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They Said It Couldn't Be Done


hausdok
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The contentious B.S. between the various home inspection organizations never seems to end.

"I'm better than you are because I've been around longer," "I'm better than you are because I have an entrance test," "I'm better than you are because I'm friendlier to inspectors," "I'm better than you are because I've got more useless crap to give to my members," "I'm better than you are because I certify my members,"" I'm better than you are because my founder didn't defraud customers." On and on it goes ad nauseam.

Each organization thinks it has the franchise on credibility. Yet, with all of their ballyhooing about how great they are, none has a program in place to ensure that every one of it's members can actually do what he or she claims to be able to do - inspect homes.

They've got written tests of basic inspection skills, they've got standards of practice, they've got time in business and number of experience requirements for various levels of membership, but not a single one of these organizations can say definitively that every single one of its members has been verified to be competent. Why? Because not one, on a national level, has a peer evaluation program in place to observe and rate an inspector's on-site skills. Not one.

If one looks, all over this continent one can find home inspectors, who are members of one or more of these associations, who have jumped through all of the hoops required by their organization and who have been in this business for decades, who are basically incompetent. One doesn't have to have a crystal ball to find them, all one has to do is read the sample reports that they place on their websites; they're usually chock full of illogical conclusions, misspellings, contextual errors, and inspector lore. Some of these reports are so badly written that one can't help but think that the inspector would be better off turning his inspection results over to a fifth grader to be transcribed into a final report format.

Talk to these same inspectors, though, and they'll regale you with all of the reasons why they are the best around at what they do. What's that old saying, "Persons who are incompetent don't even know what they don't know?" Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that most of those in this profession are incompetent - I'm only saying that they haven't proven that they are competent - including me.

Think about it; when you go to the doctor, do you want the doctor learning his trade unsupervised and alone while he's poking and prodding you, or do you expect that he'll have had a decent education, and has been peer reviewed by an experienced doctor before he gets to diagnose your ills? Do you want to fly in an airliner that's piloted by someone who's only passed a written ground school exam, and has never actually flown a plane before , or do you want a seasoned pilot whose gone through peer review sitting in that pilot's seat? Don't you expect that the cop in that squad car should be able to drive skillfully and shoot straight before he goes tearing off down the freeway after a car jacker and has to fire back in defense in a crowded neighborhood? Do you want teenagers getting in cars after passing a written exam and driving around unsupervised without having at least taken a driver's test? Of course you don't.

Now, think about the poor schmuck of a consumer who hires a home inspector. When we go about helping to investigate the condition of the largest purchase that consumer will ever make, aren't we kind of letting our customers down by not having proven to our peers, like so many other professions, that we can do what we claim to be able to do? Aren't we in this profession in a sense frauds?

It's funny, talk peer review, and inspectors get all defensive and the reasons why peer review won't work are spit out as forcefully as soured milk. Most inspectors condemn the idea without giving it another thought; then they drive down the highway surrounded by all of those drivers who've been peer reviewed, they hire lawyers who've been peer reviewed, they rely on fire fighters who've been peer reviewed, and they even have their hair cut by someone who's been peer reviewed. Ironic, ain't it? Home inspectors; who would ever have believed that they were the anointed ones with knowledge and wisdom above all others? Gosh, it makes one all warm and fuzzy just knowing that we aren't mere mortals.

Meanwhile, just across our northern border that strange cult of folk known as Canadians has somehow managed to do what all of the so-called experts in home inspection have been saying for decades can't be done - they've put together a national certification program, so that consumers will have a little more assurance that when they hire a home inspector that the inspector is reasonably competent. Holy mackerel, and the experts said it couldn't be done!

Wouldn't you know it, though; the program is voluntary, so there are some Canadian inspectors who don't want to participate. Their excuses sound kind of familiar - "I don't need no steenking test, I belong to such-and-such home inspector organization. It's older than any other, it has an entrance test, it's friendlier than any other, it gives out more crap than any other, I'm already "certified," and who cares whether my organization's founder was proven to be a fraud, I'm competent. Don't believe me? Just ask me."

