TREC Inspector Summit Preliminary Feedback

Well, I just got back from an all day trip over to TAMU to attend the TREC Inspectors Summit. Lot’s of good stuff got discussed and some not so good stuff. I’m tired now but will try to have a better set of notes tomorrow. In the meantime:

  1. 21 attendees inc. TREC staff, trade association representatives, Inspector Advisory Committee members.
  2. Moderated by Director of the TAMU Real Estate Center.
  3. Defined 20 top issues affecting Texas inspectors then culled it down to the top ten. Those details will be in the notes that the moderator sends later in the week.
  4. Agreed philosophically that the Big 4 trade associations in Texas, i.e. iNACHI, TAREI, TPREIA and ASHI should and would meet to see if consensus can be reached on the top issues and proposed solutions.
  5. Big push by EBPHI (ASHI) to ‘sell’ the NHIE to replace the existing proprietary exam…surprisingly that proposal was met with some level of acceptance.
  6. Comm Eckstrum somewhat clarified his earlier cryptic remarks by saying he had nothing specific but that the Legislature & TAR was looking for ways to address the coming state revenue shortfall and that inspectors could be a target, among many others, for things like additional fees, sales tax on inspections, & other revenue generating ideas and that inspectors need one voice to counter some of those ideas.
  7. Multi-trade association meetings are step one.

i am going to be attending a similar meeting here in Houston on Friday and understand they are taking place at major cities around the state. These meetings, from what I understand, are designed to bring together all Texas inspectors with a unified front as to our “voice”. I have been hearing from other local inspectors about the state targeting inspectors to try and move us over to be under, for instance, the state dept of insurance. This is not unlike pest control operators from a few years ago.

Those meetings are slightly different than the one today. The meetings around the state are open to all TREC licensees, i.e. brokers, agents, appraisers, inspectors, etc to solicit input to the TREC Strategic Plan. The invitation only meeting today focused only on inspectors and began to define what our top issues are and how we might develop one voice to be heard by TREC and the legislature.

The purpose of the meeting was misrepresented. No meaningful discussion occurred about what may happen to us in the next legislative session.

A surprise mind mapping session was held to extract three top items for TREC to work on. The result was a bunch of impromptu “I think we need to do this and that” with the result being MORE rules. Organized chaos.

I promoted the National test not on behalf of ASHI but to give newbie’s a chance at passing. The IC was offered a chance to take the test and none did. How can they critique it? The other person who promoted the National test is not an ASHI member. The Texas test has a 25% pass rate and NO budget to maintain it. There are many good things about the national test that I will not go into. It is predictable that the trade associations continue to tear each other down over things such as this. This is why there are 6 to 7 trade associations in Texas. This attitude contributes to the destruction of the industry.

What’s best for the individual inspector? (sarcasm)

  1. The Texas test. Few can pass it. Less inspectors.
  2. 80% minimum pass scores. Few can pass it. Less inspectors.
  3. 55% pass rate requirements for schools. No one can achieve it. They will all go broke. Less inspectors.
  4. Mandatory E&O. Less inspectors
  5. Elimination of limit of liability. Lots of law suits and expert work. $$$ That means higher fees and less inspectors.
  6. Elimination of limit of liability. Inspectors will become so tough trying to protect their own a s s that real estate deals will die left and right from 60 page reports. That means more inspections.
  7. Elimination of liability. Will destroy inspectors. Experienced inspector experts will GUT the newbie’s. “On my command . . . release hell”.
  8. Comparing homes to new code. That means old homes will be shredded. That means more repeat inspections and property devaluation. Builders will love it. Who would buy an old home under these conditions?
  9. Continuing to preach home inspection is about safety first when it has always been about property condition with a safety result. BIG personal injury potential there.
  10. Continuing to preach that regulation is about protecting the public. That hypocrisy makes me vomit and has disserved American freedom more than any other mantra. Anyone who has to use the phrase to justify their argument has a poor argument.

Is this crazy? Hell no . . . its Texas now and in the near future. I will not disrupt these meetings in the future . . . I won’t be there. I refuse to write more RULES for this insane over regulated industry. I will do only what I know I can affect. One step at a time.

Did you and I attend different meetings? :stuck_out_tongue:

The intent, as defined in the invitation, read:

Yes, we were in different meetings. It did nothing to address future legislation. It promoted more rules. It promoted more inspectors when no more are needed.

