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Michael Brown

Home Inspector Licensing

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Originally posted by DLRambo

I agree with setting the bar up a little. I'd like to see mandatory licensing in Kansas with the following requirements. (1) A BS Degree in Civil, Structural, or Architectual Engineering or a BS in Architecture or a BS in Construction Management; (2) Mandatory Code Certification by either ICBO, BOCA or ICC as a Combination 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Inspector; (3) a minimum of 10 years VERIFIABLE Home Inspection Experience; (4) a minimum of 5,000 General Home Inspections that meet or exceed the NAHI, TAREI or ASHI Standards; (5) a field Peer Review by a 4 man committee of Senior Inspectors; and (6) mandatory passing of the Texas Home Inspectors Exam for everyone including the above people.

Up a little eh [:-bigeyes]? How would an aspiring inspector gain the 10 years or 5,000 inspections? If the answer is "mentoring", you're damn near talking about being an indentured servant (except that was usually only 7 years).

I'm not sure there would be any inspectors left in Mississippi after that was passed, but let's say a few qualified. One would need to schedule at least 6 weeks in advance, and the typical fee would be around $1500 - 2000 dollars... something like that. In other words, almost nobody would get one. Only the rich could afford it. [:-tophat]

It's only my opinion, but I think you're way over the top on that one Dan.

Brian G.

Serving the Poor Man Too [^]

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If we're gonna be a profession instead of a trade group we've got to show the public we have an education, not just take a test like the NHIE or carry E&O Insurance. The degrees mentioned have some coursework in construction knowledge and related subjects - although most of it would be just to show we've done it. As long as someone can become a HI without getting a college education, we'll never be a true profession like engineers, architects, etc.

As long as National Associations (like ASHI or others) and state licensing laws allow people without college degrees to get into the home inspection industry by just taking 50-100 hours of HI classes and take a little 200-250 question test, we're about at the same level with a "used house commissioned salesperson".

I believe all HI Training Classes should be taught in Colleges. You don't see Doctors, Engineers, or Architects getting their training at a Vo-Tech school or 2 week HI schools.

Lets Really Raise The Bar And Get Rid Of All The People That Aren't In The Upper Echelon Of The Socio-Economic & Educational Circles.

By the way this is my new stand when licensing comes up in Kansas.

Dan Bowers, CRI (and Snob I Might Add)

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Originally posted by DLRambo

Lets Really Raise The Bar And Get Rid Of All The People That Aren't In The Upper Echelon Of The Socio-Economic & Educational Circles.

By the way this is my new stand when licensing comes up in Kansas.

Dan Bowers, CRI (and Snob I Might Add)

I don't know you or your sense of humor well enough to be sure how you mean that Dan, but I'll give you the benefit of a doubt.

Brian G.

AccuSpec, LLC

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Originally posted by DLRambo

I believe all HI Training Classes should be taught in Colleges. You don't see Doctors, Engineers, or Architects getting their training at a Vo-Tech school or 2 week HI schools.

No, but I do see these people taking one and two educational seminars at arenas, concert halls, and hotel ballrooms just like we do.

I think what we need is educated consumers. They don't know the difference between a good and bad inspection until it is to late. Then we all get a bad name because the consumer didn't check out the person they hired. It is not our governments job to license us to protect the consumer. It is there job to decide who to hire and our job to do the inspection and report to the best of our ability not to the minimum standards.

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All I can say is that in Michigan, history demonstrates a limited effectiveness of licensing. BUT, effectiveness none the less.

There is a list in Lansing of literally thousands of people in a lot of different license categories that have had their license suspended or revoked. They can no longer work in the profession or trade without the risk of very serious consequences. There is, I'll bet, another group of licensees that conduct business to a little higher standard than they otherwise might because of the "gun" of licensing pointed at them.

For the truly good guys, passing a test and being licensed has done nothing to hurt their public image. Removing some of the real bottom feeders in any profession does not hurt the honest Joe.

