Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Every once in awhile on varied inspector forums, I see new HI's complaing about proposed licensing requirements in their state. Many of their complaints are centered around required schooling; required years of doing HI; how many inspections are needed before being licensed; or grandfathering. Its made me stop and think about when I first got into HI full time.

In 1984 when I left Texas and moved north, there was nothing else outside of CREIA in California - so I joined ASHI. At that time they had 5 levels of membership. From ground zero they were as follows:

Apprentice Member (4); Technical Nominee (50); Intern Member (550); Associate Member (750); & Senior Member (1,000). The numbers after the levels were the required number of inspections. Until you got to be an Associate Member you could not use their logo or claim to belong.

Because I'd been doing HI's part-time in Texas since 1976, I went in as an Intern Member. I was living in a semi-small Missouri Town (population 65,000 at that time), surrounded by smaller farm towns. I qualified for the Associate Membership level about 2 years later. The following year I met the quota for Senior Member AND the next month they abandoned that program and went to 2 levels of membership (Member & Candidate).

Although I had done HI's part-time since 1976 - in 1984 when I decided to go at it full time, I spent $1,455 on air fare, hotel, and tuition and went to the D.C area to take a week long home inspection training program.

I'm not the only old inspector (57 yrs old) by a long shot that came up this way. Which is exactly why you see some of the rules you do being dropped into the licensing acts. By the way, 20 years ago talking a realestaor or often even a home buyer into getting a home inspection was like tring to get a 800 pound gorilla to hold still for a proctology examination.

For the record 1 yrs experience or 50 home inspections ain't squat. I've always been kinda partial to 5/1,000.

Dan Bowers

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dan,

I think this is a damned good topic to talk about. However, before you start getting responses I want to remind everyone that this is a webzine, not the cyber equivalent of the WWF, and that I've had enough bullshit on this forum over the past few weeks to last me a lifetime. Anyone responding to Dan's thread had better keep their responses civil and stick to the issues. The first time I see any chest thumping, veiled comments about supposed conspiracies or hidden agendas or just plain rudeness, the offender's post will be gone without so much as a PM to warn him or her. That also goes for subsequent posts from anyone who forgets that this is my webzine, that I'm the editor who decides what is acceptable content here and then might feel an overwhelming compulsion to lecture me about censorship and freedom of speech.

Recess is over folks and I'm taking the playground back. Keep is civil, keep it relevant, or take your contentious baggage someplace else.

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good topic

There is a lot of complaining about required schooling for HI however the fact of the matter is the overall results show the better educated (via whatever means) the inspector the better he/she can serve their client base. I currently live in a state that has no requirement to become a home inspector other than hanging a sign on the door and we get about what you could expect in results. We have some excellent inspectors however they are the result of their our professional development. It is like anything else if the person wants to provide a professional and vaulable service they will prepare themselves and find the training necessary to do just that. I would prefer to see training and certification based on quality of knowledge and not quanity of inspections. As the old saying goes you can acquire 20 years of experience several ways. One is to have 20 years of every increasing knowledge and experinece which in the end provides a consistently improved inspection which also keeps up with new technology in your field or you can have 2 years experience 10 times over. Several years ago I took over a department of approximately 100 inspectors that was loaded with persons,some of whom were excellent and some who were pitiful and beyond. I developed a written test based on good inspection practices and acceptable building codes. I even allowed it to be open book since I do believe it is just as important to be able to look up the information as it is to have it on the tip of your tounge. I had to let 65% of the staff go simply because they could not even find the right answer. Imagine what good they were in the field.

Home inspectors can and do fill a very important role in the transfer of ownership of a dwelling just as good compliance inspectors can keep the new construction industry in line. Doing 5,000 H/A inspections no more qualifies a person to become a professsional than driving 5000 miles makes anyone a great driver. Some people are just lucky and can get though anything and not learn enough to be professional and educated in their chosen field.

In the end, as an organization, the home inspectors can police themselves by having the good inspectors drive the bad ones out of the field. The poor inspectors will get out and go into other fields if you who are doing the best possible jobs of inspecting simply take their market away from them. I believe in the survival of the fitest and and raising the industry standards from within our own organization but not by saying x number of inspections makes someone qualified. Basing designation of quality of an inspector based on their number of insections or years of service is similar to a pyramid scheme. You can fool some people for awhile but in the end the scheme fails.

