Sick of RE Agents

Two Question;

Is anyone out there making a living on residential and small commercial building thermal only.

Is anyone out there moved completely away form real estate sale inspections and doing building diagnostic consultation or something similar

Just wondering for future work possibilities. I purposely am excluding thermal work that involves machinery, heavy electrical, refrigeration, high rise construction. Non of these types of work would be in sphere of influence, i.e. knowledge base and I have no desire to attain this type of knowledge.

Sorry for the poorly worded question, if you understand what I asked and have a better phraseology , please share:neutral:

Majority of those jobs you described are done in house by technicians/ engineers in that related field. The third party opinion is not that important. They send own employees to get trained. In an industrial setting it is easier to have an employee trained and take a half day a week to grab thermograms for maintenance records. They are also highly qualified on the systems they are looking at.

Making a living ONLY on thermal imaging with residential? Maybe if your retired and collecting your pension already… or crushing it with your advertising. You can make some good money sometimes in winter when moisture and frost problems arise, but that’s in addition to a mold inspection. Ie. Mold + thermal inspection.

You could get into oil patch work… that’s a completely different path and system and camera to learn though. 😊

As long as home inspectors offer free thermal it will not be a serious skill that commands a fee.

Free estimates by contractors tells people that the contractors time is not valuable.

Free residential thermal inspections tell buyers that its not something that’s worth a fee. When you offer free skilled services you are undermining everyone and that’s why residential thermal imaging is a tough sell. I would skip it entirely or just get a wrist camera and show people colored pictures, if you want to make money contact commercial roofers or HVAC companies who don’t have a staff thermographer.

I believe there is a market for full time IR professionals but not necessarily in the home inspection industry.

I’ve done some research into this topic, not because I wanted to get away from home inspections, just because I think the IR market is fascinating.

And the answer is yes, you can occasionally get hired to do this sort of thing, but it will likely will be few and far between.

Larger corporations will find their insurance requires an annual IR scan of their facilities, but as Dallas mentioned, they often just send someone on staff to take the class, and do it in house.

On the residential side, you can sell it as part of an energy efficiency inspection, but many utilities offer free or heavily discounted energy efficiently inspections to their customer. And while such inspections may be limited in scope and don’t really compare, the end consumer really isn’t going to see the difference.

You need to take a trip down to Gig Harbor and hook up with Scott Wood.

Not sure in the whole viability of IR as your primary business, but this aint your cup of tea if you’re letting REA’s get to you. Sure I don’t like some, and others are fine, just a mater of doing business, I don’t have to be best buddies with all folks I do business with.

I am at the Infraspection conference right now and the few people I talked to said become Level 3 if you plan on making any money.

What’s the problem with agents?
The vast majority of the ones I work with are intelligent, hard working, care about their clients and appreciate my work as well.
Agents bring me referrals worth over a hundred thousand bucks a year.
Sure there are a couple dopes you run into sometimes but hey we all know some dopes who are home inspectors too.:shock:

Don’t let John hear you saying that!

Scott taught me level 1. Great guy and filled with Knowledge. He has definitely made a living with it.

Huh? Isn’t Level III a technical course?

Thank you to all who took the time to reply. David, I have looked at Scott’s website and thank you for the confirmation.

To clarify my posts title, I have respect for many RE and no respect for many RE and like Thomas said, it is true with any profession and would include the HI business. It happens that last week I sat on an inspection panel (5 local inspectors in front of a room of RE, for a question answer period) and I was once again reminded of the low level of knowledge and seemingly low level of character of so many RE’s. Naturally the room was filled with only about a 1/4 of the agents that make up the association, that was having there weekly meeting and of the 40 RE’s there, I only saw two high producers.

