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St. Louis Real Estate News – What should a home buyer know about home inspections?

Gerry Loesch, PE

Gerry Loesch, PE

To answer this question I called upon Gerry Loesch, a 30 year veteran home inspector with an impressive resume. Gerry was kind enough to do an in-depth E-View TM with me on the subject of home inspections. Gerry’s experience and knowledge shows in the depth and detail of his answers.

Since this is a rather long E-View TM I’ll do it in a series. In each post I will begin with a some background on Gerry.

Gerry is a licensed Professional Engineer in four states; Missouri, Illinois, Colorado and Kansas. He first began his home inspection career in 1976 and has been active in ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) since 1978. In fact, Gerry’s membership number in ASHI is 87 compared with most of the memberships numbers which are in the 1,000’s. I’ll have more on Gerry in future posts in this series.

Now for the E-View TM :

Q-Gerry, I know you are a member of ASHI. Can you please explain what ASHI is, what it does and what is the significance of a building inspector being part of ASHI, or not?

A-ASHI (The American Society of Home Inspectors) is a not-for-profit organization for Home Inspectors. ASHI began in 1976 and currently has approximately 6,000 members.

ASHI sets the standard for home inspectors including the establishment of a Standards of Practice (what is to be covered on a home inspection). It also has a code of ethics which state that inspectors should be unbiased and have no relationship to the property. Full requirements and more information can be found on the ASHI website. For an inspector to become a member requires taking two tests; one on the Standards of Practice and Ethics and the other is the NHIE (National Home Inspectors Exam). In addition to the exams to be a certified member of ASHI an inspector must have performed a minimum of 250 inspections with a sampling of which having been reviewed by ASHI for conformance to the Standards of Practice.

Q-Are there other organizations out there like ASHI? If so, to the extent you are aware of it, can you please explain some of the significant differences and what sets ASHI inspectors out from them?

A-There are some other organizations that compete with ASHI. A few I feel are worth mentioning: NAHI (National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc.) for one. NAHI is essentially a similar organization to ASHI with Standards and Ethics modeled after ASHI. While I do not believe it to be on the same plane as ASHI, it does hold its members to Ethical and Professional Standards. Another organization with similar standards is CREIA (California Real Estate Inspectors Association). It is state specific for inspectors in California. Texas has a similar state association called TARIE and Florida has one called FABI.

There are other organizations as well, however I do not believe they are of the caliber that ASHI is and, in fact, some allow their members to perform work on homes for which they have found problems. This presents a conflict of interest and is unethical in my opinion. The entry requirements for some of them are also quite minimal.

If you would like to contact Gerry direct, he can be reached via email at GLoesch@LandAm.com or GerryL11@Earthlink.net , or by phone at (314) 249-8370 (cell) 1-800-285-3001 (office).

Watch for part 2 of the E-View TM which will be posted over the next few days.

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10 comments to St. Louis Real Estate News – What should a home buyer know about home inspections?

  • ASHI is a known diploma mill. You can join ASHI online in 30 seconds with nothing more than a valid credit card. As Mr. Loesh points out, ASHI’s full membership requirements amount to nothing more than passing 2 tests. 1 is an ethics test. Since unethical inspectors give ethical answers on an ethics exam, this test is meaningless. The other test is the beginners NHIE, used in many states to license newbies fresh out of school.

    If Mr. Loesh can’t get his facts straight about his own association, what does he report about a home he’s only been in for a couple hours?

    InterNACHI’s membership requirements: http://www.nachi.org/rigorous2006.htm

  • It is quite apparent that this interview to help home buyers understand what an inspection is, is really just another attempt to steer potential customers away from the biggest and best association,(INACHI), which is made up of three types of inspectors. 1) Ex-Ashi 2) Ex-Nahi 3)Professional inspectors. Come on over Mr. Loesh, we’ll even let you join. Thanks, Kenn

  • In response to Mr. Loesh:

    1) NACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) do NOT allow their members to do work on houses they inspect. Right there in our Code of Ethics. the NACHI SOP also exceeds the current ASHI standards.

    2) In Illinois, where HIs are licensed by the state, tyhe state licensing test is the same as the NHIE. When licensing came in, ASHI members (at that time) were required to take the state test to stay licensed. The resulty? Only 42% of the FULL ASHI members (250+ verified inspections) passed it. If you are licensed, in Illinois, you are assumed to have also passed the NHIE.

    3) There is a three tiered membership, at NACHI (although we do not make a big deal out of it, as ASHI does).
    Member: Pass three on-line tests (Ethics, Knowledge and SOP).
    Full members: The above, plus 250+ verified inspections.
    Certified Master Inspector (CMI): Combination of 1000 paid inspections and 1000 CE hours.

    Most of NACHI’s CE hours are also state approved in licensed states.

    4) NACHI has the highest CE requirements, exceeding most state CE requirements and certainly ASHI’s.

    5) NACHI inspectors tend (in most cases) to be professionals (college degrees, full time inspectors) where ASHI inspectors (at least in my area) are former or disabled tradesmen. BTW: I live some 6 miles east of ASHI national headquarters.

    6) NACHI stresses education, but also stresses the new inspection techniques and technologies (thermal imaging, Energy Audits, building consultation, commercial inspections). Our local chapter is its own 501(c)(6) not for profit corporation and is also a state licensed CE provider (as well as accredited in Wisconsin and Indiana).

