Real estate commission, Board of realtors and a mortgage commission are going to discuss licensing of inspectors…sounds like this will work out great for inspectors!!
If inspectors in New Mexico are smart, they’ll immediately convene a summit between inspectors from all of the various associations, form a coalition, find a legislator that they can get to sponsor a competing piece of legislation written by them, that introduces their group to the legislators as the group to talk to about home inspection issues - and not the realtors and bankers - and they’ll get out ahead of this.
Otherwise, they’re going to find themselves eventually laboring under rules written by non-inspectors who haven’t a clue as to what we do.
ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!
We are learning the hard way in Florida.
Here in Kansas, it was only about 20 home inspectors against 5,000 RE agents. The other home inspectors did not want to get involved. Now all of us are suffering with the $199 home inspector, and the RE’s got what they wanted; soft, basic, cheap inspections. Last year, 180 home inspectors registered. This year, it is down to 125. There are only 4 CMI’s in Kansas, and we all are holding on by a thread.
Surge in numbers Gary - 19 more have got on board / 144 now
New Mexico inspectors
Mike and Greg are right - act now.
If you need some help and advise: firstname.lastname@example.org
Licensing creates confusion, and only benefits the persons who push and write state laws. RE agents and special interest groups push for licensing because they want soft, basic, say-nothing reports all allowed by law. This levels the field, dumbs-down our profession, and only hurts the home buyers. Lawmakers are blinded by this, and only look at how full their campaign funds are.
Pass home inspection laws, you will create basic minimum reporting, cheap inspection prices, and lawsuits by the hundreds. All you have to do is have the lawmakers call Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Kansas, and many other states to verify.
I bet there will be no state-wide building standards for inspectors (or anyone else) to go by so you can report what is and what is not a defect. Anyone involved in any RE transaction, including insurance agents, contractors of every type, home builders, appraisers, engineers, should all be licensed, insured, and regulated. All for one, one for all.
You’ve said this so many times in so many threads I’m beginning to think you’re trying to convince yourself. Let’s break it down.
1. Licensing causes confusion
Did we experience that here? Yeah, we did. We had a couple of state employees who put out some wrong information soon after the law was passed. It took a while to get ironed out but was cleared up at least a year prior to implementation of the law. After that, “confusion” was mostly on the part of those inspectors who ignored the requirements and the grandfathering deadline because they thought that they’d find a way around the law. Once they realized they’d screwed themselves by blowing off the grandfathering requirement for testing, they tried an end run around the laws by getting an ill-informed senator from the other side of the state to introduce legislation to give them a free pass. It didn’t work.
2. Licensing only benefits those who push and write state laws.
Well, since we are all consumers in this state, including the senator who started this process and those of us who fought her to a standstill and finally got her to compromise, I guess that’s true. Consumers here now know that every inspector here had to prove that he or she had a minimum level of experience in order to be grandfathered; or, if new, has to have been formally trained, and that all inspectors must have taken a test to prove that he or she is competent to do what he or she claims to be able to do - inspect homes. When some long-time inspectors were faced with the prospect of passing a test to prove they were competent to inspect homes, they left the profession. Since it’s a test of basic skills, I’d say they probably left because they knew they couldn’t pass the test and were therefore incompetent and knew they were incompetent. I’d say that every consumer benefits from that - not just those who pushed for and wrote the laws.
3. RE agents and special interest groups push for licensing because they want soft, basic, say-nothing reports all allowed by law.
Can’t speak to Kansas; I can only speak to Washington State where realtors in general that I spoke to smiled and said to my face that a law would be a good thing but only one showed up at any state hearings to push for licensing; and that was at the behest of our coalition - the President of the realtors’ association. He stated basically that his organization endorsed the coalition’s suggestions - that was it, no groundswell of agents pesting their legislators for licensing. Why would they? Licensing means that inspectors would be more concerned about keeping their individual licenses than they would in kow-towing to agents in order to get future referrals. What’s actually happened here is that agents have lost a whole lot of their influence over inspectors here, most don’t like it but they are powerless to do anything about it without looking like sleezeballs.
