Anyone who would like to sell or buy a home, has a problem with their property, or is looking to move into a brand-new house should get an inspection. But how can you find a competent professional, who will provide you with an accurate and easy-to-read report? In Florida, there are many rules and regulations that determine who can conduct home inspections.
Candidates must complete the required training and licensing, and they should also get insurance. To find a great home inspector, you can search for businesses online, and you can look at reviews on popular sites such as Google. Once you’ve found a suitable professional, you can ask them what kind of inspection they suggest. Often, a four-point inspection is enough, but a general inspection is better for those buying a new home.
Who Can Perform Home Inspections?
If you’ve been living in Florida for a long time, you might already know that not everyone can claim to be a home inspector. Instead, aspiring professionals have to go through a licensing process, which includes getting a home inspection certification and purchasing the correct type of insurance. Individuals who fail their state licensing exam or who don’t comply with the regulations are not allowed to inspect your home, and you should never hire them to do so.
The Licensing Process
In the US, not every state has a licensing requirement, so some inspectors might not be fully qualified. However, people living in Florida can rest assured that their inspectors are specialists because the job is regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. To be able to inspect homes in our state, a professional has to complete at least 120 hours of training with an approved provider.
This helps the aspiring inspector to learn about the various components of a home and allows them to gain experience writing clear and helpful reports. It also prepares them for the necessary exams. There are several exam boards, called the NHIE, FABI, InterNACHI, or CI-HPI. Once an inspector has completed their exam, they have to get professional liability insurance before they can seek employment or start their own business.
The Home Inspection Certification
Currently, there are 30 approved providers of home inspection education in Florida, and all of them offer various courses and modules. An aspiring inspector has to complete these classes and pass the assessment at the end of them in order to become certified. Some of the courses are offered online, while others require in-person attendance. After the training is complete, the inspector can sit the state licensing exam.
This assessment is known to be challenging, so most people have to study hard for it. Once an inspector has passed it, they are still not fully certified. Instead, they also have to pass a background check, and they get fingerprinted. This is important because inspectors visit people’s homes, so they must be trustworthy and reliable individuals.
Professional Liability Insurance
Anyone hoping to work as a home inspector in Florida must have a professional liability insurance policy in place. This protects them and their business in case someone gets hurt or a part of the home gets destroyed during an inspection. For example, if an inspector hits a wall in the wrong way and it gets damaged, the insurance will pay for the necessary repairs.
Similarly, the insurance provider will cover the costs of the compensation and the legal fees if a professional accidentally hurts someone while conducting their inspection. Before you hire an inspector, you should ask them about the kind of insurance they hold. If they say they have no policy, it’s unlikely that they are qualified and complying with the Florida inspection regulations.
How Can I Find the Best Home Inspector?
Although all home inspectors in Florida have spent a lot of time and effort completing the certification process, there are differences in quality. The best inspectors provide a prompt, competitively priced, and accurate service. So, how can you find someone who will do an excellent job? The easiest way to select a great inspector is to do some research online and compare various inspectors’ websites.
You should choose a firm that has well-qualified employees and offers a lot of helpful information for free. From the website, it should be clear what kinds of services the inspector offers, since this will help you decide whether they are a good fit for you.
Getting in Touch
Once you’ve found a firm you like, you can call or message them to get your quote. During this initial contact phase, the company’s response should be prompt and friendly. If so, it’s likely that you will have a good experience with them.
However, if they are slow to reply or you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, you should look for someone else. Remember, the inspector will walk through and examine your home, so it’s important that you feel at ease around them.
What Kind of Service Should I Get?
When you look at home inspectors’ websites, you’ll find that there isn’t just one type of inspection. Instead, you can choose from several options. For example, the four-point home inspection is ideal for people who need to know more about the property’s most important systems.
On the other hand, a general inspection is more comprehensive, so it’s appropriate for people who are looking to buy a home. Here at Hound Dog Home Inspections, we offer both options as well as wind mitigation inspections, pool inspections, new construction inspections, and commercial inspections.
The Four-Point Home Inspection
The four-point inspection is one of the most popular choices because it gives you a good idea about a property’s condition, but it doesn’t take very long or cost very much. Most four-point inspections can be completed within two to three hours, although the exact duration depends on the home’s size and features.
The four points covered are the electrical system, the plumbing, the HVAC system, and the roof. Your inspector will have a look at all of them to determine whether they are in good condition or whether any modifications are necessary.
The General Inspection
A general inspection is similar to a four-point inspection, but it is more comprehensive because it also includes the building’s foundation. This option is best if you’re hoping to buy a new property because it can uncover important issues and prevent you from making a purchase you will regret later on. However, such a comprehensive inspection might not be necessary if you’re selling a home or simply hoping to find out more about your building’s current condition.
The Wind Mitigation
When you add features to your home that can reduce windstorm damage, you can get credits, and you might not have to pay so much for insurance anymore. In some cases, insurance premiums can be reduced by up to 70% if a home is altered to include wind mitigation measures. But to prove that you meet the requirements for this deduction, you need to have an inspector double check your home’s features.
During a wind mitigation inspection, the professional walks around your home and examines the water barriers, such as the seal on your roof deck, the roof-to-foundation anchoring, and the window and door coverings, which could include storm shutters and shatterproof windows. Your report will either state that your home is protected from high wind speeds or that you have to add further modifications to meet the requirements.
The Pool Inspection
People who build a new pool in their garden have to have it inspected to make sure it’s safe to use. Similarly, you have to have existing pools examined every year because a faulty mechanism is extremely dangerous and could cause serious injury or even death. When you book a pool inspection, the professional will look at the structure itself but also the plumbing, pumps, heaters, filters, and electrical components.
Because this type of inspection is so technical and specific, you should hire experts and not general inspectors. Always choose a company that states that they are able to do advanced pool inspections on their website. That way, you don’t risk getting a subpar inspection from someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with pools.
The New Construction Inspection
If you’re looking to move into a newly built home, you should get a new construction inspection first. Although it’s likely that the developers worked with inspectors throughout the project, almost every building contains small faults or weak points.
Knowing the potential issues upfront can help you determine what kinds of repairs might be necessary in the next few years and whether the home is a good fit. You can then make a more informed decision about your purchase.
In Florida, there are very strict regulations that dictate who can conduct a home inspection. The professional has to have completed a certain amount of training, and they should also have the correct kind of insurance. These rules are in place to protect homeowners and control the quality of inspections. Get in touch with us at Hound Dog Home Inspections to find out more about our employees’ qualifications and to get your quote.