Home Buying in Philadelphia>Question Details

Jennifer San…, Home Buyer in Philadelphia, PA

What are the home inspection requirements in Philadelphia?

Asked by Jennifer Sanchez, Philadelphia, PA Tue Nov 3, 2009

Help the community by answering this question:


It is not true that the inspector must be "ASHI certified".
According to the PA Home Inspection Law, the inspector must be a full member of a national home inspection organization. ASHI is only one such organization. There is also NAHI, the National Association of Home Inspectors, http://www.nahi.org . And there are others.
In Philadelphia, the inspector must also have a license to perform home inspections. There is no state license.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009
Renee Porsia,

I sure hope that as a licensed real estate agent, you are fulfilling your fiduciary duty to your clients and recommending inspectors based solely on merit. You are failing to fulfill your fiduciary duty if you are recommending anything less than an InterNACHI member. ASHI is a known diploma mill. You can join ASHI online in a a few seconds with nothing more than a valid credit card. See: https://www.homeinspector.org/join/application/default.aspx ASHI's full membership is even worse and is based almost solely on passing one beginner's exam (NHIE) used by many states to license newbies fresh out of school.

Any agent recommending ASHI inspectors should be sued for negligent referral. Not knowing that the inspector you are recommending has few qualifications is not an excuse for a licensed professional who gets paid a commission for offering real estate advice.

Web Reference: http://www.nachi.org
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 15, 2009

I can see by your posts that you have been really don't know what the actual requirements for a home inspector are in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A home inspector does NOT have to be ASHI certified or have to belong to NAHI. Pennsylvania requires that a home inspector be a full member of a non-profit home inspection association with members in at least 10 states. Nowhere does it specifically state which organization they must be a member. There is another dominant association known as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) that you failed to mention in your posts. This organization provides 1,000's of benifits for it's members that they can pass onto their clients. InterNACHI requires that members pass a test before even being considered for membership. In case you did not know, anyone can simply write a check to ASHI and call themselves a member. While ASHI has done much in the past to market to real estate agents and lead them to think they are the best in the business, the organization offers less and less to it's members every year and accepts unqualified people as members. It then tells them they must go out and inspect 50 homes for paying customers to be use their logo and 250 inspections to be certified. How in the world can this be protecting the best interests of a new home buyer buy sending an unqualified inspector to learn the inspection business by practicing on paying customers?

As a broker, I think you are overstepping your bounds by recommending one association over another and is borderline unethical since you are spreading information that is not entirely true. I would seriously do some homework and look at the requirements of InterNACHI at http://www.nachi.org before you start recommending that someone should be ASHI certified.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 15, 2009
Hi Renee -

Just to clarify, in PA the home inspector must belong to one of the national home inspection organizations. It does not have to be ASHI or NAHI. There are others. I happen to belong to NAHI.

As for licensing, while it might seem to be a no-brainer, I believe there are plenty of home inspectors performing inspections in Philadelphia without a license from the City. Enforcement in PA and Philadelphia is lax, to say the least. The Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections website has a current list of licensed home inspectors. Having said that, the fact that a home inspector is licensed, in itself, is no guarantee of a quality home inspection, of course.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009

You should be ashamed of yourself. Coming here and hijacking Jennifer's post in order to trash me, try and make me look bad and then promote yourself. At the very least you are unethical yourself.

Professionally, you should know better.

This coming from someone who promotes other businesses on his website. Scott, do any of those businesses pay you for advertising on your website? I'm sure you don't just let them advertise on your site for free. Wouldn't that be a "kickback?" Which is not legal!

Let me quote you from your post to me: "As an inspector, I think you are overstepping your bounds by recommending one business over another and is borderline unethical!"

If you have a problem with any "professional" on Trulia, act like a "professional and contact that person privately instead of slandering them on a public forum. If you don't want an attorney to contact you for what you say, you should really watch what you say about "professionals" you clearly know nothing about!

We are all entitled to our opinions and we are all here to give advice to consumers. Some may have more knowledge and advice than others but we are all allowed to participate. You and your alter ego "Diploma Mill" need to take your ignorance some place else!

I am sorry Jennifer that you had to read such defaming posts and I am also sorry that I had to respond but when people try to attack my character as well as my professionalism, I have to respond.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office ask for Renee
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 16, 2009
Obviously, anyone posting as "Diploma Mill whatever" should be ignored. His outrageous post should be taken down since, if not technically spam, it's the moral equivalent of spam. He knows it and that's why he doesn't identify himself.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 16, 2009
What do you mean by requirements?

Meaning what needs to be done in order to sell a home? Technically nothing. You can sell a burnt out shell of a home just fine. It all depends on types of financing. For example FHA has strict guidelines as does conventional loans. You can not sell a property that the buyer is using conventional financing for if it is not inhabitable. However there are options out there such as 203k loans which allow for repairs.

Sean Dawes
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009
I develop trusted relationships with various service providers to my clients for one reason and one reason only, to best serve the needs of my clients. If the needs of the client aren't the first and foremost intention of everyone in the process, they will never get a recommendation from me.

