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How to Hire a Contractor

Working as a Team on Your Next Home Project

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You have a great idea of what you want to do but you just don't have the skills to implement it. Whether remodeling the kitchen, a spare room or adding on, some projects are better handled by professional contractors. However, make sure you do not get into an agreement with a contractor on impulse. Instead, picking a contractor should be a selective process that is well researched and prepared. This is not only a financial investment; this person (and their team) will be in your home and working with you on a project that may take days or, more likely, weeks to finish. A sound partnership is important. Below are some suggestions for planning out your partnership with a contractor. Also included are a checklist guide and contract example forms from our partner Lawchek®. All are helpful suggestions and tools before hiring any contractor.

Part I: Overview

The following points may help you in the process of hiring and working with a professional contractor.

Plan out your project.

Whether a full kitchen remodel or a new back patio, make sure to plan out your project in advance. You should know what materials you would like to use and what the end project will look like. If you are uncertain about various options, then consult an interior designer, landscape architect or architect. They can help take the ideas you have imagined and tell you how they can logically work. They can also help you create detailed plans of the project and a list of materials for its completion. Many times they will continue to work with you as the project is being completed as well. Having this type of plan in place before hiring a contractor is essential to ensure clear communication. If you start a project unsure of the final outcome you may cause delays and extra expense if you keep changing your mind. To have a large project planned in advance will help you to remain focused.

Determine the kind of contractor you need.

Will a general contractor be able to complete the whole project or will you need cabinet installer, plumber, electrician, etc.? Preplanning your project should help you answer some of these questions. You can be ready to interview contractors knowing that they either need experience in or will need to sub-contract certain aspects of your job. If they cannot do part of the project, will they expect you to hire a specialist (i.e. electrician) or do they have a partnership with one already established? Consider if they have previous experience with your type of project. Ask if they familiar with the architecture and age-specific concerns of your type of home. How have they met the challenges in the past?

Research any permits that may be necessary. With a plan from your architect or landscape architect in place you will now have an idea of how much you will be changing your home. You may ask these professionals as you work out your plan if the project will need building permits. You may also ask this to your contractor as well. However, keep in mind that although some contractors will handle the building permit process themselves as part of their contract, others may leave it up to the home owner. Some argue that only the contractor should handle building permits as this ensures they follow all codes. If you get the permit and the contractor does not follow the codes you may have a harder time seeking corrections by the contractor afterwards. As a first step, it will be very helpful to know whether you need a permit before even contacting a contractor. This is also key to avoiding any fraud. If you already know that your project requires a building permit but your contractor tells you not to worry about it, you have clear warning that this contractor may not follow local and state building codes, get someone else!

Consider the professionalism of your contractor.

This is the first basic step when looking at different contractors. Check and see how long they have been in business, if they are easy to talk to and if they are able to meet with your timetable expectations. Determine if all of their contact information is current. Also, look for a contractor that is easy to reach; if you are playing phone tag to obtain a quote it is a pretty good indication of what it will be like trying to contact them once your project is started! Find out if they are a member of any trade associations and stay current in their training. As an extra precaution, you may also want to research with the county if they have been named in any past law suits. Contact the Better Business Bureau, Attorney Generals Office, and local consumer protection agency to check on any past complaints.

Verify insurance and licence information.

Insurance: Always make sure the contractor is properly insured. You should receive a certificate of insurance from the insurance agency listing you as the co-insured. It should be original and not a photocopy. The types of insurance you are looking for: General/Personal Liability which will protect your property; Workman's Compensation which will cover the contractor(s) if they are injured while working on your property; and Automobile which will protect you against any claims if they damage another vehicle/object while on your property. All these will protect you from having your homeowner's insurance responsible for any mishaps or accidents that may happen. License: Not all contractors need a license in every state. Also, the cost of a project can sometimes determine if a contractor needs a license or not. In most states the more expensive the project, the more likely they need a license. A good online reference to find out about license requirements in your state may be found at Contractor's License Reference Site. If your state does require a license, make sure it is current.

Ask for references and call them! 

Ask potential contractors for references. Do not do any further business with contractors that refuse to supply references. The references should span both recent and older projects that are all similar to yours. If you are getting a kitchen remodel it doesn't make a lot of sense to talk to someone who had a new deck built. Once you have the contact information, do the most important step - call them! You may even see if they are willing to let you see the project first hand with the contractor or if they have photographs of its progress; your contractor may also have photographs available. Below are some sample questions to ask references:

  • Are you pleased with the project result? When talking to references for older projects ask them how the craftsmanship has handled everyday wear and tear.
  • Did the contractor stay on or close to schedule?
  • Did the contractor stay on budget?
  • Did the contractor follow the written contract? In hindsight, is there anything you would add to the contract?
  • Was the contractor easy to talk to or reach when you had questions or concerns? Did the contractor stay on site to supervise his/her team?
  • Did you get along with the contractor's team? The sub-contractors they used?
  • Where you happy with how the contractor and his/her team treated your home and property? Any messes, etc.?
  • If there were any corrections, was the contractor willing to make changes or did you have to place a formal request or hire someone else?
  • Would you use this contractor again and/or recommend him to someone else?

Review estimates for differences and find out why.

Once you have three or more estimates begin to look at the differences. Why are some contractors lower or higher than others? Ask them to explain their estimate. For example, is an estimate lower because of different materials used and does this translate to difference in quality? Does one contractor have a larger team or expect to hire more sub-contractors? Is a contractor "saving you money" by cutting corners on safety, local regulations, etc.?

Create the contract.

Finally, the written contract you create with your contractor is extremely important. So much so that we have listed factors that should be considered for the contract in a separate section below. To review that section now, click here.

Part II: Checklist

The partnership with your contractor can be very rewarding experience if you make sure to plan ahead. With the items mentioned above in mind, we have compiled an easy to use checklist that will help you when reviewing various contractors for your job. We have listed the items below but you may also print out a PDF checklist by clicking here.

Hiring a Contractor Checklist:

  • Where did I find the contractor? (Phonebook, Online, Friend/Family, Other)
  • The contractor is licensed (if required) and registered as a business in this state.
  • Contractor has all necessary insurance to complete the job safely. Including: Worker's Compensation, General/Personal Liability and Automotive.
  • I researched any complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General’s Office and other local consumer protections agencies.
  • This contractor does not have too many jobs and can fit my project within my time schedule.
  • I obtained at least 3 references (from each contractor).
  • I have called every reference and asked thorough questions.
  • I reviewed at least one project site from the reference list in person.
  • I have a detailed bid from this contractor. Including: describes all parts of project to be completed, estimated material cost, estimated labor cost, estimated time needed for completion.
  • I understand everything in the bid and what that project will entail. I have asked for clarification on anything I do not understand.
  • I understand the pricing.
  • The contractor clearly lists the types of materials he expects to use.
  • The contractor offers warranties on materials and craftsmanship.
  • This contractor will obtain all necessary building permits.
  • This contractor has provided a sample written contract of a previous project. I understand the wording of the contract and can easily see how to adopt a similar one for my project.
  • This contractor is easy to talk to and has been easy to get a hold of for follow up questions.

Part III:

The Contract The written contract between you and your contractor should be taken very seriously as this will be the roadmap that both parties will use to ensure that everyone is kept on task and happy. The following items are highly suggested to be included into the contract. You may add and remove items as they pertain to your particular project or situation.

  1. The contract should specify exactly what is expected to be done. Besides the project, any clean up, where materials will be unloaded, etc., should also be included.
  2. Specify the dates for commencing and ending the project. It is also a good idea to detail what is expected if delays occur due to weather, material delays, etc.
  3. Detail the materials to be used for the project and their cost; this includes brand names and other identification to make certain there is no confusion. Not recommended, but at the very least, detail an allowance specifically for materials with strict parameters.
  4. The contract should detail the contractor's insurance clarifying that coverage is expected through his/her carrier.
  5. It should be clear who is responsible for obtaining permits and what permits are required for completion of the job. Ideally permits will be obtained by the contractor.
  6. Method of payment and payment schedule should be clear. Never pay for the entire job in advance! Depending on your state there may be a limit to your initial down payment. Usually it is enough to cover any special material costs and initial start of the project. There is usually an agreement to pay by interval as different stages of the project are reached. Again, detail this in the contract. Once written, make certain you both understand the payment terms before either of you sign.
  7. Any warranties provided by the contractor should be detailed in the contract. Identify if they are full or limited warranties and describe exactly what they will and will not cover. If warranties include manufactures, make sure all of their contact information is included in the contract as well.
  8. Finally, a method for dispute resolution should be included in your contract. This should detail how each party should be notified of any grievances. The best means would be mediation or arbitration as this can save you both money. However, if a problem does arise make certain every notice of a problem(s) is done in writing so you have record of your attempts at solving the problem.

As a general rule, be as detailed about the project and all expectations as possible. We have included some sample contracts from our partner site Lawchek®. These are only samples and should be reviewed and changed to fit individual project needs.

  • Subcontractor Performance Agreement for Residential Construction
  • Deadline Extension Amendment

This reference should answer basic questions. The questions recited on these pages are the more commonly asked questions of attorneys when a client first makes contact for the purpose of a better understanding of real estate legal matters. This is not a substitute for legal advice. It is never recommended that an individual undertake his or her own representation in such matters as real estate law, even though most states do permit such activity. Any individual who is serious about proper real estate transactions would want to have capable legal assistance. An attorney must be consulted. "This work is protected under the copyright laws of the United States. No reproduction, use, or disclosure of this work shall be permitted without the prior express written authorization of the copyright owner. Copyright © 2006 byLAWCHEK, LTD."

How to Hire a Home Inspector

You need an experienced professional.

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So, you are buying or selling a home and you feel that you need an experienced professional to inspect the property so that you go into the sale/purchase knowing everything that you need to know to make the proper decisions and arrive at the dollar/value amount that the property is worth to you. But, how do you go about it? All of the Inspectors’ ads seem the same - they all tout the same lines of how great they are, etc., etc. It’s impossible to get a referral because you really don’t know anyone who has bought or sold a home recently, and you surely don’t trust the Realtor's choice because you are pretty sure the Inspectors that they use are “their good Ol' boys” that solicit the Realtors for work. So, what’s a person to do? 

Well, let me make it easy for you to cut right through all of the hype and “fairy tales.” I’m going to give you a downloadable short chart that you can print. On the chart will be a few of the most pertinent questions you would want to be asking of your prospective Inspector as to his/her qualifications to be sure that they will be the one that will give you the knowledge and peace of mind to move forward into one of the biggest investments/transactions you will make in your life. If you use the chart as it is designed to be used, you will be able to fill in the boxes below each Inspector's name with check marks or minimal info relating to the answers you receive from the several Inspectors that you interview. It will become evident in short order who is the most qualified Inspector that you should hire, unless, of course, you are an individual that is of the opinion that all Inspectors are the same, all inspection reports are the same, and the only difference is who is the cheapest, which, in that case, I’m sure that you will get exactly what you bargained for. Besides, who better than the Inspector himself knows what he/she is worth! Download the Home Inspectors Hiring Questionnaire as a printable PDF file.

