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Pop Goes The Weasel


hausdok
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Hello Inspectors!

This past week I ran an article in TIJ about how Jim Bushart, a member of the ethics committee of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors had tried to discredit the National Home Inspector's Exam (NHIE).

That article has resulted in some folks focusing on the ease with which one can obtain enough information from other inspectors to easily pass the NHIE, instead of on what the article was about; questionable ethics. Some inspectors did not miss the point though, and their responses aimed at Bushart were not very complimentary.

Obviously the mere mention of Jim Bushart brings out some pretty strong feelings in inspectors; but I think it's important to remember that he's only part of a larger problem; that of a large group of inspectors who are clients of an entity that competes with EBPHI using any an all means to discredit EBPHI to the benefit of the fellow that they've thrown their business to. It seems that these folks will stoop to any level achieve their goal of getting every state to throw out the NHIE and accept un-proctored tests that haven't been scientifically or systematically compiled as proof of an inspector's competency.

It's important when discussing the NHIE to keep in mind that it is a test of essential knowledge for home inspectors but it isn't, by any means, meant to be the most difficult test in the business. Every "profession" has to have a minimum standard of competency and that's how all "professionals" are tested. As an example, a doctor gets his M.D. after he passes his medical school finals, but he still has to go through several years of internship before he can take the medical board exams that determine whether he's been absorbing what he's been learning as an intern. Only after he passes the boards is he truly considered a "Doctor" even though he's had his MD for years. Look at engineering, architecture; even electricians - there are basic levels and then there are more advanced levels.

The NHIE is the equivalent of the basic level; it's designed to ensure that inspectors at least know what to look for in each system of a home when evaluating it and the questions and answers are periodically changed when they are re-written by a panel of inspectors brought in from around the country. Experienced inspectors who are critics of the NHIE have said that the NHIE is full of code questions and that it's too easy. Sure it's easy; it's meant to determine whether an inspector has the basic knowledge needed to enter the profession - it's not designed to determine whether he is the most knowledgeable inspector in the business.

Bring 10 experienced home inspectors into a room and ask them to list the 100 most critical things to inspect, the 100 most common deficiencies, and the 100 most common solutions to those deficiencies, and you are bound to find that a large percentage of what they put to paper will be almost identical to those of every other inspector whose ever done the same and many of that will be what's on the current NHIE and has been on previous versions; that's inevitable.

Do I think it's possible for anyone who really really knows this business to sit down and come up with hundreds, maybe even thousands of questions and answers that one will find on the NHIE, without resorting to picking the brains of those who've taken it or trying to steal the test questions and answers? Hell yes it's possible, but the fact that one can do that doesn't devalue the NHIE any more than a book purchased at a book store on how to study for the civil service exam, that's full of possible questions and answers to that exam, devalues the civil service exam; or any other book devalues any other exam, for that matter.

This isn't about the NHIE, this was about ethics or lack thereof. Jim Bushart is a fellow that sits on an ethics committee, who is responsible for judging others' ethics. By trying to harm a perfectly valid and honest business model using unethical means, he's shown that his own ethics are questionable. The fact that EBPHI's subsequent investigation has determined that the questions and answers that Bushart was offering to distribute weren't actually from the NHIE doesn't mitigate the damage that was done to EBPHI by his initial post or the subsequent flurry of moronic posts that followed it. There will now always be some inspectors who've read that thread that will now think that Bushart and the other sycophants at the soap opera have it right. Those inspectors will continue to spread the lie that the NHIE is compromised and that the actual test questions and answers are for sale on the internet; and they'll actually believe that they'll be telling the truth - thanks to Bushart and a few other idiots.

The fact that the questions and answers aren't actually from the NHIE shouldn't let this weasel off the hook; he intentionally left out critical elements of fact when he made his initial post - fact that would have made it clear that he did not have the actual questions and answers to the NHIE. Later in that thread, Bushart fessed up and acted as if what he'd done was no big deal. Well, it's no secret that spreading disinformation is a very useful tactic to defeat one's enemies; it's used in warfare all the time. However, war is one thing; outside of war, there are defamation laws to prevent one from slandering or libeling another. Maybe others can accept his explanation but I don't; I didn't just fall off a turnip truck. Bottom line, intentionally spreading misinformation about another company, in order to try and destroy their business model, is just plain wrong. I know it and with his background Bushart certainly knows it.

