LETTERS TO REAL ESTATE
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Inspectors’ training sets them apart
Editor – I was sorry to see that reader Jeffery Faris (Feb. 4) had a bad experience with a home inspector in his purchase of a condo, but his idea of turning to a contractor instead is too risky a solution for most buyers.
The most obvious issue is that contractors have an inherent conflict of interest – they need to sell repairs in order to make a living. A qualified home inspector, on the other hand, will belong to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA). Both organizations have codes of ethics that prohibit them from accepting work on homes they inspect.
This restriction is also part of California law. (Structural pest inspectors are not bound by these rules because their industry was established long before consumer protection law developed in the 1970s.)
Also, while many inspectors have backgrounds as contractors, the two professions require very different training. Both ASHI and CREIA members must pass detailed examinations covering the whole range of home construction, from roof to foundation, and they must keep abreast of the industry through continuing education. Contractors have no such requirements other than a relatively simple exam on their particular specialty.
A clue as to how Faris went wrong is his mention that the inspector was “certified.” There is no such thing as a certified inspector in California. Unfortunately, some less-than-scrupulous inspectors and certain diploma-mill organizations use this term to mislead the public.
Another mistake is relying solely on the recommendation of a mortgage broker, real estate agent or other person who has an interest in the outcome of an inspection.
Buyers (or sellers) who want to protect their investments with a professional and impartial evaluation should educate themselves on the inspection process and choose a qualified professional. Start by checking out www.ashi.org, www.creia.org and the Web site for our combined local chapters, www.ggashi.org, which lists Bay Area inspectors along with their qualifications.
PAUL A RUDE
vice president Golden Gate ASHI
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