Home Inspectors Add Value in a Down Market
ASHI Members Diversify Services to Help Homeowners Weather Storm
Des Plaines, Ill. (February 6, 2008) - With reports that foreclosures are up 51 percent from 2006 and that home ownership took a record plunge in 2007, it's clear that 2008 will be a year of economic uncertainty, and at worst, a year of continuing downturn. As consumers continue to feel the squeeze, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) reminds homeowners and those eager to sell to look to ASHI Certified Inspectors when considering options for buying, selling or maintaining their home in a down market.
"ASHI has taken steps to arm its members with the resources and support to provide a diverse range of services for homeowners," said Brion Grant, 2008 ASHI president. "We know that one-size doesn't fit all in this market. From energy audits to maintenance inspections, phased-inspections and more, we're arming members with tools to diversify their services so that they can meet the needs of the public."
New Services for Homeowners
Energy audits are among the core services that ASHI is encouraging its members to fine-tune so consumers have the benefit of potential cost savings. In December, members of ASHI's Blue Ridge Chapter (Virginia) participated in group training with a nationally certified energy auditing company to secure certification to perform energy audits in their region. "With the cost of fuel skyrocketing, energy audits can uncover inefficiencies and point to savings," added Grant. "ASHI is working in conjunction with a certifying organization to provide opportunities for training and certification so that its members can offer this ancillary service nationally."
Another service homeowners may not think about is maintenance inspections. "Maintenance should be at the top of every seller's list this year, said Grant. "In this market, homebuyers have more properties to choose from, and will look closely at how well a home has been kept up."
Homeowners who are serious about selling their home in 2008 should consider hiring an inspector to conduct a maintenance inspection, which includes checking everything from the foundation, roof and gutters, to a home's exterior and interior walls, electrical wiring and plumbing. ASHI also offers a maintenance checklist, a list of items in the home that should be maintained annually or by season. Those interested in obtaining a copy of ASHI's home maintenance checklist should contact a local ASHI Certified Inspector via ASHI's Web site www.ASHI.org.
Services for Buying or Building a Home
With a record 2.18 million homes sitting vacant and sellers chomping at the bit to unload their home, buyers are at risk too. Before purchasing a home, ASHI encourages buyers to hire an inspector to conduct a pre-sale inspection to determine its quality, efficiency and safety. "There are a lot of people who are willing to do whatever it takes to sell their homes," said Grant. "In a market like this, people are quick to jump in because of the rock-bottom price rather than the quality and safety of the home." And, with many bank-owned properties being sold "as is," meaning the seller will not be performing any repairs, pre-sale inspections can provide vital information about costly defects.
Phased inspections are also a good way to protect the interests of people who are building a home from scratch. By engaging a home inspector early on, even in the site selection, homeowners can benefit from having an inspector assess the quality of construction at every step. From pouring the foundation, to closing the walls, home inspectors can provide an unbiased assessment of a home that will save homeowners time and money. ASHI encourages individuals who are interested in learning more about phased inspections to visit www.ASHI.org.
I wish forecasting the future was as easy as picking up a Magic 8-Ball," said Grant. "'Outlook good' would be a welcomed relief from what we've seen over the last year. But Americans are resilient, and ASHI is committed to helping homeowners weather this storm."
About the American Society of Home Inspectors
In its 31st year and with nearly 6,000 members, ASHI is the oldest and most widely recognized non-profit, professional organization of home inspectors in North America. Its Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the industry standard. ASHI’s mission is to meet the needs of its membership and promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession. For more information, visit www.ASHI.org or call 800-743-2744.
To become an ASHI Certified Inspector, ASHI members must pass two written tests, including the National Home Inspectors Examination, and have performed a minimum of 250 professional fee-paid inspections conducted in accordance with ASHI’s Standards of Practice and subscribe to the Code of Ethics. ASHI Certified Inspectors are also required to obtain 20 continuing education credits per year to keep current with the latest in building technology, materials and professional skills.