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JustNeedAdvice

Is this "Fair"?

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Here's the scenario:

I am the seller and ask (and pay) for an inspection from ACME Inspections (not real name).

Inspector A from ACME comes to house.

Report comes back and I make $4,000 +/- in repairs. Most everything in report is addressed. All major items.

I pay ACME for a re-inspection and pass.

Buyer makes offer and requests a new inspection (I gave them a copy of my inspection).

Buyer selects ACME Inspections (YES, Same company) to inspect.

In talking with the new inspector he tells me he is the owner of the company AND, wait for it, the Buyer Realtor's neighbor (the realtor is ALSO the buyer's mother, and his fiance is a realtor daughter...yes, why me)!

You knew this was coming...the new report is now talking about many MAJOR items that were not in the original report (floor joists rotting (the inspector included a picture of the repair but mentioned "it could happen again"), roof wavy (the inspector said "it could leak there in the future"), etc. etc.)

So I have read this forum's topics and your comments. Many of you seem to believe that it is ONLY WHAT YOU DO that is important, not what your profession is doing. I saw one comment "Caveat Emptor", well that doesn't sit well with me.

Did the inspection I purchased have no value?

Should I just laugh off the much more severe inspection from the buyer's neighbor and pony up thousands more?

Is the lesson "hey you need to live next to a better appraiser" or "find a dumber/less connected buyer"?

Come on is this the best the public can expect from your profession (Golly, it just depends on which inspector you get!) or (Well now see, if'n you'da picked me this wouldna been a problem.)

But seriously, what is a confused/upset seller to do when there are two inspections from the same company and the most severe inspection is from the buyer realtor's neighbor???

Tony

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Here's the scenario:

I am the seller and ask (and pay) for an inspection from ACME Inspections (not real name).

Inspector A from ACME comes to house.

Report comes back and I make $4,000 +/- in repairs. Most everything in report is addressed. All major items.

I pay ACME for a re-inspection and pass.

Buyer makes offer and requests a new inspection (I gave them a copy of my inspection).

Buyer selects ACME Inspections (YES, Same company) to inspect.

In talking with the new inspector he tells me he is the owner of the company AND, wait for it, the Buyer Realtor's neighbor (the realtor is ALSO the buyer's mother, and his fiance is a realtor daughter...yes, why me)!

You knew this was coming...the new report is now talking about many MAJOR items that were not in the original report (floor joists rotting (the inspector included a picture of the repair but mentioned "it could happen again"), roof wavy (the inspector said "it could leak there in the future"), etc. etc.)

So I have read this forum's topics and your comments.

Which topics? Do tell.

Many of you seem to believe that it is ONLY WHAT YOU DO that is important, not what your profession is doing.

I doubt that. Where'd you see it?

I saw one comment "Caveat Emptor", well that doesn't sit well with me.

I may have said that a few times myself but it wasn't intended in a negative way. It was out of frustration with what some clients are experiencing, much like your own experience. We wish that clients would try to be more careful in making choices involving inspectors and agents at least until basic info about the COIs in our profession become better understood by the public.

Did the inspection I purchased have no value?

First of all, I flat out won't do an inspection for a seller if the seller's motivation is to relieve the buyer of his need to do one himself. When you follow the interests of the parties, you will see that they conflict in a very fundamental way. Once in awhile, a seller justs wants to get a preview of what a buyer's inspector might find. I might serve that seller, as long as he understands that the expertise of the individual inspector is far more defining on what will be reported than the home inspection standards of that state. In this regard, the standards are laughable and a joke.

Should I just laugh off the much more severe inspection from the buyer's neighbor and pony up thousands more?

That is entirely between you and the buyer.

Is the lesson "hey you need to live next to a better appraiser" or "find a dumber/less connected buyer"?

I suggest that the lesson is to leave discovery to the buyer and HIS inspector.

Come on is this the best the public can expect from your profession (Golly, it just depends on which inspector you get!)

It depends on which inspector you choose.

...or (Well now see, if'n you'da picked me this wouldna been a problem.)

But seriously, what is a confused/upset seller to do when there are two inspections from the same company and the most severe inspection is from the buyer realtor's neighbor???

Tony

The fact that both inspectors were from the same company means nothing. Performance is individual specific, not company specific.

