If there’s one piece of advice everyone will tell you while buying a home, it’s to get a home inspection. By all accounts, most people list. In fact, the US General Accountability Office says around 86% of home buyers request a home inspection.
The problem is that not all inspections are equal. Some inspectors are new and unknowledgeable, while others have decades of experience and certification from the American Society of Home Inspectors. What happens if you hire the wrong inspector?
The Risks of Hiring a Poor Home Inspector
Hiring a home inspector has the potential to save you thousands down the line. Unfortunately, hiring the wrong inspector can be just as bad as not hiring one at all. Here’s why.
The whole point of a home inspection is that unless you’re a construction expert, you have no idea what you’re buying when you buy a home. You need an impartial home inspector to tell you about any costly problems that could change the home’s value.
An inspector who doesn’t have the right expertise and knowledge is likely to miss problems left and right. In fact, if you get an inspection on a home that isn’t brand new and it doesn’t turn up at least a few minor issues, you may want to second-guess that inspection report.
Most of the time when an inspector misses signs of an issue, it’s a genuine mistake from a lack of experience or knowledge. However, sometimes an unethical home inspector may mislead a home buyer on purpose.
There have been cases in which the inspector was in cahoots with the real estate agent. The inspector omitted problems in their report so that the buyer wouldn’t pull out of the sale and cost the agent their commission.
There have also been cases in which an inspector “found” many problems that didn’t exist and offered to fix them for the home seller for a fee.
If you don’t know who you’re hiring as an inspector, you’re at risk for any of these scams.
Why Hire a Member of the American Society of Home Inspectors
Our intention in this blog isn’t to scare you about all the ways a home inspection can go wrong. It’s to explain the true importance of hiring a home inspector who’s a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI.
Here are the benefits you stand to gain.
1. Known Credentials
Any home inspector can say that they have certain credentials and experience levels. How do you know if it’s true?
The ASHI does this for you. Inspectors need to apply in order to get into the association. Members will review their credentials and verify that they have the expertise they claim to have.
2. Up-to-Date Knowledge
An inspector has to have a certain level of knowledge and experience to get into the ASHI in the first place. That isn’t the only membership requirement, though.
To renew their membership, inspectors have to take continuing education courses every year. As a home buyer, this tells you that your inspector is going off the latest information and techniques.
As with most other fields, home inspection has improved over the years thanks to technology. Continuing education through ASHI will keep your inspector up-to-date on the latest information they need to protect your home and your wallet.
3. A Higher Level of Ethics
As we mentioned above, there are serious ethical concerns when you hire a home inspector.
If you’re like most people, you have no idea how to spot signs of a serious problem with a home. Your only choice is to rely on the word of your inspector, so trust is of the utmost importance.
To enter ASHI, inspectors need to agree to a certain code of ethics. Not only does this prohibit them from taking advantage of customers, but it avoids circumstances that could tempt them to take advantage.
For instance, an ASHI inspector is not permitted to perform any repair work on a property they’ve inspected.
If an ASHI inspector breaks any part of their code of ethics, they could lose their membership in the organization. They have far more to lose than a non-ASHI inspector, so they’re more likely to be trustworthy.
4. An Easy Way to Gauge the Experience Level
As you hire an inspector, it’s understandable that you want to hire someone with plenty of experience. Sometimes it can be hard to know when that’s the case, though.
Your inspector may have ten years of experience but if they only do one inspection per year, they won’t be the best choice.
For ASHI members, on their other hand, it’s easy to gauge a professional’s experience based on their membership level. The organization has three membership categories.
An ASHI associate is an inspector who has met the organization’s strict ethical and educational standards.
To become an ASHI inspector, a professional needs to pass the National Home Inspector Exam. They also need to complete at least 75 paid inspections.
The top tier is called an ASHI certified inspector. These highly qualified experts have completed at least 250 paid inspections.
The organization even reviews inspection reports from their inspectors and certified inspectors to make sure those professionals are doing their job competently.
Choosing Your Home Inspector Wisely
When you’re buying a home, it can feel like every step of the way is a vital decision. The real estate agent you hire matters. Your timeline matters. Your mortgage lender matters.
The same is true for your home inspector. Choosing the right professional can give you peace of mind, letting you know that you’re buying a structurally sound and safe home for your family.
You can narrow your selection to the cream of the crop by only considering American Society of Home Inspectors members. If you’re ready to take the next step, schedule a home inspection with our ASHI home inspectors today.