In the great state of California, we have some of the tightest codes, regulations and requirements for businesses. Unfortunately, this doesn't apply when it comes to home inspectors. There are no licensing, certification, or insurance requirements for home inspectors. Gasp! That's right, if tomorrow you decide to be a home inspector, you can be, without any prior related experience.
So how do you know if the person you hire to protect the biggest investment of your life is qualified to do so? Ask the right questions. Asking how long someone has been inspecting is okay, but, an unmotivated inspector might only be doing 1 or 2 a month when he tells you he's been doing it for 15 years. Preferably, you should ask about their qualifications. Do not be ashamed or worried you're being insulting. Remember, this is the biggest purchase of your life!
Always ask for an ASHI or CREIA number. These are two very respected associations for home inspectors. Both of which require ongoing education and have a strict code of ethics and standards of practice. Either of these really should be the minimum requirement for all inspectors. An extra cushion of comfort is when your inspector is ASHI Certified or CREIA Certified. To reach these levels of membership, both organizations require the inspector to pass the National Home Inspection Examination, which is required by law in most states. Additionally, they also have a minimum number of required paid inspections as well as verification that the reports are to their standards. Use these sites to search for an inspector:
Lastly, have a conversation with your potential inspector. They should always be willing to make time for you and explain any aspect of the inspection process or findings. A good inspector knows where the balance is between highlighting a possible costly repair or potential hazard while being able to explain it in a calm, practical and realistic way.
-Aaron Lewis, ASHI Certified Inspector with BPG
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