I was knee deep in this issue back in the late 70's over state mechanical licensing. After almost 30 years of living with it, we have yet to find any serious down side.

Who among us would not avoid driving our families through a state with no driver license qualifications or rules of the road?

Mandatory E&O however is another storey altogether. It is an attorney magnet and, if mandatory, would only serve to raise prices to an even more unreasonable level.

Just Think About It

George

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The NHIE wasn't difficult.

I believe that if there is licensing, a minimum standard should be established by having a comprehensive, proctored exam using photos of actual defects and descriptions of actual problems to be solved. There should be no multiple choice questions. Should there be course work involved? Maybe.

But if the exam were comprehensive and demanding, and the applicant passed, then course work for that person may just be redundant. Possibly the exam could be broken into sections and the applicant would have to only improve weak areas. I'm the kind of person that reads every spare moment. I'm largely self educated and believe that overall I have a very thorough understanding of building science. I also have the ability to research anything I have any question about. I'm sure that course work wouldn't be a total waste of my time, but I already know what my weak areas are and I'd like the option to prepare for the test independently. I've been through a lot of technical training in my life. Most of it, like in high school was "busy" work. I can achieve in two hours of research what would take two weeks of course work because I wouldn't have to sit and listen about stuff I already knew. Doing the research on my own would also let me determine what was important and I wouldn't be influenced by the instructor's prejudice.

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I could be wrong, but I suspect licensing is inevitable in the long run. If so, the wise thing to do when the time comes is to try to manage the situation in such a way as to get a law that does more good than harm (the ASHI approach; fight like hell, then participate heavily).

In the simplest terms, here are my thoughts on this particular topic:

1. A good law is better than no law.

2. A bad law is worse than no law.

3. No law is perfect, but some are worthwhile.

4. Minimum standards are better than no standards.

5. It's easier to pass a law than to educate an entire society, even if the latter is preferable.

It looks like we've about flamed this one out, at least for now [:-hot]. I'm sure we'll pass this way again, sooner or later.

Hey, no hard feelings Dan. Just a bunch of hard-headed HI's airing-out their smelly opinions, right? [:-boring]

Brian G.

Mississippi Hard-Head

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I have a question...how do you count inspections? 5000 was mentioned above as a good number to indicate experience. I have been inspecting for 14 years and have only done 3000 honest, fee paid inspections. I do not count WDI's as a second inspection.

Doing a thorough inspection, I can't get out of a house in less than 3 to 4 hours, and many larger homes require 6 hours or more. So a really busy week for me is 6 to 8 houses. Allowing time for education, vacations, etc. I am probably inspecting 225 days a year.

Assuming I can schedule every possible day available for inspections, I could do maybe 330 inspections a year. Of course that doesn't allow for any scheduling problems.

So... 5000/330 = 15+ years.

I guess that's why my eyes roll when I hear someone who's been inspecting (I use the term loosely) a couple years say he's done 10,000 inspections.[:-indifferent]

I'm happy with 225 - 250 inspections a year. To borrow Chad's phase - OK, I'm through now.

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Originally posted by Paul MacLean

I have a question...how do you count inspections? 5000 was mentioned above as a good number to indicate experience. I have been inspecting for 14 years and have only done 3000 honest, fee paid inspections. I do not count WDI's as a second inspection.

Paul,

Good question. Those that take all day to do an inspection and report would have to have better than 16 years in the business.

Maybe ASHI's 250 X 3 could be a realistic minimum. That way anyone doing 1 a day would have the needed 750 inspections in a couple of years.

Perhaps a sliding scale, like 5000/2 hour inspections, or 2500/4 hour inspections, or 833/6 hour inspections, or 625/8 hour inspections. Perhaps a report based number could work, based on check list vs. a written report. Check list need 5000, written need 50.

Since most state licensing is only intended to demonstration a minimum of competence and not guru-hood, 250 might be sufficient. That number seems to be quite difficult for many newbies at ASHI, I think that that number has worked well for them.

