Web Reviews: Don’t Get Stumped by Inspection Questions

Home inspection basics: This site, run by the largest professional association of home inspectors, has handy tools you can use or suggest to your clients.

September 1, 2004

American Society of Home Inspectors: www.ASHI.com

In real estate, deals often hinge on a successful home inspection. Buyers want to know as much as possible about the property that could become their biggest asset, and avoid costly surprises down the road. As a real estate practitioner, buyers look to you for suggestions on how to find a home inspector to hire, tips for choosing one who’s qualified, or ideas about where they can find more information.

The American Society of Home Inspectors, which bills itself as the oldest and largest professional organization of home inspectors in North America, has a well-organized Web site with information you could use or recommend to clients to find answers to their inspection questions. Here are some of the site’s best features:

  • Virtual Home Inspection Tour. This interactive tool allows you or your clients to gain a better understanding of what kinds of problems inspectors look for in different parts of the house. You can choose from 10 main inspection areas (roofing, electrical, fireplaces, etc.) by moving your mouse across a horizontal menu or clicking on different areas of the home illustration. For each area of the home, there are photos of what a problem would look like. For example, the ventilation section shows mold and water damage on the roof sheathing caused by excess moisture in the attic.
  • Existing State Home Inspector Regulatory Legislation. Want to find out whether home inspections are required in your state, or see what qualifications someone needs to perform an inspection? Browse this section to find information on inspection laws that apply to you. For most states, there are also links to state inspector licensing agencies, legislative home pages, and contact numbers for local regulatory bodies.
  • Frequently Asked Questions on Home Inspections. Here’s where you’ll find straight-forward answers to 13 basic questions about home inspections. If your client has asked you How do I find a home inspector? or What does a home inspection include?, this section could be a good starting point for them.
  • Find an Inspector. The American Society of Home Inspectors has a membership of more than 6,000 individual home inspectors from independent and franchised companies who agree to abide by a code of ethics and standards of practice. This inspector search tool allows you or your client to search its database of members and contact a person or company online. Many of the listings also include Web site addresses.

More Home Inspection Resources:

  • The American Society of Home Inspectors isn’t the only source of information. Keep in mind that there are smaller professional groups, like the National Association of Home Inspectors, with 1,900 members, which also offers an online inspector search tool.
  • Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giant, has a consumer home inspection kit accessible from the bottom of its homebuyer’s Calculators & Tools page. The kit helps buyers identify any problems or features they may want a professional home inspector to check out. It also offers some good tips about what buyers should consider as they walk through a home—from the amount and quality of storage space, to making sure windows aren't painted shut.
Kelly Quigley

Kelly Quigley is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.

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