ASHI Maintains Highest Standards in Home Inspection Industry
Ethical Changes In Other Organizations Raise Consumer Protection Concerns
Des Plaines, Ill. - Recent changes to ethical requirements of certain home inspector organizations around the country have raised serious concerns about participating inspectors being able to provide an unbiased service to consumers. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), both consumers and real estate professionals are cautioned to seek out home inspectors that follow the highest standards and ethics in the profession, just as it requires for its own membership.
Creating High Standards
One of the ethical changes will allow home inspectors belonging to the affected inspection associations to perform repairs for the buyer/seller on items found during the inspection. They will also be allowed to offer sales of products following the inspection and conduct any other type of business associated with the transaction, as long as it is disclosed to the buyer. These are activities that are generally considered a clear conflict of interest, claims Richard Matzen, President of ASHI.
"Throughout our history, we have always restricted our members from performing repairs or other value-added services on the buildings that they inspect, and members are required to sign a written contract stating their intentions to follow this restriction," adds Matzen, whose organization has developed the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that have become a benchmark in the home inspection profession.
"What these other organizations are doing is potentially harmful for homebuyers and sellers. This is a vital element to consumer protection in the home inspection process."
Matzen says that by allowing home inspectors to perform additional services on the properties they have inspected, even with disclosure to the client, the homebuyer or seller has no way of knowing whether or not the inspectors' findings are being influenced by the hope of obtaining additional work or financial gain. If clients have reason to question the motives of home inspectors, there is little value to the service.
In order to locate a home inspector that follows the strongest ethical and professional standards, Matzen advises consumers to look for ASHI membership, check for references and interview at least three inspectors before settling on one. To obtain a list of professional ASHI home inspectors in a particular community, as well as a listing of ASHI's Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, visit the ASHI Web site at www.ashi.org.
"It is essential that consumers do their homework before hiring a home inspector, even if a consumer lives in a state where home inspectors are regulated," says Matzen. "In some states, regulation is a misnomer, since the so-called 'regulation' is as much a registration process as anything. This is why it is important to ensure the home inspector has significant experience, has completed testing requirements, such as the National Home Inspector Examination, and adheres to a strong standards of practice and code of ethics."
For More Information
Formed in 1976, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and most respected professional organization of home inspectors in North America. Its mission is to promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession. ASHI's Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the recognized guidelines for the home inspection profession.
For more information on the American Society of Home Inspectors, contact the association at 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Phone: 800-743-2744. Or visit the ASHI Web site at www.ashi.org.