I'm sorry about your troubles.

Marc

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Did you select ACME based on a discount price? You will typically find that those with extensive experience will cost 2-3 times more in this profession. At yesterdays inspection, I was informed our price for the buyer's inspection was $700 more than what the seller's paid for their pre-listing inspection. Today's buyer informed me our fee was $450 higher than the fees quoted by the other 2 firms he contacted.

Sorry you had to have this experience. You feel better now that you come here and bash all of us based on one experience with a really lousy inspector? Please link the posts here that show regular contributors here are anything like what you allege.

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Ok, so not enough information...

I asked around for a good, reputable firm.

I didn't ask about price, I said I wanted to know what the buyer would find out (we lived here 12 years) because I did not want surprises (and because I would take that information into account for setting the price and for negotiation purposes).

I made no demands of the inspection company except "do what you'd do for a buyer".

I fully expected the buyer to get their own inspection.

I shared all the information with each prospective buyer. I completed all disclosure forms. I walked with the inspector and answered all his questions. I was as transparent and helpful with the process as I could be.

Why, because I wanted a sales process that would be smooth and short, i.e. no surprises.

Then, out of frustration, I search to see if I can find any standards, to see if I can hold anyone accountable, to see if there is a non-biased mediator available to help, anyone who could shed some light on this. And I find this site.

So, yes, I had the Sarcasm Switch set to on but

You feel better now that you come here and bash all of us based on one experience with a really lousy inspector?
is what I get. Bashing? That's really what I did? Besides I never made any comment about the qualifications of my two inspectors. I think I said/implied that they came did their jobs and I have two wildly different results and wanted some explanations.

So at least Bill thinks one of the inspectors was really lousy, but my question is which one? Can you shed light on your thought process for coming to that conclusion?

Bill asked

Please link the posts here that show regular contributors here are anything like what you allege.
I don't need to, look at Marc's answer.

I said,

Many of you seem to believe that it is ONLY WHAT YOU DO that is important, not what your profession is doing
to which Marc had three germane comments (all of which support my contention)
I doubt that. Where'd you see it?
It depends on which inspector you choose.
The fact that both inspectors were from the same company means nothing. Performance is individual specific, not company specific.

Marc responds to many of the forum topics here so he is a regular contributor. Does that count Bill?

What I alleged is that this isn't a "professional industry" it is a platform for gunslingers to make their money as best they can, off of whoever they can. What I said was you only care about the inspections you personally do and if there are any issues with any other inspector, "Caveat Emptor"...you shoulda picked me. That was, in essence, Marc's final point (it is all inspector specific).

If a confused client (when I buy) and "adversary" (when I sell) can't come to the place where all the "Really, Really, Really Good" inspectors hang out (at least I think that is what you are implying Bill) to try and get some answers from the pros without being unfairly accused of malfeasance (I went Cheap Charlie and picked the lowest priced inspector, or I was trying to "pull the wool" over the buyer's eyes) then this is an industry that needs more regulations, more lawsuits, more punishments, and more "licenses" removed from it's practitioners.

But my sample size is small (Bill, Marc, Inspector A, and Inspector B) so a statistician will tell me not to draw any conclusions as to their efficacy and professionalism...but you know what they say about statistics, right?

Tony

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If I were in your shoes, I'd be pissed off.

From your description, it sounds like ACME Inspections has a problem. (By the way, I work with 4 other partners who often have the opportunity to follow each other like this. We live in constant fear that one of us will find major stuff that another of us missed. It keeps us on our toes. . .)

So, what does ACME Inspector #1 have to say about all this? I can see where one inspector might interpret a wavy roof differently from another inspector, but rotting joists? It sounds like one inspector was trying to go easy and the other trying to go hard. If so, that's wrong no matter how you slice it. I'd be interested to hear ACME's interpretation of this situation. There might be other factors at work - there usually are.

It's one thing to miss a black-and-white wrong issue. It's another thing to interpret a gray issue in a different tone than a previous inspector. Some leeway is to be expected.

Are we talking black-and-white or gray?

(Edit: posted before I saw your most recent reply.)

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. . .

