Home Inspectors have had a bad rap for quite some time, and probably for good reason. Back in the good ol' days, anyone could stick a magnet with a logo on the side of their truck, tie a ladder to the roof, and call themselves a Home Inspector! Ta da! Everyone's probably heard of someone who's been "ripped off" by their Home Inspector. Blatantly obvious issues with a property are missed; Inspection reports are a mess, convoluted, and confusing. The buyer/seller has no real knowledge of the property after the $400+ Inspection fee, and feel taken advantage of because the Inspector was only on site for a short period of time. Trust me, even I have had a personal experience with this very situation before I got into the Home Inspection business, and it continues to happen today! And it's not just the client who's left out in the cold, the Realtor takes a big brunt of the fall out as well. You know the old saying, "one rotten apple to spoil the bunch", well that certainly holds true within our profession. And in doing so, the "rotten apples" really cast a shadow over everyone else in the industry who genuinely cares about what they are doing.
So what can we do about it?
In Alberta and B.C. Home Inspectors are now required to have a Government issued licence in order to legally work as a Home Inspector. In order to even be able to apply for government issued license you need all of the following:
Proof of education training from an approved Home Inspection program
Proctored test inspections
Errors and Omissions Insurance
An approved contract
That in itself is expensive and time consuming, and is designed to deter the "rotten apples" from offering inspection services. In addition to meeting these new requirements, most Inspectors will also be a member of a reputable association. These associations have their own list of requirements which the member must obtain to keep their membership in good standing. Continuing education credits being a big one.
Sounds like the "rotten apples" are taken care of.....right?
Any Home Inspector who is true to their craft will gladly do everything that is required of them in order to provide their clients with the best Inspection service possible. But, as usual there are still the entitled few, who think the rules don't apply to them. The reality is that there are still a large number of people working without a license. They may call themselves "Home Consultants" or "Building Experts" in order to cheat the system, but in the end it's the rest of us who are being cheated. It's very important to ask your Inspector to see a copy of their license, and you have every right to do so. The truth is, there are many excellent Inspectors who go above and beyond every day to provide the best service possible for their clients, and we consider ourselves to be among them. A list of licensed inspectors can be found here on the APHIS website.