As for “soft, basic, say-nothing reports all allowed by law” neither the sop or the ethical guidelines allow for that. Inspectors must follow a state-mandated SOP and adhere to the state ethics guidelines. There must be a contract for every inspection and reports must conform to the state’s minimum reporting guidelines - no more one-paragraph reports. The ethics guidelines specifically prohibit minimizing report content for the purpose of garnering favor with realtors, in order to win future referrals; inspectors are required to disclose any personal, familial or business relationship with any realtor that refers them, and inspectors aren’t permitted to even accept a job if there are conditions attached to acceptance, such as not being too hard on the house, etc.
4. Licensing “levels the field, dumbs-down our profession, and only hurts the home buyers.”
Seriously, where do you come up with this stuff? Where is the proof of that? I’d say that before licensing the field was already very level. There were no standards for inspections, no standards for a report, no requirement for contracts, no requirements for basic competency, and nobody to go to for help if you were a home buyer and got a crappy inspection. Other than an inspector’s word and the recommendation one received from friends or a realtor, there was no way to know whether an inspector had ever met a basic level of competency. The profession was already dumbed down.
Licensing here forced every inspector - the guy who’d been in the business 30 years as well as the guy who’d been in the business 30 days - to prove that he or she could do what he or she claimed to be able to do, inspect homes, by forcing all to, at a minimum, pass a test of basic inspector competency.
How does that hurt the consumer? It seems that the consumer benefits from that? Oh yeah, I forgot, according to you when a consumer knows everyone is licensed the consumer apparently loses all motivation to interview an inspector to decide which inspector is more qualified than the next. That is a little bit alarming - especially since consumers apparently still choose their plumbers, electricians, architects, engineers, etc. by comparing the experience of those professionals and by getting referrals from friends and co-workers. Odd that it doesn’t work the same way with inspectors - oh wait,…it does work the same way with inspectors; in fact, it’s been my experience that during first phone contact now consumers are asking more questions than they ever had prior to licensing. If anything, it seems like consumers don’t want to assume that an inspector’s license means that all inspectors are equal in skill. Then again, maybe we simply have smarter, more discerning consumers out here than can be found in the middle of the country. Maybe over there they are all automatons that are easily led around by the nose and deceived into believing whatever they are told. I dunno, I don’t live in Kansas so I don’t know.
5. Lawmakers are blinded by this, and only look at how full their campaign funds are.
Well, I know they are definitely concerned about how full their campaign coffers are, but I’m not entirely certain they were blinded to anything. Our coalition was, at its height, 37 persons and by the time the law had passed was down to 11 folks that had seen it through to the end. That’s not a whole lot of folks. Lawmakers tend to listen to constituents who can influence others in their own districts and who can help them get more reelection funds. 11 folks from a bunch of different districts don’t fit the bill. With the number of inspectors state-wide being projected as only about a thousand and with the housing market in a full-on swan dive into the recession at the time, I’m pretty sure that no lawmaker looked at inspectors as a viable source for substantial reelection contributions.
6. Pass home inspection laws, you will create basic minimum reporting, cheap inspection prices, and lawsuits by the hundreds.
Well, our law does mandate a basic minimum level of reporting but doesn’t hamstring inspectors. As long as they satisfy the basic requirements set forth by the SOP they are free to expand upon their reports to their heart’s content. After passage we had zero complaints from inspectors who were already writing thorough reports and following some sort of SOP; but the lady running the program in Olympia told me that she did hear complaints from some who didn’t like having to inspect certain components or report stuff that they didn’t think was necessary. Thankfully, that was a very small number.
I actually saw a report here once, before licensing, that consisted of one paragraph. It went something like this:
This house has stood the test of time. I didn’t see anything to be concerned about.
That was the entire report. Nothing else. That guy would find himself in hot water today.