What have the other states with licensing done?

George

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As far as I can tell, licensing in Texas hasn't done away with the jackasses with a ladder and a deck of cards. They're a lot of 'em here and from what I understand, Texas has one of the most stringent licensing laws in the States.

I do believe licensing is a good thing, but it should be something that you can not obtain by taking a few classes and flopping down a couple hundred dollars. Currently it only requires 188 hours of classroom study to be elgible to take the state test for your Professional Real Estate License. That number goes up to 320 in June. However, as I understand it, hairdressers and bar tenders are required to have a lot more hours to obtain their license here.

I'm still taking some of these new "Professional" guys/gals out in the field who have no concept of what an inspection should consist of or how to write a report. It's kinda scary to think of the ones who pass the test and hang a shingle out.

Licensing should mean something more than an easily obtained license.

Donald

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I also am in agreement with Licensing, what gets me is the States that "require" a Home Inspector to belong to a national Home Inspector Organization.

Why does "belonging" to any certain group, and I am not picking on any certain one, make a better Home Inspector?

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Well Willie...in Texas we have TAREI, and TAREI is a good group with reasonable continuing education. But some states don't have a strong inspector group, and it's important to belong to at least one good organization. If you have half a brain, you can't help but benefit from associating with other inspectors, both good and bad.

Of course there is one "national home inspector organization" that is strong on promotion and weak on qualifications...and then there are the wannabie inspectors who care only about $$$ not quality inspections. Not much can be done to force someone to do a good job.

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Originally posted by WILLIE

I also am in agreement with Licensing, what gets me is the States that "require" a Home Inspector to belong to a national Home Inspector Organization.

Why does "belonging" to any certain group, and I am not picking on any certain one, make a better Home Inspector?

As far as I know only one state PA has this requirement. From what I have been told it was for testing and experience that they did it this was. The state did not want to have the task of testing and verifying, so they let the associations do it.

PA is a poorly written law (just like the NJ law) and is used a model of what not to do.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

As far as I know only one state PA has this requirement.

Oh contraire my Mississippi brother, this is a requirement right next door in Alabama. I maintain a license over there since I live only 2 miles from the state line, and every year I have to send them a letter from ASHI (they have a list of 4 or 5 acceptable orgs) stating that I am still a member in good standing.

Brian G.

007 Licensed to Kill (Deals) in 2 States [:-skull]

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Originally posted by Donald Lawson

As far as I can tell, licensing in Texas hasn't done away with the jackasses with a ladder and a deck of cards. They're a lot of 'em here and from what I understand, Texas has one of the most stringent licensing laws in the States.

Don,

That was a box of cards (business type), not a deck of cards. That would be a whole other line of work, although I do sometimes feel like a gambler due to the liability in this business. [:-scared]

ASHI ranks states with license laws, and they have Texas as #10 out of 26. What they discounted for, who knows.

By the way, what kind of diet are you on? You're practically a stick-figure! Go get a couple of cheeseburgers man, it's OK!

Brian G.

Got No Ex's in Texas (Yet) [;)]

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As a 20 year Member of ASHI, I think most intelligent people would realize that what ASHI or the EDPHI would rate as HIGH in the State Home Inspector Licensing Laws may be slightly slanted or prejudicial.

Thats like asking Ford Motors to rate customer satisfaction levels of Ford, Dodge or Chevy. Why do I have a tendency to believe that the survey might be a bitty bit lopsided.

I've also noted a tendency of ASHI Inspectors to think that their Standards, their Test (including the NHIE), their Inspectors are the only competent ones in the USA. As a Trainer, as well as a actively practicing HI - BS.

After 26 years in the business (with 20 years in ASHI), I've finally come to realize that ASHI is just like everybody else. A handful of real good; a handful of real bad; and a lot of mediocre - no more, no less.

