Monthly Archives: May 2008

Kansas Registration Act Signed By Govenor

On Sunday, May 18th, Govenor Sebelius signed HB 2315 to require registration for all home inspectors practicing in the state of Kansas. This bill establishes minimum requirements for professional home inspectors in our state. It also establishes a Kansas Home Inspector Registration Board.

Key elements of the new law include:

  • As of July 1, 2009, all home inspectors working in counties with populations greater than 60,000 are required to have:
    • Proof of General Liability Insurance coverage of at least $100,000.
    • Proof of Errors & Omissions Insurance (or similar fiscal responsibility) of at least $10,000.
    • Proof of membership in good standing in one of the nationally recognized home inspection organizations (TBD by the board by January 1, 2009).
    • Have passed a proctored exam by a testing organization approved by the board.
    • Obtain a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education credit each year.
    • And have done one of the following options prior to May 18th, 2009:
      • Completed an 80 hour classroom course on home inspections
      • For inspectors operating in counties with populations of 60,000, have been in business for two years and completed 100 fee-paid inspections.
      • For inspectors operating in counties with populations of less than 60,000, have been in business for two years and completed 35 fee-paid inspections.
    • Inspectors working in counties of 60,000 or less have an additional 18 months to meet these qualifications (till January 1, 2011).
  • Home inspectors may not limit their liability to less than $10,000. By the same token, home inspectors are not liable for damages in excess of $10,000 (unless otherwise agreed by the inspector and the person hiring the inspector – and, most likely, additional fees paid).
  • Home inspectors liability extends 12 months. Any actions to recover damages from an inspector must be brought no later than 12 months from the date of inspection.

It bears repeating – this bill establishes the MINIMUM requirements for home inspectors. Does it protect the consumer? Time will tell.

There will still be a difference among inspectors – some better than others.  As we’ve said in previous blogs, its important to interview your inspector. Take time to understand what he/she will do for you.  Regardless of the new law, you’ll still get what you pay for, so make sure you understand what you want before you make the call to hire a home inspector. It’ll save you a lot of aggravation in the long run.

 

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Tune Ups Are Not Just For Cars

With the rising cost of gasoline we hear a lot about tuning up your car, but have you considered tuning up your home?

Yes, homes need tune ups also. We often neglect the things that work but most often those are the things that need scheduled maintenance the most. We can save a lot of money in energy costs by taking care of the house, and avoid repair costs due to neglect.

The most obvious but the most overlooked is your furnace filter. We call it a furnace filter but actually it filters your homes air whether it be for the furnace winter time use or the summer A/C. The filter should be changed per the filter manufacturers specifications. If you buy the cheap 50 cent filters, they need changed every month. These are only good for filtering basketballs and large toys. The better filters starting in cost from $4 and up are your best choice and need changing less often – every couple of months.

If you have never had your HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) system cleaned and tuned now is the time. With summer heat, the A/C needs to function as cool as possible. For the best cleaning, call a professional for a complete cleaning. The professional can clean areas of the A-coil Evaporator that you do not see but can build up with a nasty mess, restricting air flow and dramatically decreasing efficiency. A HVAC professional will also clean the condenser unit (the outside unit) and will check refrigerant levels. While they are there, go ahead and have them tune the furnace as well.

If you do not have a programmable thermostat this can be great way to save money and the payback is within a few months.

What does all of this cost? Most HVAC tune ups run around $100 plus refrigerant or replacement parts. This is cheap considering the cost to efficiently run your system. If this is outside your budget right now, at least change your filter and hose down the condenser unit. If you have a lot of vegetation growing around the condenser, trim it back at least a couple feet so the unit can breath.

All of these things will save you money and keep your home cool and warm.

Evict Non-Paying Renters!

While not necessarily required, weather caps and spark arrestors are recommended for chimney terminations. Weather caps help to keep water out of the chimney. Spark arrestors help to keep burning embers from setting fire to your house and the neighbors houses.

Weather caps also help to keep out non-paying renters, such as birds, squirrels and raccoons. I took this picture this week at a house in Raytown, and thought I’d share it. This is a view looking down a chimney from the roof. Thats a raccoon staring back, with an entire family down there as well.

You Get What You Paid For

We have all heard the phrase “You get what you pay for.” We’re firm believers in continuing education and – yes – this all costs time and money.

Sadly, there are many inspectors offering big discounts at the buyer’s expense. What do I mean by that? When an inspector offers a discount, it’s usually for a reason. Many times it’s because of their lack of experience or lack of education. Because they don’t invest in themselves, thereby making them better at their profession, they choose to skimp on that aspect of their business and pass that “savings” on to you.

For example, lets talk about radon measurements. In KC there are about 250 inspectors, full time and part time. Almost all of these inspectors offer radon measurements. But how many have taken the time to take the Kansas radon measurement courses offered by Kansas State University in conjuction with the Kansas Dept.of Health. The last time I checked only about 10% have taken this course and are certified to offer Radon Measurements. 

It takes a lot of time and money to go to this level. Wouldn’t it be comforting to know that the person testing your home for a class “A” carcinogen actually knows what he/she is doing and why? Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and you may have selected the person to measure your home based on price and not expertise and training. The Kansas Radon Proficiency Program will only list providers that are trained and tested, but doesn’t list their price. (Yes, we’re listed there). When we finished our initial inspector-training courses we did not stop there. We continue to take additional courses several times a year to provide the best service to you that we can provide.

So the next time you think you are saving a little money by hiring or referring the cheapest inspector, think again. We can save the client money because we understand the whole home system better through our continuing education. Some of the continued education courses we have taken include National Fire Safety, National Environmental Health Association Radon Proficiency, Roofing, Exterior Cladding Systems, Electrical Systems, this is just a few. Not only can we inspect these systems with more knowledge, we can also explain what we report. So the next time you think you saved fifty bucks on an inspection, think again. The true cost may end up being much more than that.

The best compliment I have received is a “thank you” from a real estate agent saying I made them look good for the referral.