There are no requirements for California Home Inspectors
Your offer has been accepted. Next Step…Find a Home Inspector
You just got your offer accepted and now you’ve been informed that the next crucial step is getting the home inspection. Don’t let anyone downplay the importance of the physical inspection because this is the most critical process in the entire transaction. It’s not like you buy a house every day so most buyers won’t know where to start. Should they ask friends or family for referrals? Should they trust the real estate agent’s recommendations or list? Should they take their search to the internet? In any case, you need to vet the inspector. What makes the inspector qualified to validate your purchase? The most significant purchase of your life… Purchasing a home or investment property is significant. Should you know each and every detail that may affect your decision? Maybe there are safety issues that could put you and your loved ones in harms way or maybe there are costly repairs that will need to be made. You need an inspector that has had verified building experience.
California has NO Requirements for Home Inspectors
In the state of California, there NO minimum requirements for home inspectors. There is no training, license or state test mandated for anyone to become a home inspector. Inspectors don’t need to be certified and are not required to take any courses either. That is hard to believe isn’t it? Such an important decision hinges on the advice of an individual who may have never even have observed or participated in any type of building or construction process. Is that possible? Absolutely! Now you are probably wondering what type of inspector should you be looking for. How can you steer clear of an inspector that doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to make a difference in your purchase?
Beware of “Certified Only” Home Inspectors
Full disclosure: Our intentions are not to bash certified only inspectors here. The certified only inspector we speak of are the guys who watched 2 episodes of DIY fix your house, and dive head first into the home inspection business here in California. Undercutting and under-delivering legitimate inspection services to unsuspecting buyers.
“Certified” is a trick word that most inspectors use to validate their experience as a home inspector. Many home inspectors do not have actual building experience but need to look legitimate. Who certifies these inspectors? Well one way an inspector can be certified is from a vocational type home inspection school that will offer an on-line course or a one or two week classroom course on the home inspection process. They may even go on site for one or two official inspections prior to being “certified” and going out to do inspections on their own. Another way to be certified is through an association. There are several associations on-line that will give an exam, require continuing classes and charge a yearly fee for membership. These certifications do not take the place of an experienced and knowledgeable contractor or inspector but most buyers will not find out until it is too late. Also beware of those that are advertising “Certified Master Inspector”. These inspectors are required to have a certain amount of inspections (which no one verifies) and pay approximately $2500 to belong to this exclusive group.
Are you ready to hire a “certified” inspector? You have to remember that many home inspectors get into this field because they are retired, need a second job (many firemen do this), part time or think that it is easy money. It takes little time and start up costs, especially if they don’t use advanced tools or provide a complete professional full time service. Do you want them to make their extra spending money at your expense? I would think not!
Verified Experience from the State of California
One way you can have verified proof of construction experience is by way of a California Contractor license, engineering license or certified building inspector. In order to receive a contractors license, experience must be verified by references and a test is given as well. You can check on line to make sure that someone claiming to be a licensed contractor does, in fact, hold a number with the California State Contractors Board and that the license is in good standing with no complaints and the year it was acquired. An engineering license of course, requires years of education as well as testing. And of course, having a contractors or engineering license is just a starting point. There are other factors that should be considered when choosing the right inspector…