December 2004 (Palm Springs, Calif) — The California Real Estate Inspection Association cautions home buyers, homes sellers, home builders — as well as the real estate and legal community — about a recent upsurge in Internet-only based organizations that purport to recommend “certified” inspectors.
It has come to the attention of the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA), the largest and oldest state association for home inspectors in the country, that Internet-only based organizations are referring “online approved and tested” inspectors to unsuspecting and uninformed consumers.
It is imperative for all involved in the real estate transaction to know that there is no licensing of home inspectors in California. This non-licensing element has allowed online marketeers an inroad to offer “certifications” to any individual wanting to appear credentialed as a home inspector. Be wary of such “online approved” home inspectors. The real estate inspection profession is a demanding profession that requires a broad base of knowledge in all areas of home construction, maintenance and safety issues. It is imperative that consumers and real estate professionals ask for information as to what type of organization is providing the claimed “certification”.
Since California inspectors are not required to register themselves with the state, an individual with marginal qualifications may perform an inspection. REALTORS© and consumers should do some homework before recommending a professional inspector. The following tips can help:
- Seek/offer several qualified references to buyers. Take the time to verify those you reference by finding out if the inspector does a thorough and professional job.
- Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints on file.
- Ask the inspector for a sample of past inspection reports. Most professional inspector provide a detailed report that offers a comprehensive explanation of the home’s condition as well as recommendations and upgrade suggestions.
- A professional inspector will usually want you and the buyer to be present during the inspection to familiarize all with the home’s systems and point out specific conditions outlined in the report.
- Do not let price be a determining factor in selecting a home inspector. Remember, you usually pay for what you get. Depending on the size of the home among other factors, a professional inspection can range from $300 to over $500 and take up to three or more hours.
- Be wary of home inspectors who offer to repair items outlined in their report. This is an obvious conflict of interest; they may not offer an objective opinion and it is in violation of California’s Business & Professions Code (Chapter 9.3, Section 7197(a)).
- Ask the inspector to show proof of his or her qualifications and experience.
- If you find the property requires an inspection from a specialist such as a geologist of structural engineer, be sure to ask for proof of license, certification and experience.
- It is best to select home inspectors who will stand behind their work and covered by proper liability and professional insurance. Errors and Omissions (“E&O”) insurance protects the home inspector and you against disputes arising from any oversights made by the inspector.
- Another important factor is membership in a professional trade organization such as CREIA. An inspector member of CREIA is required to have proven technical knowledge of systems in residential properties. CREIA Inspectors must adhere to the Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a written test of property systems and complete 30 hours of education each year.
Since 1976, the California Real Estate Inspection Association (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, have performed at least 50 fee-based inspections 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.
CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you click here or call CREIA at (800) 388-8443.