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ASHI Newsletter and HUD Inspections


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Recieved a newsletter from ASHI, explained

Because of your ASHI membership, you may have the training and experience necessary to become a housing inspector for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC).

I am considering jumping some hoops and hurdles, But sheesh.

Anyone enlightened on the subject would be welcome to contact me. BTW I am concerned about "bidding" on the projects.

Look forward to the feedback...

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Originally posted by Mark Trinkley

Recieved a newsletter from ASHI, explained

Because of your ASHI membership, you may have the training and experience necessary to become a housing inspector for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC).

I am considering jumping some hoops and hurdles, But sheesh.

Anyone enlightened on the subject would be welcome to contact me. BTW I am concerned about "bidding" on the projects.

Look forward to the feedback...

I've done REAC inspections. What would you like to know?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Mark Trinkley

I have sent in the electronic application. But Going to Wash DC for training? And the bidding process...? Is this all worthwhile, or am I treading bureaucratic redtape etc? Just attempting to educate myself before so I do not waste precious time.

You'll probably have to go to one or two training sessions each year. The location may vary.

For the most part, you won't be bidding, unless you have the ability to provide 33,000 inspections. You'll be hired as an independent contractor to a sub-contractor such as MTB. They'll assign you properties on a monthly or quarterly basis. You call the property managers and take care of your own scheduling.

The training is necessary. Every time they update the inspection software and the inspection protocol, the inspectors have to be trained in the changes. When you do these inspections, you absolutely, positively must inspect according to the latest protocol. It isn't like a home inspection where you've got a minimum standard. With REAC you have a standard that you can't deviate from in any way -- you can't exceed it and you can't fall short of it. The goal, from HUD's perspective, is to obtain uniform results on all 30,000+ properties each year. If a single inspector decides to exceed the protocol, HUD's data becomes less valuable to them. As they once put it, "If ten REAC inspectors inspect the same property on the same day, we expect to see near identical inspections from each."

You should also be aware of the "quality control" inspections. At any given time, you may find yourself being "inspected" by either HUD or the sub-contractors. There are two flavors of these QC checks. One is open. You arrive at the property and find a HUD official or a sub-contractor senior staff member. This person will shadow you through the entire inspection, evaluating your performance. The other kind is not open. The official or staff member is hidden, often sitting in a car across the street with binoculars and a stopwatch. Sometimes, they'll wander the property keeping an eye on you. In both cases, they'll be evaluating your demeanor, your attire and your inspection technique. Most especially, they'll be timing you; they don't want you moving too fast. The really sneaky part is that the property managers know up front about the clandestine QC checks but they're not allowed to tell you.

I worked for MTB. They had good people on staff and were supportive if you had a good attitude and did a good job. They were brutal if you screwed up or if you had an attitude problem. I once watched as another inspector was humiliated and fired on the spot during a training session because he made a series of critical comments. He was correct in every one of his observations but he delivered the comments in a childish and snide manner.

I quit REAC because the pay was too low and the protocol was becoming increasingly burdensome. When I first started, the inspections were profitable because I could do them quickly and schedule them pretty much whenever I wanted. As the protocol changed, and the inspection times lengthened, I could no longer afford to do them.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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