Mobile, Alabama


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Pete Mackey
Pete Mackey
Attorney • (800) 574-4332

Should I Hire a Home Inspector Before I Buy?

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Whenyou made a offer on your new home, your realtor no doubt pointed out that you could make your offersubject to a home inspection.  Thatway, if you found something that you did not like, you had a basis forwithdrawing your offer and getting out of the contract.  Is it a good idea to make your offercontingent on such an inspection? Absolutely.  Is it a good idea to head to the yellow pages and hire anhome inspector?  Maybe not.


InAlabama, a person can be licensed by the State as a home inspector with verylittle experience.  Someone with noconstruction experience whatsoever can take a two week course, inspect homesfor a year and be “certified” as a licensed home inspector.  Would you hire someone to build yourhouse with these type qualifications? Of course not.  That is notto say that there are not a lot of qualified home inspectors who do qualitywork.  The point is, it is not hardto become licensed in Alabama without the requisite experience to do a homeinspection that is envisioned by the new purchaser.


Moreover,Alabama has adopted the ASHI standards of practice as the “standard of care”that a home inspector must meet in any given inspection.  When you study those standards ofpractice, you realize that you are not getting a whole lot of bank for yourinspection buck.  Not only that,but the things that ASHI DOES not require can give you pause.  For instance, an ASHI certifiedinspector is not required to offer an opinion as to the adequacy of anystructural system or component. 


Youmight respond, “that is exactly the type of thing that I was hoping my inspectorwould.”  We agree with you.  We thinkthat someone who inspects your home should tell youit is sound.  In our opinion, thesafest course of action for a prospective homeowner is to hire a professionalengineer or experienced home builder/remodeler to do an inspection – someone who is both qualified and willing to provide these types of opinions.  When you hire such a person, look atthe contract.  READ ITCAREFULLY.  Is there an arbitrationclause? Are you willing to give up your right to a trial by jury if you laterdiscover substantial problems with your home that should have been revealed bythe inspection?  What exactly isthe inspector agreeing to provide? You may spend a few hundred dollars more on the front end, but it couldturn out to be well worth it at the back end.