The Dangers of Calling Yourself an Expert by Mark Cohen, Esq.

Just read it, very well written. Thanks!

I take it that a CMI’s we may be held to a higher standard…

I don’t let anyone call me an expert in regards to anything. I always correct them. Nor, would I ever market myself as an expert witness. Can certainly see that snowball come down a hill. Nice reminder and piece on the issue.

I always tell them, “I am not an expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once”. They get the point

What’s the difference between a master and an expert?

You’re safe calling yourself a Certified Master Inspector if you are one. Certified Master Inspector is the inspection industry’s highest professional designation. It is also a Registered (in both the U.S. and Canada) Federal Certification Mark administered and awarded by a non-profit, federally tax-exempt organization.

You are never safe referring to yourself as some kind of “expert”… unless you really do have some particular expertise in something.

It’s very ambiguous, if someone told me they were a master plumber I would ***-ume they were an expert. I’m not a CMI but have aspirations to be one.

Perfect example. If I were a plumber, I would only call myself a Master Plumber if I truly was a *Master Plumber. *

On a side note: The requirements to be a Master Plumber vary by state. The Certified Master Inspector Federal Certification Mark has one set of national requirements.


You are not answering the question. Can the word “master” find yourself in the same position as “expert” in a court of law? In my opinion they both mean the same thing. What does Mark think about this?

Whatever Nick tells him to think :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t refer to yourself as a “master” either, if you aren’t one. I wouldn’t claim you are “licensed” if you aren’t. I wouldn’t claim you are “insured” if you aren’t. This shouldn’t be news to you!

Courts hold you to the claims you make about yourself in your marketing material. If you claim you are an expert in some profession… you’d better stand ready to prove you are. And it is especially dangerous to claim you are an “expert” if you aren’t able to point to evidence that you are…because unlike the other defensible adjectives (Certified Master Inspector, licensed, insured, etc) which have clear industry definitions… what makes you an expert?

I know what makes me a Certified Master Inspector… I am one.
I know what makes me licensed… I’ve been issued one.
I know what makes me insured… I have insurance.

Make sure your claims about yourself are defensible. That’s all this article is trying to emphasize to you.

Mark is General Counsel for the Master Inspector Certification Board, btw.


What you appear to be inferring is some type of collusion on the part of Mr. Cohen. I don’t believe Mr.Chen has anything to gain from this type of activity such that others might. Also I don’t believe Mr. Cohen would put his name to anything he does not believe in.

You’re questioning Mr. Cohen’s ethics?

In Nathans, I mean Juans’ defense, I believe he is referring to the Employer/Employee relationship they enjoy.


I should have titled the article: “Call yourself an expert as long as you can back that claim up.

In my opinion the difference between a CVMI and a CEI is transparent and easy to see. CMI was intended to offer a designation to those Inspectors who achieved and meet certain industry standards and requirements. The CMI designation is also open to all inspectors no matter what organization you belong to and no matter what tools or products, software etc… you use to perform your inspections. That being said its intensions are fair and open to all. Lastly being a CMI means that you have succeeded in meeting or exceeding all of the required requirements.

This CEI title appears (as far as I can tell) to claim that and inspector is somehow an “Expert” in all of the different aspects of Home Inspections and can take on this designation by using certain products, tools etc… but has nothing to do with quantity of inspections performed, length of time being a Licensed or State Certified Inspector etc… Just seems like some made up designation to attempt to mimic a professional designation of Certified Master Inspector, Master Electrician, Master Plumber etc…

Just my 2 cents and personal opinion on how it all looks to me.


I have been contracted as an Expert many times but cases never seem to make it to court.
Insurers and Attorneys are always quick to settle…

CMI’s who were given their accreditation, beware!