Woodbyter

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're exactly right. Over the past 20 years I've seen home inspectors, code inspectors, builders, engineers, etc that are top drawer.

But in each of these professions, I've also seen people that would be doing the general public and their chosen profession a HUGE favor by switching jobs and selling snake oil.

Some are new - others are 15-20 year veterans.

We always say time or the marketplace will take care of weeding out the bad apples. Well maybe it does for some - but I've seen a whole lot of bad ones with 8 years or more experience, just getting worse - BUT many of them are real popular with the realestators, etc. AND they just seem to keep getting BIGGER.

Last year they had 2 inspectors, this year they have 3 inspectors. Last year they got sued 3 times - this year you've heard of 4 suits and we're only into the summer.

As I heard a realestator recently say - "XXX Home Inspection Company really knows how to treat an older home, they don't pick it to death and scare the buyers. After all no house is perfect. And they know how valuable our time is and almost always have us out of the home in 1-1.5 hours. Besides all that they give our clients a THOROUGH and beautiful 20 page computerized report FILLED with all kinds of photos of the front of the house and the bedrooms, and the chip in the cover of the electrical outlet".

Will licensing help - in my locale their are 3 licensed engineers I know that are so builder or realestator friendly that FHA has rejected their reports for years (fluff reports - "The seller indicated the wood shingle roof was the original roof installed when he built the house 23 years ago. It shows wear and deterioration typical for a roof of this age. If the NEW BUYER applies ONGOING and ROUTINE maintenance, in my opinion this roof should continue to shed water for the remainder of its life-span".

All 3 of these guys are TOP SHELF from the real estate communitys point of view. If we had HI licensing - they'd probably be exempted due to their profession. So someone else pick up the thread and keep running with it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

I'm not sure I'm getting the point you're trying to make. First you say you think new guys should bitching about weak licensing requirements because you had it tougher, then you follow up with something along the lines of "Licensing means nothing because some licensed professionals I know of are incompetent and/or crooked"

Are you simply trying to say there will never be a law that absolutely protects the homebuying public from dishonest and unqualified home inspectors? If so, I agree.

I opposed licensing in my state for too long. It took a long while before I conceded the fact that it would not be stopped and tried to get on board to help shape it. By then it was too late.

If you want a decent HI law, write it, or have it written for you by a committee of legislators who know nothing about our discipline.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim - You've got my point exactly. I'm old and have been exposed to mold and my mind rambles,...... Now please record the date and time so I can use you as an expert witness when I sue my landlord for mold or whatever!!

Yes, you got exactly what I was saying on both points - The humor in the new guys complaining how hard it is to take a test, do 50 home inspections, etc. As well as the fact that even the most stringent laws for HI's on the books today don't get rid of our bad apples - cause we got somebody else in our business helping them survive.

In the Kansas City area over the past 12 years, the Board or Realestators has put together 3 different task forces to deal with the home inspection problems. Each time they put together one of these task forces, they came to the the old line and large Inspection Companies and got us to participate by discussing the fly-by-night inspectors, etc that give us all a bad name.

Guess what - each time, when 25-30 inspectors met with the Broker / Owners of the 10-12 main Real Estate Offices. As soon as the meetings started,the HOME INSPECTOR problems, that the realestators wanted to deal with were: he says too much (the report killed the deal); he stayed too long (over 2 hours was too long); the reports are too big (over 6 pages was too big); etc, etc, etc.

So life goes on. I don't see this as ever being a real profession until we can control our own industry and its rules (not the used house commissioned sales person pulling the chains); and until getting into the profession really takes some sweat and tears - not 50 home inspections, 1 test and a 1 week long class.

Dan Bowers

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is just one of those tangled, thorny topics that has no good or fair answer. Training may or may not be meaningful. The number of inspections may or may not be meaningful. The years in the field may or may not be meaningful. Everything depends, and there's no way to write a law for that. Then you add the fact that the laws usually are written by politicians who only know what they've been told by whomever has access to them. It's a miracle there are any decent licensing laws at all, and even that's debateable.

Fair to the incoming guys almost requires unfair the established guys. Vice-versa, same thing.

