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Real Estate Inspector Certification
- Currently, there is no nationally approved certification that anyone in the industry will recognize everywhere--or even require. Each state has it own requirements for approving real estate inspectors. Many different schools have arisen offering courses that seek to prepare individuals to take and pass the state licensing tests. As is true of most industries, state requirements vary from rather lax requirements in some places to very strict ones in other states.
- There are many different types of real estate inspectors, and qualifications vary by the type. In general, there are construction and building inspectors, home inspectors and public works inspectors. Then there are also specialized inspectors who include elevator inspectors, electrical inspectors, mechanical inspectors and plumbing inspectors. Most states only require a high school diploma or a GED, but practical training will certainly be required, along with learning the codes, with the more specialized ones.
- In an effort to standardize the industry, a company called NAHI, or National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc., is seeking to establish a recognized standard for certifying real estate home inspectors. The organization has established high standards for those they certify, which includes materials from other groups that the candidate must study for the exam (they do not make their own), and they also must have inspected more than 250 homes for a full fee.
Testing is supervised through Lasergrade (it has sites nationwide) and the test consist of 140 questions which are to be completed in about two hours and twenty minutes. Continuing education courses are also available in order to retain the certificate from NAHI, called a CRI certificate. Sixteen one-hour courses are required each year.
Another organization seeking to do the same thing is called the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), or the National Association of Home Inspectors. Some states require that home inspectors be certified through one of these two agencies.
- A number of states require that a real estate inspector have insurance coverage, or be bonded. This can vary between the different types, but it may include liability insurance of $250,000 (Kentucky), $200,000 of Errors and Omissions Insurance (Arizona), or being bonded for $5,000 (Alaska) or $25,000 in Arizona). Other states may have no such requirements.
- Real estate inspector certification requirements also vary considerably in terms of what practical assignments are necessary. Some require that an individual not yet certified must go on a number of inspections with someone who is certified. Tennessee, as well as some other states, requires that a minimum number of homes be inspected for pay (150 in Tennessee). Tennessee also requires that a home inspector be engaged in inspecting homes for at least two years prior to becoming certified.