What in the world would motivate a home inspector to purposely inflate a report in order to kill a deal? What do they possibly have to gain by that? It's really no different than playing down a serious defect to save a deal.

What realtors, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, septic insepctors, etc. should be doing is working together to try and find ways to improve customer service and enrich the customer's experience in buying or selling their home. There should be no adversarial relationships among service providers if everyone just puts their own self interest on the shelf and pay attention to what the customer needs.

If those of us entrusted by our customers to look out for their best interest can't get along, we ought to look for a new line of work.

Service providers, if you want to receive referrals from me, bring me customer centric solutions, not adversity, argument, and your own self-interest.

Joe Sheehan
RE/MAX Professional Realty Inc.
Office: (610) 363-8444
Mobile: (484) 948-0936
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 24, 2009
Robert - Home inspectors don't kill a deal...The house does!

If a home is riddled with defects that are not noticed by someone who is looking to buy a new home, then it is the inspector's job to point out whatever he finds during the inspection. A good inspector will have the client's best interest in mind and not be swayed by the influence of a real estate agent or broker. Anything less would be unethical. I know most real estate agents don't like good quality inspectors because inspection reports often make them have to renegotiate and file additional paperwork. In my opinion, any real estate agent or broker who refers an underqualified or bias inspector does not have the client's best interest in mind and should not have a license. There are plenty of real estate agents who only care about the sales commision and could care less about their clients.

As for your comment about the liability being limited to the cost of the inspection, you are very wrong with that statement. I know of several home inspectors in PA that have been sued for thousands of dollars becuase they missed something or wrote something up incorrectly. This is the reason why we are required to carry insurance here in PA and Philly. While PA is not a licensed state for home inspections, there are laws that are in place and enfourced by the PA Attorney General's Office.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 23, 2009
John - I personally don't market to real estate agents, but there are several that I work with on a regular basis because they like that I look out for the client's best interest. I don't give out repiar estimates because I am not a contractor and don't keep up with material and labor costs on a daily basis. I completely agree that there is a lot of false information that is circulated out there. In my opinion, anyone who wants to know about the home inspection process should be asking a home inspector, not a real estate agent. That would be like going to your auto body shop and asking them what is wrong with your transmission.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 23, 2009
Some home inspectors and some real estate agents play very well together. Like when they both have the best interest of the potential buyer at heart.
And, it is simply not accurate to say the inspectors liability is limited to the cost of the inspection.
Also, the PA Home Inspection law allows home inspectors to give repair estimates.
There's a lot of misinformation out there!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 23, 2009
Home inspectors and real estate agents do not play well together. As a Real Estate Broker, the home inspection process is a great way to kill a deal. There is no single qualification process for the inspectors and the inspectors liability is limited to the cost of the inspection. The inspectors do not have the right to provide estimates of the cost of repairs but they do. Often the inspection report and repair estimates lead to a second round of negotiations over the price and the issue is usually over something that was obvious before the inspection. The answer to your question is that there is no requirement for an inspection.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 23, 2009
Hi John,

Yes, having a license I would think goes without saying. And they should belong to NAHI.

Some other requirements: Pennsylvania Trade Practice Act ( Act 114 of 2000, Title 68 enacted in 2000). The law in Pennsylvania provides a uniform definition for the term "home inspection" and for a national home inspection association. It establishes that a home inspector shall conduct their inspection in accordance with the standards of practice set forth by a professional home inspection trade association such as ASHI or the National Association of Home Inspectors. It further outlines consumer remedies as they relate to a home inspection, and establishes penalties for misrepresentations of fact in an inspection report. Under the law, home inspectors are required to maintain errors and omissions and general liability insurance with coverage of not less than $100,000 per occurrence and $500,000 in the aggregate. The law is scheduled to take effect in December 2001.

For more information, contact the Pennsylvania Home Inspectors Coalition.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009

If you have specific questions about inspections, you could always reach out to one such as Joe who is active on trulia a lot.

Here is his profile http://www.trulia.com/voices/profile/Real_Estate_Pro-Philade…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009
Hello Jennifer,

An inspector needs to be ASHI certified which means American Society Of Home Inspectors. Here is the link: http://www.ashi.org/ You want to make sure that the home inspector keeps on top of the latest laws, rules, education and most of all is ethical.

When you say "requirements" what do you exactly mean because there is what the home buyers requirements are but simply put, a home inspector should be extremely knowledgeable and experienced. Keep in mind that home inspectors are not licensed in any one particular area. They have a broad knowledge of everything.

If a home inspector sees a shingle on the roof that's out of place, they will inform the home buyer to contact a licensed roofer to investigate further because the home inspector is not a licensed roofer and can not advise the home buyer about the roof. If the home inspector sees wires that are not wired properly, they will advise the home buyer to contacted a licensed electrician.

Think of the home inspector as the middle man so-to-speak!

Home inspectors can teach the home buyer about a home. For instance, they can tell you about the heating and air conditioning system, tell you how to change the filter, how to clean it and over all maintenance of the home.

Can you provide more specifics about your question? Are you getting ready to have a home inspection.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009
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