Differences Among Real Estate Inspectors

All home inspectors are not the same and do not provide the same quality. Inspectors range in quality and price, so shopping only for price may not provide the quality you desire or cause serious problems. Some lower priced inspectors are either newer inspectors trying to break in to the business, less qualified, less knowledgeable, less thorough, or from multi-inspector companies who hire less qualified inspectors.

Some Multi-inspector companies can charge lower fees because they hire new, or less qualified, inspectors who can be paid less, but may perform a lower quality inspection and neglect reporting some existing defects. Undiscovered defects can cause harm, be costly to repair, or very costly and stressful when the buyer discovers the manifestation of the unreported defect and takes legal action. Although some multi-inspector company fees are lower and they may save you a phone call because they provide other inspections, the risks associated with lower quality inspections are not worth saving a few dollars and a few phone calls.

Some multi-inspector companies may mention/advertise that they are "certified," but only have one, or a few inspectors certified. Some inspectors mention/advertise the names of the associations that "certify" home inspectors, but instead of being "certified," the inspector is merely a "candidate," "associate," or "member" of these associations or claim to be following the association's "standards."

Finding a qualified inspector is important. The state of California does not require Real Estate Inspectors to be licensed, so your qualifying process should include considering inspectors who have been "certified" by the inspector associations with the most challenging criteria for inspectors to become certified, such as the International Code Council (ICC), who requires inspectors pass rigorous testing that is also used by city building departments to certify their inspectors. Other good certifications are from the California Real Estate Inspection association (CREIA) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). I am certified by all three associations, and my experience includes: President of the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) Silicon Valley and Vice President of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Silicon Valley. I am also a certified Initial Disaster Housing Inspector for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and I am a Safety Assessment Program Evaluator for the California Office of Emergency Services.

Beware of inspectors with a certification from an association that has a reputation for being a "diploma mill" with sub-standard practices and sub-standard criteria for providing certifications. This association was exposed on a television news station expose' that discovered the association's tests for "certification" were so easy to pass that an inexperienced 12-year old child passed the test to become "certified" while the association owner made more money from another certification fee. This owner has a history of criminal and unethical behavior in the inspection profession and his previous profession.