Anyhow,thanks for the info have a great week:D

The real estate broker model is broken

Radical industry change is needed to align broker value with commission splits

by Tamir Poleg
Jan 19
Ladies and gentlemen, the broker model is broken.
The brokers’ view of their value to their agents and the value that agents see in their brokers have grown so far apart that a radical change is needed.
Brokers look at their businesses as though agents are working for them.
Most even say it out loud, in words, in corporate culture and in their state of mind.
But this is not how agents see (or wish to see) their own business.
The vast majority of agents are independent contractors.
An agent runs a personal business under the umbrella of another business owner — the broker.
In theory, the interests of these two business owners should be aligned, potentially leading to a collaborative formula where one plus one equals three.
In reality, for most agents, one plus one equals 1.5 (broker) and 0.5 (agent).
Naturally, brokers will not step forward and say there is something broken in this model
. They would be shooting themselves in the feet. It is up to agents to raise the flag and create a broad, deep dialogue about how to rebalance the agent-broker relationship.
But agents are not in a position to step forward.
They are busy maintaining and nurturing their own businesses, they are obliged by regulations to work in a certain frame, and they are afraid of annoying the broker — the one who controls their commissions. Many are struggling to make it through the month, and painfully so.
They are too used to working according to the same model that the industry has dictated for too long.
They simply know no other way.
It takes a great deal of frustration and even anger to try to change an unfair reality that on one hand is harsh at times — and on the other hand brings food to your table.
Let’s talk about the real role of the broker: empowerment.
It’s a wonderful word with a meaning that spreads far beyond specific action or tools, a word that symbolizes a business philosophy.
Besides the obvious duty of the broker in providing a layer of inspection and protection for the agents and their clients (a role that should not be undermined),
a truly valuable broker is one who grasps the meaning of empowering agents.
Times have changed, and the truly valuable brokers are those who push their agents forward — who motivate them, train them, educate them,
make them more responsive and assist them in becoming more effective.
Valuable brokers are those who provide the tools to help agents become more professional, the ones who create a sense of community amongst their agents where one can impact others and benefit from the input of the whole group
. These brokers put their agents’ business ahead of their own business.
All these lofty words can be broken down to the specific daily actions, technology tools, leads, app features,
Web exposure, means of communication, interactions with clients, ways information is displayed and better agent business terms that brokers provide.
Brokers simply cannot compete with their agents;
there is an inherent discrepancy in an office where the owner competes with the people he is supposed to be assisting and who are generating his own business. We need a new balance in our industry.
Agents need to ask themselves these simple questions:

  • “Am I happy?”
  • “Am I paying too much to my broker?”
  • “Am I getting what I deserve?”
  • “Am I controlling my professional destiny?”
  • “Am I a part of something significant?”
  • “Do I have a competitive edge?”
  • “Will my business survive and prosper as technology advances?”
  • “Do I need a change?”

We would be naïve to expect the people who benefit from this status quo, the brokers, to lead the change.
They are well off as it is.
The change must come from the ground up, from agents who realize that there is a different way, that they have the power to change their own destiny, and that it is up to them to redefine the balance between commission splits and broker resources.
Tamir Poleg is the founder and CEO of [FONT=“Times New Roman”]Real](, an innovative technology powered brokerage.[/FONT]

I was with kw for 6 months as a new agent . The broker was competing with the agents.
The philosophy was to recruit as many agents as possible hoping that 10% would become successful.
I was assigned to a mentor who was not licensed in my state and received 50% of my first commission.
Almost left the industry because of this experience. That was 15 years ago. The reality is your clients could care less which brokerage you work for.
I have learned not to rely on any companys proprietary CRMs or email servers. Your database becomes your brokers property if you decide to make a move.

I left KW for that reason (unfair split). KW is a massive manufacturer of agents where everyone wants to get you in their profit share. It may be a great match for some, but not for me! I completely agree with Jack Stroup when he says “clients could care less which brokerage you work for” I’m currently working with a boutique firm that invest in my business to grow with theirs.

Great read and the last sentence of this article sums it up! Change must come from within- be it a company or a person!

Seriously? Realty Executives created the 100% model back in 1965 which empowered agents as independent contractors. (It was not Remax…their founder learned their model from us when he was one of our agents…) Our

I don’t know enough to say that’s all it is but I think what the Level 3 guys have going is they are Level 3’s. If your gonna spend the money your probably going to hire the people with the highest level of education and experience.

My opinion is you need to start somewhere as in Level 1, but to make money you need to be a Level 2 or 3.

Or give it away claiming you offer more than other inspectors but if you go beyond showing cold spots or hot breakers you’d be crazy to not charge.

Guys are always saying you can’t charge for estimates but I do because I know how to write a project proposal, many guys do that for free, what’s the point of that?

Let’s see if I can clarify this (again).

#1 I am an ITC level III thermographer, so I can only discuss the Flir group.

Thermography levels ‘do not’ teach you new things (by leaving things out in the lower levels). They build upon what you learn from the beginning. It is a progression based upon education ‘and’ experience.

You start by learning how to turn on the camera and make adjustments in the camera. You get a basic understanding of the applications you can use and how to use them.

As you progress utilizing what you have already learned, they dig deeper into the applications and you conduct exercises to apply this learning.

Level III goes even deeper by applying analytical/mathematical calculations to determine what anomalies are actually significant. It goes into standards and management of other thermographers.

Look at it this way; level I are guys that go out and find exceptions and anomalies. This is what home inspectors do.

