benefit than yours. A properly prepared home inspection report should take just as long as the home inspection itself. A good time limit on when to expect your report is within 24 hours after the completion of the inspection depending on the size and age of the home.
  • Another good practice is to Google your home inspectors company such as; Beacon Home Inspection Services West Palm Beach. This will only take a few minutes and it can provide a wealth of information such as referrals, reviews, background checks and much more. A serious home inspector or home inspection company will invest hours upon hours developing a strong online presence to get his name out there. (That is what I am doing right now)
Don't be afraid to ask for references, a sample of the report that you will receive, and proof of licensure and insurance.
William Scott
Beacon Home Inspection Services LLC
West Palm Beach, FL.

William Scott is a top home inspector in the West Palm Beach, Florida Home Inspectors guide on Inspectopia.com.

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