Anyone, care to take a shot at explaining the pros and cons of state licensure?

(Kenton Shepard, CMI) #1

I haven’t followed this real closely. I assume the cons are that requirements connected with licensure might be controlled by agencies or organizations with agendas that conflict with what would be good for consumers.

An example might be that an organization consisting of real estate agents (who only get paid if the transaction succeeds) would be responsible for establishing regulations that govern the actions of home inspectors (who are neutral third parties).

Another example might be that the organization tasked with developing home inspection regulations didn’t understand the details of the inspection business, like when they specify that an inspector must confirm proper fastening of asphalt shingles (which would require breaking bonds/damaging shingles).

I guess the main reason for wanting licensure is to prevent people who are not qualified from representing themselves as home inspectors, and in doing so cheating consumers and giving the home inspection industry a bad name.

Anyone want to expand on this?

(Charley L. Bottger) #2

This is going to turn into a fiasco especially if Bushart and his “licensing solves nothing” gets involved. I operate in a licensed State and I would state the license requirements fall very short to become licensed you need 90 hours of training and pass a simple test. We as a industry are turning out with minimum training unqualified inspectors they are very visible every day on this very forum.

I am very much in favor of licensing but for the proper reasons. Home inspecting should be treated as a trade just like plumbing, electrical, HVAC and structural which requires months of training, passing a stringent test followed by training as a apprentice under a licensed professional.

That is my opinion and I am sticking to it:shock:

(Jeffrey S. Campbell) #3

Kenton,

I am following this closely as we just attended a licensure hearing at the capitol here in Maine. I don’t think the current bill will be moving forward as it was poorly written but something here in Maine may come to fruition soon. I have mixed feelings myself.

Jeff

(Gregory L. Neff) #4

Kenton…I think there are both good and bad aspects to the license issue. At least with licensing, there is some educational requirement, though typically minimal, to obtain the license. Some regulations regarding insurance can at least give the public some protection, but so can a well trained inspector with a thorough report.
That being said, there are a lot of licensed, insured, trained, educated people on the highway with driver’s licenses that have not business behind the wheel.

The other side of the coin is the wrong people involved in the process. Here in Va, the state Realtor board pushed for the licensing and treated it as their success. I don’t think the Realtors need a hand in what a home inspector does. Fortunately, the inspector org here in Va was involved in the licensing legislation. Currently, anyone desiring to perform an inspection must be licensed, however there are, I think, a few who are bootlegging the inspections. Prior to licensing, anyone, without training or insurance could do home inspections. Was a voluntary certification. In order to be certified, there were requirements. Education, inspections performed, insurance. In order to gain the certification, I had to perform 100 inspections prior to applying. Not the best system, so licensing may offer some even standards to get the license.

I don’t think you will get any major consensus on the issue. There are too many variables involved and points on both sides of this.

(William B. Ogletree, TREC License #22530) #5

Working in Texas both as a Realtor and a Home Inspector, I can address this from an historical perspective.

I recall finding the listing agreement for the house my parents sold when I was about 5, back in the early 60’s. It was on a 3 inch wide by 8 inch long piece of paper, with plenty of room to spare. Listing agreements are now 10 pages long and get longer every year.

Once a bureaucracy gets involved, paperwork and regulations grow at a steady rate. I would venture to say that the old 3x8 contract was better, because at least there was some hope that someone would actually READ it.

The preamble to the Texas standard report form provides another example. Maybe 1% of our clients actually read that through, and even fewer understand it. It does more to provide cover for the inspector than protection for the public.

State licensing often provides a false sense of security for the general public. We all know that no license can stop a bad plumber, electrician, engineer, what-have-you from being bad at their job. As a broker I used to work under once said, “You pretty much have to run over someone with your car to lose your real estate agent’s license”.

Even with all the BS that comes with state licensing, I still think it’s overall better than no regulation. An inspector working under a license at least knows that if he/she misbehaves badly enough, the state can come down on them like a ton of bricks if it so chooses. It also provides at least a minimum standard that must be met before a person can hold him/her self forth as a home inspector.

(Marc A. Goldenberg, Inspector Lic # HI1365 Mold Assessor Lic #1) #6

I’m for licensing.
Among all the good & bad there is some perceived good for the public & inspectors.

(Gregory L. Neff) #7

I know here in Va…the process seems to filter out those that are not serious or in a position to dedicate the time.

(Charley L. Bottger) #8

I understand that Okla has proposed to remove the words “of good moral character” from the requirements for Home inspectors and Realtors alike. Makes me wonder where these people come from. I don’t think they will make that fly in this State we are in the bible belt.

The home inspection board in Okla has a Realtor, a appraiser and a Lay person as members on the board in my opinion they have no business on our board. It makes as much sense to me as having these professions on the board for plumbers and electricians and so forth.

(Charley L. Bottger) #9

It does not in Okla we had to many out of work 55 year old grocery clerks becoming home inspectors

(David Mattoon, TN #1960) #10

At least having the minimum standards will help keep the ones who would get into it because of the ease of it from doing it. I’m just now getting my license and if I weren’t serious I wouldn’t have gotten this far in. The courses, testing, licensing, and the costs of these and insurance (before even getting the license) would have been a good deterrent. I can’t speak further due to lack of experience but here’s my two cents.

(Charley L. Bottger) #11

David I don’t know you from Adam but let me ask you this one question," If you would have been required to attend school for 4 to 5 months" would you still have joined this profession.

(Michael Larson, WI Lic. # 1672-106) #12

Wrong question Charlie.

Many come to this profession with a wide range of backgrounds.

4-5 months of some school won’t even come close to preparing a person to do decent job for a young skull full of mush.

A decently wide range of experiences are needed to understand what we look at everyday and you cant get that in a short time.

Licensing is a cop out. It doesn’t really solve anything.

(David Mattoon, TN #1960) #13

Yes, I think I would. I’m at a point in my life where my experiences are pointing me in this way. Everything I’ve been doing for the past 25 years has given me a good perspective on home inspecting. Plus, I have enough flexibility so I could have invested the time.

(Charley L. Bottger) #14

Good for you I hope you make it in this profession.

(Charley L. Bottger) #15

No licensing does not solve the education problem but its better than a grocery clerk hanging out his shingle and proclaiming I am a home inspector

(Michael Larson, WI Lic. # 1672-106) #16

I’m sure that happens but we both know their chances of getting work beyond the first few is slim.

I think apprenticeship is a much better model.

(David Mattoon, TN #1960) #17

Thanks, Charley. And I agree that minimum isn’t good. I knew enough to do an okay job before taking the training but in the process learned how much I didn’t know. More is better.

(Michael Larson, WI Lic. # 1672-106) #18

I’m glad you took the time to figure out what you didn’t know and plug the holes.

That shows wisdom. Good luck to you.

(Charley L. Bottger) #19

I guess you did not read post # 2

(Michael Larson, WI Lic. # 1672-106) #20

I was agreeing with you. Get over it.:roll: