Frequently Asked Questions and Path to Success Program Requirement Details

The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) is a voluntary, nonprofit public-benefit organization of real estate inspectors with chapters located throughout the state.  

The Path to Success Program has been implemented to help new CREIA inspectors become not only more knowledgeable home inspectors through a variety of educational venues, but equally important, successful entrepreneurs in a highly competitive profession. 

CREIA has long been recognized for maintaining the highest level of professionalism by providing high quality education to its membership through its state chapters and producing a variety of “tool-box” seminars, basic and advanced on-line discussions on inspection technology on its website, and annual state educational conferences. 

CREIA’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice are recognized by the California Business and Professions Code and are considered the standard of care by the real estate industry and legal profession in California.

CREIA also provides many opportunities for its members to be involved in the governing of the association. From its inception in 1976, CREIA has maintained the philosophy that mentoring of new inspectors by experienced fellow members is its primary purpose for being, which is reflected by its mission:

  • To represent the Real Estate Inspection Industry
  • To recognize and promote Real Estate Inspection as a unique; professional discipline
  • To provide leadership through education and by maintaining ethical and technical standards
  • To enhance consumer protection and promote public awareness of the Association

The success of the inspector rests solely on the responsibility of the individual. Ambition, drive, and patience are necessary traits. Success should not be expected overnight, but as goals are achieved.

CREIA = Tier One Inspectors:
Unsurpassed testing; Unmatched training and education requirements; Industry leading performance Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics – That’s why California Law specifically mentions CREIA as an industry benchmark.

Your success as an inspector lies with you. The tools and resources can be provided but the responsibility rests solely on your shoulders.

Education, commitment, drive, ambition, and the ability to communicate clearly to the client both verbally and in a written report are important features in your Path to Success.

You should attend as many chapter meetings and state conferences as possible. It’s amazing the educational benefits they provide. Chapter pre-meetings are a great educational resource for the new inspector as they are geared especially for those in your shoes. New friendships forge, peer support becomes common and  knowledge of the profession is obtained. Who knows, perhaps eventual leadership positions at the chapter and state levels will be in your future as a new leader, or perhaps you aspire to mentor to others? CREIA provides a platform to achieve those goals.

Education is what sets a CREIA inspector apart from the rest of the pack. Becoming an ICC member and obtaining ICC certification in building, mechanical, plumbing and electrical not only provides respected credentials, it’s also helpful in attaining CREIA’s highest designation -- MCI (Master CREIA Inspector). You will be required to attend two ride alongs and one chapter, or conference, group inspection but that is just a minimal requirement. We advise you to attend as many ride alongs as mentor participation will allow.

Having a well defined business and marketing plan is essential to your success as a respected and sought after professional.

Current requirements to become a Certified CREIA Inspector (CCI) via the Path to Success Program:

Earn at least 60 hours of education (continuing education credits or CECs are earned one (1) for every one (1) hour of education) related to home inspection. CECs must be earned through CREIA and/or CREIA-approved educational providers. Such providers are listed under Education in the Member Resource Center (See the applicable box on the CREIA homepage). Some CECs will be earned by completing membership requirements.

Pass the National Home Inspector Exam.
There are resources to help you prepare for the rigorous NHIE examination. Be prepared!

Perform two (2)  ride along inspections with a CREIA Certified Trainer or MCI.
You may arrange this through your "home chapter" (inquire with chapter leaders) or contact the office to assist you in locating someone to do ride alongs in your area.

Attendance and participation in a CREIA Standards of Practice group inspection.
Local chapters often host "toolbox" events, which satisfies this requirement. Michael Casey's trainings also include a group SOP inspection. Such an inspection will also be planned in conjunction with CREIA's annual conference. CREIA will send an email blast to members when chapter and conference SOP group inspections are planned.

Attendance at two (2) CREIA Chapter meetings. Upon becoming a member, select a home chapter and participate locally.
Successfully complete the CREIA Standards of Practice & Ethics Exam
You can arrange to sit for this examination through the CREIA office via SKYPE or you can arrange with your chapter leaders to have someone proctor the exam at a chapter meeting or other date/time arranged by the chapter leader.

