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Washington Home Inspectors - DOL Is Coming To You!


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By Michael O'Handley - TIJ Editor

Deluged by phone calls from confused inspectors that hadn't bothered to look into the home inspector licensing rules until the eleventh hour - and many of those calls being rather hostile - personnel at the Washington State Department of Licensing Home Inspectors Program have initiated an outreach program in order to try and spread the word about home inspector licensing to inspectors.

According to Rhonda Myers, the home inspection Program Manager, DOL is fielding calls from many eastern Washington inspectors that claim to have just only just learned about the licensing law, despite the fact that it was passed more than a year ago. Myers says that most of these inspectors are independents; although there are also those who belong to various home inspection associations, who are apparently not active in those organizations, that also claim that they never knew that a law had been passed.

Myers will be traveling to Eastern Washington on July 6th, 7th and 8th to put on informational presentations for home inspectors. Topics will include:

  • Home Inspector Licensing Law
  • RCW's and WAC's - definitions
  • Procedures for obtaining a home inspectors license
  • Candidate Handbook and Examination Process
  • Examination Application - Required Attachments
  • License Application - Required Attachments
  • Renewals
  • Fees
  • Home Inspector Website - www.dol.wa.gov/business/homeinspectors
On Monday, July 6th, Myers will be at the DOT Regional Office in Union Gap, WA (2809 Rudkin Rd.) from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon.

On Tuesday, July 7th, she'll be at the Best Western Hotel in Kennewick, WA (4001 W. 27th Ave.) from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon.

On Wednesday, July 8th, she'll be at the Best Western Hotel in Spokane (12415 E. Mission Ave.) from 10:00 am until 12:00 noon.

Time is getting short; experienced inspectors - those who'd been in the business at least two years and had completed at least 100 inspections on the date the law became effective on June 12, 2008 - only have until September 1st to submit their application, complete all of the requirements and pass the required tests.

Experienced inspectors that do not complete those requirements by September 1st will see their status automatically change from "experienced" inspector to "newer" inspector, at which point they'll then have until July 1, 2010 to complete all education requirements, all supervised inspection hours and take and pass the required exams. If they don't complete those requirements by July 1st 2010 they'll effectively be out of business and won't be allowed to practice their craft until they've met all requirements.

Newer inspectors, those who were in the business on June 12, 2008 but hadn't yet completed their first two years or first 100 inspections by that date, will have until July 1, 2010 to complete all of their requirements. These inspectors may have attended schools that had courses that had less than the required 120 hours and a curriculum that was not approved by the state. Myers will explain the rules that will enable these inspectors to possibly apply that coursework to the state requirements.

Inexperienced inspectors, those who were not even doing inspections on June 12, 2008 are especially going to want to attend; because, as of September 1st of this year, though they don't have a deadline for completion, they will no longer be allowed to practice home inspections, period, until they've completed all of the training and supervised inspection requirements and have taken and passed the required tests. Myers will explain the possible consequences to these inspectors, should these inspectors be caught operating a home inspection business after September 1st without a license.

Any inspector that knows one or more home inspectors operating in one of these eastern Washington regions - especially independent inspectors that aren't affiliated with any of the associations - should contact those inspectors, let them know about these presentations and ask them to pass the word to every other inspector they know.

For additional details, contact Rhonda Myers, Department of Licensing Home Inspector Program Manager at 360-664-6487.

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Yea, I could see how any Joe out there who's not really plugged in to an organization or visits TIJ wouldn't have a clue about licensing.

The only reason I knew is 'cuz of TIJ (and secondly, ASHI).

I would think it'd be like this for any new licensing process. How would the un-informed become . . . informed?

It's good DOL is making the outreach effort.

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Yea, I could see how any Joe out there who's not really plugged in to an organization or visits TIJ wouldn't have a clue about licensing.

The only reason I knew is 'cuz of TIJ (and secondly, ASHI). . .

It's worse than that. Word on the vine is that some of the inspectors in those areas are intentionally keeping mum about the licensing rules in the hopes that their competition won't find out till it's too late.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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The problem is that unlicensed inspectors are a group that, by nature, doesn't have an existing list. Those here are, of course, "plugged in" but I can see some independant inspectors, especially part-time ones in rural areas, being taken by surprise.

Maybe the best way to get (or have gotten) the word out would be to contact a group that is known because they are already licensed. I'm talking about agents. It would be fairly simple to ask them to pass the word each time they come in contact with an inspector. Just a thought...and a little late at that.

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Well if everyone was playing by the same rules, meaning HI's having SPI licensing, then there would be alot less confusion. The possibility of a home inspection law has been looming for years, and has always been a topic of discussion at the training seminars. Newsletters from WSPMA have kept us updated on the proposed legislation, and the new law now put into effect.

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The problem is that unlicensed inspectors are a group that, by nature, doesn't have an existing list. Those here are, of course, "plugged in" but I can see some independant inspectors, especially part-time ones in rural areas, being taken by surprise.

