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Should I join this org.


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I am trying to promote my new website, and came across this listing organization.

I would like some opinions regarding joining and it's possible value.

Steven,

Membership requires the signing of the attached pledge. There is a small cost to get listed on the IHINA web site. Since other home inspector organizations such as ASHI, NAHI and NACHI have testing and educational requirements, IHINA does not attempt to compete with other home inspector organizations in those regards. (There are a number of IHINA members who also belong to one or more of those organizations.) What makes IHINA unique is the fact that all the other organizations are resigned to the status quo of real estate agents controlling the home inspector selection process. IHINA challenges the status quo and seeks to eliminate the control real estate agents have over home inspectors.

Active solicitation means giving "sales" presentations to real estate agents about your service and / or rewarding agents for referring clients to you. Handing out a business card to an agent at an inspection is not considered active solicitation. Dropping off marketing material designed for the real estate agent/s at real estate offices that promotes your services is considered active solicitation. If the material you drop off to real estate agents is generic material touting home inspections in general or is a list or flyer with most of the names of the inspectors in the area, that would be okay. The rule of thumb is if the marketing material is designed for the real estate agent rather than the potential inspection client, then it would be considered marketing to the agent. IHINA members are not prohibited from accepting referrals from real estate agents. Brochures would be prohibited if the material was designed for the agent/s rather than the prospective homebuyer. An example of this would be if the brochure touted that the inspector was not an alarmist or that the main message in the brochure stated that most stuff found during an inspection is just regular maintenance items.

Brochures would also be prohibited if the real estate office/s controlled whose brochures were displayed. If all inspectors are allowed to display brochures in the office then it's okay (but the guideline above would still have to be followed.) If only certain inspectors are allowed or certain inspectors excluded, then having brochures in that office would be against the pledge.

IHINA is the only organization that promotes the concept of home inspectors "really" working independently of real estate agents. In MA, soliciting real estate agents is now a non-issue due to a new home inspector licensing law that went into effect in 2001. The real estate licensing law was changed the same day the HI law was enacted. Real estate agents (seller's agents) are prohibited from referring any particular home inspectors to home buying customers or giving out a limited list. They are only allowed to give out the list of all licensed home inspectors in the state. "True" buyer's agents do not fall under this prohibition. The results of the law: good independent Inspectors have more client leads and inspection fees are up.

BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP:

Your web site listing lets viewers of the IHINA web site know that you consider the homebuyer not the real estate agent as your client. It gives you a resource that you can direct your prospective clients to, to show how you differ from other inspectors in your area. It gets you listed on a web site that comes up within the top 10 positions on the web search engines. On Google:

A search for "home inspection fees" brings up http://www.independentinspectors.org/ #1.

A search for "home inspection legislation" brings up http://www.independentinspectors.org/ #2.

A search for "best home inspectors" brings up http://www.independentinspectors.org/ #3.

A search for "home inspectors" brings up http://www.independentinspectors.org/ #7 (1st page.)

A search for "home inspectors" on MSN brings up http://www.independentinspectors.org/ #6 (1st page.)

(These results vary a little from week to week.)

The search results are usually slightly better (anywhere from #1 to #10) (1st page) when a search for “your state home inspectors" (ie: FL home inspectors) is entered. These rankings will continue to inch downward as more IHINA members place active links back to IHINA on their own web sites. I am constantly tweaking the web pages to obtain good search engine placement.

# As a listed member you have the opportunity to gain additional web exposure (at no additional cost) by getting additional links to IHINA web site articles you have written, photos that you have taken, comments written by your clients and news media articles that you are highlighted in.

# It gets you someone who works on a regular basis to keep the issue of the inspector / agent relationship in front of the home buying public. This has resulted in news media articles that have highlighted IHINA.

# It gets you someone who will help educate your legislators that the inspector / agent potential conflict of interest issue is worthy of real estate licensing law changes.

# It gets you someone who updates your listing info within 24 hours without additional charges.

# It gets you someone who monitors and updates the IHINA web site and the over 900 links connected to it.

# It gets you someone who answers e-mails from viewers who contact the IHINA web site and someone who tries to answer all e-mails sent in by IHINA members.

# It gets you someone who does interviews with news media outlets which result in media PR for IHINA.

# It gets you a 17% discount on report writing software from Porter Valley Software by a fellow IHINA member who is also an Authorize Dealer for http://www.pvsoftware.com/index.shtml

(members are sent the dealer's contact info upon request.)

# It gets you a 5% discount on inspection tools and equipment at Home Inspector Essentials

http://hi-essentials.com/

# Many IHINA members have sent me letters and emails informing me of client leads they have received from the IHINA web site. The following are from a few of those letters.

"Also to let you know that being a member of IHINA has enhanced my business. I have had several clients comment about my membership playing a part in their decision to hire me. Thanks again!"

and this one:

"I have been getting as much business from my website through IHINA as from any other source.

and this one:

"By far, best advertising for the money"

COST:

The web site listing fee is $100 per year (US funds.) This is one of the lowest fees around for a home inspector listing web site. The billing cycling starts on the first of the year and for new members signing on after the first of the year, the fee is pro rated for 2 years. So the fee to be covered until 12/31/08 would be $165. I would also need to have the attached pledge form signed and faxed or mailed back. I

If you believe real estate agents should not control the inspector selection process and you can uphold the pledge, mail a check and signed pledge to:

Able Home Inspection, Inc. 29 Elmwood Ave, Saugus, MA 01906.