The thing I'm most sure of is that there should be no such thing as pure grandfathering. That is to say that no matter how long you've been in business or how many inspections you've done, you should have to prove minimum competency by passing a standardized exam. A guy with umpteen years and thousands of inspections ought to be able to breeze through one. If he can't pass it, go the same route as everyone else.

I'm also personally convinced that mentoring is virtually unworkable in the open market, particularly when legislated. My opinion.

Brian G.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi to all,

before I start, I must acknowledge that due to my "political" affiliations I know I'm gonna get my ass kicked in this forum.

However I do find myself nodding my head to the comments of both Brian G. and (heavens forbid) Jimmy M.

Of the whole issue of licensing, is incredibly contentious as we all know, and in particular the issuer grandfathering tends to raise more debates than any other area, the bottom line is, that those who have been involved in home inspections for longtime prior to the enactment of legislation feel they have no requirement, (or feel they should have no requirement) to be bound by the regulations that a new inspector would fall under.

This has to be complete BS, I generally tend to find those newer members of our profession to be the most education hungry bunch I have ever seen in my life they will spend hundreds of dollars if not thousands to gain knowledge that many people feel they have already gained due to their years in the business.

If someone else's previously commented that you can have one years experience 20 times or 20 years experience, and that is very much true statement, I personally tend to find that the older established businesses in the unlicensed states that I do business in do the very worst standards of reports that I have ever seen.

So, where do we go with this as an industry ?? I sure as hell do no one spend the rest of my career acting as a sop for the real estate industry, the real bottom line is that all inspectors have a huge duty of care to their clients, whether they work in unlicensed states or an unregulated state the best that all of us can achieve is to be the best informed and the best educated inspectors that we possibly can and with the best when the world knows state licensing or national licensing is going to force us into being that. The state of New Jersey is currently a very interesting case on piont, insofar as they have enacted legislation that is not in anybody's best interests especially that of the consumer, not only that, but they've also elected to take a second look at the legislation that they have enacted because they realized that effectively they have handed control to the members of an industry that they had decided to regulate due to problems within that industry.

So forgive my late-night ramblings, realistically what should make a good inspector, let's put out political affiliations aside and discuss wants are the minimum requirements for somebody to be able to prove to legislatures that they are competent to perform home inspections, and less bear in mind home inspectors on generalists, we're not required to be rocket scientists we're not required to being professional engineers we're not required to be anything other than an uninformed clients eyes when performing an inspection.

Here are my own personal thoughts:

1) to have passed the NHIE all an equivalent psychometrically valid exam.

2) to have "N" number of inspections validated by one's peers.

3) to be mandated to carry errors and omissions insurance to a level that would meet any potential claims.

I will state now that any perceptions that are held by members of this forum about my opinions based on my political affiliations are probably wrong, and to that extent the second this debates enters into the area off what various associations believe, i will stop contributions into this debate, which really would be a shame as I think as others have stated in other areas that this debate is worth having, even if it only serves to solidify what many of us already believe.

Let the games commence !!

Regards

Gerry

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by DLRambo

We always say time or the marketplace will take care of weeding out the bad apples.

Will licensing help -

Dan,

Do I dare reply to this issue? I can just see some inspectors out there waiting to pounce on me if I say something negative about agents.

One of the arguments I made for the MA law that prohibits selling agents from referring inspectors was the point you stated, "We always say time or the marketplace will take care of weeding out the bad apples."

In the home inspection field, however, we have "middlemen" who interfer with the natural selection process that would weed out "bad" inspectors or help "good" inspectors. We all know of inspection companies who get sued on a regular basis, yet, these same companies are on the short list given out by the real estate agents.

The end user of our service (the home buying client) has little to do with helping good inspectors expand their business or helping to get rid of the bad inspectors. In most areas of the country the marketing effort and the "pleasing" effort are directed to the people who are responsible for suppling inspectors with the majority of their client leads.

I get several e-mails each week from inspectors in the US and Canada who have been "blackballed" by the agents because the inspectors were "too thorough", or "took too long" or "delayed the sale".

I got my share of hate mail from inspectors and agents when I was pushing to have agents removed from the inspector selection process. It really scared some inspectors that they would have to let the end users of their services decide the fate of their business, rather then the agents referring them.

Licensing for home inspectors will not change the status quo. Changing the real estate licensing laws to remove agents from the inspector selection process will and has changed the status quo.

