How To Choose A Home Inspector

It does seem everyone who has any experience in construction wants to be a home inspector. First of all there is no professional license required for home inspectors in the state of Georgia. The profession is self-regulated. That is why it is very important to check the inspector's credentials.

ASHIThe oldest nationally recognized organization is the American Society of Home Inspectors. ASHI, the industry's oldest nonprofit professional society, suggests buyers carefully research several home inspectors before they find a house to buy. That way, they will not be pressured to find one in a hurry under a contract deadline. Once you sign a contract, call the inspector immediately to schedule the inspection.

The group recommends asking a prospective inspector these questions:

1. Are you a member of ASHI? Members are required to pass two comprehensive written exams and have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid home inspections. After a report review and a minimum of six months as a candidate, he or she may be granted membership.

2. How long have you been in the business of home inspections?

3. Are you experienced in residential inspections in particular?

4. Does the company offer to do any repairs or improvements based on the inspection? This may cause a conflict of interest.

5. How long will the inspection take? The average is two to three hours for a typical single-family home. Anything less may not be enough time to do a thorough inspection.

6. What will the inspection include? Get the specifics and know that specialized testing may not be included.

7. Does the inspector prepare a written report? Is it available at the site?

8. Does the inspector encourage the client to attend the inspection? This is a valuable educational opportunity. If the inspector refuses, this should raise a red flag.

9. Does the inspector participate in continuing education programs to keep his or her expertise up to date? What other organizations are they a member? An inspector's commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his professionalism and service. 

GAHIThe state of Georgia has it's own organization which is called the Georgia Association of Home Inspectors. GAHI was founded in 1989 as a statewide organization of professional inspectors dedicated to improving the service and reputation of the home inspection industry. Its primary goals are:

1. Enhance the public awareness of the benefits of home inspections.

2. Improve the inspection skills and the professional knowledge of each member.

3. Provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information for its members.

ICCTheir commitment to high standards is reflected in their membership requirements which are among the highest and most challenging of all professional home inspection organizations. Members must successfully complete written exams, perform a minimum of 250 inspections and attain certification by the International Code Council as a Residential Dwelling Inspector. This Certification is unique to all other home inspection organizations and permits it's members to adequately perform inspections for newly constructed residences by being "Code Certified".

Few professional home inspectors, like craftsmen in other trades and professions, reach a high level of competency in a short period of time. Because of the variety of materials, construction practices and construction skills, and the time period over which communities develop, much of the necessary knowledge can only be obtained through experience and education.

Both organizations adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and are guided by Standards of Practice. For additional information, contact ASHI at 1-800-743-2744 or http://www.ashi.org and GAHI at 770-989-2524 or http://www.gahi.com.