Should I only hire an inspector that is a member of a national association like ASHI or InterNACHI?
Sunday, July 22, 2018
When we get a call about doing a home inspection, the customer sometimes starts off the conversation with “my realtor said I should only hire an ASHI inspector” or “I’m so glad I found you on the InterNACHI website.” They know that being sure the home inspector is a member of a recognized national home inspector organization is one way to verify that he or she has a certain level of professional ability, because all the major associations require passing an exam to become a member, and completing continuing education courses to renew membership.
Professional association membership was more important a few years ago, in an era when all that was necessary to call yourself a home inspector was payment of the local business license tax. But, since 2011, the State of Florida, has required proof of 120-hours of education to obtain a license, and an additional 14-hours of continuing education every two years in order to renew the license. The assurance that an inspector has at least a basic level of competence, which professional association membership once offered, is now verified by proof of a State of Florida home inspector license. Most other states have similar, or more strict, licensing standards.
So association membership is not the gold standard that it once was, and it is possible to be a good inspector without belonging to any organization. But if an inspector is both licensed and an association member, it means that they have access to a number of resources that make it possible to become a much better inspector, such as:
- Annual conventions that feature several days of professional seminars, and vendors demonstrating the latest programs, services, and equipment.
- Regional chapter meetings that help inspectors keep current on local and state issues. Online forums and message boards where inspectors can share information or get help from a fellow member when confronting a puzzling situation.
- Online education courses, which are often free for members.
If you ask any inspector which one is the best, most prestigious professional group, they will tell you—with certainty—that it’s the one they belong to. Each major national association has a loyal following and there are also regional associations, such as FABI (Florida Association of Building Inspectors) and CREIA (California Real Estate Inspection Association). We used to belong to ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors), but now are members of InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors). Both are excellent groups.
So inspector association membership is a definite plus. But we think it should evaluated equally with the inspector’s years of experience, special services offered, recommendations from friends, pricing, and how well the inspector addresses your concerns during a phone interview, before hiring.
Also, see our blog post What questions should you always ask before hiring a home inspector?
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