    7) NACHI provides better, more challanging and more in-depth education (both for state CE and NACHI CE) than anyone else, and at a much lower price (around here, about 1/2 the price). If the education is less expensive, more in-depth and more challanging, it can ony help the public and elevate the profession.

    Hope this helps;

  • Dennis Norman

    Wow, the first time I published this interview on http://www.RealEstateConsumerNews.com I don’t recall it getting any comments…this time it’s getting more attention…I appreciate the comments from everyone and as usual am willing to publish opinions from “both sides” of an issue…

    I do take exception to Mr. Lotts comment…..My interview with Gerry Loesch had nothing to do with trying to sell anything…My purpose of the interview was to help educate consumers about the importance of a building inspection in the home-buying process, as well as the difference between someone that just calls himself a home inspector and someone that is a member of a professional association for inspectors, such as ASHI. This is very similar to pointing out the difference between just a real estate agent and a REALTOR. It doesn’t make an agent that is not a REALTOR bad, it just points out that agents that have become REALTORS have committed themselves to abiding by a code of ethics as well as being a part of an association that will provide them educational opportunities as well as keep them informed and up to date on changes in legislation and regulatory issues that affect their business.

    I asked Gerry to do the interview because I came to know him through a real estate industry forum that I chair and am impressed by his dedication to the industry as well as to helping maintain professionalism in the industry.

    I doubt that anyone commenting on this article would argue against the importance of a building inspection or the importance, particularly in Missouri where there are not licensing requirements for home inspectors, of selecting an inspector that is part of a professional association that promotes ethics and knowledge on the part of the inspector.

  • I truly apologize if I have misread your intentions, however, Mr. Loesh certainly makes it sound like an advertizement for Ashi & Nahi. You may want to interview one of our professional inspectors for another point of view. Sincerely, Kenn

  • Mark Reeves

    ASHI is a place to start. A stepping stone to INTERNACHI. Any Realtor that refers an ASHI member should be slapped with a negligent referral suit. No excuses any more. Everyone knows that ASHI is a joke. Realtors are paid to know the real estate industry which includes inspectors. Realtors should only refer the best of the best, not newbie ASHI inspectors.

  • I am an ASHI member in Tampa. Most of the homes in my area are 1-story without basements. They are easy to inspect. NACHI inspectors charge about DOUBLE what I charge. My clients don’t need a NACHI-level home inspection and don’t need to pay for one in this florida economy.

    Do NACHI inspectors have much more training than ASHI members? Of course. NACHI is like being a professional engineer in comparison to ASHI. I admit it. But no one needs a professional engineer to do their inspections either. Basic ASHI-level inspections are enough.

  • Liz Boyer

    So does this mean that if you are a member of INTERNACHI you are “the best of the best”? I don’t understand why you feel that following ASHI standards makes someone a “newbie ASHI inspector”. I don’t feel that everyone knows ASHI is a joke because its not true. Your opinion of ASHI does not make those inspectors a joke. It just makes it your opinion. We all can see there’s lots of opinions flying around here.

  • I don’t know what inspectors are better than others but our broker at Coldwell Banker has instructed us to never refer members of ASHI. She throws out all inspector brochures from ASHI inspectors and tells us to use InterNACHI or FABI members only. No independents are referred from our office either.

  • Gerry Loesch

    In Mr. Gromicko’s comment he indicated that apparently in his opinion ASHI is a “known diploma mill’ yet he offers this opinion as a statement of fact. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I am unable to agree with his. ASHI is the most respected home inspector organization in the country. It has the largest membership, credentialed inspectors, continuing education and training for the new members who wish to become certified. I have been involved in ASHI since approximately 1978 and have been involved both nationally and locally over the years. It is an outstanding professional organization for home inspectors and leads the way in progress and national representation of the profession.

    Mr. Gromicko indicates that to become an ASHI member one merely has to send in your money. This is a distorted view of the membership process. Yes, you can send in a fee for joining but that does not make you a home inspector. Joining allows you to become an Associate. An Associate has no credentials for home inspections. The dues for this category allows one access to education, the members website, attend functions and education classes at reduced rates as well as other benefits. IT DOES NOT QUALIFY YOU AS A CERTIFIED INSPECTOR. To become a certified inspector you still need to pass the two exams, perform 250 fee paid inspections of which a random group is checked to verify they meet the Standards of Practice of ASHI.

    Regarding the National Home Inspector Exam. This is a quality exam, written by seasoned home inspectors and has been found to be a good measure of one’s knowledge of home inspection. This is the only Nationally recognized psychometrically valid and legal defensible home inspector exam in the nation. It is used by several states as part of their licensing process. It is used not because it is easy or as he puts it for “newbies fresh out of school” but because it is nationally recognized, psychometrically valid and legally defensible. When states license they have a wide variety of individuals wanting to be home inspectors. While this includes some who have never performed an inspection, for the most part it includes those who have performed inspections and now must have a license to operate in the regulated state.

    ASHI has always had internal certification procedures. Recently, they applied to NOCCA to verify and approve our certification process. Certified ASHI inspectors are now certified under a process approved by the third party organization, NOCCA. This is a well recognized organization that checks and verifies that testing and membership processes are a true credential.

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