W Tarkington Home Inspections Finding an Inspector


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Home Inspections

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 and experience.

  •     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.


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