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How To Become A Home Inspector

Entering The Home Inspection Business In Pennsylvania

A great deal of interest has been stirring about the Home Inspection business of late, with many asking for clarification on the subject surrounding the laws governing Home Inspection in the Commonwealth of PA.

This writing is designed to answer these questions.

First, a few frequently asked questions… 

1. Question: Is there licensing in the Commonwealth of PA?
Answer: NO. PA does not license Home inspectors.  There is however, regulation governing the performance of home inspections.

2. Question: Is there legislation pertaining to Home Inspection in PA?
Answer: YES. The Home Inspection Senate Bill 1032, Act 114 of Title 68 was enacted in 2000.

3. Question: Who can lawfully conduct a Home Inspection?
Answer: "A full member in good standing of a national home inspection association.  Or a person, who has not attained full membership in a National Home Inspection Association, but who satisfies the ’section’ of the law, IF the person is supervised by a full member in good standing of a national home inspection association, and who agrees to be responsible for the home inspection report by signing the report".

4. Question: Is there required ‘content’ that must be included in a home inspection report?
Answer: YES.

1. A home inspection must contain, "A description of the scope of the inspection".

2. A description of any ’material defects’ noted during the inspection, along with any recommendation that certain experts be retained to determine the extent of the defects and any corrective action that should be taken."

3. The following statement, set forth conspicuously: "A home inspection is intended to assist in the evaluation of the overall condition of the dwelling.  The inspection is based on observation of the visible and apparent condition of the structure and its components on the date of inspection."  "The results of this home inspection are not intended to make any representation regarding the presence or absence of latent or concealed defects that are not reasonably ascertainable in a competently performed home inspection." "If the person conducting your home inspection is not a licensed structural engineer or other professional whose license authorizes the rendering of an opinion as to the structural integrity of a building or its other component parts, you may be advised to seek a professional opinion as to any defects or concerns mentioned in the report." "This home inspection report is not to be construed as an appraisal and may not be used as such for any purpose."

5. Question: Can anyone have access to a home inspection prepared for a particular client?
Answer: NO. Except as otherwise indicated by law, a home inspector shall not deliver a home inspection report to any person other than the client of the home inspector without the client’s consent.  The seller shall have the right, upon request, to receive without charge a copy of a home inspection report from the person for whom it was prepared.

6. Question: What defines A National Home Inspectors Association?
Answer: Any national association of home inspectors that:

a. Is operated on a Not-For-Profit basis and is not operated as a franchise.

b. Has members in more than ten states.

c. Requires that a person may not become a full member unless the person HAS PERFORMED OR PARTICIPATED IN MORE THAN 100 HOME INSPECTIONS AND has passed a recognized or accredited examination testing knowledge of the proper procedures for conducting a home inspection.

d. Requires that its members comply with a code of conduct and attend continuing education classes as an ongoing condition of membership.

So to sum it up, one must become a "full member in good standing" with a legitimate home inspection organization.  This means you must attain "Regular Membership" status with such an association.  If an association does not comply with this mandate, it is safe to assume that it is not recognized as a bona fide Home Inspection Association.

NAHI requires a minimum of 100 fee paid inspection participation in order to achieve "Regular" Membership status.  This status can be achieved by accompanying a regular home inspector in good standing, while he/she is performing ’fee paid’ inspections.  Home inspection associations have several different levels of membership.  The one you should be concerned with is obtaining the "Regular" inspector membership, although applying for membership can be done at any time, and Associate status would be granted until the "Regular" membership requirements are fulfilled.

When considering an accredited exam, it makes sense to take the NAHI CRI exam if you intend to be a NAHI regular member.  Other exams are out there that comply with the law, (such as the NHIE and the ASHI exams) but they do not qualify as an exam that will allow you to achieve CRI (Certified Real Estate Inspector) designation within the NAHI organization.  Once a member passes the accredited CRI exam, and has participated in 250 inspections, he/she is now eligible for this important CRI designation.

I recommend that anyone interested in becoming a home inspector, attend a few local chapter meetings, ride along with a mentor for at least 10 inspections, and do his/her due diligence in obtaining sufficient information in order to make an informed decision, before investing in the business.  Investing a few hundred dollars to determine if a home inspection career is right for you is well worth it, should you discover that it is not for you.  If it turns out that it is for you, then you would already have begun your journey in becoming a professional in the Home Inspection industry.

A NIT (NAHI Inspector Trainer) member of NAHI is a great person through which to obtain helpful information about becoming a professional Home Inspector.  A list of NIT members can be found on the NAHI website under the ‘Find a Mentor’ navigation button. (www.NAHI.org)   If you can not locate a mentor in your immediate area, I urge you to reach out to the nearest accessible NIT member for advice.  He/she may be able to direct you to your best option.  I hope this information was helpful and I wish you well in your quest in such a rewarding profession.

Inspectfully yours,

Curtis S. Niles Sr. CRI, NIT
Armored Home Inspections, LLC
Former NAHI President 2011, 2012

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