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Personally, I think it is a good program.

Do we have a market in the States for such a program? The key to the success with a program like this falls a great deal on the marketing of it. It needs to be marketed to the consumer, so that the public knows that they need an inspector with this qualification. Then the inspectors would need to see that by having this qualification their income potential would be increased as well.

I don't see the US providing any funding like the Canadian government did and it would take considerable funds to create such a program. The various associations would not be a source of funding as they would see it as competition. It all boils down to money.

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I happen to know one of the people that fought for the program. Just talked to him last week, while he was walking (running) around. It takes a great deal of energy, committment and money and you still don't get everything you want.

Besides all that, some of us would fail. I am not crazy enough to think I could stand the test with Kurt M, Mike O, Scott P, Gary R and sooooo many others watching/evaluating me! I would have to study, read, learn and do a whole lot of reflection before the "test". So what you have is the inspector that is making a bunch of money not willing to take the chance to become competant.

For the record: some of the best home inspectors I know belong to that other crappy worthless organization.

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Lately, I've had a surprising number of folks that all seem to get the idea that the certification thing is a crock; I don't even have to explain it. I'll start talking about it, and they'll finish my sentences w/ "yeah, it's just another online certification mill that doesn't mean anything", or something to that effect.

These things take time, unfortuneately. Part of the necessary paradigm shift is the customer understanding of the real estate agent in the deal. There's a heightened awareness of the agents complicity in bogus deals, and folks are understanding that these folks are just order takers & professional door unlockers; they don't really know anything about the products they're flogging.

The market is going to get cleaned out, there's going to be a shift in agent competence (go Prickett, Go!), and as a result, I have a feeling the inspectors role may shift infinitesimally toward the position we'd like to be in.

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As much as I'd like to see progress toward creating a legion of competent, peer-reviewed HIs, I don't think it'll ever happen. At least not in my lifetime.

It's too late to fix the current HI mess. The missile has left the silo. States have implemented, or soon will implement, HI licensing. The RE lobby will see to it that there is an endless supply of state-certified HIs. The knowledge/performance bar will be set very low, to ensure that the HIs are universally dumb, cheap and compliant. Here in assbackwards TN, the HIs are now essentially the RE agents' provider of free insurance.

I tell clients and would-be clients: If you want to know what kind of HI you're getting, just read one of his reports. His words are a window into his brain. His writing will tell you if he's smart or dumb, straight or crooked, erudite or fulla crap. Mostly, what HI reports and "sample" reports show is that HIs are working for the RE agents, not the clients.

I tell clients to avoid any HI who has a "For Reeltors" section on his website.

Any prospective homeowners who can't figure out an HI's capabilities and proclivities by looking at his report and website ought to get the cheap knucklehead they deserve. And, heck, chances are near 100% that they were going to get such an HI anyway...

WJ

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If one looks, all over this continent one can find home inspectors, who are members of one or more of these associations, who have jumped through all of the hoops required by their organization and who have been in this business for decades, who are basically incompetent. One doesn't have to have a crystal ball to find them, all one has to do is read the sample reports that they place on their websites; they're usually chock full of illogical conclusions, misspellings, contextual errors, and inspector lore. Some of these reports are so badly written that one can't help but think that the inspector would be better off turning his inspection results over to a fifth grader to be transcribed into a final report format.
Do you mean like the excerpt below? A seller posted this on a home buying message board. They're the items from the inspection report that the buyer wants fixed. The poster asked if anyone could decipher it. I mostly couldn't.

1406. Fireplace Condition Safety Item. The flue is open into the attic; blocked by insulation. Recommend that a fireplace specialist permanently seal the opening with steel to prevent accidental heat or flames from entering the flue and attic spaces for safety.

