Category Archives: Home Inspections

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.

 

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.

Passing a Home Inspection

I don’t normally watch the show “King of the Hill”, but I thought I’d share this episode with you.

Home inspectors often get asked during an inspection “will [a certain problem] make this home fail the inspection?” The answer is NO. Home inspections are not a pass/fail situation. A thorough home inspection is for your benefit. During the course of the inspection, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the house. It’s your chance to follow a knowledgeable professional around the house and ask questions about how the house is constructed, how the components operate, and to find out what kind of defects may or may not exist.

This episode shows a home inspector “failing” a house, which can’t be done by an independent home inspector. But it’s still funny. Click HERE to watch.

Leaks, Leaks, and More Leaks!

The Exterior Design Institute (EDI), based in Norfolk, Virginia, is “a non-profit organization founded for the purpose of training and certifying Building Envelop and EIFS Inspectors and Moisture Analysts to promote quality control within the EIFS industry.”

Recently, the authors of this website were certified by EDI to perform building envelope inspections.

The “building envelope”, in simple terms, is the outside of our homes. Water infiltration is the #1 cause of damage to any residence. Moisture enters the home in many different ways. It also originates inside the home, and tries to get out in many different places. Locating and resolving those sources of moisture intrusion quickly can drastically reduce the causes of costly damage to any residence.

When hiring an inspector, consider their qualifications. Have you ever heard the adage “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail?” If your inspector doesn’t have the proper training to diagnose problems in a house you’re buying or selling, will the inspector be any help to you?

We’re here to help.

“No Inspection Contingencies”

Prior to a recent inspection on a house in the Kansas City area, I had the opportunity to read the MLS remarks on the house. The remark included these words: “No inspection contingencies no disclosures or warranties”.

I suspect the owners intentions were that the house was being sold “as-is”. But if you’re in the market to buy a house, and you read those words describing a house you’re looking at, a little voice inside your head should be screaming, at the top of its lungs, GET AN INSPECTION!!

In the case of the house I was inspecting, part of the roof needed replacement this year, and the entire roof within 5 years. The basement leaked. The furnace was subject to a recall about 20 years ago but was never serviced.

These kinds of problems can be costly to an unsuspecting buyer. Obviously, we believe that anyone buying a home should get an inspection. But when a seller looks you in the eye (figuratively, of course), and says you cannot have an inspection contingency in your contract, then you should suspect the seller has something to hide. When you read the words “No Inspection Contingency”, you should translate that to mean “Home Inspection REQUIRED”. 

Home Inspections Required in Kansas and Missouri

As we mentioned before, we’ve been following the status of licensing or registration requirements for home inspectors in the legislatures of Kansas and Missouri recently. In an unexpected turn of events, Kansas House Bill 2315 and Missouri House Bill 2057 were simultaneously amended this morning and both passed by slim margins.

As a result, Home Inspections will be required in both Kansas and Missouri on ALL home sales beginning on January 1st.

Follow the details of the new requirements on home sales here.

Leap Year Quiz – What Do You See In This Picture?

lh-003.jpgHere’s a leap year quiz for Kansas City Home Inspections. What do you see in this picture?

Just to help you understand what you’re looking at: This is a picture of a roofing section just above a front door of a split level home. The roof intersects with the wall of the upper level of the home.

Notice that the shingles are “wavy”? They don’t lay nice and flat. This indicates that there are multiple layers of roofing materials. If you look closely, just above the gutter, you’ll see two drip caps. This also provides suspicions of multiple roofing layers. Layered roofs won’t last as long as the manufacturer may have indicated. They can’t lay flat on roof decking, and will wear out much sooner than expected because of this.

The siding material is composite wood. Notice how it’s in contact with the shingles? Proper installation of this siding requires that this siding have a 1-2″ clearance from the roofing material. The gap should be protected by metal step flashing, and, hopefully, the siding would be painted on the bottom edge. In this installation, there has been caulking applied to the roof/wall intersection. This is a temporary attempt to keep water from damaging the siding. Too late – the siding is already deteriorating – Notice the cracking in the paint and holes in the siding? Rot has already started in the siding and wood trim (further up the roof).

lh-011.jpgAlso notice the lack of a “kick-out” flashing. The kick-out would be an extention of the step flashing (not visible) that would extend through the siding and divert water into the gutter. Without this, any water running down that caulking will seep behind the siding and into the house structure. The second picture is of the interior on the other side of this wall. Notice the moisture stains on the wall? This type of moisture damage will often lead to mold in the wall and insulation, and rot in the interior structure. Damage can also extend into lower levels as well. (Click here to see an example kick-out)

Anyone notice anything else?

The situation that has been discussed here is very common in the Kansas City area and home inspectors should always point this out. Proper repairs are required by a professional roofer to get the flashing corrected. In this case, a siding contractor would be required to make repairs to the siding, and general contractor may be needed to fix interior wall damage.