Breakfast With a Missouri Legislator

The strategy of the Missouri Association of Realtors and those in the assembly who wish to please them will want us all to believe that “legislation is a sure thing” this year. It isn’t.

I met with a high ranking member of the State assembly for some coffee, yesterday morning, and he was uncharacteristically forthcoming in his description of the State’s priorities.

While admitting that the NAR had a strong lobby and infrastructure, he seems to feel that the skyrocketing number of foreclosures and unreasonably high title insurance fees (and kickbacks to the agent referring them) pose a more serious risk to Missouri consumers than unlicensed home inspectors. Comparing the exponential increase in foreclosures to the total of 5 BBB complaints against inspectors over the past three years, he said the NAR has an uphill battle to prove a need — beyond their own desire to affect the outcome of the sale — for any such legislation.

Still, it will be written and presented. The real estate salesmen will send in their lobbyist, Sam Licklider, to try to make it happen. The ASHI leadership will continue to work behind the scenes to push it as well.

So, be ready.

Be ready to help to keep the legislators focused on fact and not the fiction produced by real estate agents who want to control the licensing board for home inspectors.

Lobbyists are somewhat misunderstood. The common misconceptionis that lobbyists do payoffs to legislators to get special attention.

The reality is that most legislators don’t know anything about anything nd rely on their aides and lobbyists (mostly competing lobbys) to provide the context and facts on an issue.

Given these facts, I am surprised that the NAR, that represents Realtors and sales agents, would be taken seriously about any issue having to deal with Home Inspectors. These are two different professions. Sure, they both deal with Real Estate, but since when are Realtors experts (or even well informed) about home construction or the physical condition of homes. They might had good opinions with regards to what is the “in” stove or countertop to have, but that is a question of taste, fashion and cosmetics, not building science, electrical, HVAC, roofing or the guts of a house.

Having Realtors express opinions on the quality of a house or its condition is like asking a designer to explain the workings and comparative technical specifications or an auto transmission. It’s not their field of expertise.

Other than making their pockets open to campaign contribitutions, i wonder why legislators even give them the time of day.