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stakeholders, thread drift, tuna cassarole


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I'm sure Steven Hockstein who just asked how's business been after ASHI is rolling his eyes at the thread drift so I came over here.

Mike, feel free to eliminate the thread if you think it's going to open up a can of whoop ass.

"Stakeholders include:

The home owner

The home buyer

The real estate agents

The appraiser

The mortgage broker

The insurance agent

The closing attorney or escrow company

The title company

HUD/FHA on some homes

And I am sure several others that might become involved in the transaction at some point.

Scott Patterson

MS ASHI

http://www.traceinspections.com"

"Minds are like parachutes they only function when open"

The word "stakeholder" and the inference that everyone has the same interest in a real estate transaction just bugs me.

There are just two stake holders in any sale. The buyer and the seller. Everyone else has been commissioned to provide a service by one of the stake holders and their only responsibility is to provide that service. All the money that's changing hands anywhere is coming from one of two participants. It was their judgement to hire a realtor or an attorney or an appraiser. These folks are nothing more than employees, just like an inspector is just an employee in the strictest sense.

The fact that you stand to profit does not make you a stakeholder. Making an investment or liquidating an asset...that makes you a stakeholder.

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Devil's advocate- Using your definition of stakeholder: Does not the Realtor invest time, money, etc., in "doing the deal"? Remember, like us, a Realtor does not just fall off a truck and start getting deals. If the seller or buyer invites them into the deal(the only way they get in), are they not then "stakeholders"?

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Maybe it's just semantics, maybe not. My Webster's Unabridged says:

stakeholder - n. the holder of the stakes of a wager

That's not what any of us means, so I guess we would have to agree on what we mean to debate effectively about it. I'll start; what I mean...

stakeholder - anyone who stands to gain, or lose said gain, depending on an outcome (i.e. to have a "stake" in the outcome)

The realtors and mortgage people each stand to make thousands if the deal works, nothing if it doesn't. To my mind and by my personal definition, they are stakeholders.

It would be a mistake, in my opinion, to think of most of these as employees, even in the strictest sense. Almost everyone listed there has a fuduciary relationship with either the buyer, seller, or both, under law. That means they are our clients (not our customers), and we have a much greater legal obligation to them than an employee or subcontractor would.

Brian G.

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The wager definition sort of works.

The realtors are betting that they can find a house or sell a house for their clients. The bank is betting that the client will pay them back and if they don't they're betting the house is worth what they loaned. The attorney is going to close a deal at some point and gets paid hourly for that service.

The people holding the wagers are the buyer and the seller.. They're the stake holders.

Everyone has a legal obligation to perform their part of the deal as outlined by contract. If time runs out the realtors don't get paid, the buyers didn't find a house and the sellers aren't moving to Florida.

I'm certainly not disputing that the folks Scott mentioned have an interest in the sale; they all stand to gain from the execution of their contracted services, but I still think stakeholder may be a strong word.

If they fail to provide their contractual obligation then they don't get paid.

Now that I've seen comments from two smart guys, I'm out of the discussion because I learn best when my lips aren't moving.

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I'll get in 'cause I'm tired of typing reports.

It's best to try not thinking too hard about it. The business has enough problems w/out the endless semantical flogging of terms.

Realtors will be involved. Leeches that they are, they will be involved. They make approx. 10 times what I do on the transaction (sometimes 20-30 times more), bear infinitely less liability, don't get dirty, & behave shabbily most of the time. Their mere presence can often disgust me. It is a gross injustice & completely unfair. Welcome to the home inspection business.

Those that worry about whether or not they are stakeholders might as well worry about whether or not an asteroid is going to collide w/ Earth. For those truly insecure in the process, joining organizations devoted to "independence" provides a flag to wave, but the realtor will still be involved. Legislation can be enacted providing artificial seperation of realtors from inspectors, but the realtor will still be involved.

On this mornings inspection, the realtor (literally) said "these things are so stupid; why does anyone care what condition the property is in?" That grotesque' did not isolate them from their fee one dime; they will still be involved.

Personally, I try not to think about them. It makes my head hurt.

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The meat of all of this is the ethical problem of course, the conflict of interests. As it stands, the two parties with the most to gain or lose (totally dependant on the outcome) are the same two who are in the best positions to influence the selection of the two parties who are in the most likely positions to break the deal (and whose payment is not dependant on the outcome). Realtor / Home Inspector, Banker or Broker / Appraiser. How screwed up is that?

