Like many parts of the country, Maine is experiencing a surge of homebuyers entering the real estate market. However, the number of homes for sale does not match this increasing demand, which has led to greater competition within the market. Many homebuyers in this situation will often waive certain contingencies, such as their home inspection, to get their offer accepted over their competition.
Contingencies like a home inspection are traditionally required to protect homebuyers by uncovering issues with the property before they buy. Home inspections offer the home buyer information about the condition of the house to understand the total costs of any repairs that will be needed, in addition to the price of the listing itself. By waiving this contingency, there is a significant risk that these new homebuyers will have to cover additional costs, which can be thousands of dollars.
Kevin Hunt, ACI, an ASHI Member since 2016, has been experiencing the realities of this frantic real estate market firsthand. Another risk that homebuyers in Maine face is the lack of regulation or licensing of home inspectors. To offer his clients confidence in his expertise, despite this lack of regulation, he is a member of the Maine Coalition of Home Inspection Professionals (MeCHIPs), a local nonprofit professional organization, and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
While Hunt is doing his credentialing as a professional in the real estate market by joining associations with standards of practice and continuing education, not every home inspector in Maine follows suit. According to Hunt, without regulation, “anyone with a business card can be a home inspector.” With no barriers to enter the home inspection industry, there is no oversight to ensure they are receiving a competent home inspection and protecting homebuyers from expenses they may not be able to cover.
Maine’s legislature has addressed home inspection licensure in the past, as recently as the spring of 2020, but no bills have yet passed. Homebuyers are left with greater risk in the real estate market, and doing their due diligence to hire the correct professionals remains an important step, especially in today’s market. Hunt admits that licensing home inspectors is a ”two-sided coin,” creating more regulations and oversights for the inspectors but ultimately protects the homebuyers through adherence to standards.
Hunt still encourages homebuyers to get a home inspection at some point, even if that means after the purchase of the home. In most cases, the inspection cost is a small price compared to the cost of the house. The issues that the home inspector can identify may be remedied before they cause significant problems to the house.
For the full story, watch the video below or visit NEWS CENTER Maine where the story was initially published, including extended interviews.
(Courtesy of Chris Costa | NEWS CENTER Maine)