Finally, for those that really want to know who they are hiring to perform such an important service for them, I will give you a list of additional questions that you can ask that will further qualify an Inspector to you, if you wish to know more and take the time to ask them. Hey, you’re only talking about a few hundred thousand dollars of your hard earned money here, so taking a few extra minutes of your time to hire a true professional who will be supplying you with the knowledge and peace of mind that you need at a cost of less than ½ of 1% of what the transaction will be is, well, maybe worth the extra effort. I’ll make it even easier for you; I’ll give you some links (see box to the right) to go to so you can check if the answers the Inspectors give you are true.

So, roll up your sleeves, pull out the telephone book, and go online and decide on a few Inspectors that on the surface look promising. Write their names at the top of the columns and then start dialing the phone and asking the questions and filling in the blank boxes with check marks and info.

Questions To Ask:

  1. How long have you been inspecting?
  2. How long have you been in the Construction and Home Repair business?
  3. Are you “certified” by any national organization as a Home Inspector? Are you a licensed General Contractor?
  4. Are you licensed in any thing?
  5. Have you ever hands-on built a home from scratch? If so what, where, when?
  6. Have you ever spent any “real” time in the home repair field? If so, what, when?
  7. Do you solicit realtors to obtain your work/inspections?
  8. What, EXACTLY, do you inspect and include in your inspection report?
  9. Is the report computer generated, easy to understand and have digital color pictures? Do you offer a money back guarantee?
  10. How long will the inspection take?
  11. What is your fee?

These should be the short list, lucky thirteen if you will, that should shed a little light on just how much experience your Inspector has, how qualified they are and the basics of what you can expect from them should you hire them. http://www.unbiasedinspections.com/index.htm

Additional Questions You May Want To Ask:

  1. Do have a website and what is its address?
  2. Do you have any references you would like to share with me?
  3. Can I accompany you during the inspection?
  4. Have you ever been sued over one of your inspections?
  5. How do you stand behind your inspection if a problem comes up?
  6. How much continuing education do you take every year? What other services do you offer?
  7. Do you belong to the local Realtors Board?
  8. Do you advertise in any of the real estate companies’ sales fliers?
  9. What/whose Standards of Practice do you inspect to?
  10. What Home Inspection organization(s) are you most proud to belong to and why?

MY ANSWERS To The Questions:

I have been in the Home Inspection business for 40 years.

I have been in the Construction and Home Repair business for 45 years.

I am certified as a Home Inspector by the following organizations: CalNACHI, NACHI International, IHINA.

I have been a licensed General Contractor since 1977.

I am licensed in the following: California General Contractor & California Structural Pest Inspector.

I have built many structures since 1977, including such projects as a geodesic dome home.

I have 45 years of hands-on “real” time in the home repair field/structural pest control business.

I do NOT solicit realtors to obtain inspection work.

For each report I inspect all visible and accessible portions and systems of the house and property.

Each computer generated report is easy to understand and includes digital color pictures.

I offer a money back guarantee and stand firmly behind it!

Each inspection will take 4 – 8 + hours depending on the property to be inspected.

The fee will vary depending on the property to be inspected.

I have a website at www.unbiasedinspections.com.

I have numerous client references on my website at Client Testimonials.

I encourage my clients to accompany me during the inspection, or at least be on site near the end of the inspection. 

I have never been sued over an inspection, even though I’ve been inspecting homes since 1968.

If a problem comes up regarding an inspection, I have a money back guarantee.

Each year I obtain usually 40 - 50 hours of continuing education in pertinent home inspection classes.

Other services offered… structural pest (termite) inspections, thermography scans and reports, floor level mapping, consulting.

I do not belong to the local Realtors Board in order to avoid any perception of conflict of interest or collusion.

I absolutely do NOT advertise in any of the real estate companies’ sales fliers.

My home inspections are performed under the Standards of Practice of CalNACHI (National Association of Certifed Home Inspectors).

The Home Inspection organization(s) of which I most proudly belong is CalNACHI (National Association of Certifed Home Inspectors) because of their high standards and stringent continuing education requirements. I’m also proud to be a member of Independent Home Inspectors of North America (IHINA) because in order to be a member you must sign a pledge NOT to solicit business from realtors!

- Ron Ringen Ringen's

Unbiased Inspections https://www.unbiasedinspections.com/home-inspection-articles/how-to-hire-a-home-inspector/

How to Become a Home Inspector

Home inspectors must have a good knowledge of homes, and drive to learn more.

