(PRWEB) May 10, 2005
A national home ownership record was set in 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which recently reported that more than 74 million American families now own their own home. This yearÂs home buying and selling season projections suggest Americans will capitalize on the 2004 record, with new and existing home sales expecting to exceed eight million units.
Just last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that, in March alone, sales of newly constructed homes set a new record with an unexpected surge of 12 percent. With real estate records being set in terms of both numbers of homeowners and homes sold, it is important that homebuyers safeguard the sanctity of their American Dream and the validity of such a major investment with an objective professional home inspection.
Fortunately, homebuyers recognize the importance of a pre-purchase home inspection to gain peace of mind and the added value of a fully informed purchase decision. According to a 2003 survey conducted by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the oldest and most respected professional association for home inspectors in North America, 85 percent of homebuyers obtain a home inspection prior to purchase.
In addition, the study showed that technical knowledge, a high level of inspection experience and professional disclosure of findings are the top qualities homebuyers look for in a home inspector.
ÂSince the study, the industry has witnessed a growing appreciation among homebuyers for the value resulting from a home inspection,Â said Don Norman, ASHIÂs 2005 president, whose organization represents nearly 6,000 professional home inspectors in North America. ÂIt is so important that consumers realize that this value is the by-product of an inspection performed by an experienced, ethically-rooted, and educated professional, all characteristics upheld by an ASHI Inspector.Â
ASHI Prioritizes Consumer Education, Customer Service
In an effort to help homebuyers fully understand the importance and benefits of home inspections, as well as the inspectorsÂ commitment to meeting the industryÂs highest standards, ASHI launched an extensive branding and consumer education campaign to broaden consumer awareness in these areas. Deemed The ASHI Experience, the effort, and its resulting revamped Web site, supports the SocietyÂs commitment to setting the standard for customer service combined with the highest level of expertise in the profession. ASHIÂs goal is to equip homebuyers and sellers with information they need to make better-informed decisions.
ÂThe ASHI Web site can take a lot of the guesswork out of the home inspection,Â said Norman. ÂIt is a valuable educational resource in the home buying and selling process that, when combined with an ASHI inspection, can provide homebuyers with peace of mind regarding one of their biggest investments.Â
Among a variety of new features on the site, the Virtual Home Inspection (VHI) offers an interactive tour of a home inspection, based on the ASHI Standards of Practice. Also available at ASHI.org is the revised and streamlined ÂFind an Inspector Tool,Â which allows users to locate professional inspectors in their area and contact them in real time. Additionally, a ÂRate Your ASHI InspectorÂ segment of the site also allows consumers to provide feedback on their overall ASHI home inspection experience.
Qualifying the Home Inspector
In an effort to ensure their customers receive exceptional service, ASHI Inspectors are required to meet continuing education in the field of professional home inspection, buildings and their systems. To become a member, ASHI Inspectors are also required to perform a minimum of 250 fee paid professional home inspections and successfully complete two written examinations that test home inspectorsÂ knowledge of building systems and components, report writing, the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, and the diagnosis of building defects.
For More Information
Formed in 1976, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and most respected non-profit professional organization of home inspectors in North America. Its mission is to promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession. ASHIÂs Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the recognized guidelines for the home inspection profession.
For more information on the American Society of Home Inspectors, contact the association at 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, Ill. 60016. Phone: 800-743-2744. Or visit the ASHI Web site at http://www.ashi.org.