1803. Walls Seek Further Review. 1.) Active leaking observed at the foundation wall. The framing at this area was extremely wet. Recommend repairs as needed. 2.) Efflorescence observed at foundation perimeter; this is a mineral deposit left behind from exterior water infiltration, recommend consulting sellers as to moisture problems or a licensed contractor for review. See gutter and carport slab comments.

1.) Evidence of prior repairs observed at kitchen and laundry flooring, unable to determine effectiveness of repairs. Client is advised to consult sellers or a licensed building contractor for additional information prior to closing. 2.) Evidence of fungi/mold noted at several floor framing areas. See standard CL100 termite, moisture, and mold report for more information. Fungi/mold testing should be conducted by a certified mold test technician if concerned by this observation.

. Some center posts have been removed and replaced with stacked blocks which may allow settlement to occur. Client is advised to consult licensed building contractor for additional information prior to closing.

. 1.) Flexible plastic drain tubing has been installed from the laundry is improperly connected into the plumbing waste lines near the hatch opening under the bathroom; improper or missing fitting noted. This line is also not properly sloped/supported for positive drainage. Evidence of leaking noted at the improper connection. 2.) Active drip type leak also observed at t\supply pipe fitting under the center bathroom. Recommend further review or repairs as needed by a qualified licensed plumber

The temperature pressure relief valve discharge line has been reduced in size. In order to help assure safety should the valve activate, the discharge line should be composed of ¾ inch metal pipe to allow complete draining. Suggest installing the required ¾ inch discharge pipe on the TP valve draining to daylight to ensure safety.

2808. Electrical Repairs Needed. 1.) Open splices were observed in the front bedroom closet. This is a "Safety Concern". Whenever an electric wire is cut and reconnected, the "splice" should be encased in a covered "junction box" to prevent shocks and separation of the splice. 2.) Exposed wires that pass through the closet may be the wrong type and not rated for permanent household use. All exposed wires should be properly covered where they can be damaged. Client is advised to consult with a licensed electrician prior to closing for repairs/replacement as needed to ensure safety.

1812. Distribution/

Ducts Repairs Needed. Ducts are lying on the ground at some areas. Recommend securing to framing or excavating under the ducts to prevent moisture and mold accumulation. Recommend review/repairs as required by a qualified licensed HVAC contractor.

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Wow Mike, you really got on a tear. For a time ASHI was striving for the 7,000 member mark. I suggested that they concentrate on the members that they had with a little more enforcement and stress on education. I didn't really expect anyone to listen to me.

What I am hearing more of from the agents is "How come you're the only inspector who points out some of this stuff?" I raised a question with a well regarded fellow ASHI member a few years ago about the possibility of being OVER-educated. He didn't think that would ever be a problem. But when you compare the average new inspector with a long timer there isn't much to compare. This seems especially true for new agents who have no clue as to what a good inspector can do.

I also agree about lack of desire for continuing ed. Too few push the hours past the minimum requirements. I went to I.W. last year for the first time. It was unreal. The caliber of those that went was way beyond what I find at local meetings. Their knowledge base, desire to learn and professionalism was really energizing to be around.

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Originally posted by chrisprickett

Walls Seek Further Review

I just shot my evening Bosco all over my keyboard.

Yep, that's one for Jay Leno. Come to think of it, what if Jay received a bunch of home inspection reports from around the country with lame-brained language and syntax like that. I bet a segment like that would torque a few folks into re-thinking their reports.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Inspectorjoe

If one looks, all over this continent one can find home inspectors, who are members of one or more of these associations, who have jumped through all of the hoops required by their organization and who have been in this business for decades, who are basically incompetent. One doesn't have to have a crystal ball to find them, all one has to do is read the sample reports that they place on their websites; they're usually chock full of illogical conclusions, misspellings, contextual errors, and inspector lore. Some of these reports are so badly written that one can't help but think that the inspector would be better off turning his inspection results over to a fifth grader to be transcribed into a final report format.
Do you mean like the excerpt below? A seller posted this on a home buying message board. They're the items from the inspection report that the buyer wants fixed. The poster asked if anyone could decipher it. I mostly couldn't.

