By Realty Times Staff
With the opening of the legislative season in most states, the home inspection industry is anticipating renewed interest in standardizing inspector performance through mandatory licensing - and is gearing up to makes sure inspectors, rather than real estate brokers, are the loudest voice on the issue.
Currently some 17 states address home inspector standards and the National Home Inspector Examination board reports being contacted almost daily by legislators or staff members who are preparing bills.
Rob Paterkiewicz, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and interim CEO of the independent Examination board, named California, Florida, Arizona and Ohio as states where inspection standards will be on legislative agendas this year, and others are expected to follow.
At issue is fact that in most areas of the country anyone can call himself a home inspector, regardless of background and training.
But with more and more consumers seeking the advice of professional inspectors, many states now are seeing a need to mandate at least some level of expertise.
Currently six states require licensing, and another 11 require either registration with bonding or have recently included inspectors in their trade practices act.
Last year ASHI provided seed money for the creation of the National Home Inspector Examination board. The board has developed and administers a standardized set of test of questions that are applicable to inspectors in all parts of the country.
It is offering its test to states everywhere that are considering licensing.
"We've had states say 'no thank,' we're going to develop our own test, but a lot of times that doesn't work out," said Paterkewicz. "There is more to it than having some guy come in a writing down a bunch of questions.
"You have to make sure the test covers the subject and is balanced. You have to make sure it covers that body of knowledge that's needed."
Paterkiewicz said the board had been largely successful in making sure that licensing entities were set up under departments of professional licensing, rather than real estate commissions.
"Home inspectors do not want to be governed by a bunch of Realtors," Paterkiewicz said, acknowledge that most of the nation's departments of real estate are actually controlled by licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS®.
"Certainly, we all (real estate brokers and builders) have to work together. But inspectors are there to work for the consumer and protect the consumer's interest. We don't think it's a good idea to have Realtors dictating what the standards should be for inspectors."
Wisconsin is currently the only state specifically requiring inspectors to take the Nation Board's test. New Jersey requires inspectors to pass the ASHI exam, part of which includes the National Board's exam.
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