What I alleged is that this isn't a "professional industry" it is a platform for gunslingers to make their money as best they can, off of whoever they can. What I said was you only care about the inspections you personally do and if there are any issues with any other inspector, "Caveat Emptor"...you shoulda picked me. That was, in essence, Marc's final point (it is all inspector specific).

Interesting point. But the same can be said for most professions. I've had analogous experiences with doctors, dentists, and lawyers in my personal life. In my professional life, I see analogous situations with engineers and builders all the time. Heck, I had an experience a few years ago where two teams of surveyers disagreed with each other by a distance of just under 4 feet. Both teams worked for the same company. Their insurance shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for a lot line adjustment because their error caused a builder to place a building incorrectly.

If you were appointed the God of Home Inspectors tomorrow, how would you change things?

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. . .

What I alleged is that this isn't a "professional industry" it is a platform for gunslingers to make their money as best they can, off of whoever they can. What I said was you only care about the inspections you personally do and if there are any issues with any other inspector, "Caveat Emptor"...you shoulda picked me. That was, in essence, Marc's final point (it is all inspector specific).

Interesting point. But the same can be said for most professions...

Exactly.

Marc

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Had 2 medical specialist doctors misdiagnose a life-threatening ailment of a family member. Finally found one that correctly treated the cause. Should I post on the internet that the medical profession "is an industry that needs more regulations, more lawsuits, more punishments, and more "licenses" removed from it's practitioners"? Look at the cost of health care and the amount of really good experts that have quit their practice over the major increases in their insurance cost. Following your solution would likely result in the cost of each inspection to increase exponentially.

Yes, based on the information you posted, the first inspector missed some important information that should have been reported.

Yes, you posted here (twice) to slam our profession and blow off steam. If you really only wanted help from us, what you posted would have been quite different.

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Yes, I agree other professions have these issues, but there is an important difference in this one...whose money are you playing with? If you went to Vegas and got to bet on the games with the Casino's money, you'd play very differently.

So the inspector and the buyer get to play with the house's (seller) money. Find big stuff, big payoff (price reduction). The seller doesn't get the report unless the buyer is willing to share, the seller doesn't get to play a card (my pre-inspection) in response to the buyer's inspection other than to pay or say "no way" and lose the sale, the seller doesn't have an avenue for remediation if the inspector decides to "play hard".

In the beginning, the "Sell My House" game was won by sellers because they had all the information. Then the referees got involved (Gov. regs., lawyers, judges, verdicts, etc.) and the field began to level. At the same time, a "new" industry sprung up to profit off of the disparity in information, Home Inspections! As with any profession, the early pioneers had to do business alongside the scoundrels and lots of people were ripped off. Then came trade associations, more regulations and finally, *whew*, licensing...all is solved. But it wasn't, the game just changed. Now it is "Cat and Mouse" (who is the inspector, who is paying, what is their motivation, who is willing to pay the most, who is the best, ad infinitum).

As your own comments have stated, "did I do my homework, was I willing to pay the highest fee, were my motivations pure, did I CHOOSE the right guy"?

Sellers and buyers have been suing Realtors for a very long time. Yes, anybody can sue anyone for anything at anytime, but the outgrowth of those lawsuits began to provide commonsense guidelines on proper behavior and penalties (judgments) were disseminated that helped control bad behavior. At a minimum, they gave us examples of egregious behavior that a jury might agree with and punish the perpetrator severely. The HI industry should follow that same path.

But your industry is now the fulcrum for the other players to "win" the game. Get the right HI and your side wins. We expect justice to be blind because we want a fair result. To that end, HI should be metaphorically blind to the results of the home inspection.

If I was the God of HI, here would be my 10 commandments:

1. All inspections are paid 50/50 by buyer and seller and each is entitled to the report and all the information discovered and disclosed to both parties (eliminate third party standing issues).

2. Both parties will be present during the final walk-through with the inspector so they can each hear what is said, or if that is not feasible because of arguing, no one should be present but the inspector should tape his comments and give a copy to both parties. (In my case, I happened to be present and the inspector asked the buyer if it was ok for me to be there. The buyer agreed and I heard what he was telling them. After 10 minutes I was so mad, I left. There was a lot of "this could happen, that could happen, here is an issue I can't figure out so something bad must've happened...some of which made it into the report, but not all of it).