Cheap inspection prices? Yep, we had those guys 13 years before licensing and ever since. Licensing doesn’t really alter how some guys will charge for their work. If they want to charge less than what they need to pay their bills, that’s up to them. Nobody is going to force them to charge more and remain solvent; if they don’t have enough common sense to educate themselves about what it takes to run a business and then charge accordingly, it’s not the state’s job to keep them in business. If they fail, they fail.
I’ve been hearing the carping about low ballers for years - I’m sure that at one time or other I’d contributed to it. It’s the guys charging more, who somehow seem to feel that they need to lower their prices in order to remain competetive, that I take issue with. If they feel that their work is good and they are worth it, why are they lowering their prices to meet those of low-ballers with less experience? I raised mine twice in the middle of this freefall. Nobody has complained and the work has stayed steady. If you’re letting low-ballers get under your skin you’re focusing your energies in the wrong direction.
“Lawsuits by the hundreds”
Nah, I don’t think so. DOL tells me they’ve had a few complaints and there are one or two lawsuits going on, but they mostly involve mold issues and have nothing to do with licensing because any requirement to find mold was specifically excluded from our SOP. In fact, when the mold-is-golders tried to push subsequent legislation to add inspecting for mold to the law they were rebuffed,…two years in a row. The plethora of lawsuits that you and the other doomsayers predicted has not materialized.
7. I bet there will be no state-wide building standards for inspectors (or anyone else) to go by so you can report what is and what is not a defect
Well, you’d lose that bet here. There is a state-wide residential code that fills in the gaps where municipalities haven’t adopted their own version of some code.
8. Anyone involved in any RE transaction, including insurance agents, contractors of every type, home builders, appraisers, engineers, should all be licensed, insured, and regulated. All for one, one for all.
Again, I don’t know about Kansas but here the realtors, insurance agents, contractors of every type (including handymen), home builders, appraisers, engineers are all licensed and regulated. Here’s the list:
All of the dire things that were going to happen to consumers and inspectors here simply did not happen. All of the profit taking and market busting that opponents to licensing said would happen here simply did not happen; if it had, the naysayers would still be carping 24/7 and beating on doors down in Olympia. Instead, they’ve quietly gone about getting back to their businesses; and, other than the fact that consumers now seem to be a little more discerning, things are pretty much back to the way they were with folks busy making a living and no more time left to tilt at windmills.
ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!
Mike O’Handley, LHI
Your Inspector LLC.
Editor - The Inspector’s Journal
Member - Washington State Home Inspectors Advisory Licensing Board
To help you a bit regarding Kansas. We have no state wide mandated building code, code inspections or licensing of contractors, builders, etc.
About 2/3 of the state counties function without these gems.
1 & 2 Family houses in Kansas are exempted and excluded from state engineering and architectural laws. The realtors and legislators let those guys get a free ride. We have 23 PE’s in Kansas City alone of 1 kind or another doing home inspections in Kansas that have no oversight, don’t have toi carry insurance, follow any standards except their own, etc.
In Kansas the realtor board bussed agents out to the Capital to bombard the legislators with how bad they needed licensed home inspectors.
1.5 years later the board has had 2 complaints. Like Gary said - in Kansas it was a hose job. Today we don’t have buyers calling asking about qualifications … They just ask how much.
I had a lady caller last week that liked my web site, but I was $65 higher than the guys the agent recommended. When I went into the sales spiel, she informed me that her dad (a local code inspector) and the realtor both told her since we were ALL licensed; had to follow the same SoP’s; and had insurance it was best to pick the least expensive guy BECAUSE we all do the same thing.
Like Gary indicated in OUR AREA heres how its working out. Like Dog Turds
See the 2 attachments
I was thinking about moving to the Missouri side of the state line. Now that similar laws are coming to Missouri, the home inspection business here in KC will be done. Sad for the home buyers, and us veteran inspectors who tried to create an honest, professional industry.
Just goes to show you that in all states and the federal government, honesty is not paying. Politicians, attorneys, lobbyists, all have it wrong, and are all creating the downfall of our country.
