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I do see a potential flaw in state licensing - a good example: Here, one must be licensed to test for asbestos. In the state licensing regs, one of the requirements is that a potential licensee must study under a current licensee. Naturally, this gives the tutor the opportunity to demand the signing of a non-competition agreement, which leaves the student only two options: 1. sign on as an employee or sub-contractor, or 2. leave town to test for asbestos.

I ran into this dead end street when I tried to get licensed to test for asbestos. When I complained to the board, they basically said, "Oh, well..." In that case, licensing really serves the gool ole' boy contractors and makes getting into the game very difficult.

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There's plenty of flaws in state licensing.

But, all professionals have licenses. Everyone thinks we should be licensed. All polls indicated consumers prefer we are licensed. After licensing, I found a distinct difference in peoples attitudes toward the profession. I haven't experienced any downside.

Arguments against licensing are silly. They may hold merit within some small political party or ideology, but applied to how the world works and peoples perceptions, arguments against are silly.

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Consumers are smart enough to know that a license just means that you've met the minimum requirements to be considered legal - they are still asking as many discriminating questions as they ever asked when interviewing inspectors while trying to decide which inspector to hire.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Not for the majority of consumers, I don't think. Most think one inspector is like another, even more so when they are aware that a state regulatory board is present. They would rather believe that regulation equates to protection. A little education usually drives reality home, unless they become so fearful that they go into denial and prefer the comfort of the illusion that any inspector will be fine.

Otherwise, I agree with everything you've said.

Marc

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Consumers are smart enough to know that a license just means that you've met the minimum requirements to be considered legal - they are still asking as many discriminating questions as they ever asked when interviewing inspectors while trying to decide which inspector to hire.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Not for the majority of consumers, I don't think. Most think one inspector is like another, even more so when they are aware that a state regulatory board is present. They would rather believe that regulation equates to protection. A little education usually drives reality home, unless they become so fearful that they go into denial and prefer the comfort of the illusion that any inspector will be fine.

Otherwise, I agree with everything you've said.

Marc

I can see how you would have such an opinion. You get a lot of Microsoft employees in your area, highly intelligent and discerning people, but the norm isn't quite like that.

Marc

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There's plenty of flaws in state licensing.

But, all professionals have licenses. Everyone thinks we should be licensed. All polls indicated consumers prefer we are licensed. After licensing, I found a distinct difference in peoples attitudes toward the profession. I haven't experienced any downside.

Arguments against licensing are silly. They may hold merit within some small political party or ideology, but applied to how the world works and peoples perceptions, arguments against are silly.

For the most part, I can agree with you, but in the case of my example, I feel the process constitutes a real "right to work" issue and also borders on a monopoly, since the process pretty much ensures that the current licensees have no competition that they don't agree to. That's wrong. It's a fixed game...

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That argument is how we got the current situation in the "skilled trades".

Not pro-union, but you're arguing that experienced folks shouldn't have any say in how inexperienced folks get in the game.

Your arguing that some people don't play fair, not that the situation is untenable.

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I'd say less than 10% of potential buyers I talk know about the NO licensing in GA.

Alot of buyers are moving here from other states that do have licensing only for me to be the first to tell them there is none here.

Builders have only been licensed for the last three years or so. Before that the only thing protecting home buyers was the local code authorities and independent inspectors.

Last I heard from the GA state level was that they were satisfied with "free market" just the way it has been.

It is a pleasure to talk to savy buyers when I get them. They are usually going away from their "agent recommended inspector" and have usually found me through ASHI or a past client of mine.

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In my perfect world, there would be no state licensing; there would be erudite, conscious folks everywhere, making informed decisions about everything.

Lacking that condition, licensing isn't so bad. Someone wants to rely on something so basic as a state issued license as reference for competence, I say let 'em go and get educated the hard way.

Experience is something you get shortly after you really need it.