3. Inspectors should be professionally educated, experienced and licensed.

4. Inspectors should have open liability, and commensurate insurance, for both their work and adherence to agreed upon standards of inspection. (Unless the bad inspectors get sued out of existence, we can't trust the industry. Insurance companies seem pretty good at determining risk and liabilities for professional services and I'm sure this industry is no exception. BTW, one of the comments I read even scoffed "what do I have E&O for if there is no enforcement in the industry")

5. There should be a classification of inspectors that are the arbiters of the quality and thoroughness of the work (In my case if the issue is "are the joists rotted or not", both cannot be right. The one who is wrong should be judged so, and penalized).

6. A category of findings has to be created/agreed upon/demanded so that anything in that category is strictly between the buyer and seller and their mutual negotiations: "you painted all the walls pink", "there is a life size pagoda in the living room" (in my case "the crank windows don't open easily enough"). And a category for non-negotiable items: "the seller must perform...", and "the buyer accepts...".

7. A home warranty must be purchased and paid for equally by the buyer and seller. (again, the insurance companies are really quick to figure out what is going on)

8. Outlaw HGTV! (Do I need to explain why?)

9. Create a "home sales competitor" (organization or process) to keep realtors honest. (No FSBO is not effective enough because buyers flock to realtors, and they have a stranglehold on the market). I see your comments about realtors, so this will make many of you happy too.

10. Well, I can't think of another so I guess I'll just have to be the demi-God of HI.

I am currently at the stage of the process where we will find out if the issues are gray or black and white (dueling contractors). Their roofing contractor will inspect and get to argue with my roofing contractor who I paid to fix the items found in the first inspection. Then we will move to foundation experts, and maybe to window experts to determine what is the "safest" timelapse (the current 6 seconds for balky windows or the buyer desired 2 seconds for a "smooth opening window") for a window to open in the case of an emergency (because safety issues must be remedied or the buyer can walk).

Additional feedback is appreciated.

Updates to be provided as available.

Tony

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So I am presented with two examples both of which support MY position, not yours.

Heck, I had an experience a few years ago where two teams of surveyers disagreed with each other by a distance of just under 4 feet. Both teams worked for the same company. Their insurance shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for a lot line adjustment because their error caused a builder to place a building incorrectly.
Thank you for your unintended support...somewhere there was a mediator who determined someone did not do their job properly and there was a consequence.
Had 2 medical specialist doctors misdiagnose a life-threatening ailment of a family member. Finally found one that correctly treated the cause. Should I post on the internet that the medical profession "is an industry that needs more regulations, more lawsuits, more punishments, and more "licenses" removed from it's practitioners"?
No Bill, that problem was already solved so the internet is not needed. It is called "Malpractice Insurance" and the harmed customers use it every day. However, for HI my only recourse is the internet (yes, I researched the opportunity for a lawsuit and I am not foolish enough to throw money down that rat hole. Plus I did read quite a few gloating comments on this forum about the futility of unhappy buyers and sellers suing inspectors)

As to the cost issue that was raised

Look at the cost of health care and the amount of really good experts that have quit their practice over the major increases in their insurance cost. Following your solution would likely result in the cost of each inspection to increase exponentially.
The ever increasing costs are mostly due to "the industry" not monitoring and expelling the bad apples quick enough. Same with lawyers, a few cost us all an arm and a leg.

So that's your defense...it might cost more if we try to get professional and get rid of the bad apples?

Besides, if you doubled the cost, you make more money right? And if you follow my First Commandment the cost to the buyer and seller doesn't change (just the fact that only one visit is performed) so two different inspectors would not benefit but the one who got the work would... greatly! (more incentive to perform effectively?)

Yes, you posted here (twice) to slam our profession and blow off steam.
Dictionary.com says: Slam - Informal. "to criticize harshly" (notice it doesn't say "unfairly", which it seems you are implying,Bill.)

Guilty as charged.

You've spent a lot of time "slamming" me, how about trying to solve the problem as it is presented?

P.S.

Bill, you're missing the forest for the trees...

Yes, based on the information you posted, the first inspector missed some important information that should have been reported.
You cannot assume the inspector who reported less is wrong and the inspector who reported more is right. If Doctor A told you to take two aspirins and Doctor B said to take 20, are you going to listen to B just because it is more? I didn't think so.