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Owning a home is a popular investment. As with any investment the buyer wants to be certain there are no problems with the home. It is also beneficial to be aware in advance of any flaws that may need to be corrected. Thus enters the profession of home inspection. Home inspectors are usually hired by the home buyer, realtor or mortgage brokers to review the home to be purchased. They are asked to do a thorough check of the indoor and outdoor condition of the home. This invaluable home check is a type ofinsurance for the home buyer and money lender. They gain detailed information about the quality and condition of their investment. So how does one become a home inspector? Home inspection is an involved career that requires self motivation, great people skills and small business acumen. If you ever wondered how to become a home inspector then read on and review the links provided for a quick guide to this growing career. Part I: What It Takes There are many skills one must have to be a home inspector. Some may assume that one need only a knowledge of homes and home repair andmaintenance to work in this field. Home inspection requires a great deal more. It is true, home inspectors must have a good knowledge of homes but they must also have the drive to learn more if they want to have the most up-to-date information for their clients. Home inspectors must also be very good with people. Home inspection requires a great deal of customer service. They should expect daily interaction with clients, realtors, lenders, and even other inspectors. Finally, home inspection is most often a small business. Home inspectors are either starting their own small business or joining another small business in the area. Each of these skills deserve a closer look and further explanation. But first, it will help to map out a typical day in the life of a home inspector. A typical day for a home inspector does not follow the an 8 to 5 schedule. Instead home inspections may take place after normal work hours and even on the weekends. It usually depends on what works best for the client. When scheduling an inspection, most home inspectors encourage the client to be present at the time of the inspection so that they may follow the inspector through the process. This is especially the case when the client is the home buyer. On the scheduled day, after a short introduction with the clients, the inspector begins to assess the home. As the inspector reviews and takes notes, they also point out good and questionable details to the client. Because the client is with them during the inspection they may ask questions and get clarification about what may be done to fix problems or how to adopt better preventive maintenance. Home inspectors always prepare a report for the client and will often remind them that whatever they point out during the review will be in more detail in the report later. A good inspector will do all the easily accessible indoor and outdoor inspection with the clients. After this they usually inspect the roof, attic, under the house and other hard to reach places on their own. Once the inspection is over the inspector will wrap up with the clients and arrange to send them or their realtor the final report. Nowadays, most inspectors take their notes and enter them into computer programs to give good, detailed reports to their clients within in 24-48 hours. This quick turn around time is important as an offer for a home may be waiting for the results of the inspection to close. After this inspection the inspector may not have time to run back to the office or run the notes through on the laptop; thus it is imperative they took good notes. Instead they may leave one inspection directly for another. At the end of the day they may finally get the chance to sit down, review notes and polish final reports. So what does the inspector review and place in the report? Home inspection is a thorough review of a home. It requires knowledge of homes and home maintenance and repair. Usually those entering the home inspection field either have a background as a home professional, i.e. contractor, plumber, electrician, or they are already a good all around handyman, i.e. their relatives actually trust their help on home repairs! But to become a home inspector they must continue their education and round out their knowledge of the home. The areas they will investigate (and therefore must have knowledge of) include: Foundation: i.e. spotting structural defects and damage Plumbing: i.e. pipes, fixtures and corrosion Electrical: i.e. grounding, fuses and breakers Roofing: i.e. roofing materials, draining systems and detecting leaks Equipment: i.e. stoves, furnaces, and air conditioners Interior: i.e. cabinets, fire places, and doors & windows Exterior: i.e. patio, decks, driveway and walkways The above list is only a brief review but illustrates the broad range of knowledge the home inspector must have. To inspect all of these items they must be a sort of jack-of-all-trades. The home inspector must be able to review the construction and wear on a home with a critical eye. They must understand enough to be a little bit of everyone: plumber, electrician, carpenter, maintenance mechanic, roofer, contractor and mason; to name a few. Having the knowledge is the first step, being able communicate that knowledge to clients is another necessity for home inspectors. One must be a "people person" and a great communicator to enter the home inspection business. Home inspectors work with a diverse clientele. Most of the clients are home buyers, and as homes vary in price and personality, so do the people buying them. Many times the clients accompany the home inspector through the review of the home. During the inspection, the home inspector gives initial impressions of the state of the home. The clients often have questions and want further explanations. Inspectors should expect this and be patient when clarifying their information. A rapport with the client also makes the long process, usually over an hour, go by more quickly. And although the inspector knows their stuff, they will also want their relaxed personality to convey this to the client who may be anxious about their potential home. Besides the home buyer, home inspectors will also work with realtors and home sellers. Here they face the pressures of pleasing their client with their professionalism but not holding back when their critical eye may see something the seller did not expect. This may be harder customer service as it is never an easy task to tell the client bad news. Finally, home inspectors may work with other professionals such as lawyers. A knowledgeable home inspector may include expert witness testimony as a service to the professional community. But opportunities as an expert witness only come to those who can communicate their knowledge clearly. Being a good communicator and a "people person" will help the home inspector in this predominantly small business field. Most home inspection businesses are small companies run by an individual or a small group of individuals. The flexible hours and little overhead make this an ideal small business to start. If one individual wants to set up their small business, most states make this easy to accomplish. However, many states do have regulations for home inspectors to follow (see links listed below for detailed information for your state). The benefits of the small business, setting your own schedule, determining your pay, etc. also come with a cost. The small business owner must be self motivated. There are times when the work day will easily stretch past the 8 hour norm. Small business owners must be willing to promote themselves and get their name out there. The small business owner is their own boss, marketing manager, project planner, secretary, and sometimes accountant. If a home inspector joins a firm, these are generally small businesses as well. Here staff may not do everything, however, as in all small businesses, it works best when everyone is willing to do a little more than their usual workload for the well being of the company. The perks of these smaller business groups is that they often have their employees best interests at heart and will work hard to make a good working environment for everyone. Small business has a different culture than most jobs and the home inspecting profession fits well into this group; anyone interested in the home inspection trade should be aware of everything a small business has to offer. Home inspection is an involved career. It has variable workdays with new people and places every day. Home inspectors are interested in learning about homes and all their components. They take time to learn the details and are patient when sharing and explaining that information with clients. Home inspectors can work with a diverse audience and may even have the communication skills to be an expert witness. They are self motivated small business owners and/or members. To them, the benefits and rewards are greater than any of the challenges a small business may offer. All these traits together are the basic skills one needs to be a home inspector. Now, how does one get the well-rounded education and connections they need to start? Check out Part II of our article to find out Where to Start. Part II: Where to Start A career as a home inspector is sounding like the perfect fit for your lifestyle and business preference. You are handy around the house or already have some education in one of the home professional fields. To you, homes are a playground with all kinds of potential. But now where do you go? To become a home inspector you will want to start with classes. After taking a class there are many home inspection associations out there to join. Finally, you will want to decide if you want to start your own business or if you want to join a firm in your area. Then you will be ready to tackle your first client! But first, where do you go to learn the home inspection trade? There are many associations and companies that offer home inspector training. Most have correspondence courses by video/mail or Internet. These classes vary, but sites that do list cost show average prices over $1000 for a complete course. Many of these groups also offer smaller programs to learn or review specific areas of home inspection. These are useful to those with some starting background or home inspectors already in the field that want to increase their specific knowledge. Specialized courses for home inspectors already in the field may be used as continuing education credits which is required by most organizations. These continuing education courses also help inspectors expand their services. For example some inspectors may choose to include commercial inspections or learn more about becoming an expert witness (to learn more about continuing education see our links below). Some organizations do have in person classes available, depending on location. Many of these classes are geared towards the adult learner who may be working around another full time job. Most of these training programs come with a comprehensive test and more information about state specific rules. Another great benefit about a lot of these programs is that they include small business and general customer service overviews. Students learn how to start and promote their business. Often, information for creating professional relationships with realtors and others in the real estate business are included. This may prove to be extremely helpful to those starting home inspection as their own small business. Finally, these programs often demystify the process of writing clear reports for clients. They may also cover the various types of software and tools available to the home inspector writing reports. These classes are great in training future home inspectors about how to inspect, where to find clients, how to set up the business and what tools are available to make their trade easier. With the class taken and exams passed, the home inspector will want to look at joining a professional organization. Home Inspection associations offer membership benefits to those in the career. To join, home inspectors must usually show some competence in the field. They may either do this by providing their state license (if their state requires it) and/or taking an exam. Most associations do have a means of reviewing the inspectors that join (see our list of membership links below). Home inspectors must adhere to the 'Standards of Practice' for the organization. By providing clear guidelines to follow, these associations protect the home inspector, consumer and the profession. Many consumers are looking for home inspectors that belong to one or more organizations because the high standards these groups expect for their members. In this way, membership may be used as a positive advertising tool. Once a member, it is usually required that inspectors keep their knowledge updated through continuing education. Most associations offer continuing education classes and seminars for their members. Besides educational opportunities, these organizations also offer newsletters, discussion forums, example cases and other materials to aid the home inspector. Finally, many associations have local chapters. Through these local groups home inspectors may connect with others in the profession. Some associations offer mentorship programs through local chapters as well. Thus, home inspector associations offer training, professional guidelines, aids, and local connections. Home inspection is traditionally a small business and it is up to the inspector as to how much of the business they want to control alone. To start a one person small business is possible for the home inspection career. However, this takes self discipline and direction. There are also requirements and rules that must be followed in each state. Contacting the local Better Business Bureau is a good start. But also a small business class or contacting a lawyer will help clarify the paperwork and process of starting a small business. Another option is to buy into a home inspection franchise (see business aid links for examples).After they have a good foothold, some home inspectors may hire a small staff that can help with scheduling, reporting and bookkeeping. As the business grows the home inspector may start a small firm and hire on other inspectors. Some inspectors prefer to start with a firm already in place. These smaller groups offer guidance and mentorship for those new to home inspection. When set up as a company, they may also offer the individual legal protection under the business name rather then having their own personal name at risk. Traditionally a small business, it is up to the home inspector to find what kind of small business works best for them. Once an interest is established the road to becoming a home inspector is clear. One must first educate themselves about running home checks, writing reports, and working with clients. Joining a home inspection association will help further the home inspectors education, resources and connections. One of the toughest choices for the new home inspector would be if they want to start under the guidance of another in a small firm or if they want to start out on their own. Once these steps are taken the home inspector may take on the first clients and begin their career. Conclusion A home inspector is a well rounded individual who is both flexible and knowledgeable. They are jack-of-all-trades around the house and are dedicated to continuing their education to know the latest about their field. Home Inspectors are great communicators and enjoy working with various people in a job that changes daily. They have the dedication and interest in working in a small business. After testing their knowledge, they usually join an association with a good 'Standards of Practice' they agree to follow. The 'Standards of Practice' provides clear guidelines to follow, thus protecting the home inspector, consumer and the profession. The finally decision of the home inspector will be if they want to start their own small business or join another firm already started in their area. Whichever they choose they enter it understanding the great benefits and hardships of a small business. Home inspection is fast growing career with many benefits and challenges. If contemplating the career, take some time to look over the links provided for Training, Membership Information, State Regulations, Continuing Education, Small Business Aid. Home Inspection Training Allied Home Inspection www.homeinspectioncourse.com The course is available online or through traditional correspondence. The textbook used in Allied's course is one of the most comprehensive texts available. It covers the inspection process from start to finish (including quizzes at the end of each chapter, an inspection checklist for each topic and a glossary). This book can be used as an inspector's guide in the field. In addition, Allied's course provides supplemental reading which will reveal dozens of special techniques used by professional home inspectors, what they look for and the inspection methods they use. Allied's Home Inspection Course has 13 comprehensive lessons which provide "hands on" instruction. ASHI School of Home Inspection www.ashi.org/inspectors/training.asp ASHI [American Society of Home Inspectors] has created several educational opportunities for prospective home inspectors to learn about the profession and gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become a competent home inspector. Depending on your learning style and preference, you can take courses from the convenience of your home, your local community college or through one of ASHI's endorsed independent training schools throughout the United States. Certified Inspection Training, Inc. www.certifiedinspectiontraining.com Certified Inspection Training, Inc, successfully teaches people how to become home inspectors and just as importantly, how to set up and run their own home inspection business. Classes include: a stand alone Home Study Course, a 3-Day Course combined with the Home Study Course, a one day Structural Pests and Dry Rot Class and a Home Study Pests and Dry Rot Course. The class training is professional and intensive, with study both in the classroom and most importantly, in the field with hands-on practice. HE - A Better School of Building Inspection www.hometraining.com HE - A Better School of Building Inspection (a leader in home inspection training materials) has trained hundreds of home inspectors across North America with home study, live instruction, a combination of both, and advanced coursework on commercial inspections and new construction inspections. We are nationally recognized and affiliates of ASHI, NAHI, FABI, and CREIA. Our training is also accepted in many of the states which currently require licensing or continuing education of home inspectors. Our coursework is also approved by Allen Insurance Group and FREA (home inspector errors and omissions insurers) as an approved training affiliate. Come visit our site to learn more about our videos, live instruction, inspection