There are a lot of home inspectors in the Jacksonville, Florida metro area. Some are good and some are not so good. Some are very experienced and some almost have no experience. Some will rave about the number of reviews they have while downplaying their actual experience or qualifications beyond that of a home inspector license. Personally, I wonder how a home inspector with a couple of years’ experience (or less) can amass hundreds of perfect reviews.
Six years ago, there were about 40 home inspectors in the Jacksonville/St. Augustine/Orange Park area. Today, I’m told there are over 900. That’s a lot of new home inspectors! Many of these new inspectors are particularly good at marketing and many entered the field of home inspection based on relationships with real estate agents in other areas. Often, these real estate agents are happy to refer their friends who are now home inspectors; it’s like a clique in high school – it’s good for those in the clique but not so good for those who are not. For certain, it is not always good for the home buyer as the agent’s referral may not be the best choice based on experience and qualifications. If your agent is referring minimally qualified home inspectors, you may want to question their referral.
The Jacksonville metro area including St. Augustine, the Beaches, St. Johns, and Clay County is extremely competitive at present for home buyers. Resale inventory is 43% less today than this time last year and buyers are openly competing for available homes. It is a good time to be a seller and a poor time to be a buyer, especially if you are using VA financing. This is sad given our local market serves a large military presence. Many veterans are being discouraged from placing offers especially if the offer is over list price. One good note for veterans, if you can meet the payment criteria for a larger offer, the home may appraise over list price so it may be worth taking a chance!
Today, buyers are often only allowed five days for due diligence inspections once their offer is accepted. That is five days to make sure you are not buying a money pit. Your time to protect yourself is limited and you don’t have time to waste on minimally qualified home inspectors. You need a home inspector who is licensed and insured to address all issues.
If you are hiring a home inspector, you should hire one who:
- Is a licensed General or Builder contractor so they can advise you on structural concerns.
- Is a licensed Mold Assessor so you will know the significance of mold/moisture if found.
- Is a Level II, EIFS/Stucco Inspector so you won’t need to hire a stucco expert if issues are noted.
- Is a licensed Pest Control Operator so you won’t need outside referrals for termite/insect issues.
- Of course, your inspector should also be a licensed Home Inspector. If you want real experience, look for one with a state license below 8000.