Home Inspection Associations Why they are important
There are three primary national home inspection associations.
The oldest and largest is the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). ASHI is responsible for crafting the nationally accepted National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE). This is a 4 hour proctored examination and is not only used by ASHI as a part of its certification process for inspectors, but is also used by many states as a step toward state certification/licensure. ASHI has a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that provide the baseline structure for the performance of home inspections by its members. To be fully ASHI certified, a member must also complete 250 paid inspections.
The National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) also has Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics similar to ASHI. NAHI also has an 2 hour and 20 minute proctored exam. To be a NAHI Certified Real Estate Inspector, one must also complete 250 paid inspections.
The National Assocation of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), which is now called INTERNACHI due to a court dispute between NACHI and NAHI, has a free 60 minute online exam that you can take if you’d like. NACHI also has Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics. Additionally, for full membership an inspector must perform or participate in 100 inspections.
All of these home inspection associations have a continuing education requirement so that their members maintain currency in their field.
You could make a case that one of these home inspection associations is better than the other, but the reality is they are all trying to accomplish the same goal. They are trying to provide the public with home inspectors that are qualified to do your home inspection and are dedicated to supporting you (not the real-estate agent or their own side business).
Bottom Line: If your prospective home inspector is a member of one of these home inspection organizations, that is a good sign. Not a guarantee that you’ll get a good, honest inspection; but certainly his/her membership is an indication of a dedication to some standard.
What if my prospective home inspector is not a member of any home inspection association?
It might be OK, but… all of the associations above have a code of ethics. You need to ask your prospective home inspector why they are not a member of any of these associations. You’ll probably get an answer like:
“I have 20 years of experience in the building industry and I don’t need help from people that know half of what I know.”
OK, that could be true, but keep asking questions.
Do you hold a realtors license or do you also work for a real-estate agency?
This may be the primary reason why many don’t join. The codes of ethics get sticky if you’re a real-estate agent and a home inspector. I’ve worked with some home inspectors that are on both sides (inspector and licensed real-estate agent) and I thought they did a good job home inspecting. But it adds a level of complexity to the situation that you (the buyer) just don’t need. Unless this prospective home inspector comes highly recommended to you from people you really trust, I’d suggest you move to the next one on your list.
Are you also a contractor that could fix the problems you find in your inspection (for a fee of course)?
If your prospective home inspector says something like, “That’s right, I not only find problems, but I can fix them for a very reasonable rate.” Just hang up.
For the record, the CJR inspectors are members of ASHI. We chose ASHI because it is the most publicly active and recognized of the three home inspection associations. There are other home inspection associations in Virginia that we did not detail above.
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