Take it all with a grain of salt and keep in mind that some of the folks who are claiming to know what they are talking about simply don’t and aren’t in a position to know facts they say apply to their assertions.
Can’t speak for other states but licensing has been working here in Washington state. We had all of the same wild predictions from the same people, here and on other boards and at all of the state hearings, of all of the terrible things that would be happening if licensing were passed; and, so far, none of them has come true.
When the law was passed, the realtors association and the MLS got on board and told agents that they were required to use licensed inspectors. They also changed the real estate contract to specify that an inspector who is in compliance with state law be used.
Sure, some folks have ignored the law and are still doing unlicensed inspections. As DOL learns about them, they’ve sent them warning letters and told them to get licensed or else. Most have complied. Some, particularly those who are crossing into Washington from neighboring states, think they don’t have to comply.
That’s fine, what they don’t realize is that, according to the legal folks with the MLS, any buyer that hires an unlicensed inspector essentially waives the inspection contingency. If they waste their time hiring an unlicensed guy and then try to submit a report from an unlicensed guy along with the contract and request for concessions, the sellers technically can tell them that the inspection isn’t valid; and, if their window for the inspection has closed, hold them to the contract.
I expect that when/if one of these sellers does that, we’ll see a buyer turn around and sue his or her agent for malfeasance and the inspector for fraud. That will send shock waves through the local realtor community and those who still have their heads in the sand will start to pay attention. That alone will probably solve the issue of unlicensed guys doing inspections.
Our law requires schooling, mentoring and testing. Most of the folks giving the training have been adding the 40 hours of mentoring and mandatory inspection reports into their training programs. Very few hiccups as far as I can tell; and, so far I’m told that the average passing scores in the state on the NHIE are now up to over 90% whereas they used to be closer to the national average in the mid 70’s. If that’s truly the case, it would seem that requiring folks to get a little bit of education about this business before they get into it is raising the skill set here a little bit.
Hordes of inspectors weren’t put out of business. A few chose to quit rather than get educated about their profession and then prove that they can do what they claim to be able to do - inspect homes. The fact that they quit rather than prove they are competent by taking a simple basic test speaks volumes about their abilities. They won’t be missed by consumers. The overwhelming majority of inspectors that were here before licensing are still here and are doing as well as they ever did.
The state doesn’t get rich off of licensing fees. The program is revenue neutral and the fees taken in barely cover the cost of administrating it; in fact, until they reassigned one of the state employees to other tasks and left the program with only one employee, they were losing money. That’s now rectified.
The board members aren’t getting rich. Nobody on the board is teaching home inspections anywhere for a for-profit school and making lots of money. Two board members do teach part-time at state-owned community colleges but were doing that before licensing and licensing doesn’t increase what they make because they are paid by semester at a fixed rate - by the hour at 80% of what a full-time teacher makes - and that’s not dependent on number of students taught. Since there is a limited market for training, nobody in any of the for-profit schools is getting rich teaching either.
They claimed it would level the playing field and that all newbies who were licensed would be considered as experienced and capable as experienced guys and that all of the experienced guys would take a serious hit. Not true. Most of us haven’t even seen a ripple.
True, some folks in certain areas are seeing some pretty drastic low-balling going on, but it isn’t the experienced guys lowering their prices to try and compete, it’s the new guys giving their services away at tag sale prices because, despite licensing supposedly making folks equal, most buyers are seeking out experienced inspectors with good reputations and are foregoing hiring the inexperienced guys.
It is still up to individual inspectors to make it based on their own technical abilities and marketing prowess, just as it has always been. It was that way before licensing, so licensing didn’t level the playing field at all; what it did was require that those in the business and those entering the business prove that they had the requisite knowledge to do the job.
Licensing discouraged those getting into the profession who weren’t willing to dedicate the time and expense to becoming competent and it gave consumers a means to ensure that the person they hire at least knows the rudiments of inspecting a home and isn’t just someone who was flipping burgers yesterday and wants to call himself an inspector today.
Licensing does solve some things; one just has to be open-minded enough to see what those things are.
ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!