June 2006 (Palm Springs, Calif) — In an ongoing series during its 30th anniversary year, the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) cautions home buyers and sellers, as well as all individuals involved in real estate transactions, that there are myths and misconceptions associated with retaining a professional home inspector. CREIA presents Part Two of the series “Myths & Realities about Home Inspections”. An additional listing of common myths can be found online at www.CREIA.org.
Myth: All home inspectors’ credentials are the same, as long as they are certified.
REALITY: Consumers and REALTORS® need to be cautious about recent upsurges in Internet-only based home inspector organizations that purport to recommend “certified” inspectors and refer “online approved and tested” inspectors. There is no licensing of home inspectors in California. This non-licensing situation has allowed online marketeers an inroad to offer “certifications” to any individual wanting to appear credentialed as a home inspector. The consumer need to 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 the type of organization providing the claimed “certification”.
Myth: An inspection report isn’t needed as long as a qualified person just tells you about the property.
REALITY: A qualified professional inspector will report findings in a written document. A written inspection report is the finished product of every home inspection, and is required by the California Business and Professions Code and the CREIA Standards of Practice. Although an inspector may provide insight into his or her report language with verbal onsite comments or follow-up explanations; one should only rely on the language and finding of the written report. For a professional home inspector, the written report is the formal, final, and factual declaration of what was discovered about the property on the day of the inspection. This is the standard centerpiece of the home inspection profession. What is written overshadows what anyone might claim to have said. This also includes oral comments by others who challenge a professional inspector’s report but refuse themselves to put it in writing. There are several variations of professional inspection reports used in California which include field-generated checklist style of report (with follow-up typed compilation or action list); reference book (tear sheet checklists corresponding to items in a reference book); checklist style; written narrative report or other hybrids versions. Many inspectors also use digital photographs to illustrate their findings.
Make sure you retain the services of a qualified inspector who is trained and experienced in home inspection. It is also very important that your inspector be a member of a professional association such as CREIA to ensure continued education. 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 written test of property systems and complete 30 hours of 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 that affect property inspection and the business of real estate inspection.
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.