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3 or 4 years ago, my nephew bought me round trip flights, a car rental and treated me to a gumbo dinner to come over to Atlanta and look at a new construction that he was buying. I told him I had no jurisdiction (I hadn't known that there wasn't any regulation in GA) but he remained interested in just my opinion because 'every home inspector in the area is bought out by the builder' in this new subdivision. The house, it turned out, had several fundamental (and very expensive) errors with the siding, roofing and structural (cornice) installations. When he asked why a new house would have issues like this, I took him for a walk down the street. Every dang house in the subdivision that we checked had the same problems. Same contractor, same problem.

Point is, regulation serves a purpose. Regulation in GA would go a long way in curbing any rampant ethical issues that might be going on. Every state should regulate the profession.

Just my opinion.

Marc

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Point is, regulation serves a purpose. Regulation in GA would go a long way in curbing any rampant ethical issues that might be going on. Every state should regulate the profession.

I am 100% opposed to letting a State that can not run its own business try to manage mine.

Next thing you know, we'll be licensing ice cream vendors and dictating how large a " medium" must be with an air entrainment no greater than 2%.

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Point is, regulation serves a purpose. Regulation in GA would go a long way in curbing any rampant ethical issues that might be going on. Every state should regulate the profession.

I am 100% opposed to letting a State that can not run it's own business try to manage mine.

Next thing you know, we'll be licensing ice cream vendors and dictating how large a " medium" must be with an air entrainment no greater than 2%.

Building codes mean nothing unless adopted by a guvmint entity. How is that different from the regulation of our profession by the guvmint?

Marc

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Point is, regulation serves a purpose. Regulation in GA would go a long way in curbing any rampant ethical issues that might be going on. Every state should regulate the profession.

I am 100% opposed to letting a State that can not run it's own business try to manage mine.

Next thing you know, we'll be licensing ice cream vendors and dictating how large a " medium" must be with an air entrainment no greater than 2%.

Building codes mean nothing unless adopted by a guvmint entity. How is that different from the regulation of our profession by the guvmint?

Marc

The government relies on other entities to create code and define standards- the government doesn't create a standard, it adopts a standard.

In my State, a bunch of Realtors, politicians and a few home inspectors qualified only by their years in the profession created our licensing law. A law that sets the bar so low that it requires almost as much training to make a Slurpee. It doesn't "qualify" anyone. It generates revenue, but I bet the bottom line is that the law costs the tax payers a bundle to administer and doesn't promote excellence, but rather mediocrity. Licensing= All home inspectors are created equal by the State

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Just to add to this mix -

As y'all know TX HIs are licensed and governed by an extremely onerous SOP. That is not my point here, but just a frame of reference.

What has been happening this past year is that there are somewhere between 12-20 (give or take) HIs who have let their licenses expire without renewing or have put their license into an in-active status.

Then they have let their E&O expire.

AND ... they are still inspecting. They are attempting to stay under the radar and using the TX TREC template and keeping their mouth shut, but word is getting out.

What is interesting is that technically TREC does not have any "control" over such an inspector who now does not have an "active" license. From what I was told this morning TREC would have to go to the city/county where the HI did the inspection and file through that court system in an attempt to reprimand.

And TREC just does not necessarily pick up and file anything against anyone unless they receive an "official complaint" from the consumer/client. And just how is the client supposed to fully grasp if the HI has a current license or not? Few if any client has ever asked for a copy of my license.

Adding to this ... I was at an ICC code class last week at Simpson-Strongtie and chatted with two PEs (structural/mechanical type of PE) who had also held a TREC HI license to satisfy TREC's rule that they control inspections for all properties bought/sold in Texas. Both of these PEs let their TREC license expire this past year and they are also still inspecting, but doing so as a PE. Their comment was they had the right to do so (inspect) and TREC could not or likely would not do anything to them.

I would tend to agree as from what I understand TREC does not want to start a 'row' against the PE licensing group in the State of Texas. They had a round with them a year or so ago and did not fare all that well.

No answers RE: the OP, but certainly additional food for thought.

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I am 100% opposed to letting a State that can not run its own business try to manage mine.