I was told by an authority afterwards that my comments pissed people off. For example, if inspectors promoted mandatory E&O for real estate agents TAR and TAMU revenue would drop by 40%.

That TAR left inspectors hanging by taking a “neutral” position on E&O. Hell E&O shields the agents more so. TAR wanted E&O IMO.

Foster and Willcox stating they would favor deregulation was hilarious and disingenuous.

The topics for discussion are all baloney. Write your summary and I will comment on it.

The best thing to happen is the fractionalized associations agreeing to meet on common objectives. That could work unless someone gets pissed and starts yet another group. Willcox has quit TAREI twice and been instrumental in starting two groups in the past 20 years; maybe he will start another in 6 months.

Several people have already called and asked me to stay involved. I will listen but refuse to write more d a m n rules.

  1. Where was it said that the meeting would 'address future legislation"? I missed that.
  2. There was discussion of promoting more inspectors when no more are needed. Did anyone voice a differing opinion?
  3. The topics for discussion were mostly baloney…I thought for a 1st pass it was pretty good and can easily be tweaked and added to now.
  4. I’m not going to write a more detailed summary…all the needs to be said was posted above.
  5. I’m not convinced at this point that the inter-association meetings will even take place. We’ll see.


Mr. Oldmixon and Mr. Ecstrum are two of the best we have seen. They desire to help the business within their limits. I appreciate them and their efforts. The problem lies in the inspectors themselves. The result will mean nothing but more rules and they will not solve problems. That is what I reject. I encourage you to meld an association that represents the groups to have a common voice. I will observe but not create more rules.

Good luck


I may be incorrect, but it is my impression that ASHI is not in Texas and has no or very few members in Texas compared to InterNACHI’s 350 members.

You are correct. There are about 60 to 80 and about 30 in Lone Star. The Texas chapter is remarkably non-political and for the better part integrated into other groups. They do not meet locally and have about one seminar a year. No political discussions; only good education.

1 Mr. Ecstrum verbally advised the inspector committee that significant changes could happen due to the budget and that TAMU offered a meeting place to try to form an alliance to control significant changes to the industry. He said “if you don’t come to the table you may become the meal”. Discussing E&O and education did nothing to address what was implied at the inspector committee meeting. Getting people together as a group might be a start however.
2 I did not say there was “no discussion”. TREC is obviously concerned about falling inspector numbers and want to increase them. As your data showed, there is no reason. We have excess capacity now. That lacked emphasis.
3 Nothing more than a discussion that will result in more rules. If that is good . . so be it.
4 But you said you would! What were the top 30 recommendations and what was it whittled down to?
5 Yes time will tell.

At least 3 of the 21 folks at the meeting yesterday were ASHI including one that sits on the EBPHI board as VP and another as the Lone Star ASHI president. All 3 heartily promoted the NHIE.

Maler said he would provide the official notes of the meeting to Adm Oldmixon for further distribution. Remember, I asked that 1st thing at the meeting so I would know how detailed of notes I needed to take.

We were instructed to write down 10 items that needed improvement. We then went around the room and each person offered two of the ten. Here are the ones I wrote down.

  • E&O insurance
  • Liability from sellers
  • Speaking with one voice
  • Education
  • Consumer protection
  • Marketing to buyers (how to)
  • Loss of good inspectors and E&O
  • Lack of new inspectors
  • Sponsorship problems
  • Apprenticeship problems
  • CEU rules (difficulty of being approved)
  • Need to increase CEU from 16 to 32
  • Realtors downplay comments
  • How do we handle termite reports
  • Difficulty in getting CBS lock box numbers
  • Educating real estate agents to understand our job.

I do not believe any of the numbered topics can be improved. It will only result in more rules.

That is all I wrote down.

I said the problems were:

Gross over regulation , an example being the SoP. The SoP have changed the rules from guidelines to requirements. I recommend TREC focus on education and defer SoP and enforcement to the trade groups.

Mr. Oldmixon explained there was a disconnect amongst consumers regarding the integration of the sellers disclosure, the inspection and the home warranty. I explained the inspectors understood the relationships well and that the limitations of the SoP were created to shield us from the lies of the disclosures and the profit objectives of the home warranty companies. I do not know how to integrate these for the consumer.

I said TREC blocked the inspector committee from having an emergency meeting to discuss the midnight E&O bill. Furthermore TREC filed an open meeting complaint against Chairman Davis for trying to organize a meeting.

E&O happened because TAR took a neutral position and TREC prevented discussion.

