What is a Professional Home Inspector?

 707.245.7545 (cell) or 707.987.9970 (office)


1.     He needs to trained and certified and should have a website, which includes a sample of his inspection report, his credentials to be a professional home inspector, pertinent qualifications and a picture of the inspector so you can see who you may be dealing with. 

2.  A professional home inspector will have Errors and Omissions insurance.  Most states require it because they license home inspectors want them to be professionals.  If some issue is overlooked and causes serious injury to family or friends, you should have some recourse.  If your home inspector doesn't have insurance, you may be hard pressed to get even a "sorry" when you are stuck with unanticipated repair costs.

3.   The predominant qualification for a professional home inspector is either (a) pass the EBPHI National Home Inspector Examination or (b) pass exams as required for licensing (not applicable to California which does not license Home Inspectors) .

4. You need to know how many hours a year he takes in continuing education.  If it’s none, then he probably is not familiar with new techniques and materials, recent discoveries on harmful elements like asbestos, Chinese drywall, meth lab houses, and many other issues new home owners are left to deal with.  He doesn’t have the latest information on hazards or codes, and plainly is not serious about his home inspecting business, and even less interested in making sure you know what you are buying.

5.    How many home inspections has he actually performed?  ASHI requires a minimum of 250 home inspections before you can even apply for a Membership.

6.    If the home inspector's website is full of testimonials from real estate agents--RUN.  You can bet he is glossing over or entirely omitting serious issues to facilitate the sale closing. Some realtors write a check to the victimized buyer to buy back the home inspection report.  Any evidence for a lawsuit disappears.

7.  Can he provide you with client names and phone numbers so you can verify his testimonials?  I have seen testimonials on some home inspector websites by people I know who have told me privately that this home inspector was rude, impatient, and overlooked issues they found after moving in.  So why is a glowing report on his website?

8.    Your home inspector should be certified by a reputable national home inspection organization that requires continuing education, upholds the standards of practice and the code of ethics.

9.    Last but by no means least, call the home inspector and talk to him/her.  Is he/she knowledgeable?  Can you develop a rapport so you can get your questions answered without any impatience or condescending remarks?  This should be a partnership.  There should be a level of trust.  If not, don't spend the money.


That’s a good question and the answer is Years of Education plus Years of Experience--the same as any engineer. The state of California does not license home inspectors.  The state of California does not certify home inspectors.   In California you cannot get a bond for home inspecting.

Here in California, we have a diversified group of people calling themselves home inspectors.  Some are professional in every sense of the word, while many are very unprofessional, uneducated, under-qualified, unethical and potentially dangerous at worst or worthless at best.

Many of the current home inspectors are out of work contractors.  Now a lot of professional home inspectors were contractors in a previous life but contracting is just a prerequisite for the very detailed job of investigating a home’s structure.  Others have very little background in anything pertaining to a building structure and its components.

As in any profession, there is a distinct difference between an "expert" and an "amateur." 

A few hundred "home inspectors" belong to a state home inspection association, but this association is not a government agency of the State of California.  It is independent with its own agenda. It also does not meet the high requirements of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

An international home inspection organization, such as ASHI and NACHI, has to meet the criteria set by all of the licensing states that require home inspectors to be licensed and certified.  Consequently, the education these organizations offer is provided by nationally reknowned experts in their fields and those classes are systematically audited for content and presentation.  Attendance is monitored closely insuring that attendees not only sign in at the beginning of each class but also sign out at the end of each class, and attendees are encouraged to provide evaluations of classes.  These classes are approved by a board or panel of experts in each state licensing department so that certain specific uniform standards are maintained for teaching the topics and proof of attendance is required.  No association whose membership counts are in the hundreds even approaches this level of professionalism.   California home inspectors can only meet these requirements through certification from and membership in a large national home inspection organization. 

You must perform your own due diligence.  Since every one of the surrounding states (Washington, Oregon, Nevada adn Arizona) require that home inspectors be licensed, insured and abide by state mandates for continuing education each year and the standards of practice; that they have the qualifications prerequisite to be in this business; it makes one wonder why California is dragging its feet.  My dogs have licenses.

For the Best Wine Country Home Inspection, call me at 707-245-7545.