If you’ve ever bought a home, condo, or apartment, you’ve probably gone through the inspection process. The inspection process is a must for anyone who wants to feel confident about purchasing a home.
Home inspections give the buyer and seller an unbiased third-party to ensure everyone receives the correct value for what they’re exchanging.
But recently, governments scrutinized home inspectors and created the official Ohio home inspector license. The government signed the law into effect in 2019, and there’s concern over how COVID-19 affects the regulations as well.
Read on to discover the new regulations for the Ohio home inspector license.
Ohio Home Inspector License Law Delay
Then-Governor John Kasich approved the Ohio state home inspection back in January 2019. It was supposed to take effect in November of 2019, but lawmakers pushed back the date until April 5, 2020.
On April 5, the law went into effect and ushered a new series of restrictions and guidelines for inspectors to observe. Among other things, the law establishes skill requirements and background checks for all licensed home inspectors.
The Bare Bones
The essential part of the law is that inspectors have to obtain a license. The license covers what inspectors should expect while performing inspections and how to avoid potential errors or omissions. But there are other components, as well.
The bare bones of the law are as follows:
The bill creates criminal penalties for those who perform inspections without a license, protecting the buyer and seller from inspectors citing faulty violations and missing potential hazardous issues.
The bill establishes the Ohio Home Inspector Board (the “Board”). The Board is authorized to regulate state licensure and the performance of home inspections.
It also creates the need for a written contract between the licensed home inspector and the client before performing inspections. In addition, the inspector must provide a written report of their visual examination.
It ensures that inspectors perform all inspections within the confines of the law, observing standards of practice, and avoiding conflicts of interest.
Lastly, it requires real estate brokers or salespersons to provide the names of at least three licensed home inspectors if they give a client with any referral to a home inspector.
For Those Who Were Already Home Inspectors
Senate Bill 255 allowed “grandfathering” for seasoned home inspection vets.
But the grandfathering deadline passed on January 10, 2020. You’ll have to undergo background checks and perform the necessary training, but you can take your National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE) and quickly pass.
A passing grade on the NHIE checks another box off the list. But you still have to complete the coursework required to obtain an Ohio home inspector’s license.
The Ohio home inspector’s license law also has reciprocity rules. These reciprocity rules allow inspectors from other states, such as the Carolinas, with similar home inspection licensing laws to practice in Ohio. Of course, inspectors must meet specific requirements to ensure they’re qualified.
What Are Some of the Penalties
It’s good to know about some of the potential penalties and issues with in-home inspections.
If the state of Ohio finds inspectors practicing without abiding by the licensing laws, they can issue penalties such as a public reprimand, a fine up to $1,000, or a suspension or revocation of an existing license. The Board can issue fines up to $500 per day for each infraction.
If an unlicensed inspector performs an inspection and the buyer, seller, or any other party incurs damages, the inspector is subject to criminal charges. As it is, performing an inspection without a license is a fifth-degree misdemeanor. Another potential cost is committing fraud by fabricating information or documents.
Ohio State Inspection License Requirements
The law requires you to complete the following to become a licensed home inspector in Ohio:
- You must be at least 18 with a high-school diploma or GED
- Complete a fingerprint-based criminal records check
- 80 hours of logged classroom or online prelicensing education
- 40 hours of field experience or ten parallel inspections
- Complete the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE)
- General liability insurance must cover $100,000-$300,000
- 14 hours of continuing education during the first 3-year license period
With every new law, comes questions. Here is a list of a few questions you might ask if you’re considering becoming a licensed home inspector in Ohio.
What Is Errors and Omissions Insurance?
Errors and omissions insurance is similar to medical malpractice insurance. Errors and Omissions Insurance covers the licensed home inspector if they make any mistakes with the inspection.
Good Errors and Omissions policies limit the amount of money the inspector spends out-of-pocket if they face legal action.
How Long Does It Take to Get a License
The short answer, it depends on a few variables.
The easiest way to cut down on the time it takes to become a licensed inspector is passing your test the first time around. For those who practiced inspections for a long time beforehand, this should be easy. For those who are new to inspections, the test can be challenging and may require several attempts.
The other variable is how long it takes to complete the training. Depending on where you are in your life and career, you may be able to knock out eighty hours quickly. For others, who are already immersed in a job, or struggling to maintain their work schedule, the training may take longer.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a License
Inspection certification courses usually cost around $500. The training should include the 80 hours of classroom training plus online quizzes and study materials to prepare for the exam.
Many certification programs include bonus materials such as online report creators. Most training programs do not include the 40 hours of field experience. For that, you must look into apprenticeships, similar to electricians and other fields.
Have Your Home Inspected Today
With the new law passing, you can have even more peace of mind when buying a house than before. These new regulations ensure inspectors keep the buyer’s and seller’s best interest at heart.
Having an Ohio home inspector license program in place prevents errors from occurring and prevents people from making ill-informed decisions while purchasing their homes. Schedule your home inspection today to feel confident about your purchase!