Level II is a more advanced ability to utilize the principles of thermography to not only find but to better analyze the findings. (this would be an on-site supervisor).

Level III is about setting up the program, applying the appropriate standards, equipment, and reporting criteria (based upon the company you work for). Generally there are multiple thermographers under a level III.

Think about it this way as a home inspector: You are the level I, level II and level III. You ‘are’ the business.

In order to function under the same parameters of the head of a thermography program in a manufacturing facility for example, as a home inspector, you must be able to conduct yourself the same is a level III who supervises level ones and level twos. You must ‘supervise yourself’ because you’re a ‘one man band’.

If you want to make money in this business as a level I, you need to be able to do much more than turn on the camera and make adjustments to find thermal exceptions. You have to know how to set up and when to set up your analysis. You need to be able to evaluate what you collected during your analysis. You must apply industry standards to your analysis. You must report your analysis appropriately.

Why in God’s name would a facility engineer higher a level I thermographer to do all of this? When you’re done with everything you do as a thermographer, you have got to sit down in front of all these engineers and fulfill their expectations.

But your only a home inspector!? Your client has no expectations because they don’t understand what thermal imaging is to start with. So what are your services worth? Not a whole lot in the scheme of things. So why not give it away for free?! Because it cost too much to be able to do the task to do it for free. “return on investment”.

My entire week is tied up as a witness in a court proceeding in which I did a building evaluation with infrared thermal imaging. Inspectors (mostly who are scared of their shadow) post that thermal imaging increases liability. I did not agree with that initially, but as I sit here in the courtroom, they are probably correct. When what you do comes into question in a court of law, what you actually know is significantly diminished. If you use thermal imaging, they’re going to find somebody else greater than you, pay them a significant amount of money to show how little you know. Losing the case is the least of your problems. Being hung out to dry while demonstrating that you misdirected your client into thinking something was, when it wasn’t! Can you spell ’ liability’?

Take it for what it’s worth.
If you feel your proficient, go for it.

If you’re copying somebody else’s stuff and putting it on your website and you have not actually done it, it will come back and bite you in the ***.

If you are claiming ability, raising your clients expectations beyond your capacity to perform, you are a liability to yourself.

Seeing you are a level I with no supervising level III, there is no one to defer responsibility to other than the person in your bathroom mirror every morning.

Well said David and requires a bump. Everyone should read this.

The role of Infrared Thermography in Home Inspections is a fiercely debated topic that has been discussed here many times. I ventured into Thermography in 2007/08 as a way to diversify and expand my service offerings.

I have offered Infrared Scans as stand alone (separate) services in addition to the home inspection and I have included an infrared scan as part (not separate) of the home inspection. Each service option has it’s pros and cons and Inspectors who are in business for themselves will need to make a decision as to which will suit their particular needs.

I personally offer a General Infrared Scan as part of my residential inspections at no additional cost to the client. However, I do not consider this to be a “free” service. Although I might describe it as free for marketing purposes, it’s certainty not. I have incorporated the service and extra time needed to conduct the general scan into my residential fee structure. There are many different ways to pricing your services and I’m sure many different opinions as to which is best. There is the all-inclusive pricing, package pricing, or separate (A La Carte) pricing.

I agree with Bob Incollingo, who is a Lawyer in NJ and periodically writes Articles and “Tips of the Week” for the Infraspection Institute. Bob said, “infrared thermography is driving a paradigm shift in the business of home inspection.” His full article can be found here: I think Infrared Thermography will be incorporated into the National Standards for Home Inspectors. The technology, IMHO, will ultimately drive the National Organizations and laws governing home inspectors to take action in this direction.

With that being said, Home Inspectors wanting to get into Thermography or already offer Thermography to their clients should be concerned with the various legal issues involved with offering these services. And, equally as important, the specific training required to offer these services. ASNT certification is the most recognized for NDT. Home Inspectors wanting additional training or certification in Thermography should strongly consider attending classes that will qualify with ASNT document SNT-TC-1A.

It is my opinion that every Home Inspector offering Infrared Thermography services in residential inspections, regardless of being all-inclusive or separate, should have the desire to obtain the highest certification level offered. As far as being successful with this technology, I can attest that there is plenty of money to be made both in the residential and commercial sectors. Get the appropriate certifications and training and market it to your advantage! You will soon be recognized as a “subject matter expert” and be frequently called upon for your expertise. At least that is my experience.


Good article Roy, kind of off topic for the thread, but good reading.
Let an agent know of the business model below, and they may appreciate it. Low transaction fee (not a split), broker does not list or represent buyers, training.

Equity Real Estate:

Hopefully the above isn’t considered spam:)