That's what I'm talking about. Prospective homebuyers just need to read one, or some, of the HI's reports. This report identifies the writer as a dumb, lazy illiterate who can't or won't fix his own mistakes.

The guy's writing is a jumble. That means his brain is a jumble. His skillset is limited to that of a menial laborer. His HI work is useless.

Next dumbass...

WJid="blue">

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Originally posted by kurt

Walter, divining the realities of the HI world......

There still seem to be folks that want a real one. That's what keeps me going.

Your market's big enough to cough up enough educated customers to support a good HI business. Those customers are your peer group, your demographic. They'll seek you -- and guys like you -- out.

But shrink that market down to about Nashville size, and the number of savvy customers drops considerably. For 20 years, I mined the demographic of movers, shakers, doctors, lawyers and biz- and media types. It worked great until the RE lobbyists finally had their way with the state legislators. For me, anyway, it seemed that HI work would soon be a losing proposition. And pretty soon, it was. If I wanted to keep my biz going, I would've had to go out and market to the new crop of young RE agents, who work for donuts, and who mine the crop of young HIs, who work for peanuts. Life's too short...

Anyhow, the deal has gone down in TN. I'm pretty sure my Basset hound, Rufus, could pass the HI tests. Sooner or later, though, Rufus would have to sell his doghouse to pay the deductible on his E&O. Where HI work is concerned, TN is now a poisoned wasteland.

WJid="blue">

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Originally posted by randynavarro

Walter,

How did the TN regulations restrict you in your business?

I wasn't exactly restricted. The HI tests are simple, the RE market is strong even now, and the state SOP is easy to follow. My business was changed by the system that the TN state legislature put in place, per the wishes of the RE lobby, who'd been working to control HIs for at least 10 - 15 years.

When I started my HI biz in the mid-80s, there were maybe 5 HIs in town, and only two of them (including me) worked regularly. I don't know how many HIs there were before HI licensing, but TN now has well over 600. We don't need that many.

By creating a bottomless well of dumb, cheap and compliant home inspectors, each with mandatory E&O insurance, the RE lobby has created a system that virtually guarantees that RE agents will scrape HIs from the bottom of the barrel, turn 'em loose on naive customers, and let the HIs' E&O pay for any real or perceived mistakes.

Truth be told, though, I was just plain ready to quit. HI work is frustrating enough without the indignity of being thrown into the Pool of Six Hundred. Mine was a unique business; I was able to make up my own rules and keep my customers happy. I liked it that way.

Rightly or wrongly, I came to the conclusion that the new system would just make me itch. In short, the work that had been fun for 20 years quit being fun.

I'm pretty well-suited to doing research, writing reports and explaining things. The lawyers' offices are clean, everybody in the room can read and write (well, except the builders and most of the HIs), and the pay is about 5X HI pay.

Five thousand attics and five thousand crawl spaces were more than enough for me. I restricted myself out of the everyday HI biz. I've got some other unfinished work, unrelated to bricks and boards, and I'm enjoying that.

Still, I don't want to lose my house chops. I try to keep current.

Hope all that makes sense,

WJ

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Originally posted by Scottpat

Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Originally posted by kurt

Walter, divining the realities of the HI world......

There still seem to be folks that want a real one. That's what keeps me going.

Your market's big enough to cough up enough educated customers to support a good HI business. Those customers are your peer group, your demographic. They'll seek you -- and guys like you -- out.

