We recently had a question from a homeowner in Florida who had trouble finding an inspector or contractor who could help her figure out whether there had been any structural damage to a balcony that had been hit by a falling tree.
We want to address the issue of why home inspectors or perhaps contractors have balked at giving this homeowner some help.
As soon as the homeowner asked whether the contractors were licensed, insured and certified, they “disappeared.”
We suspect that the inspectors and contractors feared that when the homeowner asked whether they were “licensed, insured and certified” they might not have been licensed, or have had the proper insurance or certifications.
Some contractors might not need to have certifications, but many home inspectors have certifications from some of the national home inspector associations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors.
A quick look at ASHI’s website (homeinspector.org) lists 21 home inspectors who are members and meet the requirements in Florida. You can also go to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations website (myfloridalicense.com/dbpr) and look up a list of home inspectors. The site also lists disciplinary actions taken against individual inspectors who run afoul of the law. If you have other questions, call 850-487-1395.
It may be that this homeowner was looking in the wrong places for people to help her identify the issues with the balcony. If she had started her search with a list of certified home inspectors or contractors, she might have had better luck.
Most home inspectors should carry insurance in case something goes wrong during an inspection or if there’s an issue they may have misidentified in the inspection report. But many home inspectors might become less enchanted with a project if they perceive the homeowner could become litigious. Insurance rates are high enough, and home inspectors, like many other professionals, are hesitant to take on clients if they suspect the money they will earn from the project has a good chance of leading to problems with the homeowner and potential litigation.
You could assume the same is true of many contractors, and if you start your search with contractors and inspectors who are members in good standing of the national or state organizations that certify them, you have a better chance of finding a reputable inspector or contractor.
With all this in mind, it’s possible that the home inspectors and contractors our reader found didn’t have insurance and didn’t want to tell her that they didn’t carry any. So, if the reader had started the search by looking at some of the national or state organizations, she might have had better luck.
It’s also quite possible that the inspectors and contractors sensed a huge problem coming and decided not to take the job. We’d be anxious to hear what our contractor and home inspector readers have to say.
Ilyce Glink is the creator of an 18-part webinar+ebook series called “The Intentional Investor: How to Be Wildly Successful in Real Estate” as well as the author of many books on real estate. She also hosts the “Real Estate Minute” on her YouTube channel. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact them at ThinkGlink.com.