The thing that our business model lives and dies by is credibility. The question here is that if an inspector can't be honest with other inspectors, how can those who hire him know that he's being honest with them? If an inspector will twist facts and try to harm someone's business because he doesn't like that business owner, what guaranty does a customer have that he won't twist the facts on a home, in order to ensure the deal goes through, the realtor gets his/her commission, and the referrals just keep on coming? The answer; none.

Anyone that would resort to such tactics doesn't belong in this business. People have been sued into bankruptcy for doing less than this cretin has done; let's hope he gets his just desserts.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Let's not forget those studies that show business students having the least ethics, i.e., more willing to cheat, lie, or steal, of any student grouping. Lack of ethics isn't confined to the HI community.

The Bushie's actions are just kinda stupid, though. I'm not sure he understands just how stupid.

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Originally posted by Les

The ethics question is likely the most important issue within the home inspection community.

I don't have the answer after more than decades in the business. Unfortunately, most inspectors left their ethics at bank.

It's not exactly an answer, but here's the way I see it: For a whole lot of folks, HI work is the only job they can get. Many -- if not most -- start HI work in middle age, with a very limited skillset. To do the job right, one needs a good general education, and critical thinking skills.

The average (or maybe slightly above-average) middle-aged guy starting his new HI job isn't going to be prepared to do the work. And he's not going back to school to get prepared.

So, he does what he can do: a little bullshift here, a little short-con game there, a few alliances with dark-side RE agents and such, and you're looking at a situation where a low-skill guy works the opposite of smart and honest, and earns accordingly.

In short, he just scrapes by and uses the few skills he has to hang on by his fingernails. It's better than sleeping under a bridge...

Of course, I could be wrong,

WJid="blue">

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Walter, first of all, I'm not sure what that has to do with Mr Bushart being an unethical, foul mouthed, ass kissing, embarrassment to his organization and HI's in general. I thought this thread was about that particular unpleasant individual.

With all due respect, as one of those "average middle-aged guys", I have to object to your jaded generalizations.

It wasn't the only job I could get. I thought it was something I would be good at and a good fit for with the "skillset" I had collected over the years.

I was "prepared to do the work" and I did go "back to school" although, frankly, after reading everything I could get my hands on before, I actually found about 90% of the classes a waste of time. The shining exception was Doug Hansen day.

"So, he does what he can do: a little bullshift here, a little short-con game there, a few alliances with dark-side RE agents and such, and you're looking at a situation where a low-skill guy works the opposite of smart and honest, and earns accordingly.

In short, he just scrapes by and uses the few skills he has to hang on by his fingernails. It's better than sleeping under a bridge..."

I know two other inspectors (and their ethics) fairly well. Both are also middle-aged guys who started shortly after me. On behalf of all three of us, I especially find those last two paragraphs kind of insulting.

I realize you have probably been exposed to more unethical incompetants than most, and I'm sorry that has been the case. "Most" HIs probably do fall a bit short on knowledge when compared to the absoulute best (Jim K, etc) but I will always have trouble believing that "most" are unethical or dishonest.

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I think you're reading a little too much into Walter's observations. Most HI's flare up when they sense they are being generalized with others. It's part of the HI mindset. HI's take everything personal. I used to, but I'm not one of those middle aged guys just starting out.

I started doing this when I was 27, I'm now 55, I've manage to haul all sorts of extraneous baggage with me, but taking umbrage at a humorists observations is not part of it.

Personally, I think he described the vast majority of HI's, and the dynamics of how they enter the biz, pretty well.

I know Walter. There's nothing personal here. He's a very observant individual, and damn, he's righteously accurate in his observations. As much as anyone I've ever met.

He's got a few clunkers, but overall, if he describes a dynamic, it's accurate.

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Originally posted by Richard Moore

Walter, first of all, I'm not sure what that has to do with Mr Bushart being an unethical, foul mouthed, ass kissing, embarrassment to his organization and HI's in general. I thought this thread was about that particular unpleasant individual.

With all due respect, as one of those "average middle-aged guys", I have to object to your jaded generalizations.

It wasn't the only job I could get. I thought it was something I would be good at and a good fit for with the "skillset" I had collected over the years.

I was "prepared to do the work" and I did go "back to school" although, frankly, after reading everything I could get my hands on before, I actually found about 90% of the classes a waste of time. The shining exception was Doug Hansen day.

