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In N.C. the Rules Are Changing To Placate Agents


hausdok
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Inspectors sometimes ask what could happen if one's state home inspectors licensure board includes real estate agents and inspectors who seem to curry favor with real estate agents? Well, inspectors in North Carolina can probably tell you; according to an article in today's Journalnow.com, the online partner for the Winston-Salem Journal, the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board has just handed down a ruling that says that inspectors are allowed to report a deficiency but aren't allowed to report what the potential consequences of such a deficiency could be.

According to some inspectors who oppose this change, under this rule change, inspectors will be allowed to report that a stairway doesn't have a handrail, or that the home's wiring is ungrounded or is knob-and-tube wiring, but they won't be allowed to report what the consequences of these issues might be. It's an interesting article and it trespasses into the long-established inspection process that we've had in this business for decades wherein an inspector 1) identifies the issue 2) explains the potential negative consequences of the issue to the client 3) recommends the best course of action to the client to improve or correct the issue. Under this rule, it seems the licensure board, which by the way includes real estate persons, wants inspectors to only report the perceived defect and remain mum about everything else.

This issue is up for public comment until October 15th. After that, it will go before a state rules commission for approval. Inspectors on both side of this issue in North Carolina are probably looking for support from the rest of us in the profession, so, if you have an opinion about this process, share it with the people of North Carolina via e-mail or discussion boards on the many internet-connected newspaper, radio, and television stations in North Carolina.

To read the entire article click here.

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I've seen some asinine proposals regarding the home inspection profession and this is right near the top. Even though it would save them time, the HI's are against it! Imagine that. Who benefits? Only the real estate agents...the ones pushing for the change by keeping the buyer in the dark. The consumer is left to twist in the wind trying to figure out what all those comments mean while they are stressed out already from all the other details.

Shameful.

The comments from Board members are an insult to anyone's intelligence: “You can put, ‘House has no smoke alarms.’ You just can’t say the house is going to burn down,â€

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Yes, I must confess that I did. I even admitted that I didn't even live in NC. I almost didn't, but I thought whoever reads it might give the comments more weight if they thought about the fact that someone without "a dog in the fight" would care enough to comment on the proposal. They limited you to 500 characters; I used 498.

Now I have to figure out how to follow the issue to see what happens after the 15th.

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Pardon my cynicism, but I think the law will go into effect without a hitch. The RE lobby is behind it; that pretty much makes it a done deal. In any state, the RE lobbyists can rig the system so that any RE agent can require any HI to eat a poop sandwich every day for lunch, then wash the RE agent's car, naked, before he brushes his teeth.

Conscientious HIs -- and there seem to be so few of them -- will find a way to convey the safety info outside of the report. I suspect that run-of-the-mill HIs will be overjoyed to eliminate a few lines of explanation, and get off the liability hook besides.

If I were a NC HI (druther skin rabbits), I'd make up a little handout that explains the safety implications of common defects. I'd then publicly dare the HI board to sanction me. If they did, I'd go straight to the media. The RE agents could kiss my ass.

WJ

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Hi All,

The original story had some annoying pop-ups, so I've replaced it with a similar story taken from WRAL.com which includes a short video clip. Go back to the first post and check it out. You guys who care to comment now have another venue to comment about the topic.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I remember back when the construction contractors board here in Oregon finally announced the requirements for continuing ed. One RE but kissing inspector complained to the board that as a result of allowing credits for building code classes inspectors would start writing things up that were grandfathered in and mucking things up. The board came back with why wouldn't you want to inform the client of such issues that could be important to them.

Obviously there were no realtors on the board.

Chris, Oregon

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Just this week the sunrise review for proposed H.I. legislation in Washington State was completed and posted to the Washington State website. I've just finished reading it and have posted it to TIJ's library. You can find it here.

The board that the Senators who'd sponsored the original bill two years ago had proposed was light on home inspector members and heavy on those from without the profession; they wanted 9 members - 2 inspectors, 4 teachers or administrators from community and technical colleges, 1 appraiser, 2 real estate brokers, and 1 engineer. What cracked me up about that was that they proposed 9 members but the breakdown totals 10. I guess we're in trouble when our state legislators can't add up numbers less than 10.

That first bill died. When the same two senators tried again last January, they were proposing an 8-member board made up of 5 inspectors, 1 real estate broker, 1 home inspection trainer (as if someone currently teaching this business really knows more than others in the business), and one member from the general public. Still, that was better - 6 of 8 being inspectors.

The sunrise review recommends a 6-member board that consists entirely of those from the profession and makes a point of stressing that there is ample evidence of the potential for collusion between those in real estate and the home inspection business. It's only a recommendation. It may result in something or it might end up in the trash. The author of the report said to me recently in an e-mail, "This is a draft report presently and it will again take on a life of it's own once the legislators get their process involved. So, this is very preliminary and the actual licensure criteria will be crafted as the session moves along, assuming that the committee chairs decide to pursue it."

It's a long report (93 pages); and it's longer still if one bothers to also follow the links contained in the report and reads through the complete transcripts of the public hearings that were held in eastern and western Washington State. Though I don't agree with everything in it, I have to say that it's obvious that Bruce Chunn, the guy who was tasked with completing the study and issuing the report, really listened to all sides of the debate and didn't just give home inspectors lip service, as the Senators who'd sponsored the original bill had given the coalition who tried to help them craft meaningful legislation. It's fair and balanced and even Gromicko, who'd been in favor of the second bill these senators had proposed, said that he thought it was a "good report" when it was posted to his firm's website.

So, we here in Washington State sit here with bated breath, wondering what's next, while some of us are shaking our heads in disgust at what's happening in North Carolina.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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