Everyone wants to save money. Even if you have a lot of money, there is nothing quite as irresistible as getting a great deal. The rationale on selecting a home inspector based on price would be a sound decision, if all variables were constant. But, just as no two people are alike, no two home inspectors are alike. Home inspectors, just like those in every type of industry, can vary based on educational level, amount of experience, degree of dedication and investment in their field of expertise, and scope of work, to name a few. According to home inspector and former president of Central Virginia ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors), Bruce Blackwell, there are a few factors that buyers should consider before deciding on a home inspector, such as whether the home inspector is full or part-time, their credentials, whether the inspector has another job on the side, and the amount of home inspections that the inspector has completed.
According to Blackwell, there are no licensing requirements in Virginia to be a home inspector. The Virginia certification program of home inspectors is a completely voluntary program, which entails having completed a certain number of classroom hours and a minimum number of home inspections, in some cases, under the guidance and supervision of a certified home inspector. Though there is not a continuing education program currently in place for home inspectors, a modicum level of continuing education hours per year will take effect in Virginia in 2013. Blackwell also recommends that buyers examine whether the home inspector is ASHI certified. ASHI is one of the oldest, largest, and most widely recognized professional organizations for home inspectors in North America. Many of the state certification programs are based on ASHI requirements, which are rather extensive. In order to be a certified member of this organization, members must have completed a minimum of 250 fee paid inspections. ASHI members must also meet educational requirements – to maintain their ASHI certification, its members must complete 20 continuing education hours per year. In addition, ASHI Code of Ethics prohibits its members from engaging in conflict-of-interest activities, which may preclude its inspectors from being completely objective during the home inspection.
For the vast majority of people, a home is one of the biggest financial investments that they will ever make. Deciding on a home inspector based exclusively on price could cost you thousands of dollars, if an inexperienced inspector overlooks major repair items. To ensure that you are purchasing a sound investment, instead of a money pit, don’t make hasty decisions when it comes to choosing a home inspector. Take the first step in preserving your greatest investment and your family’s peace of mind, by calling at least a few home inspectors and checking out their credentials.