You’re a responsible home inspector, or you’re training to be one. But what about the guy down the street? If you live in a state that doesn’t require licensing, customers might never know what they’ll get. That’s why areas without licensing requirements are pushing to make it a reality.
Some areas have reported significant problems, including major overlooked defects and even physical assault inside the home. That leaves prospective customers worried and lawmakers wary. But even if you don’t have licensing in your area, you can strive to protect consumers and protect your good name in the process.
Home Inspecting is a Relatively New Trade
Although people have built, bought and sold real estate since practically the dawn of recorded history, home inspecting was only born in the 1970s. Compared to many industries, it’s still in its infancy. Before then, buyers either bought a home with no idea about its condition or they relied on trusted and knowledgeable friends as well as construction industry experts to evaluate a home prior to the sale.
Home inspecting evolved from a definite need. But regulations take some time to evolve. None existed back when CREIA, ASHI and other state and national associations were formed. That’s why every association has Standards of Practice. In the absence of regulation, the Standards give home inspectors a solid set of guidelines to follow.
Bad Inspectors Hurt Everyone
The absence of regulations has left the door wide open to scammers and outright criminals. Certainly those are rare. By and large, home inspectors strive to do a thorough job that serves the customer well. Inspectors rely on referrals, and no one wants to refer a bad inspector. So in addition to benefiting the customer, it’s in the inspector’s best interest to do a good job.
Unfortunately, all that it takes is one bad apple to spoil the whole bushel basketful. That’s especially true when it’s so easy for customers who have been scammed to spread the word both in the news and through online customer advocacy groups and referral services, such as Angie’s List. Problem is, few people hear about all of the great inspectors who are working hard. It’s that one bad example that gets everyone’s attention and sullies the reputation of everyone else.
What You Can Do
Home inspector associations, both at the state and national level, work diligently to uphold the good name of inspectors and push for a well-educated, professional industry. Each one has a similar Code of Ethics to follow, and Standards of Practice only vary slightly from one association to another. Most require continuing education to retain membership.
When you join an association, you have evidence that you are a pro who can be trusted. In the absence of state licensing regulations, membership reflects your commitment to upholding the good name of inspectors everywhere. Customers might now understand the importance of belonging to an association, but it’s a marketing opportunity that lets you educate the public.
All that it takes is one bad report in your area to make customers far and wide think twice about hiring a home inspector. And that’s a genuine shame. When customers opt out of having a home inspection, they put themselves at risk of buying a money pit or even a home that’s dangerous to live in. And it cuts into your bottom line, too.
Do your part to strengthen your good name and that of inspectors everywhere. If your state doesn’t require licensing, consider it an opportunity for you to prove your value to home buyers and other customers where you live and work.
Are you still just thinking about signing up for ICA School’s home inspector training course? There’s no better time than now to make that decision. Get a free course demo today and see why our program turns out top-notch inspectors who make the industry better.