But shrink that market down to about Nashville size, and the number of savvy customers drops considerably. For 20 years, I mined the demographic of movers, shakers, doctors, lawyers and biz- and media types. It worked great until the RE lobbyists finally had their way with the state legislators. For me, anyway, it seemed that HI work would soon be a losing proposition. And pretty soon, it was. If I wanted to keep my biz going, I would've had to go out and market to the new crop of young RE agents, who work for donuts, and who mine the crop of young HIs, who work for peanuts. Life's too short...

Anyhow, the deal has gone down in TN. I'm pretty sure my Basset hound, Rufus, could pass the HI tests. Sooner or later, though, Rufus would have to sell his doghouse to pay the deductible on his E&O. Where HI work is concerned, TN is now a poisoned wasteland.

WJid="blue">

Walter, as with most professional writers you tend to exagarate and get a little colorful with your descriptions. I must say that I have not experienced what you are always talking about in your post, but then I have only lived in TN for about 18 months now.

Got a source or a logic tree for that statment that "most professional writers" tend to "exagarate (sic)?" Your hyperbole morphs into irony.

I don't doubt that your experience in TN is very much unlike mine.

A little history: The RE lobby started working to control HIs 10+ years ago. It started with a bill that required HIs who worked on new-construction jobs be a member of an HI org. Heck, any HI org. That law was implemented, but never enforced.

Some years later, the RE lobby made another push. I tried to get 10 TN HIs to cough up $1,000 each, so we could make some effort to stop the legislation. I found no willing contributors. In short, I got the poor-mouth.

The HI biz in and around Nashville is, I think, a lot different from HI work in central Mississippi. Very different demographics, very different points of view. (One can compare age, income, education statistics, etc. online.)

I describe what I've seen over a 20-year spell right here on the ground in the capital city -- a slow but relentless push by the RE lobby to ensure that the RE agents and brokers gain flexibility in picking HIs, and also ensure that HIs' E&O insurance protects the reeltors' pocketbooks.

In my view, it's a very anti-consumer way of doing things. I guess that's why I've been asked to participate in a little bit of investigative reporting. And, I guess that's why I work for plaintiffs more than I work for real estate ladies these days. I guess that's why when a local HI screws the pooch, I'm likely to get invited to the courthouse, to explain how that happened.

Truth be told, most of the screwups come from a lack of education and and a seemingly equal lack of native intelligence. I see salespeople using poorly educated HIs who are better suited to menial labor. To me, those two ingredients alone are enough to create a wasteland.

WJid="blue">

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I agree that you can tell quite a bit about an inspector by reading his/her reports and peer review could be good thing... if it were not simply the creation of another clique that didn't want to let anyone in.

I wouldn't object to someone coming in after me, at a random site, and "double inspecting." I'm sure that there would be things that I missed that he will catch, just as I'm sure that there will be things that he will miss which I caught.

If it is a "review" and not a "contest" it would be fine. I mentioned random site, so it would be a candid glimpse of MY SOP. Perhaps that type of "comparing" should be used too.

Maybe the "fee" for being tested should include the cost of an inspection. Two inspectors could be hired to inspect the same house, not realizing at the time, it will be reviewed. You could test two or more inspectors at once. Since that part of the fee would be going back to the inspector, it wouldn't be that expensive.

The review part comes when it would be decided if the client got a "good" inspection. One that reasonable protected their interests, and was presented in a way that could be understood.

I realize this sounds far fetched, but, it just seems so fair... to me anyway.

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  • 1 month later...

OK. Say you're right. Who is qualified to be a peer that evaluates other inspectors? How do we know they are qualified to evaluate? If everyone needs to go through this, who is going to be the first "evaluator" and who is going to evaluate that person? Are we going to rely on ASHI, NAHI, etc., to determine who the evaluator is? If so, we have changed nothing.

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If I were King, it might go something like this:

1. I'd get together a coalition of inspectors from various inspection organizations as well as independents. This group would be the initial focus group. They'd be allowed to also become evaluators, but would have to undergo exactly the same screening criteria that they've set for all evaluator candidates.