Maybe the best way to get (or have gotten) the word out would be to contact a group that is known because they are already licensed. I'm talking about agents. It would be fairly simple to ask them to pass the word each time they come in contact with an inspector. Just a thought...and a little late at that.

What Richard has suggested has been done in several states that enacted home inspector licensing. Since it will be essentially illegal for a licensed real estate agent to use or refer an unlicensed home inspector, it is very beneficial for real estate agents to make sure that the home inspectors they use are licensed. I know first hand that in Mississippi the State board of real estate, made a rule making it a license violation to use an unlicensed inspector in a real estate transaction. It makes no difference if the agent or their buyer selected the inspector. When this rule was created the real estate agents became the major license enforcement tool for the home inspector licensing board.

Yes, let the real estate agents help spread the word. Great idea and it works.

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Hi,

Real estate agents are already getting the word out. It wasn't an accident that Washington Realtors enacted their new rule about referrals within just a few months of enactment. Over the past couple of weeks I have had two separate realtors, whom I'd never met previously and that didn't know that I sit on the state board, ask me if I was prepared for licensing and what affect I expected licensing to have on home inspectors.

They already know that after July 1, 2010 it will be illegal for unlicensed inspectors to perform home inspections; the problem, as I see it, is that there is no way for them to differentiate between experienced inspectors who should have their licenses by September 1st, lesser experienced inspectors who have until July 1, 2010 to get their licenses, and new inspectors (those who got into the business since June 12, 2008) who aren't even allowed to perform inspections after September 1st until they've completed all of the requirements and gotten their license.

There should have been something in law that enabled DOL to issue provisional numbered licenses with an expiration date on them. That way, DOL could have publicized the fact that beginning September 1st inspectors would all be carrying licenses and consumers shouldn't hire anyone without a license. The experienced inspectors could have all been issued licenses with an expiration date of September 1st, which would automatically renew and they'd be sent a new license when they'd completed the application process, taken the tests and paid their fee; lesser experienced guys could have been issued licenses with an expiration date of July 1, 2010 that would automatically renew once they'd completed their requirements; and the inexperienced guys wouldn't have been issued a license until they'd completed all requirements. The inexperienced guys could have been issued something like a learners permit that would have enabled them to do their 40 hours of supervised inspections only.

That would have made the whole thing infinitely easier to implement and enforce and it would have helped DOL to establish the total number of inspectors in the state. Most enforcement would then come from the consumers and realtors. When a client or a referring realtor called up and asked an inspector for his state license number, inspectors would have been obligated to provide it. If they couldn't do so, the consumer would just not hire them. That would have ensured that inspectors figured out very quickly that they need to get cracking on their license. Unfortunately, the law doesn't require any of that and it doesn't appear to be something that DOL or the board can do without an amendment. Given that the next legislative section is months after implementation, any amendment would come a day late and a dollar short.

Some realtors I know already realize that it's going to be difficult for them to know who's licensed and who is not for the next year, and that's why some are already talking about not referring anyone that doesn't already have a license, even though many inspectors that will be operating out there for the next year will be in full compliance with the law and it will only be the very new inspectors, if they are operating without a license, that won't be.

The next year is going to be interesting.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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By Michael O'Handley - TIJ Editor

Any inspector that knows one or more home inspectors operating in one of these eastern Washington regions - especially independent inspectors that aren't affiliated with any of the associations - should contact those inspectors, let them know about these presentations and ask them to pass the word to every other inspector they know.

When I recieved my letter on the Eastern WA meetings last week, I called several of the local inspectors... ( 6 )that I think are reasonably active, to give them a heads up on Union Gap (Yakima) meeting and to pass the word... none had done anything at all although a couple said they they've thought about it... one guy told me he was already licensed. Turns out he has WSDA SPI (well duh) but said he had never heard about a State HI license...

one guy said his franchise is working hard to get him licensed???.... I think it is because he has not been in business long enough to be in the 'experienced group' I thought it was pretty crappy that this franchise gave away a free inspection to all the local agents (400+) when this guy started the end of 06. Don't know how many agents took him up on it.

Anyway.... missed my chance to wipe out the competition, although they will probably wipe themselves out

Jerry

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one guy said his franchise is working hard to get him licensed???.... I think it is because he has not been in business long enough to be in the 'experienced group

There's nothing they can do but put him through supplemental training that's been approved by DOL that will make up the difference between the required training and what they provided him initially. They can only do that if he'd completed his training after June 12, 2006. If he'd completed his training before then, the training will not be accepted and he'll have to attend a full 120-hour course. Then he'll still need to do 40 hours of supervised inspections and take and pass the exams; there's no other avenue available......to anyone. Even the board members are subject to being relegated to the lesser experienced category and having to take 120 hours of training, do the 40 hours of supervised inspections and must take and pass the test by July 1, 2010 if we fail to complete the process by September 1st.

He needs to get off his duff and take responsibility for himself; his franchiser sure won't do it for him - that I can say with a certain degree of certainty having once been a franchise myself.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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