report disks, tools, etc. Also, check out our Weekly Internet Specials. Home Inspection Institute of America www.inspecthomes.com The Home Inspection Institute of America provides expert home inspection training courses, home inspection certification, home inspection continuing education, top-notch inspection products, and a wealth of information for home inspectors and home buyers. Inspection Support Services Inc. www.inspectsupport.com/courses.htm Inspection Support Services offers the following courses along with other home inspection training courses and and a number seminars including Defect Recognition and Report Writing for both residential and light commercial properties. For further information contact us with your training needs - we will be glad to help you! InspectAmerica Engineering, P.C. www.inspectamerica.com/Home_Inspector_Training/ InspectAmerica Engineering, P.C. offers a home inspector training program for persons interested in entering the home inspection business, as well as for home inspectors who are interested in improving their home inspection service skills and receiving feedback on their home inspection techniques. Home inspector training is also available for persons with a casual or related interest, such as real estate agents, appraisers, mortgage lenders, real estate attorneys, etc., who are interested in learning more about the home inspection business. Our home inspector program can help make you more knowledgeable and proficient in your own business. Our program is also available to home owners who want to know more about the ins and outs of their home. ________________________________ Click here for more links on Continuing Education for Home Inspectors. ________________________________ Inspection Training Associates www.home-inspect.com ITA offers the most complete home inspection training available, with licensed home inspection schools nationwide. Our specialty inspection classes offer specific training on the largest variety of inspection topics. In 1987, ITA founded North America’s first licensed home inspection school, and today we continue to help thousands of people create successful home inspection businesses. ITA has more experience than any other home inspection training school and is backed by Kaplan Professional Schools, one of the world's largest providers of career education. Our instructors are the voices and experts of the profession – many have served as past or present officers of the leading professional associations in the industry. NACHI's Inspector University www.nachi.org/education.htm NACHI [National Association of Certified Home Inspectors] Education today launched the first part of its on-line home inspector education program. The initial published course concentrates on the NACHI Standards of Practice and how they should implemented. There are several non-scoring quizzes built into the system which allow the student to evaluate their understanding of the material presented. Many of the questions written for this course have been added to the SOP exam database, which is the final exam for this course (its completion is an existing membership requirement). National Institute of Building Inspectors® www.nibi.com The National Institute of Building Inspectors® (NIBI®) has provided educational and training programs for the home inspection industry and related professions since 1987. NIBI evolved from training programs developed for the HouseMaster® franchise system, and is recognized as one of the oldest and most experienced home inspection training institutes. While continuing its affiliation with HouseMaster, NIBI offers training for the entire home inspection profession and has developed an enviable reputation for raising inspection standards and increasing awareness of the need for formal home inspection training. Professional Home Inspection Institute www.homeinspectionschool.biz At PHII we have devoted our efforts into creating the best at-home course in the nation. Rather than give you thick books full of information you don't need, or endless hours of video tapes with no interaction, we provide an easy-to-master, interactive course you can complete in just a few weeks with the help of your home computer! We also offer a variety of additional hands-on training opportunities to give new inspectors the experience they need. Professional Inspection Training Institute www.homeinspectiontraining.net We understand that choosing the right Home Inspection school is an important decision. We want to assist you in making a decision that will meet your personal and financial goals. At the Professional Inspection Training Institute, we provide the training that you need to learn the "hottest" growth profession of the decade - home inspection. Our advanced Home Inspection Training is designed to give you in-depth knowledge on current Home Inspection practices, while our hands-on technical instruction will acquaint you with building systems and construction. Cash in on the growing demand for Professional Home Inspectors by training with the Industry Leaders! Thompson Education Direct www.educationdirect.com/inspector/ There are certain skills you need to begin a career in home inspection. The Education Direct Home Inspector training program helps you develop them quickly and conveniently. You’ll learn about: Construction methods; Inspection standards and building codes and regulations; Interior and exterior inspections; Inspecting electric, heating, air conditioning, and plumbing systems; Starting your own Home Inspection business. And you’ll learn it all at home – no classroom needed! This Education Direct distance learning program is like having your own personal Home Inspector school! More Links Home Inspection Membership American Association of Home Inspectors www.aahi.com The American Association of Home Inspectors Inc. is a professional membership organization of "Certified Home Inspectors"TM nationwide. AAHITM was organized in 1989 by the American Institute of Home Inspectors, who has been training home inspectors since 1981. AAHITM is the only National Association that certifies Home Inspectors using a Certification Mark granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Reg. No. 1,662,100) in 1991. The Certification Mark is to be used to certify certain person or persons that have met the education and/or experience criteria as set forth by AAHITM . Current members of AAHITM are granted the right to use this Registered Certification Mark. AAHITM is the Nation’s leading Home Inspectors Association and is not controlled by a group of selected inspectors and does not require sponsorship or approval by your competition for membership. AAHITM has members in 48 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. American Society of Home Inspectors www.ashi.org The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Web site is your most valuable source of information about home inspection. Home buyers, sellers, real estate professionals and home inspectors alike recognize our resources, educational programs, our Standards and Ethics and our newest program, the ASHI Experience as models of professionalism and superior customer service. We welcome you and invite you to join us in shaping the future of the home inspection profession. For 28 years, ASHI has provided home inspectors with the best in education, resources and professional networking opportunities. Increase your chances of success and join ASHI today. Foundation of Real Estate Appraisers www.frea.com The Foundation of Real Estate Appraisers (FREA) was founded in 1991 to fill a gap in the market for appraiser continuing education. At the time, obtaining education was expensive and difficult. It involved earning a designation that required thousands of dollars in classes from an association, and years of subservient service to someone who was already designated. FREA began offering continuing education classes in the San Diego area and within a few months had more than 150 instructors teaching classes all over the country. In 1996 FREA created a home inspection division, offering the same benefits to home inspectors as they had been offering to appraisers, including low cost E&O insurance. Due to the large numbers of members, FREA has substantial buying power with insurance companies, helping to keep the program strong while other insurance providers have fallen by the wayside. Housing Inspection Foundation http://iami.org/hif.htm The Housing Inspection Foundation (HIF) is an organization of professionals dedicated to the promotion and development of Home Inspection. The Housing Inspection Foundation was created to provide members with Information, Education, Standards, Ethics, and Professional Recognition. The Home Inspection industry is the fastest growing profession today. This creates new opportunities for those who are involved in the real estate, construction or environmental fields that are willing to learn how to perform this vital services, including Home Inspectors, Building Inspectors, Real Estate Professionals, Construction Inspectors, Remodeling Contractors, etc. National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers www.nabie.org National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers, a chartered affinity group of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Since 1989, the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers has worked to establish the highest standards for the building and home inspection industry and to verify the qualifications of individuals offering these services. As an organization, NABIE strives to protect the integrity of the home and building inspection industry, and thus, the general public. We review legislation, examine court cases, and monitor relevant government activities in all states. We interface with affiliated real estate associations and commissions, state engineering boards and other standard setting organizations. National Association of Certified Home Inspectors www.nachi.org The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) is the world's largest, most elite non-profit inspection association. Our home buying clients enjoy the HI Experience™ only NACHI Certified Inspectors can provide. Our inspectors have all successfully passed NACHI's Inspector Examination, taken a Standards of Practice Quiz, completed a Code of Ethics Course, adhere to Standards of Practice, abide by a Code of Ethics, attend required continuing education courses, and are NACHI Certified. NACHI...the very best home inspectors. National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. www.nahi.org The National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI) was established in 1987 as a nonprofit association to promote and develop the home inspection industry. The mission of the National Association of Home Inspectors is to promote excellence and professionalism in the Home Inspection industry; to provide a standards of practice and a code of ethics; to educate its members; and to inform the public of the benefits and scope of a professional home inspection. NAHI now has over 1900 members in 49 U.S. states and Canada. By working together to develop and maintain standards of excellence, NAHI members benefit from professional development and the exchange of ideas through continuing education and seminars. Information and support are available for members regarding their business and inspection practices and service to their clients. NAHI's promotional activities educate the public and promote the importance of a reputable home inspection as an integral part of the residential real estate transaction. A national referral service helps consumers find facts about the industry and NAHI standards, and unites NAHI members with new clients. National Institute of Building Inspectors www.nibi.com The National Institute of Building Inspectors® (NIBI®) has provided educational and training programs for the home inspection industry and related professions since 1987. NIBI evolved from training programs developed for the HouseMaster® franchise system, and is recognized as one of the oldest and most experienced home inspection training institutes. While continuing its affiliation with HouseMaster, NIBI offers training for the entire home inspection profession and has developed an enviable reputation for raising inspection standards and increasing awareness of the need for formal home inspection training. NIBI offers conventional Classroom Courses at its dedicated Training Center and distance learning programs through its Online Campus. Both educational programs have been approved by the major home inspection associations and many states as meeting the requirements for membership, licensing, and/or continuing education. NIBI Certified Inspectors are required to not only complete educational courses and field training work, but must also participate in a yearly re-certification program. Being NIBI Certified is indeed the mark of home inspection professionalism! When home buyers are ready to make that home buying decision, they should insist on a Certified NIBI Inspector for their home inspection, and buy with confidence. Organization of Real Estate Professionals www.orep.org OREP specializes in placing errors and omissions insurance for real estate appraisers, home inspectors, real estate agents/brokers, mortgage field service professionals, mortgage brokers and others. OREP offers the lowest rates on appraiser's insurance with same day coverage & confirmation (most cases). Society of Professional Real Estate Inspectors www.sprei.org The Society of Professional Real Estate Inspectors is a national educational organization dedicated to providing the highest level of educational achievement for home/building inspectors. Anyone who is interested in improving his or her skills as an inspector is welcomed to join the Society of Professional Real Estate Inspectors. SPREI does not require past experience or background in the inspection profession. All that is required in becoming a member is a willingness to apply ones self to self-education. By simply filling out the application form and submitting the low annual fee, you will start yourself on the way to becoming an educated and informed real estate inspector. STATE SPECIFIC Arkansas Association of Real Estate Inspectors www.ark-homeinspectors.com The Arkansas Association of Real Estate Inspectors (AAREI) is an Arkansas-wide association of professional Home Inspectors. It was founded in 1992 to: Provide a forum for home inspectors to exchange experiences and to enhance the technical knowledge of its members. Promote excellence in the Home Inspection industry in Arkansas. Provide a source of information about home inspection services for the home buying public. To maintain awareness of the laws and regulations which affect the home inspection industry in Arkansas. California Real Estate Inspection Association www.creia.org The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) is a voluntary, nonprofit public-benefit organization of real estate inspectors. Founded in 1976, CREIA provides education, training and support services to its members and the real estate community. CREIA's Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice are recognized by the California Business and Professions Codes and are considered the standard of care by the real estate industry and legal profession in the state. CREIA Inspector Members have successfully passed a comprehensive written examination on the myriad of systems and components in the construction and maintenance of residential dwellings. CREIA's educational mission is to expand the technical knowledge of its members through continuing education. Inspector members must complete a minimum 30 hours of continuing education annually. Educational credits are obtained through monthly chapter educational meetings, chapter toolbox seminars, CAMP, state conferences in the spring and fall, and other CREIA approved sources. CREIA membership activities and programs encourage the sharing of experience and knowledge resulting in betterment of the real estate profession and the consumer public, which it serves. Connecticut Association of Home Inspectors www.ct-inspectors.com CAHI is the largest independent home inspector organization in the state. View our "members" directory above to find the most extensive list of licensed home inspectors in Connecticut. CAHI provides top quality monthly and special continuing educational seminars that meet the minimum requirements as set forth by the CT. Home Inspection Licensing Board. Our seminars provide inspectors with information about techniques and components from the past and present including new innovations and technologies that may be found in homes today. CAHI's mission is to educate the home inspector with valuable and pertinent information, the tools that will make them the best home inspectors in the marketplace. Florida Association of Building Inspectors, Inc. www.fabi.org Florida Association of Building Inspectors, Inc. has promoted professionalism in the industry through qualifying their members to assure the public’s confidence. Applicants to FABI must pass a written examination, have their inspection report reviewed and show proof of a required number of inspections in order to qualify for membership. They must also adhere to FABI’s Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics and earn continuing education credits by attending regular seminars/workshops to maintain their membership and keep their proficiencies current. Through its growing membership, FABI maintains an active Ethics Committee to ensure compliance of the Association’s ethical, moral and industry standards. Georgia Association of Home Inspectors www.gahi.com GAHI has promoted higher standards for professional home inspectors since its inception in 1989. Since the State of Georgia does not license home inspectors, GAHI’s membership requirements, the most stringent in the country, fill this void. The organization requires all members to be certified in the One & Two Family Code (IRC / CABO), carry the appropriate level of insurance and posses a business license. Not only does this better equip the home inspector to conduct new construction inspections, but it also sharpens skills for inspecting existing homes. Kentucky Real Estate Inspection Association, Inc. www.kreia.org The Kentucky Real Estate Inspection Association, Inc. (KREIA) was formed in 1992. Its purpose is to promote excellence within the real estate inspection industry by providing and promoting the following: Promote Customer Service through our Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Promote and maintain high standards of conduct for its members. Provide its members with education and training opportunities to enhance their professionalism. Provide and promote the KREIA Certification Program to and for our members. Maryland Association of Home Inspectors www.mdahi.org Our goal is to provide you with useful information about our organization that we hope makes it easier for you to do business with our members. Maryland Association of Home Inspectors has been serving the Real Estate community since 1995. We specialize providing a source of the best qualified and reputable Maryland home inspectors. At this site, you will discover what area each member provide home inspection services, and to contact them. Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors http://mshi.org Since 1979, the Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors has set a high Standard of Excellence within the inspection industry. Membership in this not-for-profit society of private, licensed, fee-paid home inspectors encourages continuing education and improvement of performance. MSHI is the only Minnesota organization that offers its members continuing education on a monthly basis. Nevada Association of Certified Real Estate Inspectors www.nacrei.org The Nevada Association of Certified Real Estate Inspectors is an organization formed for and by the Certified Real Estate Inspectors of Nevada. Representing the Certified Inspectors of Structures in Nevada and boasting membership of over 50% of the active inspectors in Northern Nevada, NACREI has been recognized to be a viable source of information and training for inspectors as well as a voice to the Division of Real Estate in Nevada. Working with the various entities involved in the legislative process and other areas we have been successful in maintaining our mission statement of Promoting the Professionalism, Integrity, and Qualifications of Professional Home Inspectors in the State of Nevada, as well as becoming, as State of Nevada Certified Inspectors, an important party in the transaction of Real Estate. With membership being open to all State of Nevada Certified Inspectors of Structures, NACREI invites you to join the ranks of our organization and share the success of our labors, as have the others in our membership. Associate memberships are available as well. Southern Nevada Association of Professional Property Inspectors www.snappi.org SNAPPI is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for its inspector/members and working to inform and educate the public about the benefits of home inspections. We also work with our state officials to reform state law and administrative codes to reflect changing market conditions, industry trends and the needs of our clients, the home buyer. New York State Association Of Home Inspectors www.nysahi.com The New York State Association Of Home Inspectors (NYSAHI) provides this site as a tool to help New York State Home Inspectors stay current with the changing face of home inspector regulation in our state. Our industry is changing. It is evolving from a unregulated service industry to a licensed profession. As recently as ten to fifteen years ago the concept of a home inspection being part of the home buying process was a new one in many parts of the country. Now, about half the states in the union have some form of home inspector regulation. The New York State legislature passed the "Home Inspector Professional Licensing Act" in the 2004 legislative session and Governor Pataki signed it into law on August 12, 2004. This law is set to take effect December 31, 2005. Home inspectors are encouraged to use the links on this page to educate themselves about home inspector licensing in our state to help in preparing for, and prospering in, this new regulated environment. North Carolina Licensed Home Inspector Association www.nclhia.com As of October, 1996, all home inspections in North Carolina must be performed by a North Carolina-licensed home inspector. Licensure is accomplished by meeting stringent requirements set by the State of North Carolina and passing a comprehensive examination. Continuing education is required each year in order to keep this license in force. Being licensed by the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board, and adherence to the North Carolina Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the only legal requirements for performing a home inspection in North Carolina. The North Carolina Licensed Home Inspector Association (NCLHIA) was formed in 1997 to provide a professional organization for all home inspectors licensed in North Carolina. Pennsylvania Home Inspectors Coalition http://phic.info The Pennsylvania Home Inspectors Coalition (PHIC) represents the two nationally recognized inspection organizations that have offered verifiable proof of compliance with ACT 114, so that the Coalition can act as the eyes and ears of the Home Inspection profession within this State. Because of the new Home Inspection Law, which went into effect 12/20/01, ASHI® and NAHI™ Chapter Presidents and Vice Presidents came together to form a coalition to reflect each Chapter membership’s point of view. In turn, this can be communicated to the Coalition so that the Coalition will act as the one voice for the home inspection profession in Pennsylvania Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors www.tarei.com The Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors (TAREI) is a statewide professional organization formed in 1977 with a current membership of over 750 inspectors and related professionals. TAREI promotes a professional code of ethics for its members, reviews and upgrades minimum standards, provides recommendations to the Texas Real Estate Commission, and conducts statewide continuing education programs for all inspectors. Wisconsin Association of Home Inspectors www.wahigroup.com In 1994, home inspectors throughout Wisconsin began meeting monthly to improve skills and to discuss with other inspectors what they had learned during the conduct of home inspections. In early 1995, we established our name as the Wisconsin Association of Home Inspectors, Incorporated (WAHI). Our goal is to improve the competency of home inspectors through training and professional interaction. Our monthly education programs focus on home inspections as well as industry concerns. Currently, we have over 350 members and many of them are members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). Our members include engineers, builders, electricians, building tradesmen, journeymen, basement specialists, etc. Each of them is involved with the home inspection industry in one way or another. Back to Main Menu State License for Home Inspectors (N/A = state does not current require licensure) Alabama Building Commission www.bc.state.al.us/HI%20Menu.htm Alaska Department of Commerce www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/home.htm Arizona State Board of Technical Registration www.btr.state.az.us/AZ%20Ashi%20Standards.htm Arkansas Home Inspector Registration Board www.sosweb.state.ar.us/ar_rules/rule_final/198.00.03-003F.pdf California N/A - www.commerce.ca.gov/state/ttca/ttca_business_display.jsp?path=Permits+&+Licenses&childPath=License+Handbook Colorado N/A - www.colorado.gov/colorado/permits.html Connecticut Dept of Consumer Protection www.dcp.state.ct.us/licensing/professions.htm Delaware N/A - http://dpr.delaware.gov/default.shtml Florida N/A - www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=25 Georgia N/A - www.sos.state.ga.us/plb/ Hawaii N/A - www.hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/pvl/ Idaho N/A - www.state.id.us/business/licensing.html Illinois Division of Banks & Real Estate www.obre.state.il.us/realest/homeinspect.htm Indiana Professional Licensing Agency www.in.gov/pla/bandc/home/ Iowa N/A - www.state.ia.us/government/com/prof/home.html Kansas N/A - www.accesskansas.org/operating/operating-resources/index.html Kentucky N/A - http://hbc.ppr.ky.gov/generalinformation.htm Louisiana State Board of Home Inspectors www.lsbhi.info/LSBHIweb.nsf/Home?OpenForm Maine N/A - www.maine.gov/portal/business/professions.html Maryland Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing www.dllr.state.md.us/license/real_est_app/reareq.htm Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure www.mass.gov/dpl/boards/hi/index.htm Michigan N/A - www.michigan.gov/statelicensesearch/0,1607,7-180-24786_24814-81259--,00.html Minnesota N/A - www.state.mn.us/cgi-bin/portal/mn/jsp/ Mississippi Home Inspector Board www.mrec.state.ms.us/default.asp?siteid=3 Missouri N/A - www.state.mo.us/mo/business.htm Montana N/A - http://discoveringmontana.com/dli/bsd/bc/index.asp Nebraska N/A - www.nebraska.gov/business/html/342/index.phtml Nevada Real Estate Division www.red.state.nv.us/insp_licreq.htm New Hampshire N/A - www.nhes.state.nh.us/elmi/licertreg.htm New Jersey License & Certification Guide www.state.nj.us/commerce/CEG_LCI/html/licguid.html New Mexico N/A - www.rld.state.nm.us/Division%20&%20Proffessions.htm New York State Division of Licensing Services www.dos.state.ny.us/lcns/licensing.html North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board www.nchilb.com/OSFM/Engineering/HILB/NCHILB.asp North Dakota N/A - www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/agecon/market/ec752-4w.htm Ohio N/A - http://ohio.gov/ Oklahoma Department of Health www.health.state.ok.us/program/ol/info.html#home Oregon Construction Contractors Board http://egov.oregon.gov/CCB/home_inspectors.shtml Pennsylvania Home Inspection Coalition http://phic.info/ Rhode Island Contractors Registration Board www.crb.state.ri.us/docs/hilawsfinal.pdf South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/ResidentialBuilders/ South Dakota Real Estate Commission www.state.sd.us/sdrec/home_inspect/homeinspections.htm Tennessee N/A - www.state.tn.us/commerce/boards/contractors/hinspcontractor.html Texas Real Estate Commission www.trec.state.tx.us/inspector/default.asp Utah N/A - www.dopl.utah.gov/directory.html Vermont N/A - www.vermont.gov/doing_business/profession.html Virginia Department of Business Assistance www.dba.state.va.us/frameset.asp?URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Edpor%2Evirginia%2Egov Washington N/A - www.dol.wa.gov/main/biglist.htm West Virginia N/A - www.business4wv.com/Public/content/DynamicContent.asp?pagename=licensesearch&Type=Regulatory Wisconsin License, Permit & Registration Service www.wisconsin.gov/state/app/ Wyoming N/A - http://plboards.state.wy.us/ For a more detailed summary, check out these two great resources: American Society of Home Inspectors www.ashi.org/inspectors/state.asp HE-School of Home Inspection www.hometraining.com/certif.htm Home Inspection Institute of America www.inspecthomes.com/regulate.htm Back to Main Menu Continuing Education for Home Inspectors Certified Inspection Training, Inc. www.certifiedinspectiontraining.com/continuing_education.html Classes are held in many areas of the country twice each year. Please check the "Calendar" page for dates and locations. Classes are held on the West Coast in most instances. These classes are approved for Continuing Education credits by many states including the State of Oregon. The Certification Classes are approved for up to 10 education points to sit for the Oregon Certification Tests. Plus you also get 3 "Ride-Along" points. Please check with your state to determine existing requirements. HE - School of Building Inspection www.hometraining.com/continuingEducation.htm Quality Continuing Education Hours MRC's (ASHI), CEU's (NAHI), or State Continuing Education Hours A Better School of Building Inspection offers high-quality material to help you earn your continuing education requirements. With our material you get your hours and get something out of them too!!! By purchasing our 4-Point Residential Inspection Home Study Package, you help reduce the cost of obtaining continuing education hours and get them done when it fits your schedule better. Home Inspection Institute of America, Inc. www.inspecthomes.org/cont_education.htm Continuing education courses on topics of concern and interest to home inspectors are offered at the Institute at various points throughout the year. Schedules will be posted on this site. The courses are submitted to various membership organizations and state licensing boards for appropriate recognition. Attendees receive a Certificate of Attendance at the end of each course, detailing the credit earned. Infinity Schools Continuing Education www.infinityschools.com/HomeInspection.asp Our complete line of training products includes textbook based training modules, resource manuals, and cutting edge CD-ROM And Video Training products, all developed in cooperation with educators, instructional designers, and technical artists, along with extensive research and contributions from home inspectors across North America, specifically to be the premiere education and training program for home inspectors. InspectAmerica Engineering, P.C. www.inspectamerica.com/Home_Inspector_Training/ InspectAmerica Engineering, P.C. offers a home inspector training program for persons interested in entering the home inspection business, as well as for home inspectors who are interested in improving their home inspection service skills and receiving feedback on their home inspection techniques. Home inspector training is also available for persons with a casual or related interest, such as real estate agents, appraisers, mortgage lenders, real estate attorneys, etc., who are interested in learning more about the home inspection business. Our home inspector program can help make you more knowledgeable and proficient in your own business. Our program is also available to home owners who want to know more about the ins and outs of their home. Inspection Support Services www.inspectsupport.com/courses.htm Inspection Support Services offers the following courses along with other home inspection training courses and and a number seminars including Defect Recognition and Report Writing for both residential and light commercial properties. For further information contact us with your training needs - we will be glad to help you! Inspection Training Associates www.home-inspect.com/courses/cehomestudy.asp Need Continuing Education credits, or just need to study up on a specific area in home inspection? Now you can take individual 8 hour home study courses on the inspection topic(s) of your choice! Each correspondence course includes an on-line final exam*, which you are required to pass with a 70% or better grade to receive CE credit. [Also includes other specialty inspection courses on this site.] National Institute of Building Inspectors www.nibi.com The National Institute of Building Inspectors® (NIBI®) has provided educational and training programs for the home inspection industry and related professions since 1987. NIBI evolved from training programs developed for the HouseMaster® franchise system, and is recognized as one of the oldest and most experienced home inspection training institutes. While continuing its affiliation with HouseMaster, NIBI offers training for the entire home inspection profession and has developed an enviable reputation for raising inspection standards and increasing awareness of the need for formal home inspection training. Professional Inspection Training Institute www.homeinspectiontraining.net/docs/conted.asp The Professional Inspection Training Institute offers the following 2 day, 1-day and 1/2 day continuing education courses in the inspection field: EIFS & Stucco Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Foundation & Structural Defects, Mold, Mildew & Moisture Intrusion, Radon Testing & Protocols, Sales & Marketing Seminar, Heat Pump Inspections, Carbon Monoxide & Improper Venting Back to Main Menu Small Business Aids All Business - Champions of Small Business www.allbusiness.com American Home Inspectors Training Institute Start-Up Packages www.ahit.com/products/packages/startup_pkgs.htm Better Business Bureau www.bbb.org Business.gov www.business.gov Business Owners' Idea Cafe www.businessownersideacafe.com Entrepreneur.com Solutions for Growing Businesses www.entrepreneur.com IRS Small Business/Self-Employed www.creditreport.org/get-the-most-out-of-the-irs/ More Business.com www.morebusiness.com National Association of Certified Home Inspectors - Business Success Tips www.nachi.org/success_tips.htm SCORE Counselors to America's Small Business www.score.org Small Business Administration www.sba.gov FRANCHISES AmeriSpec www.amerispecfranchise.com If you're looking to start your own home inspection franchise, you've come to the right place! AmeriSpec offers the best home inspection franchise opportunities available in North America. With over 350 independently owned and operated businesses that conduct over 150,000 inspections annually, AmeriSpec's 17 years of experience provide us with the know-how to offer the best training, support, and tools to get your franchise off the ground fast. A Pro Home Inspection www.a-pro.net/business.html With an annual potential of over 6 million transactions (translated into an estimated $1.8 billion in home inspection fees) the home inspection business is booming. In fact, Money Magazine has rated our industry as one of the "Top Ten Highest Income Home Businesses, and Entrepreneur Magazine calls home inspection "one of the best opportunities…" And now, you can turn that boom into a successful career! Joining the A-Pro® Home Inspection team can literally change your life. You’ll enjoy greater independence, as well as the personal and financial rewards of owning and operating your own home inspection business. National Property Inspections, Inc. www.npiweb.com/subpages/buildYourFuture.html Looking for the blueprints to build a successful home inspection business? Then National Property Inspections is the right opportunity for you. Go ahead--compare us to the competition. In fact, we want you to. Because we're confident that when you measure our franchise business package, including start-up costs, tools, home inspection training, and support, you'll agree that NPI is the right home inspection franchise to help you build your future. Pillar to Post www.pillartopost.com/franchise/index.cfm if you are looking for a business opportunity with an industry leader in a growing field, Pillar To Post® is the answer. You do not have to be an engineer or building contractor to succeed. What you really need is an ability and willingness to work with people. The most successful home inspectors are those who are able to develop strong trust with the real estate professionals who will refer clients to them, as well as with home buyers and sellers. That's why we focus on technical skills and marketing in our initial two-week training program and in our ongoing training and upgrading efforts. World Inspection Network www.winfranchise.com Join World Inspection Network (WIN) as we build a World-Class Brand in the billion-dollar home inspection industry. When you become a home inspector as a WIN franchise owner, the freedom, flexibility and financial rewards of running your own business can be yours. The home inspection industry continues to demonstrate strong growth and has already proven to be an integral part of the real estate transaction process. Over the past decade there has been a steady increase in the overall volume of home sales and the percentage of homes inspected, confirming that the home inspection business is a high demand service in a solid industry. As a WIN home inspector, you will share information with home buyers and sellers by giving them the knowledge and confidence they need to make an informed decision on one of life's biggest investments.

