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Q.I am a contractor hoping to diversify into the home inspection business. What would be the best way to gain the necessary education and proper certification?

A.At this point, Texas is the only state that requires certification for home inspectors. Compliance must be handled through the state housing board. But for general information and training there are several home inspection organizations. The largest is the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI, 3299 K St. NW, 7th floor, Washington, DC 20007; 202/842-3096). ASHI’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics is widely accepted among home inspectors. Other training opportunities include the Property Inspectors Training Institute (8811 Stonehaven Court, Potomac, MD 20854; 301/983-9371), which offers a week-long residential inspection course several times a year, and Home-Tech Systems, Inc. (5161 River Road, Bethesda, MD 20186; 301/657-3133), which periodically offers a course in starting a home inspection business.

There are also several home inspection franchise organizations that offer training to members. Perhaps the largest of these affiliate networks is HomePro Systems, Inc.

(2841 Hartland Road, Falls Church, VA 22043; 800/966-4555). Home-Chek of America (120-A E. Broad St., Falls Church, VA 22046; 800/451-1702) also has excellent courses on mechanical systems that are sometimes open to nonmembers.

Other franchise groups include the Inspection Experts (2263 NW 2nd Ave., Suite 110, Boca Raton FL; 800/226-6299), which offers courses in several cities during the year. Inspection Training Associates (410 S. Santa Fe, Vista, CA; 800/323-9235) offers a 12-hour home study course on video, as well as two residential courses that are accredited by the state of California.

An excellent book on the subject is The Complete Book of Home Inspection by Norman Becker(McGraw-Hill, New York; 1980).