To an investor, a residential property is a source of wealth creation, revenue, and profit. It is also someone’s home and an obvious part of a community or neighborhood. Most investors want to buy a property at the lowest possible price to maximize immediate equity ownership and potentially maximize their capital gain when they sell. Buying a low-cost property that then presents enough serious safety or functional problems for an investor to regret the purchase should obviously be avoided. For that reason, investors should give serious consideration to using a home inspector who works to ASHI Standards.
ASHI: The American Society of Home Inspectors
ASHI was founded in 1976 by a group of home inspectors who wanted to build consumer awareness and enhance professional standards. These standards are, according to ASHI, the most rigorous standards set by any home inspection organization and have been made part of many states’ legislation.
In many states someone can become a licensed home inspector after successfully completing an online course. Completing a course is not the same as having personal inspection experience and does not imply keeping up with code changes or other matters that may affect a building. This is not to be critical – everyone must begin a career with little or no practical experience. The underlying point is that if an inspector is linked with ASHI it says a lot about their intention, abilities and experience. For example:
- An ASHI Associate Inspector will have passed ASHI’s Standards of Practice and Ethics module, must agree to work to those standards, and must complete 20 hours of continuing education.
- An ASHI Inspector must have passed the National Home Inspector Exam or other approved state exam and must have completed at least 75 home inspections that meet or exceed ASHI standards (submitted via authorized and notarized affidavit) and complete 20 hours of continuing ed.
- An ASHI Certified Inspector must have passed the exam, completed at least 250 inspections to ASHI standards and complete 20 hours of continuing ed.
Protecting oneself from unexpected costs resulting from current or potential future functional or safety defects is part of making a sound investment decision. Having a property thoroughly inspected to approved standards by a dedicated and experienced home inspector is part of it. There are many highly competent home inspectors who are not ASHI members, and many investors have built a good working relationship with them over the years. If someone is new to real estate investing, it makes sense for them to use a home inspector who you know works to ASHI standards.