If you want to pay by credit card (only Visa or Master Card are accepted) include your credit card number, the 3 digit security code number and expiration date on the bottom of the pledge.

If you would like to fax the pledge and CC info, first call 1-800-640-2253, to check to see if I'm in the office to receive the fax. You can also convert the signed pledge to a pdf. document and send as an e-mail attachment.

The charge will appear as Able Home Inspection, Inc. on your credit card bill.

You can claim your web site listing fee as an advertising expense for your business.

FYI - IHINA Membership and the web site listings will be closed to home inspectors in any state or province once it appears certain that particular state or province is going to restrict selling real estate agents from referring home inspectors (anything similar to the MA law.)

Phone 781-231-0236

The only way things will change is through public education and legislation.

IHINA helps provide that education, but members must work to enact legislative changes.

Thanks,

Dennis Robitaille

P.S. I have attached some marketing tips for you.

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Dennis is a nice guy with a very strong opinion as to how inspectors should do business, he owns IHINA

IHINA is a good group to join if you want to join a group for the sakes of joining a group. What you are really paying for is the search function. The problem I have with IHINA is that is does not pull up in the top ten for most area searches. Try your own area and you will see.

I belonged to IHINA about five years ago. I could not honestly go with the non marketing to Realtors any longer. I had an established business, but I found that I needed to keep marketing just to keep my name out in the marketplace. My marketing involves mailing 20 letters a week with three business cards to RE agents. This did not fit into the IHINA mantra. I have given Dennis permission to use some of my photos and a couple of post that I have made over the years. I like some of the ideas and for the most he has some good members. I have nothing against IHINA, it just does not fit my personality or business plan.

I would spend my money with a national organization that has an active local chapter in your area.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

I would spend my money with a national organization that has an active local chapter id="maroon">in your area.

You're saying I should join nachi? It's the only thing around here that fulfills your criteria. Oh, I just can't!

If only there was an active organization that had no significant numbers in the riff-raff category. That would be nice! Oooooooh, just the thought of it. Tingly all over!

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Hi Gary,

Sorry, been there, done that. NAHI four years, ASHI four years. No offense to the brethren, but I just don't see anything in any of the national associations right now that makes me feel tingly all over and would prompt me to pull out my wallet, sign a check and send it off. If I did, I'd sign up for one.

Not to toot my own horn, but TIJ gives you as much value, for a whole lot less money, than any association does.

Yep, I met a lot of good inspectors via the internet through my time with ASHI, and I hope that we are, and will always be, friends, but I never saw where "belonging" did much more than give me a way to regularly communicate with some really sharp folks on their internal forum and thus broaden my inspection abilities. Well, guess what, TIJ does that too - except that here you get to talk to any inspector - independent or affiliated - that cares to participate, and you can do it for what it costs you to get on the internet.

What are we missing. Well, I suppose a logo to plaster on your van or all over your business cards, and we don't have any fancy T-shirts, jackets, hats or mouse pads, but we do try to throw up a whole lot of info about where you can find the best informational downloads for home inspectors on the net - for free - and we give you a secure place to talk to all inspectors, without some of the bullying that happens on the other sites.

What is a "professional" organization anyway? It's just a bunch of professionals in the same business hanging out talking to one another and comparing notes. Maybe once in a while they put on some training, have a dinner or two with chapter meetings and such. But why is that so important. The logo? Nah, had one on my vehicle and on my business card for years. Nobody every asked me what it was and the number who ever asked me if I were affiliated with any association was minute. The question I did, and do, get constantly was, "Are you a certified inspector," which, since one of these allegedly "professional" associations has diluted the whole idea of being a "certified" inspector to the passage of an elementary school level test, is no longer relevant.

Okay, so we don't have the dinners - yet - but there is a whole lot of good communication goes on here, and you can get a pretty good education here, so, as Jack Nicholson would say, "Two out of three ain't bad."

Concentrate on being professional and competent, doing as thorough a job as you can - regardless of whether that will piss off some realtor or seller, and never stop trying to get better at the actual inspection and report-writing process. Do that, and your referrals from happy former clients will someday far outnumber those from the real estate related folks or what you'll derive from belonging to any association.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I'll give ya a Kewl Dude. I'll give you several.

The professional society thingie has really gotten tedious, and largely worthless.

Dennis' org is kinda cool, but it's religion, not business, and simply not realistic. As much as I dislike the 'zoids, they aren't going anywhere, and honestly, I do get a few dozen jobs a year from the couple ethical one's I know.

Adopting the air of the supercilious nosepicker to those that market to realtors is elitist, to no particular purpose other than self-aggrandizement.

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Gee Kurt, there for a minute I thought we were playing Scrabble and you kept makin' the big words! I was one letter tile short of tipping the board over and claiming you cheated - because you were winning!

I think the professional orgs are getting a little thin on real inspectors - you know the ones that have actually made a living and try their damnest to give a little back.

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After a year in business, I've decided that the money I could spend on association memberships would be better spent on education. Both would encourage me to say I'm qualified, but for vastly different reasons.

Just my opinion, I'll now return to the role of silent observer :)

-Brad

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Originally posted by kurt

I mean, c'mon guys, don't you like the "supercilious nosepicker" line?

I think it's one of my better conconctions.

One should never use "nosepicker" and "concoctions" in the same sentence...oops.
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