Maine lawmaker pushes for home inspector licensing requirement


    Home in Freeport (WGME)

    STATEWIDE (WGME) -- A state lawmaker wants to require home inspectors in Maine to be licensed.

    It's a critical part of buying a house, home inspections can make or break the purchase and help you learn more about the property.

    Home inspector Ray Mayo examines properties from top to bottom before they're bought.

    "There's a lot of things we look for," says Mayo, "Because you don't want any surprises."

    As the secretary of the Maine Coalition of Home Inspection Professionals or MECHIPS, however, Mayo says he has heard from some home buyers who were unhappy with their home inspector.

    "We do get complaints sometimes a home inspector missed something or a home inspector came and was paid for an inspection and then didn't give an inspection report," Mayo says.

    Maine is one of nearly two dozen states that don't require home inspectors to be licensed, but democratic Representative Christopher Kessler, who represents district 32, wants to change that.

    "As an energy auditor, I very frequently go in after somebody has purchased a home and uncover things that a home inspector should have caught," says Rep. Kessler. "So after that I thought, really, why are the standards so bad, and then I discovered, wow, Maine does not require licensure for home inspectors."

    Rep. Kessler is now taking action with an Act to Require Professional Licensure for Property Inspectors in Maine.

    "So the ultimate goal is just to establish a baseline competency for all home inspectors in the state," says Rep. Kessler.

    Owner of Pillar to Post Home Inspectors Brandon Lussier says he'd like to see a licensing requirement.

    "There are a ton of great home inspectors out there and there are a good amount of bad inspectors out there," says Kessler, "So I think having some type of consistency between all inspectors in Maine would be very beneficial.

    Darryl Chandler at Focused Property Inspections, who's been in this industry for decades, has mixed feelings.

    "Where licensing has already gone through, what we're finding out is that the industry is left in charge of controlling the industry," Chandler says, "And therefore the quality hasn't gone up, what we've found is that the quality has actually gone down."

    Chandler says licensing or not, home buyers have to do their own research.

    "One of the first things we recommend people do is to get the inspector's resume," Chandler says, "The second thing and the most important thing that you can do when looking for an inspector is check their insurances."

    Look for certifications from organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors or InterNACHI.

    "They both require continuing education credits and you have to pass certain tests to advance in them," says Mayo.

    Also, make sure the inspector has a good track record.

    "You want to make sure they have experience, that they've done this for a number of years" says Rob Edgerley at Maine Life Real Estate Co. "Or if they're newer to inspections, that they're working with somebody that's overseeing their reports."

    Otherwise you run the risk of discovering problems later and could get an incomplete picture of what you're buying, something Rep. Kessler hopes his bill will help prevent.

    "The main takeaway is that this is not going to be creating new red tape," Kessler says, "When we look at the role of our state government, it's meant to help people and protect people.

    The Attorney General's office says it does get a handful of complaints about home inspectors and tries to mediate them, but if a consumer is seeking damages from an inspector's failure to identify an issue, they are referred to an attorney.

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