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CREIA Cautions Buyers to NOT Confuse a VA/FHA Inspection/Appraisal with a Professional Home Inspection

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August 2003 (Palm Springs, Calif) — The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) wants homebuyers and home sellers to know that there is a big difference between a professional home inspector and a VA inspector/appraiser. VA appraisers do not conduct the same level of inspection as a home inspector.

VA and FHA appraisers are often thought to perform detailed and comprehensive property inspections, when in fact, their task is to determine the market value of property, while checking for obvious physical defects. A qualified professional home inspector will use a recognized accepted Standards of Practice when performing a home inspection far exceeding what is normally reported on by VA/FHA Appraisers. VA inspections are general overviews and do not begin to approach home inspections in scope, depth, or detail.

To clarify the essential difference between a home inspection and a VA or FHA inspection, consider the relative backgrounds of these two unrelated professions. Home inspectors typically derive from the construction, architecture, or engineering professions. The physical aspects of real estate constitute their primary area of knowledge. Although some appraisers may also possess this type of experience, most draw their expertise from business, banking, accounting, or other finance-related professions. 

The conditions reported on by a professional home inspector can be vastly different than VA appraisers. The specific details checked by a home inspector number in the hundreds, and most of these exceed the scope of a VA inspection. Below is a small sampling of major conditions which you can expect a professional home inspector to report. 

  • A home inspector evaluates the electrical wiring in the various breaker or fuse panels and tests the outlets for safe and proper wiring.
  • A home inspector checks the operational condition of the various plumbing and heating components throughout the property.
  • A home inspection includes a full roof evaluation, not from the ground, but on the roof itself (not to mention inside the attic).
  • A home inspector crawls under the house and checks beneath the sinks, inside the fireplace, and down the chimney. 

You owe it to yourself to learn as much as possible about the safety and operability of your home and to make sure you retain a quality, professional home inspector. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you, call CREIA at (800) 388-8443, or visit their website at Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities. 

CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a comprehensive written examination of property systems and complete 30 hours of continuing education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances affecting the profession of real estate inspection. CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education.


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