Next thing you know, we'll be licensing ice cream vendors and dictating how large a " medium" must be with an air entrainment no greater than 2%.

We're stacking up non-sequitur's and fallacies at a rapid pace.

State's do not attempt to manage business through licensing; they attempt to derive revenue stream while masquerading as consumer activists.

As for ice cream, you're fantasizing conditions in declarations masquerading as fact.

Licensing isn't about what anyone in our business or the government thinks; it's about government providing what folks think they need, and consumers think we should be licensed.

It's important to understand what we're talking about. I'm for anything that makes a consumer think I'm a professional. Licensing, for all it's idiocies, makes most folks think we're professionals.

After that, I don't care.

When I get near the end of my career, I may do like the engineers in Texas. My pre-inspection agreement will say "I'm not doing a home inspection as described by the State of Illinois; I'm doing my own custom analysis of the building. I am not licensed as a home inspector." Or something like that. Basically, just tweak the state because I can.

If the state steps in, I'll run 'em around to fiddle with them, then bow out and retire.

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I am 100% opposed to letting a State that can not run its own business try to manage mine.

Next thing you know, we'll be licensing ice cream vendors and dictating how large a " medium" must be with an air entrainment no greater than 2%.

State's do not attempt to manage business through licensing; they attempt to derive revenue stream while masquerading as consumer activists.

That sir, is one of the most intelligent statements I've ever read on this board (I'd lay claim but I can't manage to find a post where I've said it before).

Well said that Kurt.

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I am 100% opposed to letting a State that can not run its own business try to manage mine.

Next thing you know, we'll be licensing ice cream vendors and dictating how large a " medium" must be with an air entrainment no greater than 2%.

State's do not attempt to manage business through licensing; they attempt to derive revenue stream while masquerading as consumer activists.
That sir, is one of the most intelligent statements I've ever read on this board (I'd lay claim but I can't manage to find a post where I've said it before).

Well said that Kurt.

Well,

As much as I love my buddy Kurt, I can't agree with that statement; at least where we are concerned here in Washington.

Licensing doesn't provide any extra revenue for the state here; the law here required a revenue neutral program - one where the revenue taken in paid for the cost of the licensing, testing, and contributed to the salary of those involved. If the program hadn't been set up to be revenue neutral, our legislature never would have passed the licensing law. The target was to cover the cost of the program - just - not to turn a profit.

I've heard for years about how our program was designed to raise revenue for the state. Phooey! That was never the case; I know, I was as deeply involved in crafting this thing as anyone and nobody ever considered profit. From the getgo we were worried about whether the program was going to be able to repay the legislature for the initial funds temporarily allocated for ramp-up lest it be shut down.

I can understand how vehicle driver licensing and registration might be a moneymaker, I can understand how property taxes and sales taxes might make revenue, but programs designed around the licensing of a few hundred individuals don't make money - they[re lucky if they break even - and that's one of the reasons that our state's budget office's projections made it very clear to the legislature from the beginning that this had to be a revenue neutral program or it shouldn't be passed.

As it turned out, the original money allocated to start the program by the legislature was based on an estimated 1000 licensed inspectors. Revenues collected were supposed to reimburse the legislature for cost of ramp up, licensing printing, cost of website and the salary of those persons who manage the program and from that point on it had to support itself with renewal fees. As it turns out, the final number looks like it's goint to flatten out at about 600 inspectors; and the initial fees fell short of what was needed. Consequently, several persons assigned to the program were reassigned to other programs at DOL and the inspector licensing program was left in the charge of one person who also manages another program at DOL. The program is so tightly funded right now that it's come very close to being shut down at least twice due to insufficient revenue from fees collected.

I suppose in some states these programs might have been able to make a profit for the state, but I'd be hard pressed to understand how. Given the relatively paltry fees some of these states have been collecting, it's my guess that most of these programs are losing money and that would certainly explain some of the budget shortfalls we keep hearing about in the news.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I can't speak for Washington State. Maybe they're special.