2. The focus group establishes experience/education criteria for evaluators. Then, because they need a uniform starting place, they establish a screening cutoff point for a passing score on the NHIE below which all evaluator candidates are eliminated. Why the NHIE? Because it's put together by inspectors from all of the various associations, as well as independents, and it provides a consistent point to determine whether those screened have the bare basic skills needed to be an inspector. To be an evaluator, the passing score would be well above merely passing.

3. The focus group contacts as many inspectors as possible in a given geographic area or county looking for those interested in becoming evaluators. Those who are interested submit applications listing their background and experience. From these applications, the focus group culls those who can't meet the experience/education criteria. What remains becomes the candidate pool.

4. Once a pool of candidates has been established, the focus group arranges for several test houses and sets up a 2-day evaluation process - preferably in a centralized location in the state and arranges for the testing firm that does the NHIE to conduct the NHIE at that location. Upon arrival and registration, everyone in the pool takes the most current version of the NHIE. Those who fail to achieve the cutoff score are eliminated from the pool of candidates. They may remain for the remainder of the seminar, so they can learn about the process in the event they want to try again at future sessions, but they may not be chosen for the initial pool of evaluators.

5. The inspectors then receive training about how to conduct an on-site peer review and are taught how to fill out the forms properly. That ends day one.

6. On day 2, from the pool of folks that pass, groups of four are chosen; one of whom is designated as the testee and the other three as evaluators. One by one, the testees inspect those test homes and are evaluated by the other three. Those who pass with sufficient Go's, move into the pool of "picked" candidates, those who don't pass are eliminated from the pool and told to apply again at the next application screening.

7. The remaining inspectors, including those who've passed, are shuffled into groups of 4 again and the process is repeated until all candidates have been evaluated by three other persons and either accepted or rejected.

8. Those who remain become the initial group of evaluators. They'll be authorized to conduct one-on-one evaluations of inspectors who request peer review through the administrator.

10. Periodically, train-the-trainer and understanding the peer review process seminars are conducted throughout the state to familiarize those interested in becoming peer reviewers and periodically the 2-day selection process is repeated using different houses in order to qualify new evaluator candidates to be added to the pool.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

If I were King, it might go something like this:

1. I'd get together a coalition of inspectors from various inspection organizations as well as independents. This group would be the initial focus group. They'd be allowed to also become evaluators, but would have to undergo exactly the same screening criteria that they've set for all evaluator candidates.

2. The focus group establishes experience/education criteria for evaluators. Then, because they need a uniform starting place, they establish a screening cutoff point for a passing score on the NHIE below which all evaluator candidates are eliminated. Why the NHIE? Because it's put together by inspectors from all of the various associations, as well as independents, and it provides a consistent point to determine whether those screened have the bare basic skills needed to be an inspector. To be an evaluator, the passing score would be well above merely passing.

3. The focus group contacts as many inspectors as possible in a given geographic area or county looking for those interested in becoming evaluators. Those who are interested submit applications listing their background and experience. From these applications, the focus group culls those who can't meet the experience/education criteria. What remains becomes the candidate pool.

4. Once a pool of candidates has been established, the focus group arranges for several test houses and sets up a 2-day evaluation process - preferably in a centralized location in the state and arranges for the testing firm that does the NHIE to conduct the NHIE at that location. Upon arrival and registration, everyone in the pool takes the most current version of the NHIE. Those who fail to achieve the cutoff score are eliminated from the pool of candidates. They may remain for the remainder of the seminar, so they can learn about the process in the event they want to try again at future sessions, but they may not be chosen for the initial pool of evaluators.

5. The inspectors then receive training about how to conduct an on-site peer review and are taught how to fill out the forms properly. That ends day one.