Apologies to my friend Steven. This has been like a rolling 10 brother wrestling match. Knock down one door, roll in there for a while; get thrown out a window, go at it in the yard for a bit.

I'll shut up if yall want me to, I just happen to enjoy this kind of thing when nobody's getting ugly.

Brian G.

Mental Judo 101

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Originally posted by kurt

Personally, I try not to think about them. It makes my head hurt.

A head like that is supposed to hurt. If I had a head like that and it didn't hurt, I'd go see a doctor. [:-dev3]

Brian G.

(Sorry, very common response to headache complaints in the BS loving South)

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Originally posted by Brian G.

Originally posted by kurt

Personally, I try not to think about them. It makes my head hurt.

A head like that is supposed to hurt. If I had a head like that and it didn't hurt, I'd go see a doctor. [:-dev3]

Brian G.

(Sorry, very common response to headache complaints in the BS loving South)

It's the little pointy part that hurts the most.

Also, I find that when I stop banging my head against the wall [:-banghead], it stops hurting.[:-idea]

P.S. I also like Mental Judo 101. You are a worthy adversary.

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The entire "stakeholder" discussion was started by, and designed for, marketing types. I tune out every time I hear the word.

Here's a bedtime story about a home inspector who recognized more than one stakeholder in a transaction: http://www.meislik.com/recentnj/recases/rec01576.htm

Keep it simple:

Do good work for client.

Receive big check from client.

Let stakeholders take care of themselves.

Repeat daily.

Fellow Judo Player (and its all mental),

Jimmy

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

The entire "stakeholder" discussion was started by, and designed for, marketing types. I tune out every time I hear the word.

Here's a bedtime story about a home inspector who recognized more than one stakeholder in a transaction: http://www.meislik.com/recentnj/recases/rec01576.htm

Keep it simple:

Do good work for client.

Receive big check from client.

Let stakeholders take care of themselves.

Repeat daily.

Fellow Judo Player (and its all mental),

Jimmy

Jim,

Beautiful story! My kids loved the part about the franchise owner kssing the the ugly step-Realtor, and turning into her bitch! "Read it again Daddy!"

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Brian,

Aren't you the guy who, three posts up, just said: "I still have a menstrual cramp in me."??? Calling me a sissy?

To all of you stakeholder-lovers,

Anyway, Here's an analogy most of us can understand:

Let's just say that the kids are asleep, and you and your spouse are expressing your affection toward each other in its highest possible form.

One could consider and discuss the many "stakeholders" in this transaction, too. It's such an important part of your relationship, many people have an interest in it's success:

The kids benefit from having their parents enjoy a healthy relationship.

Your parents, hers, heck, everyone in your famliy has a stake in this.

I'm sure your neighbors would be delighted to know how well you're getting along. You know what its like living next to a couple that's always bickering.

Expanding the circle even further, and being fully cognizant of the impact of divorce on society, everybody in town has a stake in this one when you think about it. In some ways, the future of this country will be affected.

Why, even President Bush, with his focus on strengthening and protecting his idea of the family unit would be glad to know. I bet if he were in the room there with you, he'd be patting you on the back, or thereabouts.

But if you're smart, you're not thinking about any of those stakeholders. You're concentrating on doing your job to the best of your abilities and keeping your client happy. Let the stakeholders take care of themselves. Capice?

But I just noticed that everyone who has chimed in on this thread is generally in agreeement.

And why is it that home inspectors and the dozen or so specialty inspectors (pest, radon, lead, pool, septic, well, feng shui, etc) are all conspicuously absent from the list of stakeholders? If we're not stakeholders, what are we?

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Aren't you the guy who, three posts up, just said: "I still have a menstrual cramp in me."??? Calling me a sissy?

I believe I referred to your imported beer as "sissy" Mr. Morrison, not you, although the implication does hang in the air like bottle-rocket smoke, doesn't it.


And why is it that home inspectors and the dozen or so specialty inspectors (pest, radon, lead, pool, septic, well, feng shui, etc) are all conspicuously absent from the list of stakeholders? If we're not stakeholders, what are we?

By my definition we are not stakeholders because we have no "stake" in the outcome. Although from what Captain and Norm have posted we apparently can be stakeholders. Those of us who do not work that way are representatives of our clients.

Brian G.

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Originally posted by Brian G.

I'll shut up if yall want me to, I just happen to enjoy this kind of thing when nobody's getting ugly.

Well I offered and nobody said "Yes please!" so I'm going to finish my line of thought here.

