Choosing an Inspector
It is imperative for all involved in the real estate transaction to know
that there is no licensing of home inspectors in California. This non-licensing
element has allowed online marketers an inroad to offer “certifications”
to any individual wanting to appear credentialed as a home inspector. Be
wary of such “online approved” home inspectors. The real estate inspection
profession is a demanding profession that requires a broad base of knowledge
in all areas of home construction, maintenance and safety issues. It is imperative
that consumers and real estate professionals ask for information as to what
type of organization is providing the claimed “certification”.
Since California inspectors are not required to register themselves with
the state, an individual with marginal qualifications may perform an inspection.
REALTORS© and consumers should do some homework before recommending
a professional inspector.
The following tips can help:
- Seek/offer several qualified references to buyers.
Take the time to verify those you reference by finding out if the inspector
does a thorough and professional job.
- Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see
if there are any complaints on file.
- Ask the inspector for a sample of past inspection
reports. Most professional inspectors provide a detailed report that offers
a comprehensive explanation of the home’s condition as well as recommendations
and upgrade suggestions.
- A professional inspector will usually want you
and the buyer to be present during the inspection to familiarize all with
the home’s systems and point out specific conditions outlined in the report.
- Do not let price be a determining factor in selecting
a home inspector. Remember, you usually pay for what you get. Depending on
the size of the home among other factors, a professional inspection can range
from $300 to over $500 and take up to three or more hours.
- Be wary of home inspectors who offer to repair
items outlined in their report. This is an obvious conflict of interest;
they may not offer an objective opinion and it is in violation of California’s
Business & Professions Code (Chapter 9.3, Section 7197(a)).
- Ask the inspector to show proof of his or her qualifications
- If you find the property requires an inspection
from a specialist such as a geologist of structural engineer, be sure to
ask for proof of license, certification and experience.
- It is best to select home inspectors who will stand
behind their work and covered by proper liability and professional insurance.
Errors and Omissions (“E&O”) insurance protects the home inspector and
you against disputes arising from any oversights made by the inspector.
- Another important factor is membership in a professional
trade organization such as CREIA or ASHI.
These suggestions for finding a home inspector are taken from an article on the CREIA website, with modifications to the last paragraph.
The original article can be viewed at http://www.creia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3435.
ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) has a similar article on their website at: http://www.ashi.org/media/press/release018.asp.