Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)

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Puget Sound Real Estate Agents -- Tracking Washington State Home Inspectors

Yes folks, we are getting down to the wire. The new home inspector licensing laws in Washington state kick in on September 1, 2009. Did you know that these laws will impact home inspectors and real estate agents as well.

How are realtors impacted you might ask. The law impacting realtors is part of the RCW's that regulate the profession RCW 18.235.130, governs unprofessional conduct and in that law #9 states that unprofessional conduct includes: "Aiding or abetting an unlicensed person to practice or operate a business or profession when a license is required".

It looks like agents who refer inspectors, or give out lists, should exercise caution and ascertain that inspectors on the list are "legal." To do otherwise does not comply with the law as written.

So, you might be asking, how can a real estate agent find out if an inspector is licensed or not? Warning to realtors: Do not assume that everyone who you might have worked with before is going to be licensed. In many communities there are well-known inspectors who, as of this writing, have not yet applied to test for state licenses. Everyone, no matter how long he or she has been inspecting, must take the exams and pass them. It seems, from the raw numbers so far, that there could be attrition here, it is hard to tell. I am also told that some inspectors plan to defy the law and work without licenses. Boy, that is risky because this law has teeth. There is another group of inspectors who had been working in the field, but not long enough to be grandfathered in, who may be able to legally work through the middle of next year. The idea is to give them some extra time to get field training and fundamentals training.

So how do realtors know if the inspectors they refer to clients are licensed and, therefore, inspecting to the Washington state standards of practice?

Good news: We are just a little more than three weeks out from the mandatory licensing requirements and the state DOL has  a website that allows you to check inspector status. You can view any county in the state or search by a person's name. First, before you get to the links, please realize that some inspectors who show as being ready to take the exam might have passed the exam and they are waiting for their licenses. There is a short lag time as fees are collected and paperwork is processed. And, if you are using inspectors in that group that might have extra time, you should find out the circumstances. You might wish to ask your broker about that to get company guidance on the exceptions.

Here is an example of how the DOL site works.  If you are a Whatcom County realtor and you wish to see which inspectors are in the system at this point, active or approved to take the exam, click on Whatcom County below.  

Whatcom County Inspectors

If you are a Seattle area real estate agent, click on King County below. 

King County Inspectors

And if you work at any other office in the state, you can go into the state system at the root and fill in your own county or city to find out who is licensed. If you do this, in the top box, change the search to "licensed home inspectors." The rest is pretty straight forward.

Any County, Fill in the blanks

I am sure that this transition might be a bit rough at first but, a few months down the road, we will all be used to how it works and the new law will seem like it has been in place forever.

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections

 

        

        

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65 commentsSteven L. Smith • August 07 2009 09:37AM

Comments

Raven DeCroe

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Newer Inspectors with less than 2 years in the profession and fewer than 100 home inspections completed as of June 12, 2008.
Newer inspectors must complete ALL of the following steps and become licensed on or before July 1, 2010.

http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/homeinspectors/hilicense.html


I'm surprised you left out this very important information.  I'm sure there are many inspectors in WA that have until July 1, 2010 to complete the requirements.  Your post is quite misleading.


Posted by Kevin Pierce, New Construction Warranty Management (Cascade Builder Services) about 5 years ago

Steve - I have to ask.  This law "has teeth."  What is planned to happen to a very competent, long-time home inspector who wants to operate outside this new business restriction?  Jail time?  Fines?  And to a realtor who refers a comptent, long-time home inspector he/she has worked with for 15 years who is not in compliance? Are they ushered out of the real estate profession?  Or similar jail time or fines?

And, will they be setting up an Obama-like snitch website to turn in those non-compliants, maybe like the sex offender registry?

I ask this NOT as a rabble rouser but as a free libertarian.  I am wondering what's coming next.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Kevin,

I am not intending to mislead here, but the whole thing is hard to describe. As you know, DOL has changed positions on that one issue a few times. I am one of the people who pushed to allow extra time for that one group of newer inspectors. The blog, as it stands is correct. The facts are that licensing begins September 1. And the majority of inspectors who plan to work under the new law will probably be licensed by then.

 If the grandfather group, the old timers, IS NOT licensed by then, even that group will be subject to all of the training and field training requirements just like new people. They could work till June, but it is going to cost them money to do so, so they ought to get licensed. And that group that you talk about is required to do the training and it seems that they can work till June so they have time for training.