BTW, Brian G., I like your favorite quote. I can relate to it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All,

The last time that any of you boarded an airplane to fly to another part of the world, the chief pilot sitting in that cockpit was a person who'd had to spend thousands of hours learning his or her craft, had to pass through a series of ever more difficult tests and who had to submit to an extensive peer review of his or her work, before being certified as competent to move you safely around the country.

The licensing laws being written all emphasize some sort of experience and testing requirement, involving a set number of inspections and a written test of some sort, but they do not require anyone to submit to a peer review of their performance, before issuing a license to the allegedly competent inspector.

We expect a pilot, a doctor, a dentist, an architect, an engineer and other so-called professionals - hell, even hairdressers - to not only be able to pass a written test, but be able to prove to those more experienced than themselves that they are competent enough to be granted a license. Why is it so hard for us to recognize that the only way anyone will ever be able to guarantee competency is through performance peer review by individuals who've proven that they are the most knowledgeable in their profession.

When I floated this idea last year (Or was it the year before?), I got some flak from some 'experienced' inspectors, because they said they would never submit to having someone else determine their competency. Why? They felt that nobody could be trusted to do an objective evaluation of others in the profession and that there was no uniform standard by which to judge. Well, if I were to believe that wasn't possible, I guess I never would have gotten onto the last plane I rode on and I sure as hell wouldn't have let any doctor or dentist treat me.

So, whenever this idea is floated, there are those who say it would be fair only if one were to allow the old hands to take a written test only and all of those new to the business would have to be tested and submit to peer review. I believe that the resistance was fueled by a fear, on the part of the experienced inspectors participating in those conversations, that any system like that could cost the inspector being evaluated his or her livelihood. Well, pilots and doctors and other professionals have different levels of competencies and for each they must be tested. They have minimum levels of continuing education they must complete and some must submit to periodic re-testing to ensure that they've been maintaining their skills. So why not home inspectors?

Gerry's first two points - to mandate passage of a hard written test and to have a minimum number of inspections performed - are missing only the peer review to ensure that an inspector is competent. The E & O? That's another topic altogether that I think is separate from competency and should be (and has been) discussed in another thread, but personally, I don't know why anyone would want to make mandatory E & O part of a licensing initiative, without first ensuring that the persons being ensured can meet a minimum level of competency through peer review.

What happens if an experienced pilot fails to pass his or her check ride? Well, the pilot is critiqued by the examining pilot and shown what areas he or she was weak in and has a set time period within which to retrain and retake the check ride in order to maintain his/her certification. In order to place a peer review process into place within an existing profession, something similar would need to be done. Experienced inspectors who failed a peer review could still work, but would be critiqued in the areas they were weak in and then given a set time period within which to bring their performance up to minimum standards or face suspension or revocation of their license. Such a system not only motivates everyone to aggressively pursue continuing education, it provides a document trail that backs up the licensing authority to show that an inspector was incompetent, in the event they must revoke an individual's license, thus taking away his or her livelihood.

Again, no licensing or certification procedure will ever be truly valid, until people recognize that those doing the work must be forced to prove they can do it competently, regardless of time in the business, professional association affiliations or number of inspections performed. Using such a systematic approach ensures that at least the inspector is competent. It won't guarantee the inspector won't minimize issues for the sake of garnering future referrals, but it does provide the public protection and affords them a means to ensure who the agent recommends is competent.

How do you develop a uniform way of evaluating the inspectors performance? You don't need to, it's already been done. Visit the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors site and view The CAHPI Initiative and then look over their HPI(Home and Property Inspectors) Occupational Standards, which could be used for a uniform evaluation baseline for peer review of on-site performance of a home inspector. Every facet of what we do has already been analyzed and broken down into competencies and sub-tasks. Using this system, the same way a pilot's competencies are broken down into sub-tasks and analyzed, inspectors' on-site performance can be evaluated.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your analogy of boarding a plane and the pilot training as relates to home inspectors and their training shows the critical missing link and that is nationwide approved training and certification. Hopefully when the HI industry grows up and matures it will be able to follow standardized requirements and training and thus be recognized as a respectable and reliable professional occupation. Currently many home inspectors(with good reason)are thrown in with used car salesmen, home improvement salesmen and other occupations who exist and earn their living by telling people what they want or need to hear to make a deal work.