As I understand it one of the aims of Branding (if not THE aim) was to duplicate the market dominanace already achieved in certain markets, where virtually no realtor will refer you if you aren't ASHI. The way I see it, the pursuit of market dominance under these circumstances is immoral. It's immoral because it seeks to reach that goal via a mutally beneficial arrangement with the realtors, who are the illegitimate gatekeepers. They are illegitimate in that role because they are stakeholders (by my definition), who frequently do not have the best interests of clients at heart. The implict agreement is that we (ASHI) will not disrupt their illegitimate role as gatekeeper so long as we are the only ones allowed through the gate. One hand washing the other.

I'm sure some would argue that ASHI's high standards and ethics, aided by a considerable talent pool, offset that issue by providing a high level of inspection to those clients. I would hope that is the case overall, but we all know there are more than a few unscrupulous inspectors hiding amongst the faithful. The difficulties involved in policing the rank and file leave plenty of room for them, and they exploit it. Unethical realtors are then able to recommend the "right" ASHI inspectors, and cloak themselves with our banner while making the deals work. But even if we were as pure as the driven snow, the "ends justfies the means" arguement has long since been retired to the scrapheap of bogus validations.

The only legitimate means of dominating a market that I know of is to deliver such a consistantly high level of performance and value that no one wants to do business with your competitors. This is one of 2 or 3 reasons that I will never support Branding, even if I ultimately choose to pay and stay. I cannot participate and help with anything I see in this light. The only way I could rationalize giving my name and money now would be to do so with the intent of fighting for change, to help find a path that would benefit us without compromising us.

Brian G.

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Another way to look at is like this:

Not all doctors belong to the AMA, but they still practice their profession.

Not all real estate agents belong to NAR, but they still sell real estate.

Both of the above professions are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, but both of their professional associations have convinced the public for the most that they need to only use their members because they represent some of the best in the indusrty. This is all the ASHI is trying to accomplish, what is so wrong with that.

The buying public will almost always have the final choice on who to deal with, but the strongest form of marketing will still be by word of mouth referrals regardless of your affiliation.

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Dan,

You're taking me too literally.

The distinction is this: Neither ASHI nor any other org will ever control this profession the way you describe. They all say they want to control the HI universe, and none of them ever will.

Tag lines like: "We seek to garner you no more than your fair share of inspections per year" just don't have the same appeal.

A wise man once said: Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew.

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

The distinction is this: Neither ASHI nor any other org will ever control this profession the way you describe. They all say they want to control the HI universe, and none of them ever will.

Ah, but ASHI already has what amounts to a stranglehold on some specfic markets, and they aren't small ones. While a total monopoly might be impossible, an effective monopoly already exists in these places. And they were obtained by the illegitimate process I described. I never said monopoly anyway, I said market dominance.

Trying to garner all of the business you can is not wrong, if you go about it in a legitimate way. Therein lies the rub. Unethical or immoral tactics poison the purest of intentions. ASHI spent a lot of years earning a good name and reputation in the industry, the leader in standards and ethics from the start. Now we seem to be prepared to trade all of that in for a bigger share of the market. I object. Bad idea.

Does anyone have an arguement with any points in my premise that using the illegitimate gatekeepers to pursue market dominance is wrong, especially when there is an implicit affirmation of them in that role given in return? Bill Gates and the AMA really don't have anything to do with what is or is not right for ASHI to do.

Brian G.

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Does anyone have an arguement with any points in my premise that using the illegitimate gatekeepers to pursue market dominance is wrong, especially when there is an implicit affirmation of them in that role given in return? Bill Gates and the AMA really don't have anything to do with what is or is not right for ASHI to do.

Brian G.

Not me.

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There is always the option of marketing against ASHI. Take all the things you don't like about the org., put them into a a catchy brochure, and you'll capture a percentage of the market. I market myself as a small "hands-on company" and not a big franchise. People who like the advantages of a big company, won't use me, but those who want the feel of a smaller company will.

The rest of my marketing strategy is not to get a bigger piece of the pie, but to make the pie bigger! Construction, warranty, pre-listing, peace of mind inspections all play into that.

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What Chris said. Make the pie bigger.

Personally, I don't gauge the success of my life by how much market share I have or how many inspectors I employ; it is measured in how many smiles I get to see on my daughters face or the number of perfect waves I manage to ride before having to cash in all the chips. I'm reasonably good w/ business planning, but I try to keep it all in perspective, which means there's more important things in life.

What is with the illegitimate thing? Is ASHI "branding" now illegal?

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