Dan Bowers, CRI (Kansas City)

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Originally posted by DLRambo

As a 20 year Member of ASHI, I think most intelligent people would realize that what ASHI or the EDPHI would rate as HIGH in the State Home Inspector Licensing Laws may be slightly slanted or prejudicial.

Thats like asking Ford Motors to rate customer satisfaction levels of Ford, Dodge or Chevy. Why do I have a tendency to believe that the survey might be a bitty bit lopsided.

I've also noted a tendency of ASHI Inspectors to think that their Standards, their Test (including the NHIE), their Inspectors are the only competent ones in the USA. As a Trainer, as well as a actively practicing HI - BS.

After 26 years in the business (with 20 years in ASHI), I've finally come to realize that ASHI is just like everybody else. A handful of real good; a handful of real bad; and a lot of mediocre - no more, no less.

Dan Bowers, CRI (Kansas City)

We could take it that final step & realize that everybody is like everybody, i.e., why the need to focus on ASHI?

It's a large world, we populate an extremely tiny segment of it, & I sense that there is more than necessary focus on how "those other people" behave; taken to its extreme, this practice lies pretty much @ the core of all conflict. Categorizing ones distinguishable personality traits by ones professional association affiliations seems like fuzzy science, no?

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Originally posted by Darren

Scott;

Most common people realize the New Jersey law is flawed. Why is it that ASHI ranked it top of the list?

Darren

Morristown NJ

Good question Darren!

From what I understand the ranking is done by the ASHI legislative committee. They look at what the state law requires such as testing, insurance, education hours, experience requirements, type of regulatory board, CE hours, standards, and several other factors. I don't have the list so I am not sure what else is used. The reason that NJ is at the top is that it meets all of the requirements; it's just that they are on the high end of the scale!

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I think every home inspector should belong to the state association (if there is one) in their state. If it's not strong, join and help make it stronger.

I'm against any state law that requires or even feels the need to mention National Associations. Not that I'm against membership in National Associations. I think that's great and valuable learning tool. Heck, I'm a member of two (well, I was until Branding). Maybe I will be again after it's revealed. Yah just gotta learn to ignore the idiots, help the mediocre, and learn from the good.

Point is that membership in those national associations provided me the opportunity to meet and communicate with other HI's around the nation and gain educationally. Kinda like this forum does.

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In contrast to what some may think, I believe that ASHI is an organization to which ALL home inspectors owe a great debt of gratitude. As the oldest and largest HI organization, they have been on the front line of advancing the cause for over 25 years. My differences with them are the politics, not substance, integrity, quality or honesty issues.

I know very little about NAHI, but what little I do know is that their quality of membership, their goals and their operational procedures also further the cause of every one of us.

For a lot of different reasons, NACHI does not suit my personal taste, but they too serve a purpose and meet a need. If nothing else, with all of the ingenuity they have displayed, NACHI has #1 looking back over their shoulder.

Last, but far from least (in my book anyway) is IHINA. They serve a nitch market to be sure, but they do it very well.

I guess my point is this, Mike has the right philosophy here, any organization that is working to promote home inspections is an organization working for us all. As such, they should be considered allies and their members as fellow tradespeople.

However, this does not mean that it is improper to express a contrary opinion or ask a tough question of an organization or its members.

Just my two cents,

George

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Hey George.

You've been lining up that putt for a long time already, as they say on the commerical...

'Hey mister, take the shot already'

Darren

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Originally posted by Darren

You've been lining up that putt for a long time already, as they say on the commerical...'Hey mister, take the shot already'

Look who's talking. We're going to start calling you "Sergio" pretty soon. By the way, nice rainsuit...looks a little cumbersome though. [:D]

Brian G.

Ready to Play Again [:-golf]

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Brian,

My swing is soooo fast & perfect, you really can't see it. Notice how I alway have the perfect 'lie'. It's gonna be in the single digits for about the next week here, doing some Walter Mitty (?) about springtime and the new county course opening on April 1.

Darren

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