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Home Inspection Trade Organizations Offer Certifications

BOULDER, Colo (CBS4) In a warehouse in Boulder, crews are framing in a house.

"So this will be the first time in history that we actually build a house with thousands of defects…intentional defects," said Nick Gromicko, founder of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors or InterNACHI.

House of Horrors
House of Horrors at InterNACHI in Boulder (credit CBS)

Gromicko calls it the House of Horrors. It's a learning tool for home inspectors.

"The students are required to crawl through the crawl space underneath the house and negotiate underneath all the plumbing and all the furnace duct work and find the defects," Gromicko explained.

InterNACHI is one of three trade groups nationally who provide education and certification to home inspectors. The others are the American Society of Home Inspectors, and the National Association of Home Inspectors.

LINK: International Association of Certified Home Inspectors

LINK: American Society of Home Inspectors

LINK: National Association of Home Inspectors

"We're about to launch the new one which is an actual Department of Education accredited college degree," Gromicko says of InterNACHI.

Nathan Fairchild is an InterNACHI certified home inspector. He supports state licensing in his industry.

"In my opinion, my job is to be the best inspector I can…to find anything that I can for the buyer," Fairchild told CBS4.

He shows us a report on one home that lists only a few defects. Fairchild's report on the same home had pages and pages of problems outlined.

Fairchild believes licensing would weed out the underqualified. First time home buyer, Kali Ferguson, would have welcomed that kind of protection when she hired her first home inspector.

"He had all his certifications. I mean he looked legit," Ferguson remembered.

But she said that he missed some major problems with the home she eventually bought, like a gas leak in the basement and a deck that wasn't built to code.

"So it's making holes in the frame of the house which, in turn, is leaking water and getting moisture into the basement," Ferguson told CBS4.

She caught the problems on a second inspection and was able to get them fixed before the sale went through, but she said that she shouldn't have had to get two inspections. Quality among home inspectors varies widely, but Nick Gromicko says state licensing isn't necessarily the answer.

"It's better to not have licensing if you're going to do it wrong," Gromicko told CBS4.

A 2014 Sunrise Review of the industry by the Department of Regulatory Agencies recommends state licensing that would include a state exam, continuing education and a criminal background check. Gromicko said that the details are what's important, if the exam is too easy or there are too few hours of education required, he said the license could be misleading.

"It tricks consumers into thinking that he's competent…he or she is competent when, in fact, they aren't. They're just waving a state-issued credential," Gromicko explained.

Gromicko said he would support licensing if it required 120-hours of training and a more difficult test then the national exam that's being used in other states.

In 2015, Colorado lawmakers voted down a bill that called for state licensing of home inspectors. No bill was drafted in the 2016 session, but sponsors of the 2015 bill are hoping to bring it back in 2017.

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you'd like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.

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