"So, he does what he can do: a little bullshift here, a little short-con game there, a few alliances with dark-side RE agents and such, and you're looking at a situation where a low-skill guy works the opposite of smart and honest, and earns accordingly.

In short, he just scrapes by and uses the few skills he has to hang on by his fingernails. It's better than sleeping under a bridge..."

I know two other inspectors (and their ethics) fairly well. Both are also middle-aged guys who started shortly after me. On behalf of all three of us, I especially find those last two paragraphs kind of insulting.

I realize you have probably been exposed to more unethical incompetants than most, and I'm sorry that has been the case. "Most" HIs probably do fall a bit short on knowledge when compared to the absoulute best (Jim K, etc) but I will always have trouble believing that "most" are unethical or dishonest.

Uh... mine was a general sort of reply to Les' comments. It's just what I've observed.

Of course, you are free to take an opposing view.

And, for what it's worth, I don't consider HI school to be school. Except when Hansen -- and maybe Cramer and other geniuses -- are there.

Call me jaded, but HI school looks like Bizarro school to me. I keep running into HI-school "teachers" in depositions and at the courthouse.

WJid="blue">

PS: Just for background: A couple months ago, I testified in a trial in which the offending HI was brought into the courtroom in chains, fresh from the drunk tank. He testified that he didn't do anything wrong. Stuff like that will jade a man.id="blue">

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Sorry guys. I really wasn't THAT insulted but I had to defend my "group". I do try to resist derogatory generalizations myself as it unfairly characterizes the exceptions (or possibly the majority). It's what stops me from believing everyone in Tennessee is a hill-billy. [;)]

"Call me jaded, but HI school looks like Bizarro school to me."

We had a real mix of students and teachers during my classes. A lot of the time seemed to be spent explaining what I thought was the obvious to the section constantly going "Huh?". As for the teachers, Doug was great, a couple of others were OK, but there were also a couple that had no idea how to talk in public. Those were some long days. I don't regret going as the 10% I did learn was useful, but something aimed at a higher IQ would have been less tedious!

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I spent several months visiting over at the Inter-N board once, to see the lay of that land for myself. During that time the leadership over there, at least most of it, repeatedly attacked the NHIE. I and others posted rebuttals and dared any of them to produce the infamous internet answers, but truth was not a match for propaganda among Nic & the High Priests (one of which was Bushart). They've been told the truth; they know the truth; they deliberately ignore the truth. He can't honestly say he didn't know.

Brian G.

Slam the Slanderers [:-thumbu]

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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

PS: Just for background: A couple months ago, I testified in a trial in which the offending HI was brought into the courtroom in chains, fresh from the drunk tank. He testified that he didn't do anything wrong. Stuff like that will jade a man.id="blue">

Must be true. I'm feeling jaded just from reading about it.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I understand Richard's comments. He is an exception. He does not realize that he is an exception. Gary R was an exception. I could name several other "exceptions" - Brian, Mike, Walter, Scott P, Norm S, Mark P, Frank, Richard S etc... Chad and Kurt are not exceptions and nobody knows what Jim M is.

Sadly, most home inspectors are as Walter describes. I am sure he meant no offense to any particular individual. Some of the most interesting and smartest people I know are home inspectors, but I surely know hundreds who are unethical, foolish, un-educated, bull-shit artists!

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Chad and Kurt are not exceptions and nobody knows what Jim M is.

Les, I know you're smart. The truth is, I'm frequently impressed by the depth and breadth of your knowledge. I feel like you're my brother because we may be the last two people on Earth to remember Jawa motorcycles.

Having said all that, and with the utmost respect, I feel compelled to correct you: both Kurt and I... the two of us together... we're exceptions to the list of exceptional home inspectors. So, we are exceptions after all.

Jimmy? I don't know what he is either. The fact that I don't know what Jimmy is does not in any way diminish the valid point he posed with precise eloquence... who the hell is Jim Bushart?

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My Analytical, Super-smart Friends (and Chad),

Let's keep this on track and try to focus on one major question at a time:

What is a Jim Bushart?

Is it contagious?

Is it treatable?

Without the internet, would it be even less relevant?

Once we've subjected these questions to your rigorous scientific investigation, we can figure out what it is that I do around here.

Peace out,

Jimmy

PS. This post was MUCH funnier and more inflammatory before Mike B. edited it.

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