I said E&O could not be changed without TAR support.

I said inspectors should stay in TREC so we can remain in close discussion.

I said if E&O were passed for agents it would affect TAR and TAMU revenue.

Foster and Willcox said they would not oppose deregulation. (when pigs fly).

The groups decided they should try to work together. (to be seen).

Mr. Ecstrum had no details to offer regarding legislation other than “Come to the table or be the meal”.

I am a NACHI and ASHI member. However, for the purpose of this discussion screw them both. The point is the Texas test versus the EBPHI test and what serves the purpose.

The Texas test has NO budget to continue development and a very high failure rate. So dump EBPHI in the toilet. Now, how do you fix the test?

Nick et al; what is the percentage of homes sold that are inspected? What is percentage of homes that are inspected twice?

Here are the “Issues” from Adm Oldmixon:

**Real Estate Inspector Summit **


22 March 2010


Issues confronting the industry today:

  • E/O insurance is mandatory; why?
  • E/O providers; limited number of underwriters
  • Frivolous lawsuits; some from non-client parties
  • Continued loss of good quality inspectors due to E/O Insurance requirement
  • Liability claims from sellers
  • Lack of representation of inspectors as one voice on behalf of the industry
  • Lack of unified legislative representation
  • Education related issues; better definition of the education process needed
  • Poor quality of online education
  • Stricter guidelines for CEUs; should focus on standards of practice
  • Increase/double the number of annual CEU’s required
  • Is our motivation Consumer Protection or Inspector Protection?
  • Marketing to buyers vs marketing to real estate licensees
  • Lack of highly qualified new inspectors coming into industry
  • There is a need to re-think and re-work the sponsorship program
  • Add an apprenticeship feature to the fast track program
  • Realtors downplaying the severity of the deficiency comments
  • General unhelpful interference of real estate licensees in our business
  • Realtors who do not know when to ask for termite inspection
  • Realtor education about inspector business
  • Agent referrals; inspectors marketing reports to agents; agent becomes the customer
  • Public awareness of inspector scope, role and limitations
  • Licensing exam needs to be reexamined; look at national exam as a potential
  • Why are inspectors under TREC vs under DLR
  • Improved ethics and rules violations enforcement
  • Size and complexity of current standards of practice is a barrier
  • Training and education; fast track vs three step process; what we have now is confusing
  • Explain the need for, the content of and the process of writing the SOP commentary
  • Industry is grossly over regulated since trade association fragmented and lost influence or control; suggest TREC regulate education and licensing; leave enforcement to the courts
  • Reports need an expiration date
  • Problem getting the key code to access property

Top 3 Issues

**1. E/O insurance should not be mandatory; but it should be available by choice **

  • With mandated E/O, we have to write reports to pacify underwriters
  • With a recovery fund, this means two different risk management methods in place
  • Need TAR’s help in overturning the E&O requirement, or minimizing it
  • Define scope of inspector liability…this will require some legal counsel for rule writing
  • Relationships between the many inspector associations need to be solidified
  • Need TREC’s help to identify the number of inspectors who have dropped out since E&O

**2. Education Issues; all education components need to be reworked to be more effective **

  • Mandated state exam needs updating; consider reciprocity; state specific national exam?
  • ID the requirements for courses to best prepare an inspector to be competent and ethical
  • Break out core course and continuing education into two separate issues in legislation
  • Do something about online education – it is ineffective as currently offered
  • Include an apprenticeship requirement with the “fast track” option
  • Rework the sponsoring inspector apprenticeship program to encourage more sponsors

**3. Relationships with real estate licensees need to be clarified and strengthened **

  • Get more MCE courses approved for real estate licensees covering what inspectors do
  • Some form of education should be required as to inspector SOP’s and role
  • Provide a specimen contract for a homeowner’s warranty to consumer as part of the inspector’s property condition report?

Let me know when the next meeting is and I’ll come down and make anyone promoting the NHIE beginner’s exam look like the dim bulbs that they are.

The task is to solve the so called Texas testing problem and believe me when I say TAREI, TPREIA, ASHI and 4 others are not gonna buy into NACHI.

On the other hand I don’t think there is a testing problem. 25% fail rate is fine by me.

You guys in Texas have arguably the best pre-licensing and testing requirements in the inspection industry. If I’m at the next meeting, I’m going to compliment Texas up one side and down the other. And all that free, online, approved continuing education is the best of the best! I wouldn’t mess with it all too much if I were you.