6. On day 2, from the pool of folks that pass, groups of four are chosen; one of whom is designated as the testee and the other three as evaluators. One by one, the testees inspect those test homes and are evaluated by the other three. Those who pass with sufficient Go's, move into the pool of "picked" candidates, those who don't pass are eliminated from the pool and told to apply again at the next application screening.

7. The remaining inspectors, including those who've passed, are shuffled into groups of 4 again and the process is repeated until all candidates have been evaluated by three other persons and either accepted or rejected.

8. Those who remain become the initial group of evaluators. They'll be authorized to conduct one-on-one evaluations of inspectors who request peer review through the administrator.

10. Periodically, train-the-trainer and understanding the peer review process seminars are conducted throughout the state to familiarize those interested in becoming peer reviewers and periodically the 2-day selection process is repeated using different houses in order to qualify new evaluator candidates to be added to the pool.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Count me in.

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Mike,

I'd like to ask you how you would solve the no competition clause factor. My biggest grief with so many licensing bills/laws or suggestions is that the new independent gets screwed over. When I see ones that required inspectors to have performed X number of inspections (with or without peer review) before they can get their own license, I see the franchise monopoly. If it is required to have a license to perform an inspection how can an independent get the inspections required? New inspectors only option is to work for an established HI company. In Virginia, the second I join any HI company I would be required to sign a no competition clause. I would not be able to perform home inspections in the same area for two years after I leave that company. The voluntary license requirement in Virginia is at least 50 full paid inspections. If I had a full schedule of 2 a day 5 days a week that will still take 5 weeks. If it was mandatory, how else could I get those inspections?

Although I like the idea of peer review and many other ideas out there, this is an area I see neglected in every bill/law or other licensing suggestion. I strongly believe if licensing was REQUIRED in a state with strict no competition laws such as Virginia, and a condition of that license is to perform X number of inspections first, in 10 years there will be extremely few if any new HI businesses around.

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I don't understand the non-compete thing. I know that franchises and large companies like US Inspect, which is Virginia, use it, but I don't see independents doing that. I've trained other inspectors, have never forced them to sign a non-compete agreement, and have never had them take any business away from me. In fact, none of them are doing inspections today because, being so new, they couldn't compete in this market (There are about 150 inspection companies at any given time operating in the greather Seattle area).

I don't understand how you could have a licensing law and it's voluntary. Does that mean that you are not required to get a license? If so, what's the problem; you can still gradually get the 50 inspections required and be able to apply for the license, no? Are those 50 inspections required to be done under supervision of someone else or can you do them on your own?

For a process to be fair, it needs to have a way to credit experienced inspectors yet still hold them to some kind of standard. When the experience requirements were put in place here they said that new inspectors had to get 120 hours of approved education and get 40 hours of supervised training, plus take a test with a state component. However, for those who'd already been in business for two years and had already done 100 inspections, the 120 hour course and the 40 hours was pretty pointless, so they allowed that group to challenge the requirements simply by taking the test.

It laid out a clear path; a new inspector could take a course and then ride along with an established inspector for a week to get the 40 hours of supervised training. At the end of that, the inspector could take the test. Pass the test, and the license is issued without requiring the rookie to have X number of inspections under his belt first.

There is a long period of time between now and when licenses are required - for those with less than 8 months experience right now, they have until July of 2010 (27 months) to garner the 120 hours and ride along with someone for a week. For those who have more than 8 months experience right now, but haven't yet completed more than 100 inspections, they'll have until September of 2009 (18 months) to garner the remainder of those 100 inspections.

I'm not familiar with your system, but if it places unreasonable obstacles to those entering the profession it might not even be strictly legal, depending on your state's constitution, unless it provides more than one path to entry. If that's the case, it's time to assemble a group of folks and begin working on finding a sponsor to submit a bill to get the law changed.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Sorry I didn't mention the part about experienced inspectors, I agree with you no problems there.

Maybe I'm blind, but I haven't seen the 40 hours of supervised training before. That would be an option, and more importantly, an affordable option. Everyone I have read used X number of inspections as a standard and X hours of formal training, for example in Virginia....