Report Reviews: All above steps must have been completed prior to submitting reports to be reviewed. The purpose of a report review is to assess compliance with the CREIA Standards of Practice (SOP), Code of Ethics, the California Business and Professions Code 7195, and the CREIA L.I.D.E.R. (Locate. Identify. Describe. Explain. Recommend) method of report writing. The Associate shall submit for review 10 reports of fee paid inspections to CREIA via email to [email protected]. Three of which should be raised foundation dwellings whenever possible. The reports must be of independently conducted inspections of single-family residences. NOTE: Inspections performed in conjunction with a CREIA Certified Trainer/MCI do not qualify.  It is recommended that you take CREIA’s online Report Writing education prior to submitting your reports (you will also receive two CECs:

The ten reports will be forwarded to a member of the report review panel. Of the ten (10) reports submitted, two (2) reports [one (1) of which will be a raised foundation dwelling whenever possible] will be selected by the report reviewer for review using the CREIA Report Review form. Should the first reviewed report of the two not meet the above standards, the reviewer will stop the review process and communicate the areas needing improvement to the Associate and ask the Associate to re-write and re-submit two reports for review. If the subsequent two (2) reports fail to meet the standards outlined above, an additional report review fee of $100 will be charged to the Associate and the Associate shall start the report review process from the beginning.

Additional suggestion for the Path to Success program:

  • Attend and complete an accredited home inspection school or community college course
  • Become an International Code Council Member (ICC)
  • Become ICC Certified in each of the building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical disciplines
  • Create a building code library.
  • Obtain and understand Real Estate purchase contracts and disclosure documents
  • Attain CCI designation within 3 years
  • Develop a Truthful resume

Setting up and maintaining a well constructed website is one of the most important, efficient and cost effective advertising methods. A quality website is the best method to tell your clients about you and your services.  

Knowledge of purchase contracts and disclosure documents will help you understand how an inspector is utilized in a real estate transaction.

Computer skills are essential to deliver comprehensive narrative reports. Checklist style reports are outdated and may not help tell the full story of the property without narrative descriptions and photo insertions.

These are just a few of the necessary ingredients one needs to be successful. Commitment, commitment and commitment to the profession, your education and yourself will manifest into success.

Your services are very valuable. Your fees should be determined by your expenses and cost of doing business (refer to Brian Hannigan’s “Cost of Doing Business”). It is much easier to lower prices than to raise them once established. Never sell yourself or your product short.

CREIA has an on-line educational forums. The TIE Technical Information Exchange for CREIA members is an excellent resource for inspectors to ask other inspectors questions about the profession, system component defects and business operations from experienced inspectors.

The CREIA website has information of locations and times of chapter meetings throughout the state.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q:  If I attend a home inspection school, or college course, can the hours attained be used for the 60 hours needed to become a CCI?  
A: The hours obtained may be credited for Continuing Educational Credits (CECs). It depends on whether or not the school is accredited with CREIA. To find out if your education counts, please click the following link to see if they are CREIA-approved. If not, you may call us at 949-715-1768 or [email protected].

Q: Must I obtain 30 CEC hours every year to maintain my membership, even if I’m not a CCI?
A. Yes. Your membership in CREIA will terminate if you do not meet the educational requirements. CCIs/MCIs must also attend a minimum of two chapter meetings per year.

Q: Do I have to become a CCI within one year in order to keep my membership in CREIA?  
A: No.  The Associate should try to accomplish the necessary requirements within two years and three at the most.

Q: What does it cost to become a CCI?
A: $495 first year Associate Member dues ($395 subsequent years), the NHIE exams costs $225. Plus any additional expenses incurred towards obtaining your required, qualifying, and annual renewal CECs.  

Q: How long does it take to become a CCI?
A: It’s all up to you on how quickly you meet the necessary requirements.

Q: If I don’t pass the NHIE or SOP/Ethics test, can I take it again?
A: Of course. However, you will not become a CCI until you pass. It is not in your best interest to stay an Associate for an extended period of time. So study and pass it next time!     

Q: Does CREIA market my business and create jobs for me?
A: No. Once you become a CCI, you will receive a listing on the CREIA Find an Inspector feature on and this will generate a number of calls. We promote CREIA CCI and MCI Inspectors to Realtors and the public via the media outreach, meetings with regulatory and business, and CAR expos. We also give you guidance and some of the tools, but ultimately, it is the individual inspector’s responsibility to market their own business.

Q: How long will it take before I will become successful if I follow this program?
A: It depends on the economy, your commitment and time spent in achieving your goals.

Q: When can I use the CREIA logo and obtain a CREIA Inspector badge?
A: Once you become a CCI, you will have access to the CREIA logo and receive a badge in the mail.

Good luck, be safe and

The content of the materials is for general information purposes only and does not constitute advice. CREIA tries to provide content that is true and accurate as of the date of writing; however, we give no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or applicability of any of the contents.  Information given may include opinions or views which, unless expressly stated otherwise, are not necessarily those of CREIA or any associated association, company or any person in relation to whom they would have any liability or responsibility.  Likewise, the appearance of advertisers, or their identification as members, does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services featured. Readers should not act upon CREIA’s content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice.