Myths of Home Inspector Licensing

MYTH #1 ---- Licensing will raise the bar.
The reality is the bar will be set to the lowest perceived safety cutoff for the consumer… and since our profession receives very little formal complaints you can expect the bar to be set quite low at the start.

MYTH #2 ---- Licensing will limit competition.
The net-net results for most states has been the exact opposite; the number of home inspectors increased. The reason for this is that the state is never interested in limiting competition. The governments goal is first to protect consumers and like in Myth #1 since very few consumers are being ripped off by home inspectors the state does not feel there is a need for them to protect the consumers from your competition. Add to that the multitude of schools that spring up once legislation has passed and you can see why the number of inspectors increase after licensing becomes law.

MYTH #3 ---- Licensing will protect the consumer.
Of the 30 some states that have some sort of HI regulation very few have expended the resources to enforce the law rendering most HI licensing laws to the status of a nuisance tax.

MYTH #4 ---- Licensing will fix _____.
Place your most cherished sacred cow in the blank, research the facts and you will surprised to discover that home inspector licensing has cured no public ills.

All in all the realities of the laws that finally went into effect did not live up to either the spirit of the legislation or expectations of those who worked so hard to get the bills passed. When all is said and done the result of HI licensing has been an abject failure to those who have promoted their bills. It appears that HI licensing in incapable of fulfilling our goals and has been pursued for all the wrong reasons.

Licensing in AZ.

You must provide fingerprints for a back ground check== A good thing, you don’t want a theif inspecting your Home.

Sets a min. standard for education. Better then no standard.

The AZ BTR is very hands on; ie. If there is a complaint they follow through to the end.

I started up in 2003 when licensing was new, I think I was the 15th person to be certified by the State.In the begining we went from 75 Inspectors to 30 inspectors.
Then the HI schools cranked up and we went to around 400? HI’s State wide. Within 2 years we went to around 800 HI’s (that passed the test) now we are ballencing out and there are maybe 9 “big players” in the Tucson market doing 15 + inspections or more per week. The rest of the folks are either retired and doing it as a side job, or they have gone out of biz.

Three years ago there were only 16 HOme Inspectors that could be found on the internet or in the yellow pages for North Idaho and Eastern Washington combined, now there are more than 70, and neither State requires licensing, so what caused the increase in the number of Inspectors, of course all but 4 of the NACHI Inspectors in the Spokane, WA area fail to follow the WA State law which requires them to have a Structural Pest Inspector’s license, they won’t get away with it for much longer because WSDA is going to crack down.

A State with any Education or Testing Requirements has “raised the bar” higher than those without any standards, it seems that the number of HI’s is growing much faster in State without any requirements, Washington will soon join the few States that require Insurance of some kind, along with minimum standards, an SOP, and CE requirements.

Lewis just because you say it doesn’t make it so; not to pick on you but that is the line that do-gooders use to lure people into believing these myths. It is more likely that the local “level of care” in effect before licensing was much higher then the “level of care” after licensing floods the market with new inspectors.

The “level of care” prior to licensing in healthy markets more then likely resembles the true Adam Smith type of “invisible hand” associated with the best aspects of capitalism. Once the balance between labor and goods & services is altered by licensing flooding the market with new inspectors both pricing and profit is reduced along with the “level of care” and no amount of testing or education will alter the equation until the balance is reestablished.

BTW I really appreciate your ability to see the positive aspect of licensing, it helps me to constantly rethink my position.

As a people loose control of their inner conscience to care and
act responsibly, an outward control will come into power
to compensate and control them from without.

People get the government they deserve in the long run.
Police, prisons, laws, courts, etc…

The higher the moral fiber of a society, the more that society
will fight to put off the outward control that is always lacking.
But when a society falls into more and more apathy and
deceitful greed, the masses call for more laws to protect
them… and thus these laws do some good, but also work to
enslave those who ask for them.

For every law passed to confront a problem, their will be
people who will now make a profit from that law, in another
direction, and empower themselves in the process.

This process is slow and can only be observed over several
generation to see its pattern fulfilled. It happens to
individuals also, but on a smaller scale.

The few make it hard on the many sometimes.

The law made nothing perfect, but is given until that
heart of true values can be born. You cannot command
someone to care, but you can punish them if they
do wrong. Some are born of those outward laws and
find the inner law of the heart.

Many seek to enter in, but few find the door.
This principle can be seen in many different levels.

A truly free person does what is right, even when no one
will see them and no law will punish them.

And Joe just because you say it doesn’t make you right either. you don’t believe that a requirement to say, pass the NHIE would be raising the standard, or to have to prove that you have at least had a minimum amount of training would be raising the standard.? We have inspectors here who’s only qualifications are they watched “This Old House” for a whole season. Even a requirement to pass the NACHI Test would be raising the Standard.

I can compete against them, but they are giving the whole profession a bad name., like one of the videos someone posted where the client says that ALL HI’s are Shysters.

I agree any law without enforcement is useless, kind of like our Immigration Laws when it comes to Mexico. Myself I would rather work towards getting a good law than to fight continually against any law. The last time I looked at Gerry’s Poll it was running 3 to one in favor of regulation so it seems that you are in the minority.

You say that licensing will increase the number of inspectors, yet the numbers increase even more rapidly in unregulated States and members from licensed States like Illinois, Oregon and Arizona disagree with you, they say the numbers went down.

In Washington the politcians are going to attempt to push the same piece of crap they tried to pass last year, we have an advisory board of inspectors from all associations, independents, and WSPCA who are attempting to create a better proposal, which we should hear about soon, at least those of us who are licensed SPI’s will hear, at that time we will be able to put in our own two cents worth, no one will likely get what they want, but hopefully we can get something we can live with.