One roof or two?

My 1950’s home has recently developed ceiling cracks running lengthwise through all of the rooms.

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Q. My 1950’s home has recently developed ceiling cracks running lengthwise through all of the rooms. Recently, I had a new shingle roof put on, and the roofing contractor told me that I could save a little money by putting the new shingles on top of the old ones. I wonder if this could be contributing to the cracking of my plaster ceilings.

A. The new roof over the old is most likely the reason for the ceiling cracks. Some roofing contractors will put new shingles over old ones because it saves them time and money, but this is no benefit to the home owner. Your house was framed to handle the weight of one shingle roof, but not the weight of two. The extra load on the structure is placing stress on the rafters, braces and ceiling joists, and causing stress cracks in your plaster ceilings. At this point, your best option is to just live with the cracks, because if you patch them without relieving the extra load on the roof, the cracks will just come right back. Next time you are ready for a new roof, insist that the roofer remove all of the old shingles, felt, tar paper and any other materials right down to the plywood or boards and start from scratch. This will not only eliminate the extra weight problem, it will give you a better looking, tighter and longer lasting roof.

Pet Friendly Home by Homecheck

For many, welcoming a pet into the home is as joyous and significant as bringing home a new baby from the hospital.

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For many, welcoming a pet into the home is as joyous and significant as bringing home a new baby from the hospital. Pets easily find their way into our hearts with their playful antics and friendly companionship. When you decide you are ready for the responsibility of caring for a pet, it is imperative that you are willing to make adjustments to your living space. Preparing your home, pantry, and yard for your new pet is important to their well being and your ease of mind. This article offers pointers to those who are considering adopting a companion animal, or those who already have pets. Although the article focuses primarily on cats and dogs, many of the tips will work for most four legged friends. The tips may seem like common sense, but it may slip your mind to check for commonplace hazards when a new pet is underfoot exploring its' new surroundings. Many times we take for granted that things are safe or would be of no interest to animals. However, that adorable puppy running down the hall with toilet paper streaming behind him would beg to differ!

Part I: Preparing Your Home

When bringing a new pet home, the last thing anyone wants to think about is cleaning and proofing their home. However, taking a little time to do so will prevent headaches and possible heartaches. It will keep your pet, your prized possessions, and your sanity intact. This is true whether you are bringing home a new pet or adjusting an older one to a new home. Or, perhaps you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of losing possessions to a pet who has never had boundaries set up in the home. Whatever your reason, these tips will help proof your home for the new, old, and mischievous pets in your life.

Think Below the Knees
Get down on all fours and look around at the same level as your pet. There is a whole other world down at their viewpoint!

  • Think low! Remove objects on low shelves, coffee tables, and anywhere else that is easy access. Anything destructible, such as paper, books, anything made of cloth (i.e. laundry). It is much easier to 'chew train' a pet if they do not learn a bad habit of "where to look" for destructible goodies when you aren't looking.
  • Also think about food and snacks. Don't leave pop cans, candy wrappers, crumbs or anything else on a low counter. Leaving out these delicious tidbits can easily lead to "counter surfing".
  • Since kittens and ferrets may actually have the ability to walk on your counters, make certain to keep an eye on them when cooking. You may have food on the counter and the stove burners on - both can be dangerous. If you are a messy chef you may have a very happy kitty, but it could be dangerous if you don't keep an eye on them!
  • Speaking of food and snacks, make sure if you have smaller pets, like mice, that they are out of reach to your new puppy or kitten. Don't forget your fish - sometimes the idea that the aquarium is invincible can be tested.
  • Smokers - do not leave cigarette butts where pets may reach them. If eaten it can lead to nicotine poisoning and the filters aren't good on the digestive system.
  • Children's toys can be great fun for pets too! Make sure your kids realize they may loose their toy if it is left out and unattended. Also many toys may have small parts or can be easily broken into small parts by your pet which can be dangerous.
  • Overall keep you place picked up of daily messes. For example: Newspaper whether read or not is still fun to shred and eat. (Same goes for the mail!) Just got home from shopping? Put away the bags! Plastic bags can be either chewed and swallowed (pups) or can suffocate some pets accidentally (kittens & ferrets).
  • Sometimes pets will eat something that will require surgery to remove. Small objects to watch out for include rubber bands, balloons, beads, buttons, Q-tips, sewing needles, thread, staples, string, pantyhose and coins - to name a few!
  • Medication should never be left around the house. Make sure it is secure - just like with children!
  • Keep heating vents covered. Many pets love to snuggle up to these and you don't want your pet falling in.
  • Smaller pets like ferrets should be blocked off from holes and other hideaways - you don't want them to find a comfy spot and not come out! Also be certain to check under recliners before moving them as your pet may find it a nice place to hide out.
  • Plants should be moved to higher ground or blocked. Watch out for vine plants that your pet might grab and bring the whole thing down. * Some household plants are poisonous to pets. Here are a few: aloe verra, amaryllis, caladium, holly berries, lilies, mistletoe, mums, and poinsettias. For a complete listing check out the Poisonous Plants resource links.

Playtime
Unless they are sleeping, or eating, they are playing!! Some tips to make this non-stop action fun and safe for both of you!

  • Keep an eye on your pet at play with certain toys. Some toys don't hold up to your pets hunting prowess and become shredded in no time. Toys with squeakers are fun but many pets will work hard to remove them if your not watching. Just keep in mind if you are in the other room, you may never see them devour their cut up prey! A solution would be have toys for when you can see them and more durable toys for when they are in the yard, other room, or you are not at home.
  • Also watch older toys. If they don't fall apart they may actually be warn into sharp edges, don't let your pet play with damaged toys, they can cut themselves easily. Look before you step when playing with all our small pets. Try this pattern "Turn, Look, Step"
  • Some small animals such as rabbits are chewers and it normal to give them various chew toys such as: Cardboard boxes, empty oatmeal containers, bird toys, cardboard paper towel rolls, things to shred. Try to keep them away from your wooden furniture - they love wood! Instead wood sticks are available at pet stores.

Road Blocks
If they can't reach it, they can't eat it, scratch it, or all out destroy it!

