An Understanding of Home Inspection Societies

Why are there so many of professional home inspection societies? To answer the question, I have no idea.  There are a lot of them, though.

Professional societies in the home inspection business are different than those in other professions.

In other professions, one usually goes to school with a mandate in rigorous training, certifications (more on that in another post), and accreditations that, for the most part, are recognized across a broad range of society.  IOW, one gains professional status long before joining one’s brethren in a professional society.  Most professional societies exist at the intersection of commerce and the community, and serve a purpose in taking these already accredited professionals and integrating them into the community or act as continuing education facilitators for said profession.

Home inspection has no official institutions

Home inspection schools largely serve as jury rigged vocational mills cranking out bumwads for the home inspection business.  Most are 1 or 2 week cram sessions introducing noobies to elementary concepts, usually with the single interest of getting the noobs competent enough to pass State licensing requirements.  Most have a report software system they’re flogging and hope to press students into using,  in order to create an annuity unto itself.  Many are now flogging certifications in all sorts of disciplines that didn’t exist until a particular society made them up. 

So, we have several professional organizations all competing to be the school, accreditor, provider of ancillary services, and all other manner of economic motives for getting bumwads to join, with said society striving to be the voice of the profession.

Google “Home Inspector Professional Organizations”.

You’ll come up with a long list of organizations, lots of schools claiming superiority, and various certification programs and accolades having little to no basis in anything other than sales pitches, the idea being to create a network of interrelated ancillary services generating revenue.  A couple of the largest organizations are alleged to be privately held business enterprises operating under the guise of being a professional society, but whose main function appears to be selling and integrating ancillary service operations.  All but one have no recognition outside of the very small world of home inspection,  yet claim worldwide acknowledgement.  In short, it’s small time chest thumping silliness for all but a single organization.

There’s only one Home Inspection professional society that is worth talking about, and that’s the oldest one.

The American Society of Home Inspectors, or ASHI for short,  is the oldest Home Inspector organization.

It was started by some home inspectors in Massachusetts back in the 70’s in order to bring a semblance of order to the profession.  It has the usual form of a professional society; there’s a Board of Directors, staff, democratic governance, and an established Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics that’s copied by just about every State, governmental agency, and everyone else (including all the other HI organizations, usually without attribution).

ASHI is the creator of the first real home inspection examination (the National Home Inspector Exam, used by just about every State licensing agency), now spun off as an independent entity, the EBPHI.

ASHI has a lobbyist in Washington.  It has associations with HUD and is working with several governmental agencies in expanding the role of home inspectors.  ASHI is in the forefront of working with governmental and regulatory agencies, private enterprise, the National Association of Realtors,  and lending interests in creating a professional standard that has been used as the basis for most State licensing initiatives.  Other societies claim this stuff, but ASHI is the only one that delivers.

All of the organizations have competent and incompetent practitioners.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a good home inspector, I’m sorry to report that membership in any particular organization isn’t going to guarantee competency.  That said, membership in ASHI at least informs you that the HI understands what a professional society is and that they are part of an organization much larger than themselves that’s deeply involved in making this gig something more than a revenue stream for special interests.


I'm a home inspector and carpenter in Chicago and this site is built from things I’ve learned from 30 years inspecting houses in this town.

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