When selecting a professional home inspector, or a home inspection service company, it is wise to check them out to be sure that they comply with all local requirements. The legal requirements for professional home inspectors vary from state to state.
If you wish to check up upon the regulations which apply to home inspection services in your state, we recommend visiting the American Home Inspector Directory website, and in particular their list of home inspection legislation and state requirements. There does not seem to be a website which lists the requirements in all states, but the following reference lists the legislative requirements of about half of all US states:
There are useful resources and excerpts from the legislation at the: “Find a Home Inspector, Nationial directory of home inspection companies”. Seen via Find a Home Inspector – Home Inspector Search | American Home Inspector Directory
Also on that website you will find a useful page about the many Home Inspection Organizations which offer the services of their members. The three best well known are listed below:
Home Inspection Organizations
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. is a non-profit organization helping home inspectors achieve financial success and maintain inspection excellence. Visit NACHI to find information about great new inspection techniques and devices, inspection laws, and what it takes to become a certified home inspector.
The American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. (ASHI) is a non-profit organization and was established in 1976. ASHI is the largest national professional organization of home inspectors with members throughout the United States and Canada.
The National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI) was established in 1987 as a non-profit association to promote and develop certified and licensed home inspectors in the home inspection industry. NAHI strives to promote excellence and professionalism in the Home Inspection industry; to provide home inspector standards of practice and a code of ethics for home inspectors in the USA.
On the subject of “inspecting the inspector”, that same website has some great advice, which we have duplicated below for your convenience, as follows:
Credentials of Home Inspectors
It is absolutely imperative that your home inspector meets the requirements of all laws and regulations in your state or province. Click on Current Requirements to see current laws and regulations for your state. Most states have regulations requiring home inspectors to be licensed, including passing a certification exam and fulfilling continuing education requirements.
It is wise to ask if the inspector is a member of a professional Home Inspection organization. Especially if your state does not require home inspectors to be licensed, it is important that the home inspector belongs to an association and abides by a set of standard practices and code of ethics that
- Some notable national home inspector organizations are: the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI). There are also similar state-level organizations which require their members to adhere to strict standards of practice and continuing education.
- The best home inspectors have proper training and experience. There are several companies that provide hands-on training. Additionally, many inspectors have been in building trades for several years. They have extensive working knowledge of home construction.
- Ideally, the inspectors should be referred by someone other than you. It is in your best interest to allow your clients to choose their own inspectors. Like all of us, Home Inspectors are human and may make mistakes. If you referred the home inspector, you might lose the trust of your clients (at a minimum) or be held liable (worst-case scenario).
The Actual Home Inspection Report
- Quality home inspections include reports that describe the condition of each item inspected. The best reports are those that are created using home inspection software and include pictures and comments specific to your home.
- Home inspectors who use this special software can often deliver the report on site. Some inspectors send their reports via email. Such Internet report delivery is often important for out of town clients, instead of messy faxes or costly overnight shipping.
- It is a good idea to request a copy of a sample report to ensure that it is detailed and easily understood. If you can’t understand the professional home inspector’s report or if you lose interest reading extra useless information, you may not even read your own report, and you may miss important information.
Look for credentials, experience, and reputation over price
All professional home inspector have strong points and skills which need improvement. You might choose a cheaper home inspector and think you are saving yourself money. However, saving $50 on your inspection could cost you thousands of dollars later if the inspector misses problems. Typically, the best professional home inspector are not the cheapest. If you want to save money, possibly thousands, then don’t choose the cheapest inspector. Choosing a thorough and experienced home inspector is the best route to take.
Don’t be fooled by fancy reports
Your goal is to have a comprehensive document detailing the inspection of your home, not a canned template, bulk report, or information that may not even apply to your home. You can find many sources of general information (e.g. Ortho’s Home Encyclopedia) at local home improvement stores. Choose your home inspector based on ability. Substance should be measured in quality of content, not by the weight of the inspection [report]. via Inspect the Inspector
If you follow the above links and the article excerpt reproduced above, you will be well on the path to selecting an inspection professional who will produce a good, or excellent, general home inspection report, inspections preoccupation, or mature property inspection and report.
You may need to look further into scientific accreditations for professional qualification requirements for radon detection and reporting services, and for mold inspection expert qualifications, and industry standards.
Avoiding the Hazard of a Real Estate Agent Recommending that Home Buyers Appoint Inspectors who are “in their Pocket”
Finally, the fact that you have arrived here at all probably means that you are already aware of the scam operated by some real estate agents when they advise using their own preferred home inspectors.
This practise should, we believe, be prevented by law, because many of the real estate agent recommended, professional home inspectors have far too close a relationship with the real estate agents which bring them work.
There is a risk that appointing a real estate agent recommended, home inspector will mean that the inspector will be inhibited from providing a full and honest inspection report, because by identifying home defects the inspector would be putting the sale of the inspected property at risk.
In other words, “back-pocket” real agent recommendations should be avoided by report buyers.
Do you really want to pay an inspector who will be worried about, “biting the hand that feeds them”, by writing an honest deal-busting negative report about the defects in a property?
The home buyer is the consumer, and he/ she should ensure that they choose an unbiased professional home inspector.
The hard fact is that real estate agents do exist that will simply stop using an inspector who is conscientious and honest in reporting, branding such people as “deal killer”.
Home buyers deserve better, as paying-clients they should be confident of getting given an unbiased service, regardless of the outcome.