  • Don't forget the garbage! Take the garbage outside or make sure you can close it away in a closet/room where pets cannot reach it. Not only will they make a mess rifling through all the goodies they can also hurt themselves if there are any rough objects they rifle through.
  • Keep some rooms closed. It is perfectly reasonable for there to be certain rooms that pets may not visit unless supervised. One obvious choice would be the bathroom (remember that puppy running down the hall with toilet paper - cute - but after the 20th time said pup turns from cutie to lil'-demon). If you don't have a door to a particular area look into getting a child gate or blocking it off with other materials.
  • If you have a mixture of pets you may not want them to be able to access certain areas of each others space. A prime example is keeping kitty litter from dogs, some seem to find the "deposits" tasty snacks. In this instance you can set up a roadblock for the dog that the cat can still easily climb over.
  • If your pet is especially good with its nose or paws you may want to get childproof latches. They will work well to keep them out of lower cabinets in your home.
  • Keep the lid down on the toilet, especially if you use strong cleaners. Small, curious pets may fall in and pets taking a drink can be poisoned by cleaners - some of them even contain anti-freeze!
  • Speaking of cleaners, here are some examples of cleaners that are really dangerous to your pets (to name a few!): ammonia, bleach, disinfectants, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, paint, rat/bug poison.
  • Keep electric cords out of reach or secure them to baseboards. When first home keep an eye on where your pet is at all times. Some may try chewing on the cords. You can deter this with a taste deterrent like "Bitter Apple", a mix of vinegar and water, or hot sauce. Or even better, block access to them altogether.
  • Speaking of cords, watch those drapery cords as well. Tie them up so all your window treatments aren't pulled to the ground.
  • Many animals are attracted to fire. The light of a candle or the heat of a fireplace will peak their interest. Make sure candles are never left unattended. For the fireplace make sure Fluffy knows just how close they are allowed to get for a good snooze - warm is good, singed is bad.
  • Keep the upstairs windows and any cellar doors shut. Young pets are just like children with their curiosity but can easily misstep and fall.
  • Be careful when working in the garage. It is best to keep them out and make sure you clean up thoroughly! Such toxins like anti-freeze are very lethal to pets - a drop the size of a dime can be lethal! (You hear a lot about anti-freeze, not only is a small amount incredibly lethal, anti-freeze is also sweet smelling and tasting to pets - they will seek it out!!)
  • Watch our for open dresser drawers, closets and other nice dark places, kittens are especially curious and many are drawn to these make-shift dens. Have you heard about the kitten jumping in the dryer? Its not a urban legend, be alert and check before you shut the door.
  • Another warm place kittens like to snuggle is on a car engine. If your kitten has access to your car (or the neighborhood cat for that matter) it may help pound on the hood of your car and honk you horn. If you don't want to do this every day try to limit access to your car.
  • One of my favorite words of advice when watching out for the sleeping kitten: "Locate your kitten before you sit down on the sofa or use the recliner." (Of course, depending on your house rules, that may go for your other pets too!)

Holiday Playground
The holidays are fun for everyone - including your pets!

  • Decorations should be up high or in rooms that pets have limited access.
  • Any holiday lights should be treated the same as other electrical cords. Get it out of the way or secured so your pets don't accidentally trip over them. Also keep a lookout and make sure they do not chew on them; again a taste deterrent like "Bitter Apple" will work.
  • Other holiday items to keep from you pets include: metal ornament hooks, popcorn strands, tinsel, angel hair (it is spun glass), and decorative artificial snow or tree flocking - to name a few.
  • Don't forget that holiday plants like holly berries, mistletoe, and poinsettias are poisonous!
  • Fourth of July fireworks are fun for us but many pets find all the racket frightening. One suggestion is to have treats nearby and give them treats whenever there is "Boom!" so they associate the noise with happier things (mostly used for dogs). Another thing to keep in mind if you are leaving for the festivities, don't leave pets alone out in the backyard. They may panic and do things they normally wouldn't do like digging their way out!
  • Many holidays include house guests that are not familiar with your pet or household rules. After introducing your guest to your pet, make certain you let your guests know not to leave doors open, feed table scraps or any other important household rules. If there are a lot of guests you may want to arrange a quiet place for your pet to retreat.

Home Alone
What do they do when you leave the home? Preferably it doesn't involve eating the couch!

  • Before you leave for a long day at work it is important your pet is calm. For dogs a good walk in the morning may be necessary. For cats a little play time will help with bonus energy. Teach your pet tricks and have them perform for you before you head out. Our pets sleep more then we do and getting rid of morning energy will help them settle for a nap while your out earning money to spend on them.
  • If you have a really active breed you may want to look into a dog daycare or walking service for a couple days out of the week. Taking your dog to a pet daycare is like taking them to camp. They get to romp with other dogs and usually come home tired and ready for a good night sleep. Many find that a few days out of the week is enough to hold them over on the days in-between.
  • Crates can be lifesaver when you are gone. If you have pet that is still undergoing training and is not sure of all the rules, a crate or restricted room is a must. Cautionary tale on the restricted room - we placed one of our pups in a room in our house as we went out to get a bite to eat. There was no furniture in the room except for her crate with her toys. When we came back she had climbed the crate and chewed the metal blinds on the window and also proceeded to dig up part of the carpet!

Part II: Preparing Your Pantry

Your kitchen is not only the place where you prepare your family's meals and sometimes serve them, but it is also the most widely used area in the home chosen by pet owners to feed their pets. U.S. consumers spend more than $11 billion a year on cat and dog food, according to the Pet Food Institute. And pet food manufacturers compete for these dollars by trying to make their products stand out among the many types of dry, moist, and semi-moist foods available. Pet food packaging carries such descriptive words as "senior," "premium," "super-premium," "gourmet," and "natural." These terms, however, have no standard definition or regulatory meaning. But other terms do have specific meanings, and pet foods, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), must carry certain information on their labels. Consumers can be confident that their pets are eating a nutritionally sound food if they understand the full significance of these labels.

Pet Food Safety
When determining your pets diet, be sure to verify that all foods have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Food & Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine
http://www.fda.gov/cvm/default.html

Menu Foods Pet Food Recall
http://www.menufoods.com/recall/

Pet Food Recall Frequently Asked Questions
http://www.fda.gov/cvm/MenuFoodRecallFAQ.htm

Table Manners
Don't feed table scraps to your pets. Many times people don't realize that some foods okay for us can be toxic or hard on the system for animals. Some foods to be aware of:

Alcohol
Chicken & Turkey Bones
Nutmeg Apples (stems & seeds)
Chocolate
Onion Apricots (seeds)
Coffee (grinds & beans)
Peaches (seeds)
Avocados
Dairy Products (large amounts)
Pears
Baking Powder
Fatty Foods
Plums
Baking Soda
Garlic
Potatoes (peelings & green)
Broccoli (large amounts)
Grapes
Raisins Cherries (stems & seeds)
Macadamia Nuts
Yeast
**Tobacco, although not a food, ingestion can be poisonous

Part III: Preparing Your Yard 

Your yard should be a fun and safe place for your pet to enjoy the outdoors, and maintaining it to prevent hazards is relatively easy. Although the outdoors may not be suitable for some pets, such as birds, mice, and rabbits, and those who stay in pens or restricted kennels/runs may not be able to enjoy your yard to its fullest extent, the tips below will address pets that have more freedom. These pets roam a fenced backyard or prowl around the perimeter of your house (i.e. small dogs & cats). Read on for a checklist of ways to make your yard safe and entertaining for your pets.

Yard Maintenance
When maintaining your yard you want to keep your pets in mind.

  • When working on the yard keep pets indoors. Our dogs like to chase the lawnmower - bad idea - so they now watch from inside. Some pets may be just the opposite and try either to attack the mower or try to escape in a panic - equally bad idea. Besides the lawnmowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and other loud tools should not be used when pets are around.
  • Be careful with other tools such as shovels, rakes, spades, etc. Some pets may try to "help" you do the yard work and can inadvertently be struck by these items.
  • Review the chemicals you use on your yard. Weed killers, bug killers/bait and other chemicals can be poisonous to your pets as well. Some you may still be able to use, however, you may need to let the yard sit for x amount of hours before letting your pets back out. Symptoms of poisoning usually include: vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes convulsions or unconsciousness.
  • Keep your yard clean of waste. Especially with puppies, they can get in the habit of eating their waste. Besides, you will both enjoy your yard much better if it is not covered in poo mines! For cats you should have an outdoor litter box. This will be easier to clean and prevent the cat from laying waste to your (or your neighbor's) flowerbeds.
  • Remove any ladders, tools or stacked piles (i.e. wood), etc. that young pets may try to climb or knock over. If you do keep the stacks in your yard, check that they are secure and cannot roll onto your pet. C
  • Consider carefully what you plant in your yard. Plants that can cause complications include: Rhododendron, Japanese Yew, Lilly of the Valley, Peach and Cherry Trees (pits) to name a few. See our links to Poisonous Plants for more details.
  • You may want to try to keep your yard clear of the bee family by getting rid of nests on your property. Your dog cannot escape bees flying through the yard, but cutting down their numbers may help. All dogs are naturally allergic to bee stings. Depending on the location of the sting they may have to visit the vet for medication. If it is on the mouth/head it can lead to swelling and difficulty breathing.

The Kingdom
Your pets will make your yard into their own domain. Make sure their kingdom is safe and enjoyable.

  • Check the fence of the yard for holes or gaps that may be an easy escape. Make sure your gates are locked and secured and guests and children know to do so as well.
  • It is best not to have any young pets around water unattended. If you have a pool or pond make sure to watch them around this area carefully. Some trainers even suggest teaching pets how to get out of the pool or pond early on, sort of a "Swimming 101" for the pet in case they get into trouble when your back is turned. If your pet does get into a pool, make sure they get a bath so none of the harsh chemicals can effect their skin and coat.
  • Most pets are sun lovers. If your pet likes to "sunbathe" keep an eye that they don't get too hot. Signs of heat exhaustion include: restlessness, panting excessively and drooling. The worst case scenario is the pet collapsing and eventually falling into a coma. To counter it, wrap them in a damp cool (not cold) towel and go to your vet or animal hospital.
  • In hot weather keep plenty of water. Refresh and refill it often. If you keep food outside as well make sure it does not sit too long. The heat may cause it to spoil and flies may contaminate it.
  • Make sure you have shade in your yard. You may even want to add a structure such as a doghouse for your pup to rest
  • Ask your vet to recommend a flea & tick prevention plan right for your pet. Depending on how much your pet is outside, where it goes, etc. you may need more preventive tools. It is imperative you ask your vet as many medicinal solutions are measured by your pets size, weight, age, etc.
  • Your pet may like to make or find a burrow to rest in. Block off crawl spaces under sheds or decks. You don't want them to get trapped or hurt by any debris you cannot see underneath.

Ideas for your Pet Friendly Yard
Below are just a few ideas of things you may do to improve your yard for your pet.

  • Placing markers around your yard for your dog to potty on or for your cat to scratch on can help save some of your other trees. Start by blocking the trees you want to save and place toys or treats by the markers you want them to use. Eventually you can train you pet to have a habitual like for that particular log(s)!
  • Prepare digging spots for your pets. For your dog it can be a small area of dirt and sand where you keep toys to encourage him to be there. For cats you can have one container/pot with catnip or another enticement. By keeping them interested in their designated digging spot they will learn to have fun there and leave the rest of your yard alone (most of the time!).
  • If you don't want your dog in your flower bed try a wooden or stone fence. Some dogs will learn to stay out of the area due to the road block, however you may need to supplement the roadblocks with additional training.
  • Dogs are going to do their rounds around "their" territory. This will leave worn paths in the grass. You may want to lay a nice stone path on their route to beautify it.
  • Continuing with a dogs tendency to make paths, for smaller yards you can make a maze path for them. Using placing flowerbeds and other structures you can create a winding route for them for their territorial routine.

