What seems like only a few years ago, but was probably longer, the State of Texas Real Estate Commission did a very bright thing: It instituted a license requirement for a new category called Home Inspectors.
Prior to that, prospective home buyers would drag about anyone who had ever held a hammer in his hands, to look at their purchase to determine if there were needed repairs. On top of that, clients often thought their agent should provide them personal expert opinions about the home's condition, when we had no formal training to do so.
Bad feelings and law suits were always on the tight rope ready to fall.
But what has evolved is a serious number of Licensed Home Inspectors whose verbosity, especially in areas where they have no expertise at all, cause massive problems to all of the parties.
In Texas, for an example, you can no longer pour or set a foundation that has not been designed by a licensed engineer or licensed architect. And before the house can be framed, the foundation must be inspected and stamped as compliant.
This one change in the law has made a significant difference, for an example, in Dallas, a town that has had an over supply of foundation failures throughout the years. As Tom Tynan, an architect, says, the failures were primarily caused by improperly designed and engineered foundations, not by what they were sitting on.
But now we have a multitude of Licensed Home Inspectors, who are not structural engineers or architects, who are opining that a particular foundation looks to have problems. And everyone knows when you say those two words -- foundation and problems -- adjacent to each other, your deal is probably going to "go south."
The inspector has just made a total train wreck out of what should have been a solid real estate transaction, and he got paid to do it.
So I'm tired of all of this, even to the point that I wrote the commission and the commissioners last year, giving them specific examples of reports that, when reviewed on site by an architect or engineer, were stated to be totally incorrect.
No one with the commission responded to my letter and examples. And I've just had another deal fall apart because the buyer believed his inspector's opinion over that of the structural engineer.
So I have a new rule, and I'm positive I can make it stick. No Licensed Inspector is going to represent my clients -- whether buying or selling -- who isn't on my approved list. If you want to add one to my list, fine...you can after I check his references with agents who have worked with him.
Maybe others, including sellers themselves, will follow suit.
Meanwhile, I'm packing up all of the documents related to my latest misfortune, and sending them with a formal complaint to the Commission. Perhaps one day they'll see a trend here.
BILL CHERRY, REALTORS