I haven't complained about the inspection solely because it was MORE, but because it was so wildly DIFFERENT. And the difference could cost me significantly MORE. I hired a "professional inspector" to give me a straight answer. If it was going to cost me $50,000 to fix all the problems, I wanted to know that PRIOR to listing my house for sale not AFTER I agreed with the buyer on the price! (I didn't add this info earlier so I will here as it seems pertinent to the discussion. My inspection took place in February of this year, the re-inspection in May after finishing all the repairs. I tried FSBO from May - August and listed the house in Sept with a realtor)

Why is this so hard to see from my point of view?

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Their roofing contractor will inspect and get to argue with my roofing contractor who I paid to fix the items found in the first inspection. Then we will move to foundation experts, and maybe to window experts to determine what is the "safest" timelapse (the current 6 seconds for balky windows or the buyer desired 2 seconds for a "smooth opening window") for a window to open in the case of an emergency (because safety issues must be remedied or the buyer can walk).

If you're counting on contractors to be *experts* you may as well go looking for water in the desert. If you think your inspectors' opinions were dissimilar, get a couple contractors involved in the fight.

To better help us help you, share the two reports. Share your name, background and occupation. Anonymous rants from a wounded wallet don't carry much weight. You're providing only your side of a story; given your abrasive and sarcastic demeanor, I'm inclined to believe you're leaving things out.

Edit: I just checked- I see that you provided a name and a location.

If both are true, I came up with a FSBO ad. Nice place, well kept. Did either inspector mention the non-graspable handrail on the deck, or the fact that the ledger is attached to brick veneer? Just curious.

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I can see your point of view. More importantly, I can see what motivates your rant and you are rightly upset.

It's why I won't do an inspection for a seller unless I'm convinced he has a solid grasp of the mechanics involved. Since adopting such a policy, the ones that did understand decided not to proceed.

Marc

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If you're counting on contractors to be *experts* you may as well go looking for water in the desert. If you think your inspectors' opinions were dissimilar, get a couple contractors involved in the fight.
Yeah, I know, my comment was more tongue-in-cheek. It's the same fight, different arena.
If both are true, I came up with a FSBO ad. Nice place, well kept. Did either inspector mention the non-graspable handrail on the deck, or the fact that the ledger is attached to brick veneer? Just curious.
Yep, that's me. Really, I don't believe I have anything to hide (BTW, I am a consultant to utility companies, if that matters), and no, no mention of non-graspable handrails(they did get the missing railing around the bottom landing that has since been added) nor any mention of a ledger/brick connection (I did have to add the bracket braces under each of the boards).

So this question, from an inspector in NY, also supports my case, those seem like obvious, clear-cut findings that did not make it into my report. And I would add them to the first category I described in my Sixth Commandment.

So Jim, can you appoint me to the position? Were my commandments worthy of consideration?

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There's lots of problems with our profession, you've landed on a couple big ones, and there's a few hundred more. I've never tried to grow my business beyond myself and a few helpers due to the sorts of things you're upset about. It's all ****ed up, from top to bottom.

Even the report systems are fatuously idiotic, as in folks are content in their foolishness; they didn't start from a good place and they're painfully disconnected from everything the larger world knows and accepts as useful information vehicles. A base reality in this biz is it's dominated by the least competent practitioners.

Having done this for 3 decades, I'm finally seeing youngsters that have gone through the process a few times and they see and understand the sucker punch. Youngsters get it, and it will change, but it's probably like most entrenched stupidities in that it will take a generation or two before anything meaningful establishes itself.

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I just read through your commandments....

#8....yes.

Toss #'s 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 9.

#3 is at the base of the problems, and if you knew and understood a shred of the issues with implementing it, you would understand how it's never happening. The part about the profession being dominated by it's least competent practitioners applies.

There may be a school someday, but what would be appropriate would be a mentoring and apprenticeship program tied to geographic location. It's different everywhere; it's a surprisingly local business model. There's physics and science that translates from place to place, but the rest of it doesn't.

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I don't have time to engage in a meaningful discussion of your suggestions just yet. But I'll offer the observation that if the buyers are arguing about the number of seconds that it takes to crank open a window, they sound like complete asses. If it were my house, I'd send them packing and look for new buyers.

