Finding the Right Home Inspector;
ASHI Recommends 10 Questions to Help Protect Client,
Real Estate Professionals
Public Communications, Inc.
Real estate agents need to have all the answers. At least that is what many homebuyers think. And because selecting a home inspector is an important decision in the homebuying process, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) recommends that real estate professionals use a list of home inspector selection questions to help their client, speed the sales process and reduce their liability.
"Homebuyers often look to the real estate professional to guide them through every step," said Mike Casey, president of ASHI, the oldest and most respected non-profit, professional organization for home inspectors in North America. "But referring a home inspector is often not the same as offering advice on mortgage loans, appraisals or other services. Because there are so many practicing home inspectors, and a majority of states that do not license home inspectors, it is important to be diligent about finding the most qualified person for the job."
Casey noted that the organization encourages real estate agents to provide their clients with a list of home inspectors from the ASHI Web site (www.homeinspector.org) or its toll-free number (800-743-2744), which will ensure that the Member inspector has passed rigorous requirements and follows a strict set of standards set by the national organization.
"By recommending Members who follow the ASHI Standards of Practice, real estate agents increase their confidence factor with buyers and may even reduce their liability," he claims.
According to Casey, it is also important to interview all inspectors to understand what the inspection will cover and to verify the inspector's experience. Real estate professionals may want to advise their clients to ask the following questions before hiring an inspector:
- Is the inspector a Member of the American Society of Home inspectors (ASHI)?
- What does the inspection cover? - Make sure the inspection and the inspection report meet all applicable requirements and comply with the ASHI Standards of Practice.
- How long has the inspector been practicing the home inspection profession and how many inspections have they completed? - ASHI Members are required to have completed at least 250 paid professional home inspections and passed two written exams that test the inspector's knowledge.
- Is the inspector specifically experienced in residential inspection? - Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection.
- Does the inspector's company offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection? - This is against the ASHI Code of Ethics because it might cause a conflict of interest.
- How long will the inspection take? - The average for a single inspector is two to three hours for a typical single-family house; anything less may not be enough time to do a thorough inspection. Some inspection firms send a team of inspectors and the time frame may be shorter.
- How much will it cost? - Costs vary dramatically, depending on the region, size of the house, scope of services and other factors. A typical range might be $300-500, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made.
- Does the inspector prepare a written report? - Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector's reporting style.
- Does the inspector encourage the client to attend the inspection? - This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector's refusal to allow this should raise a red flag.
- Does the inspector participate in continuing education programs to keep his or her expertise up to date? - One can never know it all, and the inspector's commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or professionalism and service to the consumer. ASHI Members are required to complete at least 20 hours of continuing education every year.
With a membership of nearly 6,000, ASHI is the authoritative voice for the home inspection profession. Real estate professionals who wish to know more about the American Society of Home Inspectors, or obtain the names of ASHI members near them, may contact the organization at 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Phone: 800-743-2744. Web site: www.homeinspector.org.