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ASHI Provides Insight on Selecting a Home Inspector

According to the first-ever Home Inspection Industry Study sponsored by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), seventy-seven percent (77%) of all year 2000 homebuyers obtained a home inspection prior to the purchase of their home.

With more people than ever retaining home inspectors, ASHI advises current and future homeowners to understand exactly what a home inspection involves, as well as how to locate a qualified home inspector, so they can fully benefit from the service.

"With the increasing demand for home inspections today, it is important for homeowners to locate the best home inspector to examine their home," says John Ghent, president of ASHI, the largest and most respected non-profit professional organization for home inspectors. "Homeowners should be aware of the basics of a home inspection and what to look for in a quality inspector."

Inspecting the House

According to Ghent, a typical home inspection includes the following areas:

  • Exterior - Drainage conditions, exterior surfaces, decks and chimneys.

  • Roof - Condition of roofing materials and flashing.

  • Interior - Windows, doors and plumbing fixtures, which are tested and checked for operation. Electrical outlets and switches, which are randomly checked for correct polarity and operation.

  • Crawl Space / Attic -Insulation, ventilation, electrical heating and plumbing systems are inspected if accessible.

"Each of these areas is important to the overall condition of the home," explains Ghent. "Home inspectors provide a written report that includes information on the condition of each section, calling attention to the systems or components that may need repair, are unsafe or do not function properly."

Qualifying the Inspector

When retaining a home inspector, Ghent recommends paying attention to the experience and background of the inspector. Following are some specific things to consider during the selection process:

  • Ask friends or acquaintances to recommend home inspectors they have retained and were satisfied with.

  • Ask the home inspector what items and systems are included in the scope of services, as well as what kind of written report they will receive.

  • Ask if the inspector is an ASHI member.

The American Society of Home Inspectors was founded in 1976 as a not-for-profit professional organization for home inspectors, whose objectives include promotion of excellence within the profession. Ghent explains that ASHI's requirements for full member status are rigorous and include:

  • Experience -- Performance of at least 250 paid professional home inspections and a review of sample reports to verify compliance with the ASHI Standards of Practice.

  • Knowledge -- Current requirements call for the successful completion of two written exams that test the applicant's knowledge of building systems and components, report writing, the ASHI Standards of Practice, and the diagnosis of building defects.

Once granted membership, ASHI members are expected to continue their education. They are required to obtain 20 hours of continuing education every year in order to renew their membership and stay current with new technology and building practices.

Their professional capability is measured against ASHI's Standards of Practice, which is recognized as the benchmark of performance in the home inspection profession.

"There is a lot of comfort for homebuyers and sellers in knowing they have made an educated decision about their home inspection," Ghent adds. "By choosing an inspector who is truly experienced, the consumer is assured of less heartache with their purchase."

For More Information

Homebuyers who wish to know more about the American Society of Home Inspectors or obtain the names of ASHI members near them may contact the organization at 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Phone: 800?743?2744. Or visit the ASHI website at www.ashi.org.


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