February 2007 (Palm Springs, Calif.) — In its ongoing mission to inform and educate the public, 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.
California inspection professionals, providing services to a recognized Standard of Practice, and adhering to a strict Code of Ethics,
have no vested interest in the outcome of a real estate sale/purchase transaction.
FACT: The professional inspector is the only entity in a real estate sale/purchase transaction totally independent and unbiased in their work for inspection clients. Inspections of homes or other properties, performed for a fee, provide an objective reporting of findings and opinion of condition based on knowledge and expertise peculiar to the unique discipline of the inspection profession.
REALITY: Beyond the honest earning of an appropriate fee for services, the inspector has nothing to gain in the close of a transaction; no sales commission to make, no repair work to perform (illegal in California), and no real opportunity for future business. Like the traffic cop who really doesn’t care why an infraction occurred, the fact is it occurred; the professional inspector doesn’t really care if a property sells or not, only that their inspection client be well-informed and supported by appropriate and reliable report information about the condition of the property. Homebuyers, or sellers, due diligence in a transaction includes properly interviewing, qualifying and selecting their inspection professional based on credentials, training, knowledge and experience.
FACT: Engaging the services of a real estate inspector is an infrequent occurrence in the lives of average buyers or sellers of property. Resources often originate with the real estate agent or broker. Of the over 427,000 California DRE licensees, few are completely familiar with, and knowledgeable of, appropriate processes leading to the selection of a qualified inspection practitioner. Most all however are trained that they must recommend or advise that an inspection be performed.
REALITY: Most homebuyers are told they should secure an inspection on a property; they are not however always informed as to why, or most importantly how. From the consumer’s standpoint, the “why” should perhaps be obvious - to secure an unbiased, qualified opinion of the property’s condition and consult with an appropriately credentialed professional about the systems and components of the building, prior to closing on investment in the property. As to the “how”, the best way to select a qualified inspector is to verify credible credentials, and compare résumés. Quality of inspection services and inspection fees vary widely depending on which credentials an inspector holds, and depth of experience; higher caliber inspectors with stronger résumés command higher fees. Homebuyers, or sellers, are the direct beneficiary of the inspection, in that their inspector works for and reports directly to them; although the curious irony is that the inspection report actually protects their agents also.
FACT: From the agent or broker’s standpoint, the “why” of inspections is that since the advent of California case law over 20 years ago the real estate community has sought protection from potential liability in legal action arising out of disclosure issues in transactions, and the “how” is to engage an inspector willing to assume that liability. Responsible brokers and agents (on the advice of counsel and to protect themselves in the event of a legal dispute) will require a buyer sign a waiver acknowledging that an inspection was recommended and declined, against the professional advice of the real estate licensee.
REALITY: Agents and brokers are mindful of their need for protection by recommending an inspection report. They are also very much aware that a commission may hang in the balance in the event a report identifies conditions unacceptable to the inspection client, which prove not be resolvable in closing negotiations. Effective and successful agents know how to represent the best interests of their client in a transaction. One indicator of a truly professional agent is when, in their client’s best interests they recommend foregoing on closing a transaction. A very good indicator of a knowledgeable and experienced real estate inspector is one sought by agents and brokers for the inspection of their own property purchases.
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.
CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a rigorous written examination of their knowledge of building systems and components, and complete 30 hours of continuing education each year. CREIA members can earn education credit through various sources including monthly chapter meetings, educational conferences and seminars, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with these requirements. 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.