Buying or Selling a Home Common New Year's Resolution;
ASHI Recommends Locating an Experienced, Professional Home Inspector
Spring marks the start of the home buying and selling season. And since many Americans have added buying or selling a home to their New Year's resolution list, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) advises that it's not too early to begin preparation.
"Preparing to buy or sell a home is a time consuming task, and doing your homework ahead of time can be crucial," said Stephen Gladstone, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), whose organization represents nearly 6,000 professional home inspectors in North America. "In particular, locating an experienced, professional home inspector is one step that can help identify problem areas and avoid costly repairs down the road - for both buyers and sellers."
Gladstone offered the following tips to help guide those entering the real estate transaction process.
Preparation for Buyers
Buyers have a lot to consider when purchasing a home. Following are a few tasks they can undertake before looking at specific houses.
- Scan the Marketplace - Homebuyers should review homes in areas they are considering in order to understand what is available. Get an understanding of the high and low price ranges and the features that are most important to them.
- Determine Your Price Range - Homebuyers should work with local lenders to determine how much they can afford, mortgage rates, and to start identifying the right loan for them. A pre-approval process allows enough time to submit and verify necessary information prior to the sales transaction.
- Identify an Experienced Home Inspector - The home inspection is arguably one of the most important aspects of the home buying process, since it helps identify the overall condition of a home. It is in the best interest of the homebuyer to 'pre-qualify' their home inspector early to help ensure they select a qualified individual rather than settling for who is available in the 11th hour of the home buying process.
Preparation for Sellers
The home selling process starts several months before a property is made available for sale. Following are some items to consider.
- Prepare the Property - Cleaning up the inside and outside of a home can make the property more attractive to potential buyers. Basic tasks include tending to landscaping, a thorough cleaning, reducing clutter throughout the home or adding fresh paint where necessary.
- Conduct an ASHI Pre-List Inspection - Before putting a home on the market, hire an experienced ASHI home inspector to help identify potential problem areas. Repairing or disclosing any problems before a prospective homebuyer finds them can reduce hassles and speed up the process when selling a property. In addition, proactively making an ASHI inspection report available to a prospective buyer can be an important added value to the sale.
Qualifying the Home Inspector
In order to locate a home inspector who follows nationally recognized ethical and professional standards, Gladstone advises consumers to look for ASHI membership, to check for references and to 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.
Gladstone noted that ASHI Members are among the most experienced in the
profession, meeting or exceeding the following requirements for membership:
The American Society of Home Inspectors is the largest and most respected non-profit society for professional home inspectors in the country. During this year, the organization will be rolling out new programs developed to ensure that ASHI members are providing the standard for customer service - known as The ASHI Experience - within the industry. The goal is to educate consumers, so they have the information necessary to make a confident home buying decision.
- Experience - Performance of at least 250 paid professional home inspections for Members. This also includes formal review of a select number of home inspection reports to verify conformance with the ASHI Standards of Practice.
- Knowledge - Current ASHI requirements call for the successful completion of two written exams that test the applicant's knowledge in the areas of building systems and components, ASHI Standards of Practice and diagnosis of building defects.
- Continuing Education - Once granted membership, ASHI home inspectors are expected to continue their education. They are required to earn membership renewal credits. This encourages members to stay up to date in such areas as new technology and building practices. In 2004, a large number of ASHI Members received this education during ASHI's January InspectionWorld conference, the leading educational event of its kind within the profession.
Homebuyers and sellers who wish to know more information about the home inspection profession, the American Society of Home Inspectors, or obtain the names of ASHI members can visit www.ASHI.org or by calling 800-743-2744.