I'm not aware of any state that does this stuff out of purity of soul. If that's Washington, OK.

Personally, I think government in Illinois is the story (myth) of everyone trying to live at the expense of everyone else. It's the democratic form wherein those who vote for a tax are the only one's that can escape the obligation to pay it. (apologies to Toqueville)

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I don't think that the state does much of anything with a P&L in mind Mike however it does need fuel.

We have to be licensed for Radon testing here. I have raised some issues about companies in our area with false advertising and have been met with a, shall we say, less than an enthusiastic greeting. I send in my dues every year but have never heard word one from the state (unless I'm late).

The state creates an agency, in which they fill a few slots with folks that have helped out along the way, and I send in my money. They setup a few rules for the licensees to follow and to show the good folks of our grand state that they are watching out for them. Truth is they have neither the staff, time nor desire to pursue any real issue. Our Radon department has maybe 3-4 people?

No, Kurt has a pretty good bead on things me thinks. It's all good though, I send in my money and they leave me alone.

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The state of Kentucky has taken (TAKEN) about a quarter of a million dollars out of the home inspectors licensing fees in the last four years since licensing started.

Licensing fee here is $250 a year per inspector (350 - 400 in the state). Wouldn't surprise me that they'll do it again. Not much action going to lower the fees or spend the money on real things for inspectors like education or advertising, etc.

I tell em,

"Yes, I'm licensed by the State of Kentucky to perform home inspections, BUT, if state licensing was such a great thing, neither you nor I would be cursing or ranting about all those state licensed drivers out there on the road. Let's talk about real inspection qualifications."

-

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Chad said:

"In my State, a bunch of Realtors, politicians and a few home inspectors qualified only by their years in the profession created our licensing law. A law that sets the bar so low that it requires almost as much training to make a Slurpee. It doesn't "qualify" anyone. It generates revenue, but I bet the bottom line is that the law costs the tax payers a bundle to administer and doesn't promote excellence, but rather mediocrity. Licensing= All home inspectors are created equal by the State."

Chad is almost 100% correct!

The sponsor of the bill was a realtor/assembly women.

I'm one of the old farts that spent hundreds of hours trying to make the bill meaningful. It didn't work.

The intent of the bill was to lower the entrance level to the point where the inspection is meaningless and the inspection is performed by morons.

The realtor was successful. The Department of State has almost ignored the law as written. The profession is toast in NY thanks to licensing.

Tom Corrigan

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$100 annually for license renewal and $5 for every home inspection completed. Legislature recently turned down Board's request increase the per-inspection fee to $7.

Buncha old fart ASHI inspectors drew up the SOP and suggested the language for the Home Inspection Law in 2000. Did a good job at it too.

Marc

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Chad said:

"In my State, a bunch of Realtors, politicians and a few home inspectors qualified only by their years in the profession created our licensing law. A law that sets the bar so low that it requires almost as much training to make a Slurpee. It doesn't "qualify" anyone. It generates revenue, but I bet the bottom line is that the law costs the tax payers a bundle to administer and doesn't promote excellence, but rather mediocrity. Licensing= All home inspectors are created equal by the State."

Chad is almost 100% correct!

The sponsor of the bill was a realtor/assembly women.

I'm one of the old farts that spent hundreds of hours trying to make the bill meaningful. It didn't work.

The intent of the bill was to lower the entrance level to the point where the inspection is meaningless and the inspection is performed by morons.

The realtor was successful. The Department of State has almost ignored the law as written. The profession is toast in NY thanks to licensing.

Tom Corrigan

Hi Tom,

Sadly, you and Chad still don't seem to get it.

Critics of licensing always seem to think that a licensing law needs to set the bar so that those coming into the profession are performing at a very high level of skill upon entry or they shouldn't be allowed into the business. Then they complain that not doing so creates inspectors that are all equal.

