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Why you should support Home Inspector Licensing in Ohio

By Anthony SanFilippo
December 2018
Updated (December 4, 2018): The Ohio House of Representative passed a bill by an overwhelming 87-7 majority that would would require 80 hours of education and complete peer review for new home inspectors in Ohio. The bill has now moved to the State Senate.

Home inspection

There are several critical phases when it comes time to buy or sell a home.

Arguably though, the most important time for buyers and sellers alike is during home inspections.

What an inspector finds can make or break a potential sale of a property. So, there is a lot of hand-wringing on both sides.

However, what if the person doing the home inspection isn’t suited to do the job? What if the inspector misses something major, or identifies a problem that really doesn’t exist?

This can and does happen – and it shouldn’t.

But Ohio is one a few remaining states that doesn’t regulate home inspectors. They aren’t required to be licensed, or at the very least be registered in the state.

This puts the entire burden of finding a reliable and trustworthy home inspector on the buyer, and leaves everyone involved in the potential transaction vulnerable to having it thwarted by someone who probably shouldn’t be inspecting properties in the first place.

That has never been closer to changing though than it is right now.

Last summer, the Ohio House passed a bill by an overwhelming 74-6 majority that would require all home inspectors in the state to be licensed. That bill has now moved to the Senate, where it is under consideration before it can be put on the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

This legislation would regulate home inspections and impose stiff penalties on unlicensed inspectors, bringing peace of mind to buyers and sellers as they know that a licensed professional is handling the inspection for them.

If passed and approved by the Governor, the new legislation would require 80 hours of education and complete peer review for new inspectors. For current inspectors, it would require  a path to licensure that would mean passing the National Home Inspector Examination, their own peer review, and three consecutive years of consistent home inspecting.

Additionally, it calls for:

  • Written contracts between the inspector and client
  • Real estate agents who recommend an inspector to also provide at least three names of licensed inspectors
  • Inspectors to deliver a written report to clients

“The home inspection process may be the last activity related to a residential real estate transaction that remains completely unregulated,” said 2018 Ohio Association of REALTORS® president Pete Kopf to the Ohio House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee last winter. “The home inspection report is oftentimes the final factor in a consumer’s decision to purchase a property.

“Licensing home inspectors will provide consumers with a basic level of protection. More importantly, home buyers can have confidence the inspection that they will base their decision to invest their life’s saving on a property is a sound one.”

Kopf is a licensed REALTOR® in both Ohio and Kentucky. He outlined for the Committee that Kentucky enacted a Home Inspector Licensure statute in 2004.

The Kentucky Home Inspector Licensing Law requires home inspectors to be licensed and defines the requirements of licensure.

An inspector must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, complete a board-approved training program, pass an examination approved by the board, and submit a properly completed application.

“My experience since the enactment of this statute has been the clarity in seeing how the Kentucky Licensing law brings a high level of consistency to home inspection reporting and ensures the quality of each inspector by setting minimum standards,” Kopf said. “The Ohio consumer is unaware that home inspectors are not licensed in our state. Therefore, when an Ohio home inspector does not perform well, the buyer and seller are both harmed.

“It is my overall opinion, that the Kentucky Home Inspector licensing law better protects the purchaser and seller within the real estate transaction which is the most important part of this legislation.”

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