Category Archives: Home Inspectors

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.

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.

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.

Inspector Television

kcpt_logo.gifOn Thursday, March 6th, Kansas City Home Inspectors John Clason and Randy Sipe will appear on Kansas City’s KCPT Television, Channel 19. Along with other members of the Great Plains Chapter of ASHI, we’ll be taking phone pledges from 7pm till 10pm. Tune in. And be sure to call in your pledge for support of public television.

Home Buyers Beware

Beware of the home inspection price wars in Kansas City. This is America, and anyone can price their services at any level they want. But here’s a few thoughts to chew on as you get prices for home inspectors:

You’re about to buy a house and give your Real Estate Professional somewhere around 7% of the price of the home in commisions. (“No, I’m not giving it to them – the seller is!” Who’s name is on the mortgage?). For a 200,000 house, thats $14,000. Thats equivalent to a year of college. Its also a pretty nice car for many people. 

In our opinion, a thorough home inspection is worth that same amount of money. Home Inspectors are the only people involved in the real estate transaction that truly have no financial interest in whether or not you buy the home. Who else is truly looking out for your best interests? 

Fortunately for you, prices for home inspections only range from $95 to $600. But thats still a pretty sizeable gap: So whats the difference?

If you have a problem with your luxury car, who are you going to take it to? The service station down the street, or back to the dealer? I’m willing to bet most people will choose the dealer. Why? Because you want someone the most qualified person to take care of your problems. By the same token, you’re going to spend at least 1/3 of your life asleep in the house you’re buying, and at least 1/2 of your life in the same house, isn’t it worth the satisfaction having the most qualified inspector look over your house to know whether or not the house is safe for you and your family?

Before you decide to save $50 on the biggest investment of your life, ask yourself if its worth it. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Ask yourself why the other guy is cheaper.

Here’s an article that appeared recently for your review regarding home inspector pricing.

Make sure your inspector is an ASHI CERTIFIED INSPECTOR. Many advertise it – others can prove it.

Johns ASHI ID Badge      randy_id_badge.jpg

Feel free to call John or Randy. We’ll be glad to talk to you about pricing – at no charge!

By the way, for those of you following, Kansas House Bill 2315 passed through the House of Representatives this week and was sent to the Senate. Looks like regulation of home inspectors in Kansas is one step closer.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Earlier, we wrote about home inspector qualifications. As of today, there have never been any requirements to become a home inspector in the states of Kansas and Missouri.

This past week, Kansas House Bill 2315 was passed in the Labor and Commerce committee in Topeka. The bill passed unanimously. Pending approval by the legislature, there will be requirements for home inspectors in Kansas.

Also this week, Missouri House Bill 2057 was introduced and will probably be reviewed in committee during this legislative session.

Our beliefs? Licensing or registration for home inspectors really does nothing to further protect consumers. Fact: Home builders aren’t even licensed across the states. Most reputable home inspectors offer more qualifications and protection to the consumer than these bills require.

But licensing and registration, even with strong entrance requirements, may keep some of the unqualified and non-professionals out of the business. We’ll have to wait and see.

In the mean time, stick to the advice we listed below. Do your research and know that all home inspectors are not the same. You get what you pay for.

We’ll add updates if licensing or registration becomes a requirement in Kansas or Missouri.

What Qualifies a Home Inspector?

In Kansas and Missouri? NOTHING!

Sad, but true.

In these two states, there are no licensing requirements for home inspectors. So anyone with a flashlight and screw driver can go into business as a home inspector. That makes things scary for home buyers and sellers (and anyone involved in the transaction, for that matter)!

So its important to do your homework before hiring an inspector! Simply calling a list of inspectors and asking for their prices can lead to a lot of trouble down the road (more on this in a future article).

 What should you look for in a home inspector?

  • Education. Make sure your home inspector has been through some type of training or certification program. There are many different schools around the country, including Inspection Training Associates (ITA) and the American Home Inspection Training Institute (AHIT).  Your inspector should also keep up their education by attending continuing education on a regular basis. The more your inspector knows about current building standards, the better for you.
  • Certification. As I’ve mentioned, there are no licensing requirements for home inspectors in Kansas and Missouri. And there is no requirement for any type of 3rd Party certification either. So anyone that wants to, can pay a fee on the internet and become a “certified” inspector. Fortunately for you, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has a certification program that you can trust: ASHI Certified Inspectors have actually passed a proctored examination for home inspections, have actually performed 250+ inspections, and are required to maintain a high level of continuing education each year. 
  • Insurance. We all make mistakes. Its bound to happen in any industry. Home Inspectors are no different, and should carry Errors and Omissions Insurance (E & O) for your protection. Errors and Omissions insurance is not cheap, and is one of the factors that will drive home inspectors prices higher. So when you’re price shopping, the cheapest inspectors usually do not carry this type of insurance. If your inspector makes a mistake that costs you later, you’ll want an inspector that can stand by his work.
  • Services. The most popular types of real estate inspections in the Kansas City area are Whole House Inspections (Mechanical and Structural), Termite Inspections, and Radon Measurements. Finding a home inspector that provides all these services can make things easier for you.

There are many more things that can help you to find a qualified inspector. Don’t be afraid to talk to your inspector and ask questions. Make sure you understand what his process is, and what you’re getting for your money. Like anything else – cheaper is not always better.