That's not the case; and that's not the point of licensing. The concept of a perfectly trained home inspector level license is like the idea of a perfectly trained automobile driver. In other words, lets not allow anyone to have a driver's license unless/until he or she can drive at the level of Bob Bondurant or Dan Gurney. Well, if that were the case, licensing would not just level the playing field, it would create home inspectors that are probably in many cases more qualified than the existing inspector base that precedes them. Nobody automatically assumes that just because someone has a license he or she does whatever it is at the highest skill level possible. If they did, long established pros in all fields would be going out of business in huge numbers. That doesn't happen because licensing doesn't set a high bar, it establishes a minimum level of competence for one to legally practice a profession - that's all.

When a medical student finishes school he's conferred an MD but he still doesn't get to practice medicine, does he? He must serve an internship under the guidance of more experienced doctors and then he must eventually take and pass exams before he receives his license. When that brand new doctor finally completes all that and receives his license, does everyone trust him? Hell no! He doesn't get to walk out of the issuing office and immediately have the trust of everyone one the street just by virtue of his license - he has to find a position somewhere and he has to work at the profession and build his own reputation for years before he starts garnering a patient base that respects him and recommends him to others.

It's exactly the same way with home inspector licensing. You can call it worthless, but those rules which you so readily scoff at are discouraging folks that before licensing would have been opening up companies on every corner without giving it a second thought.

Your rules require inexperienced folks to either sit in a classroom for 140 hours or work under someone else for 100 inspections and then take a test before they can get a license. That tells the guy flipping burgers that he's going to have to make an investment in time and effort, and then sit down to take a test - one which he has no idea about how difficult it will be - before he can legally enter the trade. It is a discouragement to a lot of folks who are only looking for quick easy money and that in and of itself is worth the effort it took to put the rule in place.

People need to stop thinking of licensing as something that should create and license the Captain America Inspector and understand that licensing is only going to create the Peewee Herman inspector and that once Peewee enters the profession he'll have a lot of years and hard work before he can garner the respect and the same client database as the experienced inspectors that he hopes to one day emulate.

Do I wish we had the perfect Captain America Inspector? Oh yeah, it's long been a dream of mine to start a college that would take in eager young persons and then put them through a very demanding couple of years to create such inspectors. In my dream model, those inspectors would leave training better educated about homes than 95% of the existing inspector base and they then they would remain in the business for the next 30, 40 or 50 years, molding what we do into a more professional discipline, instead of the current model where we are a temporary stop for middle-aged guys backing into the business 'cuz they got tired of doing something else. Instead of being intent only on feathering a nest for 10 to 15 years and then bailing out, these inspectors would look at it as a lifelong calling, not just a career and eventually we'd see them commanding truly professional fees instead of the slave wages that some markets in this business limit inspectors to.

The rules you have are a starting point. Just because the law gets passed doesn't mean that the work stops. Now inspectors in your state need to get interested in what your board is doing. They need to provide input to your board and when they think your board is screwing up they need to make their voices heard long and loud in Albany. You and Chad and others need to apply for board positions and lobby for those positions, so that you can eventually get in there and begin to improve things. If you get turned down, apply again, and again, and again and encourage others you feel are qualified and who are interested in the profession to do the same. Don't allow the board to become populated by white washers or toadies and make your voices heard when you think board members are white washing or sucking up to special interests. If you don't, don't complain when/if the board does become and remain populated by zoid-friendly nincompoops.

If you can look past what you see as a screwed up system, focus on the positives and work with your board, eventually you should see the system improved. However, if you just dismiss the law as something that's useless and has just 'leveled the playing field' and allow the folks running the program to get away with not enforcing it, it eventually will degrade the profession there into exactly that model which you guys despise.

The work to improve licensing never stops - until you fully understand that you guys are never going to get it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I have worked under a home inspection license since 2001. First in Mississippi (6th state to license home inspectors) and in TN since 2006. I have not seen any negatives from working under a license. As for the license fees? They are addressed when I do my income tax just as any other expense.

Like Kurt, after licensing, I found a distinct difference in peoples attitudes toward the profession in a positive aspect.

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