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504 ... AC15-40-20

Any person who holds himself out as or uses the title of "certified home inspector" or conducts or offers to provide a "certified home inspection" shall have a current and valid certificate issued by the board. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to preclude noncertified individuals from performing home inspections for hire provided their conduct is in compliance with §54.1-517.1 of the Code of Virginia

2. The applicant shall meet the following educational and experience requirements:

a. High school diploma or equivalent; and

b. One of the following:

(1) Completed 35 contact hours of classroom instruction and have completed a minimum of 100 home inspections; or

(2) Completed 70 contact hours of classroom instruction and have completed a minimum of 50 home inspections.

So I can do an inspection, I just can't do a "Certified" inspection or call myself a "Certified" Inspector.

Now it may be voluntary because of the infamous non-compete laws in Virginia but I don't know that for a fact. I personally think the law here is a joke but I've heard back room talk of keeping these rules but making licensing mandatory. Just because the government is the government I'm quite confident I'll have the # of inspections handled and thus get a grandfathering. But knowing how hard it is to start out, I feel bad for the next new guy. My thinking is also, if this situation is handled in other states as they discuss it, should it arise here there is an example to use.

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Hi,

OK, now I think I understand; it's ok to inspect homes in Virginia but if you call yourself a "certified" home inspector and haven't completed the certification criteria established by the state, you're breaking the law.

It's only a guess, but I'm thinking that whoever put that together was trying to prevent clients of a well known public relations firm that has "certified" in its name from calling themselves "certified" inspectors in the state until such time as they've met the certification criteria.

That's actually not a bad idea. I can't begin to tell you the number of times that I've answered the phone only to be asked whether I was a "certified" inspector; then when I calmly explained to the caller that there wasn't any such here in Washington State, they often get indignant and insist that there must be some kind of licensing and certification law in place to ensure that inspectors are competent. When I explain that one would expect so, but there isn't, I'm sometimes asked how it can be then that there's a whole association made up of nothing but "certified" inspectors. That's when I tell them, "Sure, and there was even a 12-year old who earned one of those certificates without so much as having ever done an inspection, that's how legitimate that "certification" is. So, do you want to book that inspection or not?"

That rule in Virginia makes sense, because it forces them to operate without duping the public into believing that "certified" in the title of that public relations firm, which purports to be a home inspectors' organization but is in reality a private company with many thousands of clients, means that they actually are "certified" and thus have met some officially established criteria when they haven't.

In your case, the state is saying, "OK, if you want to tell people you are "certified" you first have to earn a state-recognized certification before you can tell people that. The requirements themselves shouldn't be too hard to obtain within a year, so the requirements certainly aren't onerous. However, given the way clients of that firm constantly imply that their "certification," such as it is, is somehow real, I should think that unless the state of Virginia has a large enforcement budget that it's impossible for them to police those new inspectors who violate the rules.

So, you're at a disadvantage for the time being. Until you've met those requirements you can't get your license, so when someone calls and wants to know if you're a state certified inspector, you'll have to tell them that you're not and they may hang up and go hire a state certified guy because they think that the state's endorsement will somehow have imbued that inspector with more skills than you. That's just the way it is; you'll have to get used to it.

It looks like you should be able to spend 2 - 3 night a week in school for a semester or two and while concurrently completing your 50 inspections. That really shouldn't be that hard at all.

Sometimes I hear new guys say to established inspectors, "Why should I have to meet such criteria; what what did you do when you got in the business. I know that you didn't go through all of that training." They'd be right in many cases; however, that'd also be true of any other profession you can name. In most cases, when a profession is relatively new, people make it up as they go along; then at some point folks in the profession decide to get together and become more "professional" and they begin establishing criteria. The first generation to go through that criteria are always the ones squawking about it. After that, subsequent generations accept it as the norm.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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