DEAR BARRY: You often refer to "inexperienced" or "newly minted" home inspectors as less than desirable. You seem to equate inexperience with incompetence, and you insinuate that new inspectors are negligent and unethical. I take exception to this depiction.

The only way new inspectors can become experienced is by inspecting homes. As a new home inspector, I bring high ethical standards and years of home repair experience to my work. You need to reconsider your arrogant bias against new home inspectors. If all the agents and brokers take your advice, how can new home inspectors ever become experienced? –Dave

DEAR DAVE: No insult to anyone is intended here. Comments about "newly minted" home inspectors involve lack of essential experience, not a lack of ethics or integrity. Every experienced home inspector remembers the early days of his or her profession as a time of apprenticeship. That is the case with everyone who enters the profession.

Home inspection is a learn-as-you-go business. It is a practice. The more you practice, the better you become at finding and evaluating defects in real property. Better, in fact, than you were when you were a new inspector.

This principle applies to every profession. If you were scheduled for major surgery, would you prefer a surgeon with years of experience, or would you be equally satisfied with a doctor who was one year out of med school? The answer is obvious.

So how do you gain experience as a new home inspector? You obtain referrals from agents and brokers who prefer lightweight disclosure. That is the unfortunate truth. As you gain experience and become more thorough in your inspections, many of those agents will stop using your services, and other (better) agents will take their place.

As a new home inspector, you are only a few years away from agreeing with me on these points. Those are the facts. No arrogance — just the facts.

DEAR BARRY: When I bought my home, my Realtor hired the home inspector and paid the inspection fee as a gift. A week later, she mentioned that the inspector had not done a very thorough job, but she didn’t suggest hiring another inspector. After I moved in, there were problems with the plumbing and leaks in the roof. Since I didn’t pay for the inspection, who is responsible for the repairs? –Mike

DEAR MIKE: The inspector and Realtor may both be liable for repairs. If the home inspector missed defects that were visible and accessible, he should account for the undisclosed problems, regardless of who paid for the inspection.

If the Realtor wanted to give you a home inspection as a gift, why didn’t she hire an inspector with a reputation for detailed thoroughness? When she realized that the inspection had not been thorough, why did she go forward with the transaction without arranging another inspection?

In most cases, Realtors know who the most thorough home inspectors are. If an agent is experienced, there is seldom an excuse for hiring an incompetent inspector. These are the issues that you should raise with your agent.

To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

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