MONTANA Legislation Update

22 January 2007

I received this email this morning. Posted here for informational purposes for those who desire to involve themselves in Montana.


Good Luck to all.[/FONT]**

It lists NACHI.

It does not list NAHI…

CORRECTION: Oooooops. Yes it does.

We need to trademark a tag line for our exam. “the national home inspector examination”…

Another email received on Jan 22, 2007. A hearing has been scheduled:



I am in Helena and will be at the hearing. I do have some heartburn with having to pay $225 to take another test. I pressed Steve Jacoby and the others at the meeting in Bozeman last year to allow national organization entrance exams, but they felt they needed a independent proctored exam. Otherwise the bill seems like a good one.

Any thoughts from the national NACHI folks on this?

Who is pushing for state control over home inspectors in Montana, and why?

The driving force is a guy out of Bozeman, Steve Jacoby. There were a couple meetings last year to discuss it. The main reason is under current law, anyone can hang out a shingle and call themself an inspector. One guy in Helena started last year and touts that he is ‘Certified’ because he passed his fanchise training final exam. It really is pretty basic, without many hoops other than the ‘National home inspectors exam.’ The other requirements are no different than what I subscribe to as a NACHI member.

Are there any home inspectors in Montana who oppose the idea of having the state in control of their business?

Steve mentioned to me yesterday that you might be coming up to appear before the comittee. I don’t know if your schedule would allow but I can be sure and give you a heads up when the senate hears it. Maybe we can even combine your visit with a mini MT NACHI meeting. Let me know.

There are some who just don’t want more governemnt. The problem is that we are so spread out, it becomes very difficult for the market to police itself. I had an email from another inspector who also resented the national exam. So far not much opposition though.

The bill is pretty basic.
SOP and Code of ethics (mostly parallels NACH and ASHI)
CE requirements
National Inspectors Test
Registration fee based on cost of bookeeping <$200

Right now, you are free from government interference and are led by your market.

Once a bill is passed, you are then (and forever) under the control of your legislature. Now, who controls your legislature? Will the real estates salesman’s lobbyist eye this bill, once it becomes law, and use his influence and money to have it “beefed up” with mandatory E&O to relieve some of the burden from the salesman? Will the trial lawyer’s lobbiest add to those efforts to make the HI in Montana another source of additional income?

Going from free market to State control relenquishes your rights to control your own destiny and once the box has been opened…you don’t know what’s coming next…except one thing. A school with a curriculum centered on the licensing bill…selling seats to people needing a “new career” who will be be hitting the streets with $99 home inspections in order to compete. That is the one sure thing that seems to follow the implementation of a licensing bill.

I would suggest that those who would oppose this become much more vocal…and fast.

I used to be a free market supporter, but free market economics only works when there is a decent size market. I used to live outside Chicago (GO BEARS!) and the county I lived in has almost the population of the entire state of Montana. They tried utility dereg out here and it was a miserable failure. Hell we only have two cell phone providers.
While we run the risk of E&O etc, there just is not a large enough market to influence change.
I understand your point, but I guess I see this as a way to keep the $99 inspectors out.

That’s what they thought in Arizona, too. Using legislation as a marketing tool has not worked anywhere.

When that $99 inspector with his 72 hours of experience is standing next to you, with the exact same license (which the consumer equates as certification from the state as to his competence and ability), his cheaper fee will get him the business.

With all things being equal (choosing between three different licensed inspectors) the lower fee gets the booking, and why shouldn’t it?

Licensing solves nothing.

Why are you so complimentary of the work and the bill in New Hampshire, and we should walk away from it?
The Montana legislation SOP is a subset of NACHI, not a complete list but pretty comprehensive. The code of ehtics is the same and outlaws bribes to realtors and work on inspected houses. Requires CE. The only thing different than my NACHI membership is the NHIE. There may be a compromise to accept the NACHI certification test as an alternative.
This requires nothing more really than NACHI does.
Help me out on your thinking.

That is a good question, Thomas. I know that, at first glance, it seems contradictory of me to compliment the efforts of Frank Carrio in drafting a bill in NH while fighting bills everywhere else. Perhaps a little history would be in order.

In New Hampshire, a very beaurocratic state with over 300 legislators in their assembly, each one is looking to make a name for himself and every legislator is an opportunity for special interests.

In recent years, ASHI has been forcing their model for legislation and came close last year in getting their restrictive, real estate salesmen favored bill made law. Frank Carrio personally rallied the members of his chapter and they managed…at the eleventh hour…to defeat the measure. They killed the bill.

In the summer months of last year, an attempt was made to revive that bill. It was obvious that ASHI would come into the new legislative session with a renewed effort to push their agenda.

Now, mind you…there was no phony, pretend like “coalition” but an 80+ member chapter of NACHI members who participated in drafting and recruiting legislative support for a bill that would close the door on ASHI’s efforts to control home inspections in New Hampshire as they presently do in neighboring states (Massachusetts, in particular). This chapter of NACHI members, working together with the leadership of their president (Frank), used the same system that ASHI had developed…to defeat them. Frank was asked by two legislators who had helped him defeat the ASHI bill to draft one. He, with help of his chapter, did as he was asked. the bill immediately picked up three sponsors in the legislature and appears to be on the track to become law…much to the consternation of the ASHI folks who started the whole thing.

Today, instead of leading another attack…ASHI is forced to put together a group of their members pretending to be a “coalition” representing all inspectors…to try to stop the New Hampshire NACHI chapter’s momentum. Believe it or not, these people are pretending (this year) to espouse the position of “no bill”. I love it. In the end, the NH inspectors will gain by either defeating ASHI with their alternative measure or…even if ASHI wins this fight…they win by taking the position that I favor…“no bill” at all.

In this isolated case…based upon the events that had transpired and the make-up of the legislature…these inspectors did what was best for them and their state.

If there is a similar history in Montana that you would like to share with us, it would be helpful.

Update received January 27th, 2007



The one thing I would fear is the NHIE influence which as we all know goes back to ASHI influence no matter what they say. NAHI now has a physometrically validated test for state licensure and I’ll bet NACHI can too. That helps keep any one groups influence to a minimum.

Raise your prices - have confidence - be the best Inspector. Poor/cheap inspectors make us look good! Remember “You Get What You Pay For”