Conclusion

Pets are a wonderful addition to the family and home. Taking time to prepare your home, pantry, and yard will make both of your lives a lot easier. It may seem like a daunting task at first, however, your pet will soon learn the house rules. You may even be able to reclaim certain areas of the house as your own once your pet matures and understands not to destroy your possessions. You, too, will learn a thing or two and will begin to naturally watch out for potential pet hazards. Eventually you won't even realize your new habits. It is simply part of the lifestyle change that happens when you adjust your life to accommodate animals in your home. Just remember to be pro-active, and you'll have far fewer headaches in the long run, with great company and lots of fun! Useful Links! | Adopt a Pet | Animal Care | Dangerous Foods | Find a Vet | | Pet Insurance | Poisonous Plants | Selecting Food | | Just for Fun | Adopt a Pet AdoptAPet.com www.adoptapet.com Millions of young, healthy, beautiful companion animals are euthanized needlessly each year because there are too many pets and not enough homes or people interested in providing food, water, shelter, medical care and LOVE to these animals. Use these resources to unite animals with loving homes. American Kennel Club www.akc.org The American Kennel Club, a not-for-profit organization established in 1884, maintains a purebred dog registry, sanctions dog events and promotes responsible dog ownership. Petfinder.com www.petfinder.org Search 193,550+ adoptable pets with our advanced search or our Quick Search. Locate shelters and rescue groups currently caring for adoptable pets. Browse our resource library and learn more about how to care for your pet. Post classified ads for lost or found pets, pets wanted, and pets needing homes. Sign up to be a volunteer to help your local shelter or rescue group. Animal Care Doctors Foster & Smith Pet Care www.drsfostersmith.com At Drs. Foster & Smith we care about the health & safety of your pet. That's why we've developed this resource for pet owners like you. Healthy Pet www.healthypet.com The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is an international association of more than 33,000 veterinary care providers who treat companion animals. Established in 1933, AAHA is well known among veterinarians and pet owners for its standards for hospitals and pet health care. PetEducation.com www.peteducation.com Fulfilling their commitment to provide pet owners with trustworthy pet care information, every Drs. Foster & Smith catalog contains up to 30 articles written by the doctors about the health and care of pets. Veterinary Partner www.veterinarypartner.com VeterinaryPartner.com is here to support your veterinarian and you in the care of your companion animals by providing reliable, up-to-date animal health information from the veterinarians and experts of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), the world's first and largest online veterinary database and community. Dangerous Foods PetEducation.com www.peteducation.com - Dogs, Cats Some foods which are edible for humans, and even other species of animals, can pose hazards for dogs because of their different metabolism. PetPlace.com http://petplace.netscape.com/ Americans spend over $10 billion dollars on pet food for our pets. Despite buying the best food available, some pets would rather eat what we eat. However, certain foods can be dangerous to your pet causing varying degrees of illness. Some food is toxic due to ingredients and some by improper cooking, storage or poor hygiene. Find a Vet Healthy Pet www.healthypet.com Use Healthypet's Hospital Locator to find a veterinary hospital near you or nearly anywhere you want to go! VetLocater http://vetlocator.petplace.com/ Access to over 26,000 veterinary clinics in the United States and 2,400 veterinary clinics in Canada. Pet Insurance Pet Assure www.petassure.com Pet Assure, headquartered in Lakewood, New Jersey, is the nation's premier pet health care organization with thousands of veterinarians in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Conceived in 1996, the company mandate is to enable pet owners to obtain quality care for their extended family members, at an affordable price. PetCare Pet Insurance www.petcareinsurance.com PetCare Pet Insurance Programs start at under $10/month. It's a small investment that will help you prepare for a secure and happy life for both you and your pet VPI Pet Insurance www.petinsurance.com From unexpected illnesses and accidents to routine care for your dog or cat, we recommend the VPI Superior Plan and Vaccination & Routine Care Coverage. For those who want minimum coverage we also offer the VPI Standard Plan. Poisonous Plants American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) http://www.aspca.org Please note that the information contained in our plant lists is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a compilation of the most frequently encountered plants. For general information on plants not included on either list, please feel free to contact us at napcc@aspca.org. Cornell University www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/ This is a growing reference that includes plant images, pictures of affected animals and presentations concerning the botany, chemistry, toxicology, diagnosis and prevention of poisoning of animals by plants and other natural flora (fungi, etc.). Cyber Canine www.cybercanine.com/toxicplants.htm Here are some of the toxic plants you should keep away from your pets. If you suspect that your dog might have eaten any plant that might be toxic, contact his/her vet immediately. Many common house and garden plants can be toxic to animals if swallowed. The symptoms can be diarrhea, nausea, or skin allergies. Veterinary Medicine Library www.library.uiuc.edu/vex/toxic/intro.htm This database was created by Mitsuko Williams (Veterinary Medicine Librarian, 1983-2003) in order to assist the University of Illinois veterinary students in identifying common plants that are toxic to animals. This database brings together information available in library books, plants grown in the Poisonous Plant Garden, mounted specimens of plants, and the reference notes for a toxicology course (VB320) which is taught during the fall semester each year. Selecting Food Animal Protection Institute www.api4animals.org/689.htm Commercial pet food is a great convenience for busy caregivers. You want the best for your companion animals, but with a bewildering array of foods and claims to choose from, how do you decide what's best for your animals? US Drug & Food Administration www.fda.gov U.S. consumers spend more than $11 billion a year on cat and dog food, according to the Pet Food Institute. And pet food manufacturers compete for these dollars by trying to make their products stand out among the many types of dry, moist, and semi-moist foods available. Pet food packaging carries such descriptive words as "senior," "premium," "super-premium," "gourmet," and "natural." These terms, however, have no standard definition or regulatory meaning. But other terms do have specific meanings, and pet foods, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), must carry certain information on their labels. Consumers can be confident that their pets are eating a nutritionally sound food if they understand the full significance of these labels. Just for Fun Neopets www.neopets.com Neopets® is the greatest Virtual Pet Site on the Internet. With your help, we have built a community of over 70 million virtual pet owners across the world! Neopets has many things to offer including over 160 games, trading, auctions, greetings, messaging, and much much more. Best of all, it's completely FREE!

Holiday Food Safety

Here is a short list of food safety precautions to take during this holiday season.

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With the various fall and winter holidays upon us, we know everyone is busy. Here is a short list of food safety precautions to take during this holiday season. As always, enjoy the fun and have safe holidays this year.

Food Preparation:

  • Before cooking or preparing anything - wash your hands! In between working with different dishes - wash your hands!
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables. Even those with tough outer skins that you do not eat. When slicing these, the knife may pick up bacteria from the outer skin.
  • Thaw meats in the refrigerator overnight. Never leave them on the counter to defrost. If defrosting in the microwave, make sure the meat is cooked soon after.
  • If preparing a turkey, make sure it is completely thawed before cooking. Cooking a frozen turkey can lead to uneven cooking with the inside not being up to temperature. According to the FDA, a "20-pound turkey needs two to three days to thaw completely when thawed in the refrigerator at a temperature of no more than 40 degrees F. A stuffed turkey needs 4 ¼ to 5 ¾ hours to cook completely."
  • If marinating food then do so in the refrigerator - not on the counter! If you want to have extra marinade to use as a sauce later, make sure to separate a portion ahead of time. Never reuse marinating sauces!
  • Do not reuse any batter or breading that has touched raw meat.
  • Use one plate for raw meats and another clean plate to take cooked items to the serving area. Never use the same plate. The raw juices can contaminate your cooked meats and side dishes.
  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. When cooking for holiday visitors, remember to keep an eye on kitchen projects. If you are faced with a grease fire, remember, put a lid on it, and turn the heat source off!
  • That evil mayo - did you know according to the Department of Health, it is not really the mayo that is making those deviled eggs a dangerous game of chance. Instead, it is the fact that when making cold salads usually the ingredients are mixed together when still warm creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, chill all your ingredients separately before mixing them together.
  • Use ciders labeled as pasteurized, or bring unpasteurized cider to a boil before serving. This is especially important when serving cider to people with weakened immune systems.

At the Table:

  • So you have guests over and have set out a brunch style breakfast. If you have late risers, consider these times when leaving items such as milk or cooked meat on the table:
    - These foods are safe to leave out: Dry foods such as nuts, crackers, baked goods, breads, hard cheeses and candy don't support bacterial growth. Fruits, pickles, jams and jellies are too acidic for most bacteria.
    - Anything else should be discarded after sitting out for 2 hours.
    - To save milk or soy, make certain they are kept in the refrigerator instead of on the table.
    - An alternative is to keep cold items on ice. However, the ice will still need replacing every two hours or so.
  • Supply plenty of clean plates and utensils. Encourage guests to get a new plate if theirs has been sitting out as they waited between helpings.
  • Do not add new food to a serving dish that has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.

The Cleanup:

  • Refrigerate any left over food within 2 hours of its initial serving. If the temperatures are higher, then 1 hour or earlier. Meat should be be kept hot for serving (140°F) and unused meat should be refrigerated immediately as it cools. If you have too much left over meat, make sure to freeze whatever you won't eat within the next 2 days.
  • Use leftover turkey meat, bones, stuffing, gravy and other cooked dishes within two to three days.
  • Cut up any leftovers before refrigerating so they may be spread out in a tray. For meats like roast beef, this helps to make sure the meat cools at the same rate.
  • Date leftovers - you'll appreciate it a week later when you've forgotten what food is from which feast.

Holiday Specific:

Turkey Fryers:

- Always use outdoors away from anything flammable. 
- Use on cement or stone surfaces - not on a wooden deck!
- Do not leave unattended. It is a very good idea to not have children and pets in the vicinity, better if they are inside. If they must be outside, make certain they are watched very carefully! Do not allow children and pets near the fryer as it cools after use either.
- Make certain the turkey is thawed before cooking - water and oil don't mix!
- Check the oil temperature frequently and immediately shut off if the oil begins to smoke. 

Mail Ordered Food:
- If sending mail ordered food as a gift, let the recipient know so they may know to look for the package.
- If you receive any mail ordered food, make certain to check that items that should have been kept cool were packaged properly.

Candle Decorations:
- Do not use candles on evergreen or natural trimmings.
- Use nonflammable holders and make sure they are placed where they cannot be knocked over easily.
- Do not keep candles lit in rooms that is not occupied/supervised.
- Check your candles as they burn. Some will burn unevenly and may finish sooner than you expected.
- Do not leave children unattended around candles and matches/lighters.

More

USDA Food Safety - Cooking a Turkey 
ttp://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Countdown_to_the_Holiday/index.asp

USDA Food Safety Ask Karen
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/food_safety_education/ask_karen/index.asp#Question

USDA Cooking for Groups
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Cooking_for_Groups.pdf

RI Food Safety Education - Kitchen Thermometers
http://www.uri.edu/ce/ceec/food/factsheets/therm.html