Knowing your "lane" is good for your client (and your business)
We only do property inspections, and all of our training and licensing is in furtherance of that. Beyond our obsession with customer service, we are committed to giving our clients a full service inspection, without the typical upselling.
To better understand how we do this, first you have to understand that there are things that a licensed home inspector cannot do without additional licenses. For the sake of this information, lets call inspectors with only a Home Inspector's license "under-licensed" inspectors.
An under-licensed inspector cannot legally complete a termite inspection in New York. The inspector is also disallowed from identifying any wood destroying insects by species, or recommending any kind of treatment. This can prevent closing on your property if your lender requires an NPMA-33 Termite Inspection Report, if you did not hire a home inspector that is also a "termite inspector" (a licensed pesticide technician/applicator or pest control business).
Similarly, an under-licensed home inspector is prohibited from concluding that there is mold in a structure, determining if that mold poses a health risk, or making any recommendations on how to fix the underlying problem and eliminate the mold. They are also not allowed to specifically look for, or specify conditions that may cause mold unless they possess a mold assessor's license.
The laws are intended to protect consumers by having only qualified, tested, and licensed individuals perform these services. As a workaround to these prohibitions, under-licensed home inspectors will use language such as "mold-like substance" or "possible wood destroying organism" in their reports if they observe a problem. They can not lawfully do any further testing or provide confirmation, leaving clients with more questions than answers.
To be fair, since a home inspection, a termite inspection, and a mold inspection all include visual observation as a major part of the inspection, a seasoned, "under-licensed" inspector may be able to identify some or all of these problems. They may also offer corrective actions concerning moisture problems that are usually at the root of the issue. However, unlicensed mold assessors and termite inspectors cannot provide bona-fide documentation to a remediator, or offer a qualified opinion for the purpose of negotiation. If your inspector intends to call a friend to complete a termite or mold inspection, this will quickly add to the bill.
Another thing we want you to be aware of is that there are some services a home inspector should never perform, unless they have worked in that field professionally. Despite this, there are inspectors with no experience who take an online course and then offer these services to their clients. They may lack meaningful and necessary training and experience. We are talking specifically about septic and pool inspections.
The specifications of properly inspecting septic systems and pools are very involved. It is impossible for a home inspector to complete a home, pool, and septic inspection all in one day since each will take several hours alone. There is little to no overlap between these services and a licensed home inspection. Because there are no licensing requirements to inspect pools or septic systems, many home inspectors offer superficial, visual inspections that fail to adequately examine these complex systems with specialized equipment.
That is why although we can, we do not offer these services. We suggest pool and septic repair companies for inspecting these systems. If a client specifically asks us for a dye test, or other pool/septic related service, we will discuss the request, figure out the client's need and then make the appropriate service recommendation.
We know what our lane is and how to stay in it. We are not trying to make a few extra bucks off our clients by selling them services they do not need, services that are worthless, or performing work that home inspectors are not qualified to do. Although no company can do it all, we provide the most complete qualified home and commercial inspection service available.