The FAA oversees the licensing requirements and recertification procedures for pilots which keeps just any old numb dummy from climbing into the flight deck and trying to get you from point "A" to "B" without turning everyone in to a flaming briquette.

It is a "long hard SLOG" as Secretary Rumsfield would say, similar to what the appraisers have had to go through. Even with USPAP and state and national licensing the appraiser's still have been subject to selection of those who will give what clients want and not necessarily what they should be getting for their fee. The appraisers are ahead in the evolution process HI will follow eventually.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my lifetime I have driven an airline pilot to the airport to report for a flight [:-knockout] less than 8 hours after we had partied together. To question his violation of the safety rules would have meant questioning my own denial about my drinking habits. I am sure he was peer reviewed and had to meet exacting standards.

I was a Physician Assistant for 20 yrs. I worked with several surgeons who were little more than hacks [:-skull] and they were able to continue practicing only because the support staff kept their mistakes alive and the referring physicians were just as mediocre.

Dennis hit the nail on the head. As long as the mediocre inspectors are assured a supply of clients from the realtors, licensed or not, they will continue to keep us all at their level. I no longer see this issue as black or white. Since visiting this and another forum, I now believe that one can accept referrals from realtors and still protect the interest of one's client. The question becomes why would I want someone with a vested interest in the sale of a house to have anything to say about how my business is conducted? Well, I don't!

I am all for licensing of HI's in Ohio and I think it should be administered by the same board that oversees engineers and architects. Previous attempts at legislation have failed and I suspect that somewhere in the smoke a realtor or two were lurking. [:-eyebrows][:-eyebrows]

Link to post
Share on other sites

I could definitley support the idea of peer review, but it could be tricky to keep the politics out of it. I think you might need a board or panel behind the field guy, making the ultimate call in open session. I'll have to look at the Canadian stuff later, see how they go at it.

The HI schools are also problematic. As one who looked at several options just a couple of years ago, my personal opinion is that most are poor performers. Some are hard to judge because they're owned by a big HI franchise. Do you suppose anyone who pays the big franchise fee has ever failed to be "certified" by their school? I doubt it. But lumping them all into one pile is wrong. I had a short list of 3 I felt comfortable considering, and I felt I was given all I could have hoped for in the time frame given where I went. I'm the one who could only swing a week, not their fault.

The American creed assures us the right to try it if we want to, nothing more. Lots of different people fail in lots of different businesses every day, trained or not. Most folks really aren't cut out for it.

Brian G.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by denable

In the home inspection field, however, we have "middlemen" who interfer with the natural selection process that would weed out "bad" inspectors or help "good" inspectors.

There's no denying the truth in that statement. The crooked realtors are exactly the reason the bucketheads do well. But it's also true that ethical realtors are the best freind of a good apple. If you passsed a law here, tomorrow, cutting the realtors out of the process, I would be hurt by it more than any of my buckethead competitors. They all have bigger ad budgets (much) and higher public profiles than I do as a result. My ethical realtors would follow the law and stop recommending me. The crooked realtors would adapt new methods and continue to steer clients. Crooks don't obey the law.

I'm just saying it isn't as simple as passing a law telling crooks to cut it out.

Brian G.

Green Apple [:-apple]

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that when HI's in MA were licensed, I was grandfathered in.

I think grandfathering in home inspectors is legitimate. Our field is essentially about 30 years old and many of the guys who got grandafathered were the ones who invented home inspections (myself excluded). You want to test them on their knowledge of the field they invented. That would be like giving Alexander Graham Bell a test to become a telephone operator.

Guys, we live in an imperfect world. Whoever compared watching the legislative process to watching sausage production understated its ugliness. Discussions like these are what lead to ASHI's "White Paper on Legislation" They basically said: "We know we can't get a perfect law, so let's spell out the components of what would make a good law". Not to bring politics into the argument, but I'd advise anyone in an unlicensed state, to get together as many HI's as you can and go through that process so you'll be prepared when licensing comes to town.

By the time it gets there, it's too late.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim- I can agree with your concept of grandfathering to an extent. As you mention allowing those in who "invented the field" is one thing but keeping those in who have kept up with the field is another thing.

