Saturday, October 29, 2005

Referral Sources for Home Inspectors

Looking for a home inspector? Possibly your real estate broker will recommend one or two home inspectors, or provide you with a short list. Possibly your attorney will recommend an inspector. Are these the best ways to find and choose the inspector? The answer to this question should come from a realization that your real state broker (and possibly attorney) both benefit financially from the sale/purchase of the home, and may find it difficult to be objective with respect to recommending a home inspector. A good home inspector may find defects of signifcance that could become a roadblock to the quick and easy completion of the sale of the home. Real estate brokers know this, and may not recommend the best home inspector. More than likely, the home inspector recommended by the realtor will be one who will not protect your interest properly. Many home inspectors depend on referrals from real estate brokers for their business, and may be reluctant to clearly and openly call out a significant defect in a home for fear of loss of this referral business. For these reasons, you should do your own independent search for a home inspector. You can find qualified home inspectors at the American Society of Home Inspectors's web site, Some states, such as New Jersey, require a home inspector to be licensed, and you should look for a state licensed inspector where appropriate. You can also check the list at the site for Independent Home Inspectors of North America,, where all listed home inspectors have pledged not to solicit real estate brokers for business. Lastly, although some would say that you do not need an engineer to do your home inspection, why not get the best inspection you can by looking for an inspector that is not only a licensed home inspector, member of the ASHI, the premier organization of home inspectors, and is also an engineer. In New Jersey there are several such well qualified home inspectors, among them being Ronald R. Meyers, P.E. at Meyers Engineering Services,

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The NEW NJ Home Inspector License Requirements

About six years ago the powers that be in NJ decided that all home inspectors in NJ should be done by a licensed professional, and that the minimum requirements for NJ home inspector licensing would roughly be the same as the requirements to join the American Society of Home Inspectors, which is a national association of home inspectors that established ethical and professional regulations for the profession. That was a great idea. It meant that the public could be assured that a professional home inspection would be done by someone with sufficient experience and credentials to do the job right. After five years or so of the usual NJ political ball game, the license requirements were put into effect, but they would not be enforced until December 30, 2005. December is around the corner, there are now about 500 licensed home inspectors in NJ now, and all seems well....but beware! What the public does not know is that in June of 2005 the original requirements for licensure were drastically diluted, so here is what the truth is about licensed home inspectors that will come into the field after the 2005 year end:
  1. New licensed home inspectors will not have adequate training. Instead of needing to have done 300 home inspections under the supervision of a licensed home inspector, they will only have to do about 15 inspections, which will take place as part of classroom training.
  2. New licensed home inspectors will need only about 140 hours of classroom training instead of 300 hours of training. Also, they may not have to take the nationally accepted exam for home inspectors, but instead may take "an approved exam" given by the school.
  3. New inspectors will not have to serve as "apprentices" working under the license of an experienced licensed NJ home inspector at all. Instead, anyone with a high school diploma, and about 4 weeks of home inspection schooling, can call themself a NJ licensed home inspector. If your M.D. told you that he never served as an intern, but instead just graduated from a doctors school, would you run from his office???? I would. I would not trust my home inspection to someone with essentially no field experience even if he was licensed by the state of NJ.

So be careful NJ home buying public. If you want to have your home inspected by a qualified and experienced professional, you should ask when the home inspector got his license. If in 2005 or before, he or she was required to have substantial training and experience. If after 2005, maybe not! Also, make sure your inspector is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors ( ASHI). You can find an ASHI inspector at

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Should a Home Inspection be done by an Engineer?

If you are going to have your home inspected in NJ there are a few home inspector credentials that you should look for. Firstly, by NJ Law, the NJ home inspector must be licensed by the State of NJ. Secondly, your home inspector should be a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors, which actually has much higher requirements than the NJ Home Inspector License. You should also consider whether your home inspection should be done by an engineer. Most home inspectors are not engineers, and although a home inspector is supposed to inspect the structure such as the foundation walls and support framing of the home, you will naturally get a more complete and professional evaluation if the inspection is done by a person with an engineering background. If a home inspector that is not an engineer suspects structural defects, the standards of practice of the industry require that you get further evaluation by an engineer. If your home inspector is an engineer, the suspect structural defect may be evaluated within the home inspection report without the need for an additional costly inspection.