Rumors say that the proposal contains mandatory insurance of a couple of hundred thousand, an SOP, CE Requirements and minimum standards of education and experience, I haven’t heard about any test requirements but the old Bill included the NHIE

It looks like you’re going to have to fight a Bill in Florida soon, all I’ve been saying is that you should always have a plan “B” or an alternative to offer if it appears you are going to lose the fight.

Best of Luck Joe and have a Happy New Year, maybe I’ll see you in Orlando next spring.



Please stay on topic we are discussing the socialization of our profession through government licensing which I believe most would conclude is mutually exclusive of your religious beliefs.

I can’t speak for others but personally I reject the religious messages of preachers; it’s just so much La La La La La (I can’t here you) La La La La La with both fingers in my ears.

Thanks - Joe.

There you go Joe, we agree on something, I just noticed your quote too, we agree on that too, Good old Plan “B”

I realize that but it don’t take too many folks pissing in the soup before folks start ordering stew. In regards to licensing it is so much easier tearing it down then building it up that a 3 to 1 minority is still a majority, hell one man can make a difference.

If I were you I would redirect all of the efforts you currently waste on pushing licensing reform and redirect them to building up yourself. Don’t worry what others are doing, get all of the well respected meaningful certificates you can acquire NHIE, ICC, IRC, FEMA get a construction degree and than market yourself accordingly you will be at a level that a license will never equal and will be in command of your market, furthermore you will be able to separate yourself form those who are seeking a license just to make them equal and dumb down the profession.

Joe… Relax your going to give yourself an ulcer worrying about licensing and peeing in a jar.:wink:

I agree Lic is a bitc_ .
Look at the positive side… Instead of competing with inspectors that payed 289. to an individual to get “certified” by claiming to take an on line quiz, and a promise to complete other non verified requirements… inspectors licensed by the government at least have to prove some training and HI knowledge prior to getting “certified” and marketed as such by the state.

This has nothing at all to do with any enacted or proposed home inspection legislation.

All legislation, enacted and otherwise, has been initiated by someone OTHER THAN the masses (aka consumers). All legislation is a result of greed and the desire to control by either the real estate salesperson, the trial attorney, or the home inspector who thinks he can gain by controlling his competition.

This is all a matter for record and beyond debate.


What Todd said is exactly the facts here. Too me, licensing makes no difference what so ever, except a $310.00 fee to the state each year.

I also have way more calls than I could possibly handle, I get calls every week form folks who have been in business for a while looking for jobs because the can’t make ends meet.

It is all in what you sell to who, which will make or break any company.

The more services you offer for sale, the more the phone rings.

Whether a state has licensing or not, is irrelevant, from my perspective.

I have not seen any state regulations from any state which would stop me from making a fortune in the profession.

There is one thing that licensing does that makes it extremely popular and is reflected in the polls regarding regulation…

Licensing makes the new inspector appear to be equally competent to his more experienced and established competition.

When I can meet whatever the minimum qualifications are in a licensed state, I am immediately at the same level of competency and am equally endorsed by the state as my competitor with 35 years in business.

Licensing solves nothing, but it can still give an edge to the newby who wants a shot at the money. In this regard, the consumer is being duped…not helped.


What I said agrees with your post. Laws look like they solve a
problem, but can actually make other problems at the same time.

It is too bad that both fingers were in your ears. That’s not
a good way to hear comments that may be true but not
said with same “Joseph says it this way verbiage”…

La La La… LOL… please stop.

BTW… I don’t like most preachers either…
but everyone preaches their point of view.

True Jim…and differentiate yourself from the rest, and the sky is the limit.

Other than a new person being at the same level in the eyes of the state, usually they are not in the eyes of realtor ladies, and folks who ask questions regarding construction experience.

Nobody ever asks me if I’m licensed regardless of what state they call me from, nor do they ask if I belong to any associations, they do ask what experience do I have in the construction industry.

What is most amusing about this, Dale, is the fact that - although he benefits the most - the newby is not the one leading the fight for licensing in these states. Oddly enough, it is the old timer who mistakenly believes that his political connections will actually help him “protect the consumer” by creating a series of requirements to keep newbies out…or limit them, at the least.

In the end, his plan achieves a result that is opposite to his original intent…and he writes his check for his meaningless licensing fee every year or two.

Funny, indeed…but sad.

I understand Jim, but I don’t see why anyone would really care about a 300-500 fee per year (tax-deductible), it sure isn’t worth caring about or losing sleep over in my perspective.

Make yourself different from the rest and let the others worry all they want.

Generally, folks who sit waiting for the run of the mill 300.00 SoP inspection are the ones most concerned about licensing, others like you and Joe, who offer many types of inspections, really shouldn’t care about it one way or another, I wouldn’t think.

Most New inspectors are so scared to venture past a stucco covered slab on grade shack they don’t stay in business long enough to pay the second years fee to the state anyway.

Dale, what you have right now in Arizona and what others have in their states where licensure is in effect is simply step one of the state’s control over their profession. For instance, even though you have a law in effect…you still have licensed inspectors helping your local media in AZ setting up videotaped “sting operations” to catch inspectors making mistakes. As a result of this media exposure and the efforts of these inspectors who are demonstrating to your legislature that your present standards are not good enough…what will be the next wave of state imposed business decisions? What will your revised laws look like in coming years?

At that time, while we in Florida and Missouri are still arguing the points for and against state control…your state, already in control, can simply amend its statutes and inform you - after the fact - of what business decisions you will be expected to make at that time.

Joe and I are not fighting any particular set of rules as much as we are the control that we lose over our own business when it falls under the control of the state.

I understand Jim, but it’s a losing battle, licensing will come, regardless.

And like you just said, they will make amendments as time goes on.

They have changed the rules here, we can’t bribe realtor ladies…:smiley:

We disagree.