When I took over a large staff I had field inspectors ranging in age from 26 to 79 and sad as it seems some of the older ones had no idea what code changes had taken place nor did they care. Several of the younger ones thought they had all the answers (which they didn't) and and a couple of darn good inspectors were offended at having to take a test to keep their positions even though I explained it was the only legal and fair way to accept some people and cull out others. Everyone had to be given the same opportunity. I will give you that it rankled some to have to do this and I lost a darn good inspector who would have been a good staff member simply because he let his ego get in the way. He didn't have to prove himself to anyone and I was some years older than he was. I guess I know how you feel and it seems like some of the older folks should know this stuff better than the newbies but you can't tell by looking sometimes. In theory you are right--in practice I can't take that chance. It is an imperfect world and all we can do is try to keep making it better. I don't have all the answers and wish I did.

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by Brian G.

Originally posted by denable

In the home inspection field, however, we have "middlemen" who interfer with the natural selection process that would weed out "bad" inspectors or help "good" inspectors.

There's no denying the truth in that statement. If you passsed a law here, tomorrow, cutting the realtors out of the process, I would be hurt by it more than any of my buckethead competitors. They all have bigger ad budgets (much) and higher public profiles than I do as a result. My ethical realtors would follow the law and stop recommending me. The crooked realtors would adapt new methods and continue to steer clients. Crooks don't obey the law.

Brian G.

Green Apple [:-apple]

Brian,

The argument about bigger ad budgets was made to me in one of the "hate" mails I received last year. The inspector who complained to me was charging less than $225 per inspection. My point to him was that if he was charging $400 and providing his clients with a great (useful) service and the agents did not interfer with the inspector selection process, he wouldn't have to worry about his ad budget.

I don't want to have a tread drift here, but I usually check out the web sites of inspectors who log onto inspector forums. The one thing that stands out is the pricing. Why do inspectors feel compelled to display prices? Especially when their fees are less than $200. Most do it to complete with other inspection companies. Prospective clients are being taught (by home inspectors) to find the cheapest inspector.

When 70% of the inspectors get 70% of their referrals from agents, it's easy to see why I get a lot of flak from inspectors when I suggest removing the agents from the inspector selection process. The reaction must be "oh my god, you mean I would have to depend upon the actual people who use my service to keep me in business"?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi to all,

When you stop and think about it the whole issue of grandfathering existing inspectors is completely ridiculous, any state or municipality that feels the need to license home inspectors is doing so because of perceived defficiencies with existing inspectors.

So to take a whole bunch of existing inspectors who are the ones that need to be licensed, and to allow them to meet a lower standard than newer inspectors coming into the business is completely illogical.

I strongly feel that any licensing proposal should be based on a level playing field, and that any inspector should have to prove a minimum level of competency regardless of how long they have been involved in the business. From my own experience of dealing with other inspectors I can tell you that there are many bad inspectors who've been in the business for a year, but there are very many more poor inspectors who've been in the business for 10 years.

Regards

Gerry

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dennis,

A little moderating here. This thread is about licensing requirements. Lets try to keep the discussion of realtor relationships and pricing out of it.

Jimmy,

That's exactly the same argument that I've been hearing for years from long-established inspectors out here. I doubt that they were involved in the formation of ASHI in those early years.

Experience and a written test, such as all of the present laws and ASHI requires for membership, doesn't verify at the time a law passes that the guy, who's been inspecting for the past ten years and took the NHIE when it was the ASHI test 9 years ago, has been doing competent inspections all of those years. It only proves that he can pass a test of basic knowledge. I think passage of a test such as the NHIE should be a prerequisite to a peer review and that a peer review of the inspector's on-site performance, method of presentation and a minimum number of written reports ensures that he or she is at least competent and isn't just good at taking tests.

Much has been made of EBPHI's NHIE as being 'psychometrically' valid. Well, I suppose it is, but anytime you have tests where there are mulitiple choice and true/false answers there is a possibility someone who is good at taking tests will slip through the cracks.

Every soldier, airman, sailer and marine in our armed forces must take a psychometrically valid test, that is appropriate to his or her grade level, pass it, and also undergo a performance review. In addition, there is continuous ongoing supervisory evaluation, quarterly counseling and annual evaluation reports, to ensure that the serviceman or woman not only knows the basic skills of his or her MOS, but is continually maintaining and even improving his/her skillsets. When a serviceman or woman fails to pass their MOS test, they are given extra training in their weak areas and have a set time period in which to be reevaluated or face reclassification into another MOS or expulsion from the military. It ain't pretty, it ain't easy, but it is consistent across the board in every skill at every grade level and is ensures a baseline level of competence and culls those who are incompetent from the ranks.

