Home » Journalism, Real estate

American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc.

23 August 2009 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See original story on About.com

What is the American Society of Home Inspectors?

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has 80 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, with more than 6,000 members. ASHI strives to educate consumers as to the importance of professional home inspections1, as well as to enhance the professionalism of its home inspector members. ASHI is a nonprofit, voluntary association of home inspectors.

ASHI History

ASHI was founded in 1976 and is the oldest professional organization in North America for home inspectors.

ASHI Membership Requirements

ASHI’s associate members have conducted at least 50 paid inspections. ASHI’s certified members have completed at least 250 paid inspections, as well as passed written exams on a range of topics. ASHI members also abide by the organization’s standards of practice and code of ethics. They also participate in ongoing training to update their skills every year.

What a Home Inspector Does

A home inspector 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 that a home inspector checks generally include:

  • Foundation
  • Exterior
  • Walls
  • Roof2
  • Attic3
  • Basement4
  • 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 repairs5 to be done prior to purchase. You might also negotiate a lower price or back out of a contract6 altogether. Even if you are buying a new house7, 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 house8, a professional home inspection can give you a better idea of the market value9 of your home. Knowing this information can help you price your home 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 (some states don’t license inspectors)
  • 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:

  • Provides references
  • Carries errors and omissions insurance
  • Maintains membership in 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 an ASHI Inspector

ASHI has a referral network on its website. You can search by ZIP code, metro area, inspector name and company, or by services offered. You can also ask your real estate agent10 or mortgage broker11 for referrals.

ASHI Contact Information

American Society of Home Inspectors Inc.
932 Lee St., Suite 101
Des Plaines, Ill., 60016
Phone: (800) 743-ASHI (2744), (847) 759-2820
Fax: 1-847-759-1620
Web site: www.ashi.org

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.