Affiliation: In most states, the only home inspector standards are those enacted
by professional associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and similar state organizations. Membership
requires adherence to strict standards of practice and participation in ongoing education. When you choose a home inspector,
specify membership in one of these recognized guilds. Beware of those who claim
adherence to these standards without being members. Since the mid-1970's, ASHI’s continual focus has been four-fold:
- To establish standards of practice, defining
what constitutes a thorough inspection;
- To enforce a code of ethics, regulating professional
conduct among inspectors;
- To mandate ongoing education for all member
inspectors, ensuring that inspector performance will continually improve;
- To raise public awareness of the standards
and benefits of home inspection.
There are several well intentioned home inspection associations across the country, but ASHI is
the only association I know of that requires proof of actual documented home inspection experience prior to listing an individual
as "certified" or a "member". Paul King is a North Carolina Licensed Home Inspector, South Carolina Licensed Home Inspector,
North Carolina Licensed Residential & Commercial General Contractor, American IAQ Council-Council Certified Indoor Environmentalist,
ESA-Certified Mold Inspector, NEHA-Certified Radon Measurement Provider, ASHI Member, NCLHIA Member, & PAHI-President.
2) Inspection Experience: Home inspectors are often perceived as general contractors who happen to inspect homes. This view underlies an essential misunderstanding of the home inspection process. Although building knowledge is essential to a home inspector, construction itself has little or no relation
to the skills of forensic investigation. A home inspector is primarily a property
detective who observes and ascertains defects. In as much as a traffic patrolman
is not a crime detective, home inspectors should be viewed as distinct from other contracting professionals. The average apprenticeship for a home inspector is approximately 500-1000 inspections. Numerous contractors, builders, and construction trades people have and continue to call me to perform
inspections of the homes they are buying because they know a full time experienced home inspector will perform a much better
inspection than they can. Professional athletes study, learn, practice, and play
every day to stay on top of their game and get better. Tiger Woods did not become
the number one golfer in the world with out years of hard work and he does not stay where he is with out continually striving
to get better.
Paul King is a full time home inspectorwho has performed
thousands of home inspections. I perform only two inspections per day (one when it is a large home). Some cheaper priced inspectors rush inspections to do more inspections and
earn more money. I do not rush.
3) Knowledge of Building Codes: While the primary focus of a home inspection is not code compliance, many property defects often have their basis
in code-related standards. This is where a General Contractor background can
be extremely beneficial to a home inspector.
As a licensed general contractor, I know North Carolina
Building Code and International Residential Code and apply that knowledge to my inspections.
4) Sample Inspection Report: The proof is in the product: I have posted several real inspection reports I have written for you to view (I have
made some minor changes to protect all parties involved in that inspection). The
best format should be not only detailed and comprehensive, but easily interpreted, making a clear distinction between defective
building conditions and "boiler plate" verbiage. Some reports are so encumbered
with maintenance recommendations and liability disclaimers, that pertinent information about the property is obscured. A quality report lets defect disclosure stand out distinctly, in contrast with less
pertinent data. My reports are typewritten, include color photos, and easily
understood by most people. I am more than happy to discuss my findings with you
after the inspection as well. You can view my sample reports at http://www.inspectorpaul.com/sampleinspectionreport.html
5) Let the Choice Be Yours: When choosing a home inspector, don't necessarily rely on others. The final selection should be your own. New
and inexperienced inspectors often obtain professional recommendations, regardless of competence or lack thereof. You want
the most meticulous, detailed inspector available -- the one who will save you from costly surprises after the close of escrow.
The best inspectors are often labeled as "Deal Killers" or "Deal Breakers." Someone with this reputation is likely to provide
comprehensive consumer protection. Almost 10% of the inspections I perform
are for Realtors (who are buying a home for themselves, Realtors family members, mortgage brokers, and/or local contractors/builders
that have seen my reports as well as numerous other home inspection reports. These
people know the difference in quality and thoroughness between home inspectors and they want the best for their home.
6) Avoid Price Shopping: Inspection fees vary widely. The price of a quality inspection is typically between $400 and $700 for an average
size home. Lower fees should be regarded with suspicion, as they often identify those who are new to the business or who spend
insufficient time performing the inspection. A home is the most expensive commodity you are likely to purchase in a lifetime.
One defect missed by your inspector could cost 100 times what you save with a bargain inspection. The best method of price
shopping is to shop for quality. Sometimes being penny wise can also be pound
foolish. There is often truth in the statement “You get what you pay for.” I am not the cheapest home inspector nor am I the most expensive. I will provide you with a thorough, professional, detail oriented home inspection.
Saving a few dollars on a home inspection can cost you
many times over.