I remember when the MOS tests and annual EER process first came out back around 1978. Older, "experienced" servicemen at that time were indignant that they had to submit to it and many petrified that they'd be forced into early retirement. Some of them had good reason to be petrified because they were incompetent and their subordinates were carrying them. People talk today about how well trained our military is. Well it isn't a joke. It's true. They are well trained and the system in place assures that time and complacency doesn't erode their skills.

That's what a good peer review process can do for the integrity of this profession.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

P.S.

Psst, I'll let just you in on a secret, Jimmy. When I took the psychometrically valid ASVAB entrance battery in New Haven those many years ago, I had no idea what many of the answers were. Being somewhat 'spiritual' in those days with hair below my shoulders and sandals on my feet, I decided to let my chi guide my answers. So, when I hit a question that I was unsure of or where I was clueless (and there were a lot), I just started at the choices until I thought that I could feel the energy from a particular answer coming through, and that was the answer that I chose.

I still have the scores from that battery of tests. They are extremely high (even the math!)and would be even today. In fact, the recruiter just about fell over because I'd gotten a GT score of 153 when 160 is as high as the system grades. Well, you guys have read my stuff time and again. All of you know that I'm nowhere near that smart, or I'd have figured out how to punctuate by now.

For the rest of my entire career, that 153 opened up doors for me that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to go through. However, once on the other side of that door, it was only the peer review process that assured that as I progressed in those endeavors I was competent and entitled to be there. A few times, despite that GT score, the peer review process shoved me back out the door, as it should have. That's why I have absolute faith that such a process would be very good for for the credibility of this profession.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hard for me to disagree with most of what is posted in this thread, but I offer the following:

Gerry, You wrote: "any state or municipality that feels the need to license home inspectors is doing so because of perceived defficiencies with existing inspectors." I've yet to see evidence this was the genesis of the licensing effort in our Commonwealth.

Mike: You underestimate the chi of the average inspector.

Guys, It's easy to poke holes in any licensing requirement. As far as I can tell, none of them hold much water. You guys make valid points.

Those of you who didn't get grandfathered think everyone should have to take a test. Those of us who did think everyone else should have to take a test. I'm not saying it's fair, I'm just saying I'm glad that's how it was.

Maybe this will send this thread in a different direction, but I submit that mandatory homeowner disclosures (which we don't have in MA) would go a lot further in protecting homebuyers than any licensing law. The reason we don't have one is, it would be a lot harder to pass.

Lao Tzu

Link to post
Share on other sites

The issue with grandfathering is legitimate. Some of the worst inspector out there would be easily grandfathered. Some of the other worst inspectors would not make the cut for the grandfathering clauses.

If we want a level playing field then Dennis has a pretty good idea as long as the law is written to minimized the loopholes that agents will find just to get their inspector in the door. Would it hurt me, YES, however we must all adapt to change or learn how to.

I have made this statement multiple times before and I will do it again:

Many of the inspectors out there who are pushing for change in the industry with grandfathering that meets their needs are the same ones who started when there were no rules or regulations and if the new rules were in place when they first started in business, they may not have even made it this far because of the hurdles. This is why everone needs to put their experience where their mouth is and take the same tests, be reviewed for compliance to SOPs and have the E&O required. I know the E&O is a sensitive subject but it is required in my state and will be in your states in the future. A client cannot get reimbursed for damages suffered from a guy who operates with no E&O and has nothing. It is for the protection of the consumer EVEN THOUGH it may have been used as a target in the past but these are RARE.

I do believe that licensing CAN be a good thing if written properly and EVERYONE must comply.

Once again, one of the most successful inspectors in my area has been in business for over 15 years, does a 45 minute inspection and deals never fall through. The realtors love him. He can even treat for termites right on the spot to get that deal to go through even quicker. I also know at least 5 people that he has reimbursed for the cost of the inspection or repairs. This guy would be grandfathered.

