You trust the home inspector you hire will find what's wrong with your new house. But a hidden camera investigation shows you home inspectors missing major repairs and putting homeowner’s safety at risk.
News4 Consumer Reporter Lindsay Bramson is working for you to make sure you and your family are safe in your new home.
Whether its checking your roof, inspecting an electrical outlet or testing your hvac unit, you trust if there's a problem with your new home, a good home inspector will find it.
In her old house, Diana Romolo said that didn't happen.
It’s upsetting that our inspector didn't catch it because some of the things were standard things that should've been caught,” said Romolo.
And News4 Investigates found out Romolo isn't alone. In fact, this happens more often than you may realize.
“Some of the things they missed…it was alarming that they missed them,” Kevin Brasler who works for Consumers’ Checkbook, a consumer watchdog group in Washington, D.C.
Brasler hired 12 different inspectors to inspect the same house in Virginia that had more than 2 dozen problems with it.
Everything from a leak underneath the kitchen sink to a rodent infestation.
Brasler says nearly half of the inspectors didn't catch the leak underneath the sink. And while several others didn’t take the time to check some of the electrical outlets, at least one didn't even have a cover on it. And it wasn't noted in the report.
“What really bothered us was how little work a lot of these inspectors did,” said Brasler.
“If you miss something big safety-wise, it could be death for the family,” said Irv Ryder who is an inspector with Ultrasound Home Inspections.
Ryder spends on average, 3-5 hours inspecting a home. Anything less he says is a red flag.
And News4 Investigates found out to become a home inspector in Tennessee, all you need to do is take a 90-hour course online. Then pass the exam, and boom…you're in business.
“Within a month you can go from being a fast-food worker to a home inspector. It's that easy? It's that easy,” said Ryder.
Romolo wants others to learn from her mistakes.
“Outside of cost now I have a whole other perspective that its safety too. I feel terrible that we didn't know better to have certain things checked out,” said Romolo.
With so many different companies out there, how do you know who you can trust?
Read reviews online. Look for several years of experience and make sure the inspector you pick is licensed with the state.
Also, ask to see examples of other inspection reports. Ryder says it should be at least 100 pages long if not more. Anything less could mean something was missed.
It's also important to note under Tennessee law, home inspectors are not required to write up rodent infestations in the report.
To find out if the home inspector you hired is licensed, click on the following link: https://www.tn.gov/commerce/regboards/homeinsp.html
And for additional information on how to hire the right inspector, click below.
After our story aired, some home inspectors reached out to us saying not all home inspections need to be 100 pages long. They also offer some good advice as to what to look for and what to ask when choosing a reputable home inspector.
Owner of Homescan Property Inspections Mike Twitty sent News4 the following statement:
The primary objective of a quality home inspection report is good communication. It should be thorough but concise and easy to read. All major components/systems should be properly described and all observed defects should be listed and possible consequences of the defect explained. Providing generic information and is fine but should be presented separately and not be included in the body of the report. Disclaimers to protect the inspector should be in the inspection agreement, not in the report. Buyers want to know specific information about the home they are buying without "filler fluff and redundancy". Writing a comprehensive report that provides this criteria (including photos) can easily be done, in most cases, in 20-25 pages or less by employing good communication skills.
Tim Fuller, president of Home Inspectors of Tennessee Association, sent this letter to News4 with tips for homeowners.
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