Benign inspection reports are those that are friendly to the agent. Agents don’t have a stake in the condition of the home. Their stake is in closing the sale because, by law, that’s the only way they can earn their commission. Home inspection report help the buyer. They do not help the agent sell the home. Since agents can’t make home inspections illegal, they tend to do the next best thing: Influence the buyer to hire an inspector known by the agent to produce benign reports.
Benign reports are readily available in Louisiana. The State Board of Home Inspectors has a classroom educational requirement of 90 hours but no educational standard. An instructor who basically talks abouts things related to home inspection for 90 hours satisfies Board requirements. Without an educational standard, an educational requirement has no legs to stand on. It’s moot.
As an inspector who has completed the 90 hours of home inspection ‘education’, 2 years of vo-tech instruction in radio/tv repair, 5 years of college for a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering and then completed 14 years of experience as a home inspector, I can tell you that the body of knowledge needed by someone to complete a decent home inspection is greater than that required to fix a tv set but less than that required to serve as an engineer. 90 hours is a joke.
Not all inspectors are the same though. Some take pride in their occupation and strive to learn more about houses on their own. These inspectors can serve homebuyers much better but their reports are not benign. They’re not friendly to agents.
The problem has reached the point where the most successful home inspectors in the state are not the ones with the greatest expertise, it is the ones that produce the benign reports that agents favor. In a way, because of statutory and regulatory omissions, incompetence among home inspectors is rewarded.
Avoiding benign reports is simple: Find your own inspector. Ignore the many certifications that so many inspectors boast. They are mostly the product of schools not accredited and function merely to convince a buyer that he/she has found his inspector.
The only good way to find your inspector is the same way you would find a good author: Read his works.
If an inspector does not have a sample report on his website, call and ask him for one. If he doesn’t offer you one, look for someone else. Always begin your search for your inspector by browsing through at last a half dozen reports, even if they’re from another state. That way, you’ll come to recognize what a good report looks like. Most are benign to agents, only a very few tell you the whole story, what your agent doesn’t want you to know.