I am also sure, Mike, that you must agree to this line in the new Kansas home inspection law, that revokes your fifth amendment rights:
(d) make all necessary investigations into the qualifications of *or *allegations of misconduct against an applicant and registrant. In connection with any investigation by the board or its duly authorized agents or employees shall at all reasonable times have access to and the right to examine and copy any document, report, record or other physical evidence of any registered home inspector being investigated or any document, report, record or other evidence maintained by and in the possession of any registered home inspector;
The key word above is “any”. These laws were signed into law by the “then governor” three days before this person resigned to go do the same thing in DC for health care.
Yes, perhaps I over-state too much. However, inspectors need to know what is happening, and festering to every state. Dan chose, and is heralded, for not being licensed as a home inspector in Kansas. He did not want to stoop to the level of the basic, cheap home inspector; and he became NACHI member of the year.
In the next week, I will have some things posted on the website for all to review …it appears that there is legislation being passed to form a committee to study the certification of home inspectors in the state of New Mexico
I have been looking into this and found out that a freind of mine is on the committee which is composed of real estate agents and appraisers .
I think we should try to get a home inspector on this committee,or at the very least get a chapter meeting together to discuss what might happen.
The committee is expected to report back by November this year.
Let me know what you think.
I wonder how much the RE association paid to get members on the committee. This is just another example of the conflicts of interest and the political elbowing that is happening everywhere in our nation, not just in our industry.
We already HAVE cheap soft inspectors here ,everytime I go to an inspection the sellers agent disapears because they don’t want to know about anything I find so they don’t have to disclose it,(now that’s professionalism for you) and people are always calling me asking if I will match a lower price!! Makes me want to get out of the business… oh well I am not going down without trying to generate some interest in the Inspector community here.
The only thing I forsee is that most inspectors here will wait until it is too late to do anything…Hell …the only reason I found out about it is because my appraiser friend told me she was asked to be on the committee.!!
It is truly amazing that the people who do want licensing, and will do anything to be exempt from the rules and laws, all want to be on committees.
Lawmakers do not realize that they want to be involved for a reason: to be exempt. Here in Kansas, appraisers, real estate agents, engineers, insurance agents, home builders, et. al., are exempt from rules, regulations, insurance and educational requirements.
All you have to do is note that most all senators and congressmen and women in Washington DC all do not want the health care that was passed and voted on by themselves. Same comes from many other laws, national issues, and home inspections. Washington has set the precedent, and the states are following.
All you can do is vote these people out of office, like we did in Kansas. Or pressure the senators so they resign, like some did. Realize that the only true job of any lawmaker or politician is to get re-elected. The only job.
Dale, now that the new legislative session is open, what is the status or findings of the working group that was established last year? Are we any closer to requiring licensing of NM home inspectors?
I hope all lawmakers in New Mexico reads the Missouri thread on this same InterNACHI message board section; and vice versa.
Our industry overall is a mess, with all most state home inspection licensing laws all being different. If a home inspector smoozes with the agents, writes soft reports according the state “SOP’s”, those inspectors are succeeding. If the inspector is honest, professional, writes complete in-depth reports all to help the client understand what they are buying, they are struggling. States that have cities along state line boundries allow home buyers to become even more confused as to how the inspector should perform the home inspection.
As in government, they have it all backwards. And they wonder why the economy is the way it is, and home sales are in the sewer.
Most agent associations, and other lobbyist-committees, will sell the lawmakers anything that benefits themselves, not the consumers. That is what most any association does: sell. Most do not care about the end result. Just so that commissions keep coming in, and the agents keep paying that membership fee to these associations. Sounds kind-of-like a union.
Politicans must serve the public. That is what they are elected to do. Nowdays, most are not doing that, and they wonder why they have to work so hard at getting re-elected.
Can you imagine the home buyers that would flock to real estate offices to buy a home, if those offices would always recommended a Certified Master InspectorTM? Then, why don’t they? Most agents want the bare minimum home inspector, so as not to alarm the home buyer; and they want it to become legal to do so.