What is a certified home inspector?
I get asked a lot “Are you Certified”? This is not just a yes or no answer. There are several different national organizations available for Home Inspectors to voluntarily join if they wish. Some organizations have better benefits than others for the Inspector, and most will in some fashion “certify” the Inspector. Since many states, like Michigan, do not license or certify inspectors, membership to a high end national organization like ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors), can be a very smart choice for a Home Inspector, especially considering the great training & continuing education opportunities.
If a client is banking on the “certification” to be the deciding factor on which Inspector to choose, then they should do due diligence to find out who has certified them and what was required to become certified. An ASHI certification will have the best code of ethics, standards of practice, 3rd party accreditation, report review, peer review, and continuing education, where other organizations may only require a check and a sworn statement. ASHI is the only organization that has third party accreditation. This is done through the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies), which evaluates parent organizations for viability and integrity, along with their certification programs, for fairness, reliability and means of recertification. No other home inspection association has met this level of scrutiny or has the ability to issue this level of certification. The ASHI certification, ACI (ASHI Certified Inspector), is the gold standard for the industry.
There are of course other considerations to take into account when choosing an Inspector for a quality home inspection experience (i.e. experience, reporting structure, time spent performing the inspection). But sometimes consumers can be blinded by words like “certified” or “licensed”, which have no standard meaning in Michigan. In summary, if you want to know if your Home Inspector is certified, you should also want to know who has certified him/her, and how.
Timothy Bunch ACI, IBR
President/Inspector-Secure Start Inspections