Keeping the “Sweet” in Home Sweet Home, Part III
A prudent buyer of any home should hire a licensed inspector to conduct a thorough inspection of the home before the closing for the transaction. Most real estate contracts provide for an inspection period for this to occur. The Home Inspection Professional Licensing Act (“Act”) governs the actions of residential home inspectors who perform these inspections.
To ensure that this individual is qualified, licensed and financially responsible to potential owners, the New Jersey State Legislature enacted the Act to hold inspectors responsible for reporting problems, defects or limitations in the house about to be purchased.
What is the Home Inspection Licensing Act?
The Home Inspection Licensing Act is overseen by the Division of Consumer Affairs and is aimed directly at residential home inspectors. Its sole purpose is to address problems including:
- Poorly trained home inspectors
- Home inspection companies that hire poorly trained or unqualified home inspectors
- Home inspection companies that fail to carry the proper insurance to protect consumers from negligent home inspections.
The Home Inspection Licensing Act does not apply to:
- Code enforcement officials
- Licensed architects
- Electrical contractors
- Master plumbers
- Licensed real estate appraisers
- Insurance adjusters
- Persons registered as pesticide applicators.
What should my home inspector look out for?
Remember that “home sweet home” need not be a cliché, rather, it should be a simple reminder of the significance of this stage in your life. Laws exist to ensure that your significant investment of time and money is backed by the fair application of professional standards. Your inspector must be licensed pursuant to the Act, and the license must be renewed every two years. In order to maintain his or her license, the inspector must complete continuing education classes; the classes cover issues in the field of home inspection.
The home inspector must inspect the following components of the home:
- Structural components such as the foundation, floors, walls, ceiling and roof
- Exterior components such as the surfaces, doors, windows, steps, balconies, porches, railings, vegetation and grading, garage doors and attached adjacent walls
- The roof and roofing system such as the chimney, flashing and skylights
- Electrical system
- Heating system
- Cooling system
- Interior components such as the walls, ceilings, floors, railing and appliances
- Insulation and ventilation
If you are ready to have your new home inspected, just be sure that your inspector points out any material deficiencies or any other substantial deficiency so that you can adjust the price you are willing to pay or perhaps obtain a seller’s concession toward your closing costs; that is if you still in fact want to buy at all. This can be the sort of complicated juncture where having retained an experienced attorney for the transaction turns out to have been a wise decision.
There is one more important question you should ask before retaining your home inspector.
What should I expect from my home inspector?
A home inspector must have a current, valid license and should at least possess the following qualities:
- Good moral character
- A high school education or equivalent. The inspector should be able to produce proof of this upon request.
- Has been a licensed associate home inspector for a minimum of one year.
- Has performed a minimum of 250 home inspections for compensation.
- Has passed either the national home inspection exam administered by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors or the one offered by the American Society of Home Inspectors.
One of the most important issues is the home inspector’s insurance. The state of New Jersey has a department called the Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Your home inspector must maintain and file proof of a certificate of an errors and omissions insurance policy with this department in the minimum amount of $500,000 per occurrence. The purpose of the policy is to cover inspector negligence.
If you have any questions regarding the Home Inspection Licensing Act, the purchase of a new construction or simply a home that is new to you, contact the Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC for an initial free consultation.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Call (609) 585-0606 or click the button below to schedule an appointment