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CREIA Explains the Best Kept Secrets about Home Inspections

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April 2007 (Palm Springs, Calif.) - The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) reminds homebuyers and sellers, as well as all individuals involved in real estate transactions, that the services of a qualified and professional home inspector are unique in some very important respects.

Home buyers in California have the right to secure inspection reports on the systems and components of a property as a condition of sale. Although ill-advised, they also have the option to waive that right.

FACT: California real estate sale/purchase contracts will typically include contingencies, not the least of which is a specified window of opportunity to have a property inspected by a qualified inspector. Transactions are concluded and escrows closed on the release of such contingencies, and ownership of the property transfers from one person or entity to another.

REALITY: Currently, the standard sale/purchase contract on a home includes a seventeen day inspection contingency period. By agreement this time-frame is often modified, typically lessened, based on various factors; the most common being market trends favoring the seller. The countdown to expiration of inspection (or other) contingencies begins upon written acceptance of the offer. Time becomes of the essence to the buyer to engage the services of a properly qualified inspector to secure an inspection, and review and approve an inspection report.

As an independent, objective and unbiased third-party reporter, the home inspector works for and reports directly their client. Inspection findings and report information are for the sole use and benefit of the buyer.

FACT: Selection of the inspection professional is the prerogative of the buyer. The majority of prospective home buyers are not knowledgeable of the inspection process and unprepared when it comes to exercising their right to an inspection. Most buyers are unaware of the variables in inspection services, erroneously believing that some sort of universal standard exists and all that matters is cost.

REALITY: Experienced inspection professionals with proven track records will be uncompromising in their work, respectful of their client confidentiality ethic and command higher fees. Lack of due diligence in the qualifying and selection of an inspector can be a recipe for disaster. While top producers are generally well informed, often the majority of real estate agents has little knowledge of, or experience with, inspectors to adequately advise or direct in their fiduciary relationship with their buyer clients.

Preferred providers of professional services will always be in high demand. Being on a waiting list doesn’t work in contingencies; one cannot “back-order” a real estate inspection.

FACT: All too often buyers delay in selecting and arranging in advance the availability of their inspector. In working with buyers, few agents advise their clients to prepare to exercise their right to inspection a property. The choices of inspector are far greater when not made under the pressure of time constraints; many buyers confuse so-called “on the spot” reports with “same day service”.

REALITY: Along with lack of due diligence in the qualifying and selection of an inspector, hastily arranged inspections can be to the detriment of the buyer. Beyond properly qualifying an inspector, the next most important thing a prospective buyer should check is availability and the necessary amount of lead-time to schedule and properly conduct an inspection. By virtue of their reputation, popular inspection professionals are busy, and carefully calendar time in advance to accommodate their clients and keep up with their workload.

Homebuyers and sellers are urged to retain the services of qualified inspectors trained and experienced in home inspection. It is also very important that the inspector be a member of a well-founded professional association such as CREIA. Established in 1976, CREIA is the largest and oldest state inspection association in the country. CREIA inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed and maintained by the Association. Recognized by the State of California, these Standards of Practice are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.

To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you click here or call CREIA at (800) 388-8443.


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