Originally, home inspections were performed by electrical, plumbing, general contractors or handy man types. None of the individual professionals had the knowledge required to perform a complete inspection on all systems of a home or building. An electrician would know all that was needed to properly inspect the electrical system but would have no ability or workable knowledge to inspect other systems such as plumbing, roofing or HVAC systems. As such you would either need to hire many different people to perform an inspection or settle for a poorly performed one. The only practical standards for home inspectors were those enacted by professional inspection associations such as ASHI. I am and have been a member since 2003 of the American Society of Home Inspectors - ASHI# 211191. My reports and inspections meet or exceed the widely accepted and recognized Standards of Practice as required by ASHI, and I also follow and subscribe to ASHI's professional Code of Ethics.
I am licensed by the State of Washington to provide Home Inspections - DOL#436. In addition, I hold a Washington State Structural Pest License - SPI #59039 which is required to inspect for Wood Destroying Organisms (WDOs), termites, wood rot, etc and conditions conducive to WDO growth.
ASHI, founded in 1976, is the nation's oldest and leading non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors. Membership in this association requires initial testing, adherence to professional standards of practice, code of ethics, and ongoing educational programs. With some other organizations you only need to pay a small fee to receive a membership certificate, and other organizations allow their members to bid on and/or refer work to repair defects in homes that they have inspected. Is this a conflict of interest, we with ASHI think so. When you search for a home inspector, be certain that the individual actually performing the inspection holds membership in a reputable organization. This is the only way to insure the level of ethics, knowledge and experience that is needed for such an important investment.