Whether you’re considering starting your own home inspection business or looking for tips to ensure your business expands and succeeds, learning home inspector standards of practice is essential. Home inspector standards of practice protect home inspectors, clarify how they should inspect each part of the home, and serve as a guide that ensures that clients receive thorough and effective inspections. Scroll down to learn what every home inspector or home inspection business owner should understand about these standards.
What Are the Home Inspector Standards of Practice?
Home inspector standards of practice outline and define what is expected for a thorough and complete home inspection. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide consistency and quality in home inspections across the industry; they are designed to protect and educate not only home inspectors but also their clients.
Home inspector standards describe which systems and areas of the home should be inspected (including the exterior, foundation, roof, heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical, and appliances), how they should be checked, and which defects should be reported. The standards also specify what a home inspector must do and in which circumstances they should do it.
Are Home Inspector Standards the Law?
Home inspector standards are industry standards, not legal ones. However, many states require that home inspectors follow the standards as part of their licensing requirements. Following the standards is a requirement for members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), two of the most prominent trade organizations for home inspectors in the United States. Both ASHI and InterNACHI have specific standards and codes of ethics that members must adhere to to keep their certification or membership.
But even though home inspection standards are not legally binding, not following them can still have negative consequences. Not only could you lose your certification or membership in groups like ASHI or InterNACHI, but failing to follow the standards increases the risk of a home inspector missing a possibly costly, dangerous, or otherwise significant fault, which could lead to a client buying a home with undisclosed defects. Consequences from errors like these can range from lost trust and lost future business to higher vulnerability to future lawsuits.
How Can I Learn the Home Inspector Standards of Practice?
There are no specific education or training requirements when it comes to home inspector standards of practice. However, it’s critical that all home inspectors thoroughly understand the standards, and training courses can be a smart way to ensure you do. Some organizations and associations offer training courses to help home inspectors become familiar with the standards.
Joining a Home Inspector Association
A home inspector association is any industry-focused group or organization with professional home inspectors as members. Most associations charge a membership fee but can provide significant benefits in return. ASHI and InterNACHI are the most prominent home inspector associations in the United States. Both ASHI and InterNACHI are well-known, well-respected names in the home inspection industry. While there are differences between the two, each group provides valuable resources for home inspectors, including training, education, networking opportunities, and certification programs.
InterNACHI is the largest home inspection business association in the world, and they have a particular focus on rigorous training and education, with extensive online training programs and online certification programs. InterNACHI also provides members with a rich library of resources, materials, tutorials, and more. Following the InterNACHI Standards of Practice is required for membership. InterNACHI is a trusted name, and many states accept proof of InterNACHI training as sufficient for licensing.
ASHI has been around for over 40 years and, like InterNACHI, is well-regarded and well-known in the home inspection industry. ASHI’s Standards of Practice were groundbreaking and set the bar for home inspection standards of practice even today. ASHI has many active chapters nationwide and provides its members with continuing education. ASHI members are expected to adhere to their Standards of Practice.
Joining an association like InterNACHI or ASHI is a smart way to ensure you’re well-versed in home inspector standards, but it isn’t the only way. It’s recommended that home inspectors find ways to be active in their professional community. Whether it’s an association like InterNACHI or ASHI, a local group, or an active home inspector group on Facebook, it’s beneficial to be part of a community where you can share experiences, ask questions, and get advice. There’s always something new to learn from fellow inspectors!
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