New ASHI President Urges Homebuyers to "Pre-qualify" Home Inspectors


Sheena Quinn
Public Communications, Inc.

Home inspections have become as much a part of the home buying process as the mortgage and appraisal. However, the selection of an inspector is too often left to the last minute and done without a full understanding of what constitutes a quality inspection, according to Rich Matzen, who recently became president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) during InspectionWorld, the group's 27th annual conference.

"It's in the best interest of the homebuyer to 'pre-qualify' their home inspector early on in the process while they are still looking at homes. This will help ensure they obtain a qualified individual rather than settling for who is available at the 11th hour of the homebuying process," said Matzen, a Seattle-based home inspector whose organization has nearly 6,000 members. "Many times, consumers will spend weeks searching for the best loan, as well they should, only to take the first inspector to be recommended by their real estate agent or friend. We urge consumers to exercise great care when locating their inspectors by selecting the most qualified individual to perform the inspection."

Matzen suggested that homebuyers ask detailed questions of possible inspectors, seeking out professionals with technical knowledge of a home's components and systems, as well as experience in the profession. ASHI Members are required to perform a minimum of 250 paid professional home inspections and successfully complete two written examinations that test the applicant's knowledge of building systems and components, report writing, the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, and the diagnosis of building defects. To locate a list of ASHI inspectors in your area, you can visit, or call 800-743-2744.

Regulating Inspectors

Matzen also reflected on the continued development of home inspector licensing across the country.

"More states are looking into home inspector licensing, but regulators must carefully consider licensing to ensure what they put in place has teeth," he explained, noting that certain states have "licensing" requirements that are so weak they can mislead consumers into believing they are protected when in fact they are not. "We strongly encourage states that are creating home inspector licensing to ensure the regulation requires inspectors to demonstrate their qualifications-both through experience and examinations-in order to help ensure consumer protection."

"In the meantime, consumers are wise to not look upon home inspector licensing as an assurance of qualifications," he advised. "We encourage consumers to conduct their own due diligence, asking detailed questions of a home inspector in order to ascertain a sense for the inspector's experience, professionalism and qualifications."

About ASHI

Formed in 1976, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and most respected professional organization of home inspectors in North America. Its mission is to promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession. ASHI's Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the recognized guidelines for the home inspection industry.

For more information on the American Society of Home Inspectors, contact the organization at 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Phone: 800-743-2744. Or visit the ASHI Web site at

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Matzen can be reached at 206-784-1217 for additional comment.