Hey Morrison, are you sure you don't want to meet me in Syracuse to buy me a brew?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Maybe this will send this thread in a different direction, but I submit that mandatory homeowner disclosures (which we don't have in MA) would go a lot further in protecting homebuyers than any licensing law.

We have such a law here, but it's all but worthless. I ALWAYS ask for a copy of the disclosure, but 99 out of 100 are pure vanilla. "Oh no, nothing wrong we know of." Then you do the inspection and find where they've jury-rigged, covered up, patched, etc. I'm afraid it isn't much help, but I like having it on the books anyway. It at least makes them lie in writing, on the record, as opposed to verbal statements which can be claimed as "misunderstandings" later.

Brian G.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Maybe this will send this thread in a different direction, but I submit that mandatory homeowner disclosures (which we don't have in MA) would go a lot further in protecting homebuyers than any licensing law. The reason we don't have one is, it would be a lot harder to pass.

What Brian said.

The State of Illinois Real Estate Full Disclosure Law has been in effect for a couple years, & I will testify that it is utterly, completely, & totally worthless.

The Act was lobbied for & promoted by realtors as a manner to isolate themselves in disputes between buyers & sellers, not provide full disclosure of anything. It is a masterpiece of obfuscation.

Statements in the disclosure don't have anything to do w/ disclosure, they state that the "seller has no knowledge of problems related to......". IOW, even if there is a dispute, the buyer is left w/ trying to prove prior knowledge by the seller. Anyone that paid attention to the Nixon tapes learned that if one just sticks to their story of "no knowledge", they are untouchable.

Licensing doesn't "work" to protect consumers, but it is necessary. Renegade HI's arguing to the contrary have my respect, but not my interest. Luddites is not an accurate comparison, but the principle is quite similar. Thou shall be licensed, whether one likes it or not, which is entirely unimportant.

The consumer is best protected by education, which is what any smart HI is providing on every job.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah,

We've had the disclosure here too. The majority of questions are usually answered, I don't know, and it's pretty damned difficult sometimes to prove that they are lying.

Make all inspectors pass a uniform test, pass a uniform checkride (peer review) and you're there. Even the real estate folks won't argue with that one.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

Testing Of New Home Inspectors -

Once upon a time about 4-5 years ago in a far away magical Kingdom, A highly placed STAFF MEMBER of a GIANT Association of Knights called a secret meeting of the "Knights of the Round Table". These were a selected group of Knights that sort of governed the GIANT Knight Group.

At the meeting several topics were discussed. The first was that they had a really nifty test to see if new Knights were qualified.

They were going to PUSH this test on other Kingdoms as being the only REAL test for Knighthood in the whole world.

The problem however was twofold - (1) Too many of the NEWBIE Wantabee Knights were failing the Test, and that didn't make the Knights of the Round Table look good in the eyes of other Kingdoms - solution - lower the amount of Dragons the NEWBIES had to slay to Win.

(2) One of the OLDER KNIGHTS taking the NEW TEST to challenge his skills in Jousting, realized that maybe there was NO CORRECT ANSWER or MULTIPLE CORRECT ANSWERS on 15 to 20 of the questions about Dragon Slaying. He RAISED this issue. At that point the Knights of The Round Table had a tough decision to make. Should they fess up, or keep quiet??

Some Knights feared if they fessed up, that the Kingdoms they were trying to convince to use this NEW TEST on Slaying Dragons would realize it might not be such a HOTSIE Deal. Other Knights, the King and STAFF feared the loss of revenue, if they told Knights that had previously failed - they had instead PASSED.

Other Knights (some since killed in battle or others no longer a part of the Round Table) said we gotta do what's right - end of conversation. After a heated and pitched battle lasting hours, a compromise was reached. They'd take the BAD Dragon Questions out, and go back 3 months and notify FAILED KNIGHTS they had PASSED - but say no more to others less they lose face with other Kingdoms.

One of the Knights at the MEETING asked the Magician that had VALIDATED the NEW TEST, how it STACKED UP against the OLD TESTS (there had been 3 tests once upon a time to become a Knight). Merlin said his Elfs had looked at that - and due to the fact that the OLDER TESTS were so much longer, AND had required a HIGHER SCORE to PASS - HE felt they were different test but just as equal a TEST for KNIGHTS.

The King did not like Merlins answer.

And so life goes onward and upward.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...