Home inspections haven’t always been the norm, and neither have the home inspector associations that are so well known today. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1960s that a widespread concern about the rising cost of real estate compared to the risk of buying a house that wasn’t in good condition prompted many prospective home buyers to ask for a little help.
The first inspectors didn’t have any real guidelines or professional tools. They were contractors with varying levels of expertise — people that home buyers trusted to give an opinion on whether or not a house was a safe investment.
Before long, word spread, as it tends to do. Contractors and tradesmen realized that these walk-throughs didn’t just happen in their areas, but were happening everywhere. And so many of them came together to form the first national home inspector association, the American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI.
Home Inspector Associations and the Evolving Standards of Practice
ASHI was founded in New York City, and the year was 1976. Around the same time, another association was founded on the west coast. The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) also formed in 1976, but it’s at the state, not the national level.
Since then, other associations have formed at both the national and state levels. The National Association of Home Inspectors(NAHI) formed in 1987, and InterNACHI is the most recent addition. Many states don’t have their own association, but some, such as Wisconsin, Florida, and Tennessee, do.
ASHI and CREIA both lay claim to have developed the first “Standards of Practice,” which set forth a uniform method of what a home inspector does and does not do. But ASHI’s version is more widely used and well known. Today, these methods give inspectors up-to-date guidelines so that clients know what to expect from an inspection.
Why You Should Join a Home Inspector Association
Home inspecting is a fairly solitary job. Most inspectors don’t have an office full of peers to talk with, so one of the biggest benefits of joining an association is the chance for camaraderie. When you attend a conference, you’ll meet other inspectors, make connections, and learn more about how others work in the industry.
Another major reason to join is continuing education opportunities. Association conferences usually have sessions with professional guests who speak on changes in the industry, possible updates to Standards of Practice, and other relevant information.
A third, and somewhat less reliable reason to join, is the potential to grow your business. This might only matter if you live in an area where membership is important. For example, if the real estate agents in your area expect you to be a member of either a national or state association, you’ll likely get more business from them if you join.
Membership dues aren’t cheap, but they can be well worth the investment. For a national membership, you’ll spend several hundred dollars annually to stay current. And at the state level, expect to pay a few hundred dollars.
Whether state or local, membership in a home inspector association can help you. When changes happen, your association will let you know. If there’s new technology that can make your job easier or more efficient, you’ll learn that, too. And if you want to meet peers, there’s no better place than at a national or state conference.
Becoming a home inspector carries with it a lot of responsibility, but there are also plenty of benefits. You’ll have the freedom to work when you want to and control your own business. And when you need it, you can also have the education and camaraderie that comes with membership in a national or state association.
ICA is an affiliate member of ASHI, NAHI, and CREIA. And as an NAHI educational affiliate, you’ll get a 6-month membership with NAHI once you complete your training.
If home inspecting sounds like the career change you’ve been looking for, you can get a demo and find out what training is really like.