The Value of Retaining a California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) Certified Home Inspector

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March 2005 (Palm Springs, Calif.) — It is an unfortunate repercussion of the Internet’s wide reach that many consumers are being mislead by the wide disarray of home inspection organizations all clamoring for a piece of the real estate transaction. As the oldest and largest state association representing home inspectors in the country, the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA), cautions homebuyers and home sellers to make sure they retain the services of a qualified inspector. Since California does not license home inspectors, homebuyers may wonder how to best choose a qualified real estate inspector.

Being regulated by the state, or having a contractor's license, does not necessarily ensure competency. What ensures competency is education, experience, training and membership in an organization that promulgates professional standards, requires the successful completion of a general inspection knowledge exam, continuing education and sanctions for ethical violations. It is smart business for a consumer to seek out those who have been qualified by a recognized professional association.

Earning certification from CREIA is a difficult process involving continuing education and tested knowledge. The CREIA certification exam is the toughest in the nation because it is based on the highest standards of practice that mirror state law as published in the California Business and Professions Code. CREIA works hard to test and educate inspectors in the many diverse systems and components of a home, as well as the ethics of being an unbiased professional. The CREIA member continuing education requirement is the highest education requirement in the nation among all home inspection associations.

For many decades, CREIA has produced the widely accepted standards under which California home inspectors operate — standards that define the scope on an inspection and help protect consumers from erroneous or misleading inspection reports. Legislation has acknowledged these standards, noting that courts may consider the Standards of Practice of CREIA in determining the degree of care a California inspector must demonstrate. Since California does not regulate the inspection profession though licensing, CREIA’s Standards, Code of Ethics and its qualifying process is the model for the profession in the state.

All members agree to abide by CREIA’s Code of Ethics in their business conduct, the CREIA Code of Ethics mirror’s California state law as published in the California Business and Professions Code. CREIA’S Code of Ethics is the only Association Code of Ethics that follows the California law. The CREIA Ethics Committee very seriously reviews an ethical complaint. After careful investigation that mirror state law as published in the California Business and Professions Code, they will respond to both the complainant and the inspector involved. Code of Ethics requires a high degree of professionalism and integrity, and that an inspector member act fairly and impartially. Any conflict of interest activity must be avoided in order to assure the consumer a completely objective inspection. Specifically, CREIA members may NOT: (a) use the inspection as a vehicle to obtain repair or related work on the building; (b) reveal the contents of an inspection report to anyone but the client without the client’s consent; (c) be involved in any real estate activity from which they might benefit financially as a result of their inspection work; (d) offer an opinion or evaluation on any subject which they are not sufficiently familiar and experienced.

It is imperative to secure the services of a competent home inspector. A poor inspection can have a drastic consequence. Make sure to retain an inspector who is trained and experienced in home inspection, maintains proper insurance, and is a member of a professional association such as the CREIA. With more than 1250 members, CREIA has been successfully setting the standard – in the field, in the courtroom and in the legislature – for more than a quarter of century. As the oldest and largest nonprofit state inspector association in the country, CREIA is California-specific in its education and consumer outreach. CREIA is dedicated to enhancing consumer protection and promoting public awareness.

Many inspectors claim to be CREIA members or claim their reports meet or follow CREIA’s Standards of Practice. Do not be fooled; ask to see the CREIA badge or contact CREIA to verify their active, certified membership. At present, anyone can claim to be a home inspector. Therefore, buyers must exercise extreme care and cautious consideration before hiring just anyone.

To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you click here or call CREIA at (800) 388-8443. Since 1976, the California Real Estate Inspection Association, 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.