Why I Support Missouri HB 122, Home Inspector Licensing

Almost every state legislative session will find at least one brave Missouri politician from the Senate or the House who will put forth a bill that would require minimum basic building standards throughout the state. These bills all die from inattention and loneliness due to the fear that elected representatives have from the special interest groups —like the Missouri Association of Realtors (MAR) and Missouri Builders Association— who have not only spent their money to fight the bills, but have used their influence to raise the Libertarian ire of the rural citizens who would find such an atrocity to be an attack against their commitment to fight any government control over their lives.

It makes no difference to many rural citizens that any Third Grade elementary school student from St. Louis with barely passing grades has actually met all of the criteria that is necessary to wire a five-story hotel in dozens of city and county jurisdictions that avoid having any basic minimum building standards.

Nor does it seem to matter to many of them that the loss of lives and properties in residential or commercial structures is considered to be so common they rarely even make the area news broadcasts.

Independence from minimum basic building and safety standards is a treasured “right” and passage of any legislation that would implement these standards are the “kiss of death” to any rural representative hoping for reelection.

This is why I support the agenda set forth this year by the Missouri Association of Realtors in their step toward their goal of licensing home inspectors, particulary Missouri HB 122.

**For the first time in many Missouri counties and cities a state licensed professional would be inspecting buildings and applying a state-wide minimum basic standard. **

In MO HB 122, a written test is required for potential inspectors to pass in order to demonstrate their knowledge regarding the basic minimum standards to be applied when building or remodeling a home. In addition to the test, this bill also requires potential inspectors to be trained in a classroom in order to know how to apply these standards so that they can discover and accurately report “defects” left behind by builders and contractors.

While MO HB 122 does not actually reference any such standards, it does refer to “defects” and the accountability of an inspector to find them and report them. In fact, some bills have required that the inspector carry special insurance to cover instances where these “defects” are missed in his inspection report. As anyone who has ever evaluated something to consider whether or not it is defective knows for a fact — you cannot have a “defect” without first having a “basic minimum standard” to apply it to.

This bill, if passed, will put a state recognized professional in every jurisdiction in the state who will then be able to offer and sell his services to insurance companies, lenders, lawyers (and their plaintiffs or defendants they represent), as well as anyone else needing a report on the ability of a certain building or contractor to meet these standards…and to provide their state recognized opinions in any case where these standards are not met.

Banks can withhold draw payments on inferior buildings. Insurance companies can raise rates or deny coverage when buildings fail to meet the minimum basic standards that will be applied statewide for the very first time.

In addition to this is the fact that consumers who are purchasing homes that were built by unlicensed contractors using unskilled labor will be able to hire a state recognized professional to closely examine the product and report on any “defects” that fail to meet the minimum basic standards that they are tasked by the state to apply.

There is no doubt that this generous act toward the best interest of those who purchase private and commercial real estate is an unintended contribution by the special interests who have consistently fought against anything that would or could interfere with their commissions resulting from the sale of such properties. That is why, in order to fine tune their legislation to the necessary degree to where it will benefit all who are wanting to use a home inspector to inspect their prospective homes —there is one more adjustment that must be made.

Once the insurance companies, lawyers, lenders, real estate agents, and consumers have access to a complete list of all state recognized (registered, licensed, or otherwise) inspectors there is no longer a legitimate reason for real estate agents to have a role in the process of referring, scheduling or otherwise recommending home inspectors or arranging them for their clients. There are, however, many obvious illegitimate reasons for their doing so.

Since all inspectors who appear on the state recognized list have met or exceeded the criteria of making that list, then each of them is equally qualified to perform the service that the salesman’s client would require. What is there left for a salesman to “prefer” about any specific inspector if not his willingness to write a report that would “favor” a house to help a salesman close his deal?

Thus, any home inspection regulatory bill that is presented to the legislature that represents itself as being in the best interest of the public must ALSO prohibit real estate brokers, salespersons, or anyone employed by them to involve themselves in the process of referring, recommending, or otherwise engaging the services of a state recognized home inspector.

With only that very practical and minor adjustment that no legitimate real estate salesman (or entity representing such) should object to, I fully support the application of a statewide minimum basic standard to be used by state recognized home inspectors to provide services in areas throughout the state — particularly where there are presently no standards or enforcement presently in place.

I urge all of you to support building code enforcement throughout Missouri and help pass HB 122.

I do like the bill supporting the enforcement of building codes.
I do not like the end of the bill regarding grandfathering-in of inspectors, but I may consider supporting this bill if where it says
**"(1) Has full membership in good standing with ASHI, NAHI and NACHI" **
if membership was also required the two years prior, and real estate brokers and their companies, agents or employees are not allowed to refer home inspectors, due to the obvious conflict of interest that can occur. We all have seen, as inspectors, how the referring of patty-cake inspectors have caused harm to consumers and hurt the inspection industry as a whole.

I guess I will have to pay to do inspections in Missouri, and be registered there, as well as Kansas. RE’s in Kansas can sell homes in Missouri, without having to pay funds in both states. I am certified for termite inspections in Kansas, and Kansas has a reciprocate agreement with several neighbor states, so you do not have to spend $$ to be certified in those states.

What’s another fee anyway. I am just made of money.

There is nothing in the bill about contractors, minimum build standards, or anything for home builders. IMHO, the bill is worse than Kansas. It is said, because I thought that Missouri had decent people. I guess it is like any other cr*p home inspector law out there, which does not serve the consumer in any capacity, gives unlimited power to the boards, who can write anything to please any RE special interest group. Just like DC.

It is inferior in many respects. I agree…but…it does one important thing.

It establishes a single, state-wide standard for what will be considered as an acceptable building practice. It establishes a test for it, requires reports to be written in accordance to it, and establishes schools to teach it to new inspectors.

We will not have to rely upon homes being sold in order to use our licenses. In most of the state, there are no AHJs or licensed contractors. We will be the only licensed entity with the authority to write reports concerning the conditions of properties.

Banks will be able to withhold draw payments from builders who are not meeting the minimum basic standards in new construction based upon our reports. Since builders, contractors and tradesmen are not licensed by the state…they can’t even dispute our findings. Banks can better protect their investments and not have to worry that the building they are financing will be worth less than they loaned out after a winter or two of moisture intrusion or inferior HVAC.

Insurance companies can decide whether to issue policies or charge higher premiums from the information that we can provide them in our official reports written to address the new statewide standard that only we are authorized by the State to provide.

A wider market with the ability to actually do something…something very real and tangible…to help the consumer.

No, the law is far from being a good home inspection law and does little to really improve the quality of a home inspection or a home inspector. But it establishes something that the State lacks and desperately needs…a statewide minimum basic standard for the construction and maintenance of residential dwellings.

This is certainly not the intent of the bill…but it provides for it, just the same.

I few months back, a lender sent me out to look at the set back distance for a well on a property, they were wanting to finance. The appraiser had expressed there was maybe an improper set back distance. I measured the set back and it was will within the allowed limits. The lender asked me if i could make the appraiser believe this. I told her, the appraiser has too because I hold a state license in private sewer systems and that means I am suppose to know what I am talking about. She got a good laugh about that.