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Property Preservation Inspections and the liability
Property preservation inspections is a direct entrance to liability claims. banks, national, and regional property preservation companies order these “inspections.” These inspections sometimes are ordered to verify work is completed while other times are vacancy inspections or disguised to to confuse the contractor.
For a property preservation inspection much more is required including errors and omissions insurance. These work orders specify that the inspector is to go inside the property and photograph damages. These inspections are cloaked with many different confusing terms. grass cut, install lock box, lock change, landscape, allowable work and more. Nevertheless they are a complete home inspection similar to the home inspection you pay around $300 for when you purchase your new home.
The home buyer inspections all include all of the things most commonly found on a national property preservation companies Property Condition Report. While the software varies from the home inspector and a property preservation contractor the objective is the same. Locate damages and provide a photograph. Consequently, home inspectors often operate as an independent contractor. The independent contractor is a person who is self employed, purchasing insurances and equipment to perform the jobs in the various contractors trade. The independent contractor is one that establishes their own business practices and models while enjoying freedom to charge appropriately for the work. Additionally, home inspectors provide a clear disclaimer in their NACHI agreements that state that in the event of an error the maximum damage that may be claimed is the inspection fee.
Ironically, Banks through preservation companies claim a loss in excess of the $25 they pay for these inspections. In fact, banks will profit from the losses they claim in failed property preservation inspection. These profits are extended via an at cost work order that instructs a contractor to return to the inspection and provide anew. State Licensing guidelines nationwide are often overlooked as these national property preservation companies such as National Field Representatives and ServiceLink (formally LPS) being front runners for HUD and Wells Fargo do not accept 3rd party licensed bids. In fact, the at cost work is usually sent back to the contractor telling them to bid work they are not licensed for or they will be subjected to the consequences. Lets look at an example from ServiceLink a national property preservation company servicing properties for Wells Fargo, Chase Bank, Ditech and more.
If you work in property preservation inspections, have you ever bid for a home inspection? A full out, I will go through the house on top of the roof all 4 sides check your electrical panel and tell you what I see for $300? Have you ever attempted to get a licensed mold inspection bid? A bid where a trained inspector comes in does his/her thing to tell you there is mold and develop their plan of remediation?
Do you know the expense of those initial inspections with no work done? Around $750. For $750 a mold inspector will meet you at the property with a respirator proper PPE and a test kit and test for mold. That $750 inspection price tag goes up as you go through the house. This is a bare bones 2-3 room inspection. The mold inspector is charging for his/her licensing, expertise and the PPE that the inspector dons before entering the property. For around $300 a home inspector will come in a provide a property condition report with photographs outlining all areas of concern.
NACHI is a nationwide is a nationwide training organization for development of licensed home inspectors in the United States. You can find a list of their state by state training clicking here Some states require continuing education in order to perform home inspections. A contractor interested in become a property preservation vendor should seek out state guidelines and determine what your state considers a home inspection? Ask your state licensing entity why a license is required and finally, check guidelines for continuing education. Chances are you will be asked to perform a home inspection that violates state licensing requirements leaving you responsible for claims.
Mold Property Preservation Inspections
Another property preservation inspections
Not all states require a license for mold remediation but all states require a lab reads the results. Most of the time in property preservation you are not presented with the end user in the home. In other words they only know you exist because of the pink antifreeze when they are looking at the foreclosed home for sale. As a residential home inspector many of them add additional certifications to their resume and their upsell funnel while on site. Of those most consist of Radon, Mold and Termite. For an additional charge your home inspector will test various locations in the home for the prescence of mold. Others will employ a clean air test and measure for mold in the air. Whatever, the method the inspector uses, the home owner is provided with that result. Do you think any of the companies that you sent to that house and told you that a licensed mold inspector is not approved or licensed mold remediation is not approved is going to be there to support your company? Is that company going to help you pay out the mold claims for the new homeowners. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in jeopardy. Most of the property preservation houses contain some degree of mold. The banks or national companies will almost never tell you that. What do you suppose this woman incurred in her families story?
Whether you are licensed or not you should always document your bids for a licensed mold inspector, a licensed mold remediator, and a licensed home inspector. Doing so when help you in the long run and place the real responsibility back on the previous home owner.
When you receive work orders like the one listed in the example reach out to your state licensing division. Most will require current contact information for the company as well as a description of the work requested.
All states have a due diligence law that applies to each property. Within that is the responsibility to follow local codes. Local codes often specify nuisance abatement, health and safety hazards, blight, and general upkeep of the property. Local codes often are designed to protect the public from further damage, health and safety hazards and nuisances. Always be on top of your game and do your due diligence, these property preservation companies and property preservation inspections are not there to.