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In Canada and the United States, a contract to purchase a house may include a contingency that the contract is not valid until the buyer, through a home inspector or other agents, has had an opportunity to verify the condition of the property. In many states and provinces, home inspectors are required to be licensed, but in some states the profession is not regulated. Typical requirements for obtaining a license are the completion of an approved training course and/or a successful examination by the state's licensing board. Several states and provinces also require inspectors to periodically obtain continuing education credits in order to renew their licenses.
In May 2001, Massachusetts became the first state to recognize the potential conflict of interest when real estate agents selling a home also refer or recommend the home inspector to the potential buyer. As a result, the real estate licensing law in Massachusetts was amended[non-primary source needed] to prohibit listing real estate agents from directly referring home inspectors. The law also prohibits listing agents from giving out a "short" name list of inspectors. The only list that can be given out is the complete list of all licensed home inspectors in the state.
Ancillary services such as inspections for wood destroying insects, radon testing, septic tank inspections, water quality, mold, (or excessive moisture which may lead to mold), and private well inspections are sometimes a part of home inspector's services if duly qualified.
In many provinces and states, the practical standards for home inspectors are those enacted by professional associations, such as, worldwide, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI); in the United States, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI)(No Longer active 10/2017); and, in Canada, the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI), itself an association of associations, and the Professional Home & Property Inspectors of Canada (PHPIC).
In Canada, there are provincial associations which focus on provincial differences that affect their members and consumers. Ontario has the largest population of Home Inspectors which was estimated in 2013 as part of a government survey at being around 1500. The majority of these are, in Canada, members of the Ontario Association of Certified Home Inspectors (OntarioACHI)
Currently, more than thirty U.S. states regulate the home inspection industry in some form whereas in Canada only Alberta and British Columbia have implemented government regulation. The province of Ontario is currently going through the regulatory procedure to license Home Inspectors in that province.
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