OK. Here’s the thing:
- Kansas has most counties that have no building codes. Government dropping the ball with regards to protecting the public. I can, at least in part, understand, because Kansas is, primarily, a rural state with very little local government taxes, and therefore, very little local government revenues with which to fund code enforcment and code inspectors.
Point 1, the local government is dropping the ball with regards to protection of the public, their primary charge.
- The State of Kansas has no State licensing of general contractors, and the various sub-contracting trades. Therefore, there is no mandatory training, testing or validation of professional qualifications.
Point 2, the state (and local) governments are dropping the ball with regards to protection of the public, their primary charge.
- With so many new construction houses (based upon the building boom of a couple of years ago) that were built without any government mandated standards of quality, and with, for the most part, so may unqualified and un-professional tradespeople building these houses, they are, to put it mildly, not well built houses. They are not built well with regards to quality, but more importantly, they are not safe, based upon the current, nationally accepted, standards.
Point 3, the state and local governments are dropping the ball with regards to protection of the public, their primary charge.
- When older houses are repaired or modified or upgraded, the work is usually done by the lowest bidder. The public has an (unwarranted and false) expectation that these tradesman are trained and qualified and licensed (and if they have a buisness license, they can, legally, state that they are licensed, which further confuses the public) but in most cases, they are neither professional or qualified.
Point 4, there are many older houses that have been repaired or modified, so as to be sub-standard in quality or unsafe. Again, the public’s expectation is much higher than the factual reality, because the government has dropped the ball.
- When Real Estate agents try to sell these houses (new or used), the buyer’s will hire a home inspector. Most times, these inspectors are trained, qualified, professional and ethical. Given the perfect storm of housing defects out there (both in new construction and in older houses) these inspectors call out these defects. Since most inspectors are good, the buyer gets a bad smell from the houses and either backs away from the deal or demands the seller either fix the problems or lower the price. This makes trouble for the sellers, and for their agents. Sellers, wanting top dollar for their property, and agents wanting the commsission (especially during this depression in housing prices and sales) see the home inspector as the problem.
Point 5, the Real Estate community (which is very well organized and had big political lobbys in the state) try to change the paradigm.
- Most times, the agents have connections with the builders (preferred listing agents for new construction) and the builders also have a powerful state lobby. Various tradesman groups also have powerful lobbys. Then there are the lawyers, we see a great opportunity for more income through more litigation. Also remember that, many times, lawyers are also state Representitives and Senators and political consulants and congressional aides. So, given all these special interest groups who stand to make more money (and gain more political power) look for a scapegoat.
Point 6, the home inspection industry has very little political clout or money to affect and lobby (read: bribe state officials) to protect their interests.
- There are some Home Inspector associations whose leadership is more interested in affecting legislation, havings states mandate schooling (which they sell) and testing (which they also sell) and licensing of home inspectors (which they can control, and sell) than they are in actually doing good quality, professional hokme inspections. Since their goals are in accord with the Real Estate, General Contractors, Tradesman organizations and lawyers, they form an alliance. In essence, they are betraying the rank and file of their memberships so they can line their own pockets. This is similar to the various national union leaders who regularly sell their membership down the road in exchange for political power and their own personal, financial gain (i.e., Teamsters, SEIU, AFL-CIO, Autoworkers Union, etc).
Point 7, some national Home Inspector Association leaders get in bed with the other special interests, and betray their membership’s interests.
Finally, someone has to be left holding the bag. The government can’t because they would not be re-elected. The Realtors can’t because they have to make sales and recieve commissions. The builders can’t, because they have to pay off the loans the recieved to buy the materials and hire the workers that they need to build the houses. The tradesman can’t because they are, usually, working on such a small margin and have to continually work to get more work. Some national Home Inspector associations want to sell their products (rather than represent their membership) and promise their members easy licensing (for a fee).
Who is left? The professional and qualified home inspectors who do not belong to a particular national Home Inspector Association and who do a good job for the client.
Pass licensing legislation (and make it hard for the independent inspectors to obtain a license), and eliminate limits on liability for the small inspectors.
The state makes money on the license fees. The state also sets an SOP where the inspector has to write the report a certain way. Some national Home Inspector associations make money, in new membership, in training, in testing and annual dues. The builders and sub-contractors make money because they can sell their houses and thei services more easily. The Realtors make their sales and their commissions.
FInal point: Does it make sense that the government, who did not set standards for construction or general general and sub-contractor training and licenseing, gets to pass off their responsibilty to the inspectors, AFTER the houses have already been built? Does it make sense that the GCs and sub-contractors get off without any responsibility for their shoddy and sub-standard work? Does ity make sense that the Realtors get off selling houses that are badly and unsafely built? Is the public truely served?
Why is the home inspector, the only person in the whole process who ONLY represents the home buying public in an unbiased way, gets all the liabilty and responsibility when so many others, up the food chain, have already decided that they want no part in protecting the public.
A very sad state of affairs.