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International Association of Certified Home Inspectors

19 July 2009 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See original story on About.com

Description of InterNACHI

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors Inc. (InterNACHI) is a membership organization of home inspectors. InterNACHI has chapters in the United States and Canada, as well as members in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

InterNACHI’s Membership Requirements

InterNACHI’s working members must complete at least four mock inspections for review and work towards full membership. Full members have conducted at least 100 home inspections1. All members must abide by the organization’s standards of practice and code of ethics, as well as participate in ongoing training. InterNACHI members also offer an alternate dispute resolution service, which includes arbitration, mediation and out-of-court settlement. The service charges a flat fee, thus avoiding the expense and time of litigation. It is only available to its member inspectors.

What a Home Inspector Does

A home inspector2 conducts a thorough review of a residential house, checking everything from the foundation and plumbing to electrical outlets and unsealed windows. Inspectors check the house for areas that affect safety, focusing mostly on structure and condition. However, home inspectors can only inspect what they can access and see. For example, they might report suspected wood rot or a cracked foundation, but they cannot confirm what might be behind the drywall or buried in the ground. They also cannot guarantee or warranty the condition of a house. You may still need to do repair or maintenance work on the house in future.

Areas of Home Inspection

Areas of a house that an inspector checks generally include:

  • Foundation
  • Exterior
  • Walls
  • Roof3
  • Attic4
  • Basement5
  • Kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Air and heating system
  • Interior

Why Use a Professional Home Inspector?

Only some states require home inspectors to be licensed. This means that a home inspector’s knowledge, experience and ethics can vary widely. An inspector associated with an industry organization adheres to certain standards of practice and a code of ethics, so you are assured a high level of professionalism.

  • Buying a house: A professional home inspection can be a crucial step in your decision-making process. You will want to know beforehand what works and what does not work in the house, before you actually complete the sale. If a house has defects, you may use the inspection report to request seller repairs6 to be done prior to purchase. You might also negotiate a lower price or back out of a contract7 altogether. Even if you are buying a new house8, a home inspection will help you pinpoint the areas that you may want to improve or enhance. It can also give you peace of mind.
  • Selling a house: If you plan to sell your house9, a professional home inspection can give you a better idea of the value of your home. Knowing this information can help you price your home10 attractively, as well as prepare you for concerns that a potential buyer might have.

Cost of Home Inspections

Home inspections typically range in cost from $150 to $500, depending on the size and location of the house. You can obtain estimates in advance for a comparison.

What to Look for in a Home Inspector

Ultimately, you want to find a knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy inspector. You can do due diligence on prospective home inspectors by checking whether the inspector has:

  • A state license {although not all states issue a license)
  • Received any consumer complaints filed at the US Better Business Bureau, US Department of Consumer Affairs or local government agencies.

You can also ask the inspector if he or she has:

  • References
  • Errors and omissions insurance
  • Been accepted as a member of a professional association

You’ll want to make sure that the home inspection report can be easily accessed by the lender or insurance company. You can ask if the report will:

  • Be handwritten or computer generated (computer generated is easier to correct)
  • Include regular or digital photos (digital is easier to send)

Finally, you’ll want to ask about the inspector’s experience. Ask:

  • How many inspections have you done?
  • Were they mock or paid inspections?
  • Have you had any disputes with homeowners?
  • If so, how were they resolved?

How to Find a Home Inspector

The InterNACHI web site has a list of its inspectors, who can be searched by country, state, city and ZIP code.

InterNACHI Contact Information

1750 30th St.
Boulder, CO 80301
Phone: 877-346-3467 (FIND-INS)
Fax: 650-429-2057
E-mail: fastreply@nachi.org
Web site: www.nachi.org

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenChang.

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