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  1. #1
    Patricia Kaiser's Avatar
    Patricia Kaiser Guest

    Lightbulb Greetings from Northern Virginia

    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia

    I do not believe that Va. has licensing although they seem to have a voluntary standard home inspectors can follow?

    Licensing usually indicates the inspector took some min. # of hours of training, passed a test, and agrees to follow the state rules. Usually also means they have to have some min # of hours of continuing education. It provides a licensing board to punish inspectors. Often it requires inspectors to carry insurance.

    There are several home inspector associations that offer their stamp of approval. Each association has different standards. Consider an association certification as a basic level stamp of knowledge. None of them indicate an expert level of knowledge. There is a Northern Va. inspector association. Several members regularly post on several different home inspector forums and seem to have good technical knowledge.

    Most full time inspectors can in theory perform 250-500 inspections a year in a decent economy. 2 inspections a day at 250 weekdays a year. If their website indicates they have performed "thousands" the math usually does not work when dividing the number of inspections by years inspecting. If they are lying about # of inspections, what else are they untruthful about?

    If their website lists 20 years experience, try to find out how much of those 20 years were spent INSPECTING not just time in the construction industry. Builders in theory know how to assemble homes following building code. It does not necessarily mean they have any skill at identifying defects years after the house was built. Handymen and Repair contractors spend their time taking apart incorrectly assembled homes and can be more likely to recognize the signs indicating hidden damage. While handymen and repair contractors may not be licensed general contractors, their work experience is generally a better training ground for finding defects. The drawback to handymen is they often lack the code knowledge of how to repair it correctly.

    Home inspections consist of two major areas, inspecting and report writing. It may be difficult for you to determine if they are missing defects during the inspection unless you can see obvious defects that they are not talking to you about. And by then you have already hired them.

    The report must be readable and understandable by you, the client. Ask to see a sample report. If the sample is gibberish, then yours will also likely be useless for your purpose. Lots of photos make it easier for the layperson to understand what all the technical defect descriptions are trying to say. Checklist style reports generally do not provide enough information.

    Ask co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family for references. Ask your Realtor for the inspector known as the "Deal Killer" or the inspector she uses when she buys. These inspectors will not likely be on the referral list she initially provides. As a buyer you want the inspector who finds and reports all the defects. You can always ignore the defects if you deem them frivolous but the inspector who under reports the number of defects leaves you uninformed.

    E&O (errors and omissions) insurance helps to pay for the inspectors legal costs if a client takes an inspector to court. General Liability insurance pays for damages when an inspector accidental knocks over a lamp or his ladder falls on car. Neither help you as a client other than an indicator the inspector is successful enough to pay the premiums. E&O often costs several thousand a year while GL usually runs several hundred a year. Some states require one or both as part of licensing.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    893

    Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia

    All home inspectors should be willing/able to provide you with their online transcript, showing their inspection-related educational background.

    Here is a sample of what one looks like sample home inspector transcript

    Ask for it from any home inspector you might be considering.

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia

    Quote Originally Posted by Patricia Kaiser View Post
    I am a homeowner interested in purchasing property, and learning how to select a qualified home inspector.
    I recommend contacting Mark Londner at lbihome.com in Purcellville. He's about as conscientious as you'll find and will be happy to assist/direct you.

    Last edited by Eric Barker; 09-23-2011 at 09:21 AM.
    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia

    Quote Originally Posted by Patricia Kaiser View Post
    I am a homeowner interested in purchasing property, and learning how to select a qualified home inspector.
    Patricia, there are a number of very good home inspectors in NOVA and a number who aren't worth the paper their business card is printed on. Virginia does have a VOLUNTARY certification program that is close to licensing except the program was not setup by the Real Estate industry. Due to hours spent sitting in I-95/495 traffic, I no longer go up there unless the prospective client is a referral from past client.

    I have to agree with Bruce's statements concerning inspector qualifications and claims to greatness.

    Try the NOVA ASHI website NOVA ASHI - Virginia Chapter | We Inspect to a Higher Standard or give me a call and I will give you some people to talk to. Don't be in a rush and for gosh sakes don't go into the search with a lowest price mentality.

    As an officer of the Virginia Associate of Real Estate Inspectors, Welcome to the Virginia Association of Real Estate Inspectors, I can tell you most of our members are both ASHI Certified Inspectors and Virginia certified.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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