Home Inspection Perceptions

The perception that most people have of home inspections is, at first, one of ignorance. In this case, ignorance does not mean stupid but just lacking knowledge. Many people think that a home inspection consists of walking around, on, under and in a house and giving a passing grade to the residence. It is only after a home buyer experiences an in-depth inspection does the reality of what we as inspectors do become apparent. The buyer’s original perception does not match the reality.

The perception of anyone who wishes to become an inspector is that it is an easy field to enter. In this case, the perception does match the reality. Anyone in California can purchase a business license and open up a home inspection business. Anyone can pay the money and pass an online inspection test to become “certified.” Anyone can advertise that they “perform inspections to the CREIA standards.”  There is no licensing requirement in California that governs home inspections and there is no government agency to complain to in case of a bad or low quality inspection. That is the perception and the reality.

It would seem that the solution would be to create a licensing program in California that would set requirements for home inspectors and inspections. The State would then be responsible for controlling the licensure, qualifications, requirements and disciplinary actions of our industry. This is where the perception does not match the reality. Any time that a government agency adopts control of a private sector, it does so to the detriment of that private sector. Once the control of our industry slips from the professional inspection associations like CREIA and ASHI, it is unlikely that the rank and file inspectors will have much of a voice in our industry.

At a recent CREIA chapter meeting, the guest speaker was Frank Lesh, a Past- President of ASHI. Frank spoke at length about the perception of home inspection licensing and the reality once licensing is in effect. In a nutshell, those states that have enacted licensing have seen the numbers of inspector grow while inspection quality has diminished. In effect, if all it takes to be a home inspector is to satisfy the requirements of a State approved test, then there is no incentive to be better than the minimum required. If all a real estate agent is required to refer is a State qualified inspector, where does which leave professional organizations like CREIA and ASHI?

That question was asked of Mr. Lesh. His response was something like” I belong to a professional home inspection association (ASHI) because I want to be the best inspector I can be, not what is the minimum required.” That statement sums up what CREIA (and ASHI) are all about.

As professionals in the industry, we know the time, effort and detail it takes to produce a comprehensive, thorough inspection report. The on-going requirements of continuing education credits earned through either chapter meetings, conferences or approved education venues, keeps CREIA (and ASHI) members current with changes in our industry. Those same CREIA requirements allow our members to become the best inspectors they can be, not just the minimum.


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