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I agree Jim. I should have done so already. I will tolerate this last round only because one of the buyers is the son of a very good friend of mine (I found this out when we got the offer). I talked to my friend (his dad) yesterday and he only found out this week what was happening. I told him his ex-wife was doing to me what she did to him. We had a good laugh.

But I am not going to let them keep rolling the barrel to see how much money will fall out.

Kurt

I just read through your commandments....

#8....yes.

Toss #'s 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 9.

That's a sad indictment of where we are at. But I may have to agree with you. Fight for #3 and maybe, just maybe, there is a chance we can make something good.

As an aside, my brother-in-law, a journeyman electrician, showed up today to inspect my power supply and circuit breaker and the "rusty" buss bar that was called out in the report and he started laughing.

What was called out was a minor scratch compared to the major flaw he saw within 2 seconds (at least in his opinion). Electrician mumbo jumbo about "equipment ground wire coming in with the service" (I may not even have this part right as he had to explain it to me three times).

Ahhh...the joys of home ownership.

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Your house has a few flaws. If they want it, they will buy it.

You can refuse any unreasonable demands. You are not obliged to repair anything for them. For example, the grounding conductor is installed in a way that doesn't meet today's safety standards. If this is a concern, then they can try to negotiate a lower price or to have you repair the flaw. You say "no, I will sell the home to another buyer."

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Additionally, there's the idiotic transactional model we've inherited from realtors. Even though your's is a FSBO, the residue of stupidity is still part of the mess.

Not knowing how to deal with the outcome(s) of building inspection reports complicates everything. Even if you understand, the other party may be operating under different assumptions.

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So the deal is dead. Long live inspectors!

It happens. Homes commit suicide often.

I would still be mad with the inspection company that produced to distinctly different reports on the same home!

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Echoing Scott P, tell them you want your money back on the one you paid for. You are in Illinois, correct? You can file a complaint. Won't help you but will cause them some heart burn. I hear about poor home inspections all the time and it is this type of thing that makes States go to licensing. With licensing, more regulation will come, but slowly. We, the profession, just do not have the ability to raise the bar, although many of us wish we could, and this is what allows government to come in and set the standards. We say "well, market pressure and bad reputations will take care of the bad inspectors" but the bad inspections that they do before they go out of business will justify government oversight. Heck, we can't even agree, as a profession, to run all the dang dishwashers so how can we make the entire profession any better? All we can do is help the inspectors who ask for help, try to improve ourselves each day.

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Echoing Scott P, tell them you want your money back on the one you paid for. You are in Illinois, correct? You can file a complaint. Won't help you but will cause them some heart burn. I hear about poor home inspections all the time and it is this type of thing that makes States go to licensing. With licensing, more regulation will come, but slowly. We, the profession, just do not have the ability to raise the bar, although many of us wish we could, and this is what allows government to come in and set the standards. We say "well, market pressure and bad reputations will take care of the bad inspectors" but the bad inspections that they do before they go out of business will justify government oversight. Heck, we can't even agree, as a profession, to run all the dang dishwashers so how can we make the entire profession any better? All we can do is help the inspectors who ask for help, try to improve ourselves each day.

BS. We can raise the bar with education. Regulatory bodies are too stupid to do it.

Grab any edition of JLC, put TIJ search engine to work, ask Mr. Google questions, or just sit down with your computer and start typing what you know.

It ain't easy, but it can be done...and someone will eventually do it. Mark my words.

End of rant.

Marc

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My point is that "we" cannot improve our profession on the whole, we can only improve ourselves and help other inspectors who want to be better. Are there poor home inspectors in Louisiana? How will you make all of them be better home inspectors?

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My point is that "we" cannot improve our profession on the whole, we can only improve ourselves and help other inspectors who want to be better. Are there poor home inspectors in Louisiana? How will you make all of them be better home inspectors?

By writing a pre-licensing course that is an assembly of CE courses, then submit it to the Board for approval.

It's an enormous project and there's no reward for all of that work until it's nearly finished. That's why I can't get my butt moving on it. Still trying, currently on a Manual of Style that will be the foundation for a major CE on report writing. It's already in my head, just have to write it down.

Marc

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