On July 1st, Ohio’s new home inspector licensing law went into effect. While I’m not too happy about having to pay an extra fee to the state on a regular basis, I think this is an overall benefit for both home inspectors and their clients. Now that Ohio defines what a home inspection is, I’ll have less competition out there. Why? Think about driving down I-77 and you see a truck that says “Bob’s Home Improvement—we do roofing, siding, windows, and home inspections!” Is Bob really offering a home inspection? No, Bob’s trying to sell you roofing, siding, and windows. Under Ohio’s new law, Bob can’t call what he does a home inspection, and he has to be properly trained and licensed to perform actual home inspections. And, most importantly, he can’t use his “inspection” to sell you roofing, siding, and windows.
So, while all this is good for the inspector and client, my fear is that buyers and Realtors will now just look to see whether or not a home inspector is state licensed. And that would be a mistake.
To become a home inspector under the new law, the person must take a class, do a ride-along, pass a test, and carry minimal insurance. Do you know what other license requires the same four things? A driver’s license. And, as any trip down I-77 will illustrate, just having a driver’s license doesn’t make you a good driver.
A home inspector’s license shows that a minimum list of expectations has been met. So how do you know if you’re getting a good, experienced home inspector? Simple: Hire an ASHI Certified Inspector.
ASHI, or The American Society of Home Inspectors, is a national organization that provides continuing training and resources for professional home inspectors. To be an ASHI Certified Inspector, not only must the state licensing requirements be met, but an inspector must also:
· Follow the ASHI Standards of Practice. The state standards are almost a mirror image of these, but ASHI’s standards are slightly more stringent.
· Follow the ASHI Code of Ethics. Again, similar to the state code. This prevents “Bob’s Home Improvement” from using an inspection to sell his home improvement products.
· Complete 20 hours of continuing education each year. The state only requires 14.
· Have 5 inspection reports reviewed by ASHI for adherence to the standards.
· Complete 250 paid inspections. You can have a state license without having done even one paid inspection.
In addition to these requirements, ASHI members have the benefit of monthly local chapter meetings where we can meet and talk to other home inspectors. We also have a local Facebook page for members only that gives us the opportunity to post photos and questions for our fellow inspectors if we see something unusual on an inspection. (And, yes, we do post pictures of the outrageous things we see!) In other words, ASHI not only provides training and certification, but also provides opportunities to learn from and interact with other inspectors.
So, whether you’re a Realtor referring inspectors to your clients, or a homebuyer trying to choose an inspector, make sure that your inspector is BOTH state licensed and ASHI Certified. And, yes, I am both of those, along with 14 years’ experience.
A couple of final notes: There are other inspector trade organizations, such as InterNACHI. I’m not as familiar with these as I am with ASHI. You can go to their websites and find more information about their requirements. Also, if there is a real company out there named Bob’s Home Improvements, my apologies.