Title 8 Chapter 3 of the Georgia Trade Practice Act Article 6 defines a home inspector as: any person, except an employee of a county, municipality, or political subdivision while engaged in the performance of the duties of his or her employment, who, for consideration, inspects and reports on the condition of any home or single-family dwelling or the grounds, roof, exterior surface, garage or carport, structure, attic, basement or crawl space, electrical system, heating system, air-conditioning system, plumbing, on-site sewerage disposal, pool or hot tub, fireplace, kitchen, appliances, or any combination thereof for a prospective purchaser or seller. Simply put, a home inspector is a professional who evaluates a home’s systems and structure in order to generate a report for perspective homebuyers or current homeowners. Home inspection reports can enable a buyer to determine whether to proceed with a purchase or to cancel the sale. Conversely, a pre-listing home inspection can benefit a current homeowner by pointing out good aspects of the homes systems and structure, as well as, detail needed repairs which would allow the homeowner to make those repairs prior to listing the home for sale. Pre-listing home inspections often improve a homes marketability when all repairs have been made prior to listing. Homebuyers typically will purchase homes that are in need of little or no repair over ones that have a lower price that need a lot of repair.
Tips for hiring a Home Inspector
- Getting recommendations from your real estate agent, your family and friends is important especially if any of these people have recently used the services of a home inspector. Most often your real estate agent will have had dealings with multiple home inspectors and can recommend several for you to investigate.
- Ask for a list of references or past clients. Call at least 3.
- Find out about the inspection report: how long is it? Does it include photographs? A good inspection report will include photographs which show any defects found by the inspector. The length of an inspection report should be from 20-50 pages.
- Ask what type of certifications the inspector holds. It is important for the consumer to know if an inspector is an ICC (International Code Council) “member” or if they currently hold an ICC Residential Combination Inspector certification (ICC RCI). Membership into some organizations can be purchased without the inspector having any code certifications.
- Find out exactly what systems will be evaluated (what will the inspection cover).
- Ask for proof of E&O (errors and omissions) insurance. Some new home builders require inspectors to have E&O insurance and certain certifications or they will not be allowed on new home construction sites.
An Inspector isn’t an insurer or grantor of defects or perfection.
The inspector will not warranty the fitness, condition, performance, or adequacy of any inspected structure, system or component.
Georgia Home Inspections must provide written documents that:
1. Include the scope of the inspection
2. State that it is a visual inspection
3. State that the home inspector will notify in writing the person on whose behalf such inspection is being made of any defects noted during the inspection, along with any recommendation that certain experts be retained to determine the extent and corrective action necessary for such defects
4. Include the systems and structural elements to be inspected.
5. Radon: About 10% of home includes radon inspection. The radon Inspection is fairly simple. The Radon inspector may be someone other than your Home inspector. Check with your home inspector to confirm he provides this service.
The process is that the radon inspector will leave two or three detectors throughout the home and forward to the lab in order to get the results from the lab.
Currently home inspectors in Georgia do not have to be licensed or certified. This fact makes it very important for the consumer to thoroughly evaluate the person’s references and inspection experience prior to hiring them. A professional home inspector should also have taken it upon themselves to obtain certifications which expand their professional knowledge and demonstrate to the consumer they are serious about their work.
Home Inspector Certifications, Organizations, and What They Mean to the Consumer
ASHI – American Society of Home Inspectors –
ASHI is an organization of independent, professional home inspectors who are required to make a commitment, from the day they join as ASHI Associates, to conduct inspections in accordance with the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, which prohibits engaging in conflict-of-interest activities that might compromise their objectivity. ASHI Associates work their way to ASHI Certified Inspector status as they meet rigorous requirements, including passing a comprehensive, written technical exam and performing a minimum of 250 professional, fee-paid home inspections conducted in accordance with the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Mandatory continuing education helps the membership stay current with the latest in technology, materials and professional skills.
ICC Code Certified Combination Inspector – International Code Council Code Certified Combination Inspector –
The International Code Council (ICC) was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes. The title of Residential Combination Inspector is currently the highest level of residential certification for an inspector. To achieve this level, inspectors must pass four separate examinations covering subjects that include building (structure), electrical, plumbing, and mechanical (HVAC) for one and two family residential construction.
GAHI – Georgia Association of Home Inspectors –
The Georgia Association of Home Inspectors is a professional association of residential inspectors founded in 1989 with the goals of increasing public awareness, providing inspectors with a forum for the exchange of ideas, and improving the inspection skills and professional knowledge of professional inspectors. GAHI has stringent membership requirements that try to compensate for the lack of state licensing requirements for residential inspectors in the state.