There are a lot of home inspection companies and Home Inspectors in SW Florida, how do you choose the right one? How do you know you are getting someone properly licensed & trained and able to look out for your best interests when buying a home? All very good questions. THE biggest, and most important thing you need to know as a client is this; before July of 2010 there was absolutely NO licensing exam to take (like now) or requirements, to be a Home inspector in Florida!! All it took was $50 and a trip to the tax collectors office to pay the business tax of $50 and anyone could be a Home inspector regardless of experience or knowledge. Scarey right? The point is, don't just fall for Home inspectors or Inspection companies that brag "we have been inspecting homes in SW Florida for 10-20 years" how long they have been in business or how long they have been inspecting homes is not necessarily always a good way to gauge their ability to inspect homes properly. Do you want an inspector that has been inspecting homes the wrong way for 20 years? Or do you want an Inspector that has been doing inspections the right way and has taken and passed the Florida State Home inspectors National exam (not just "grandfathered" in), is properly licensed, bonded & insured in the State of Florida per the new laws governing Home Inspectors? Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a Home inspector with experience, the question is how do you know they have been actually doing it the right way all that time? There are several reputable Home inspectors in SW Florida that did the right thing, and took the State exam, and have been properly re-trained, and re-licensed per the new Florida laws regarding Home Inspectors, but there are also many that paid a fee and were "grandfathered" in without any training, education, or taking the new State exam (those are the ones to look out for). The best thing as a customer is to ask the Home inspector. Ask the prospective Home Inspector how long they have been performing home inspections, and if they have been in business before July of 2010, ask them if they have taken the new State exam (and ask for proof, like a copy of the exam certificate) or if they were "grandfathered" in without taking the State exam. If they won't answer you, dodge the question or come up with excuses, look for another inspector. Like I stated earlier do you want an inspector who has been inspecting homes the wrong way for 15-20 years? Or the right way for 3-4 years? Also ask them where they trained, and what school they attended (and research the school, or call them to get more information). If they never went to a school, and claimed they learned by being a contractor or other profession (without a formal education) walk away. Experience as a contractor is not a bad thing (I was a home improvement contractor for over 25 years myself) but being a contractor DOES NOT automatically qualify you as, or make you a Home Inspector. All our Home inspectors were trained at AHIT (The American Home Inspectors Training Institute), the best Home Inspectors training school in North America. Philip Gaither our lead inspector is a graduate of the AHIT Home Inspection Master course, an inter-NACHI certified Home inspector, an Owens Corning certified roof data technician/inspector (inspects roofs for hail & storm damage, other types of damage & warranty claims), and a certified 3C Roof hail & Storm damage inspector.
Second, ask your Home inspector if they are a full time Home Inspector, or a contractor that does inspections part time for a little extra cash on the side when their regular work is slow. There is nothing wrong with a contractor (or a Home inspector that was a contractor) that no longer does contracting work and now does home inspections full time. But for a truly professional, quality Home Inspection you want a full time Home inspector (not a contractor that does inspections on the side or part time) that specializes in inspections and nothing else. Also hiring a contractor to do a Home Inspection is a conflict of interest as they could potentially have other interests (doing the repairs on your home) in mind as well. By Florida law it is illegal for a contractor who does a Home Inspection to do any work or repairs on said home for one year after the inspection.
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