It's a long-held truism that, when considering any major purchase, it's up to the consumer to be informed—to do his or her homework before signing on the dotted line. The phrase caveat emptor loosely translates to "Buyer Beware," and while it's applicable to everything from washing machines to used cars, it's especially true when it comes to buying a home.
Seen vs. Unseen
While a home's more obvious features—things like location, curb appeal, number of bedrooms, backyard, and one- or two-car garage—are usually what first captivate a buyer's eye, every home has a host of less visible features that can make it a buyer's dream…or turn it into a nightmare.
While a prospective buyer is enthusing over the spacious living areas or the community association's amenities, problems like mold, leaks, poor insulation, and inadequate drainage can lurk just beneath the surface, invisible to the untrained eye and poised to make real trouble for the home's new occupants. To identify these and other red flags early on, the best person for the job is someone trained and certified to look for less-than-obvious problems. That's where a professional home inspector comes in.
ASHI in a Nutshell
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) was founded in 1976, and is the country's first and foremost non?profit professional society for home inspectors. And though the group is currently based in Des Plaines, Illinois, according to executive director Rob Paterkiewicz, ASHI actually has its roots here in the tri-state area.
"Back in 1975, there was a group of individuals operating as independent home inspectors in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area," says Paterkiewicz. "A lot of them came from the construction trade; some were engineers, some were remodelers, contractors, and so forth. Eventually, those individual inspectors decided that it would be a good idea to come together, exchange information, and maybe talk to people from the various trades—like roofing, plumbing, construction, and so forth—to learn more about the home."