So essentially, not knowing exactly how to describe to realtors how they might go about figuring out all of this, and who is in which group -- since that group that is delaying is not licensed but might be legal for awhile, I said they should make sure their inspector is "legal." That could include inspectors in the group(s) you are referring to. The only way the realtors can find out, among that group far as I can tell, is to ask. I assume that an inspector in that group would explain the situation that he or she had a few more months to comply.

Also, as the law says, the realtors are required to refer licensed people, but I suspect that they could refer from that group you refer to till the deadline for those inspectors. I did make an edit in the post above, in an effort to explain this all better. It leaves realtors in an odd or uncertain position though, since they are not going to have any easy way to figure who is working in that "extended" zone and who is not. I suspect that many will, for simplicity, just go off the state list which is another reason I would encourage inspectors to try to get licensed ASAP. Maybe one of us should do a blog survey, asking realtors how they plan to handle this.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

You may not have intended to mislead but it could certainly be described as misleading given that it says nothing about this, possibly very large, group of inspectors that will be legally conducting home inspections until July 1, 2010.  I'm glad you've cleared it up in your comment.  Thank you.

 

And yes, I'm an inspector that is not required, by law, to be licensed until July 1, 2010.

Posted by Kevin Pierce, New Construction Warranty Management (Cascade Builder Services) about 5 years ago

Jay,

I imagine that, initially, there might be a warning to such a person. After that it is fines and they are stiff, with numbers like $5,000.00 and $25,000. I think there will be no shortage of licensed inspectors reporting those who do not comply. The fees to be licensed are now high, with the cost of being an inspector, comparing before to now, going up by about 25x the first year by the time the licensees pay for testing and the initial license fee.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Kevin,

Do you plan to pursue a license, or do you plan to go into something else in June? The thing I wonder about with that group, as said above, is how it will work as far as referrals. I am in that grandfathered group and I sure did not want to delay and be subject to taking all the training again. That was not part of the plan and I suspect that of the old-timers, most of them will get the license before Sept, so they do not have to pay for re-training. In the other group, the one you are in, there are probably more who will be working through June.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

I think that those inspectors that wait until July 1, 2010 to meet the requirements are running a high risk of reduced calls from agents, as there have been, and will be more, letters going out to all agents warning them of the risks (liability) of recommending inspectors that are not licensed.  My thinking is that agents will look up the inspector's name on the DOL website and if they do not see it there they will move onto an inspector that is on the list.  I do not think they are going to try and sort out whether the inspector is in some special category that allows them to do inspections even though they have not met all the requriements.  I suspect that these inspectors will perhaps be able to convince their regular referrers---but they will likely loose out when it comes to newer agents that do not know them yet.  I think this "window" has more possibility of being a "door."  Just my two cents.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Charlie,

Most professions like something simple so not too much time is spent figuring out how to do the basics. I think that you are right, by not being on that list many inspectors will be losing out on business. My relationship with realtors is fine, but I think if I was not on that list many of those that refer me would probably go what they think is the safe route and pick from the state list. Also, I would really hate to have to answer the question all the time -- "So how come you are not licensed and when will you be." Fair or not, that decreases credibility.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Well, I've always been in something else.  Will I pursue an HI license?  I've gone back and forth with that question.  Cascade Builder Services is doing quite well and if it continues with the current growth, I probably won't pursue the HI license.  However, I'm leaving all options open because I like home inspecting and it's been a good second stream of income.  

However, as you know, the only approved, non-franchise required, training is in Bellingham.  I can't just take a month off, away from CBS and my family to go to school full time for a month.  I've estimated the overall cost of getting a license to be about $8000-$9000.  Currently, I'd rather invest that amount of money in my warranty management company rather than an HI license.  But as mentioned above, I haven't put it off the table completely and as the law states, I have almost a year to figure it out.

 

Posted by Kevin Pierce, New Construction Warranty Management (Cascade Builder Services) about 5 years ago

Charlie and Steve-You both are correct.  If home inspecting was my only stream of income and I did it as my sole career, I certainly wouldn't be messing around with not getting a license for the exact reason that both of you have stated.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry much about new agent referrals.

Posted by Kevin Pierce, New Construction Warranty Management (Cascade Builder Services) about 5 years ago

VA did licensing many years ago, ostensibly to "protect the consumer" from bad home inspectors.  It did the opposite.  Many classrooms opened up and got VA to change their approved testing requirements to include the classroom "home inspector shools" as they opened up.  We got flooded with home inspectors with a couple of weeks of experience in a classroom, and I am still cleaning up messes caused by them.

Last month you and Charlie were not "licensed" but now are.  Is the consumer better protected now that you carry a "license"?  What about those who want to get into the profession, legitimately, but cannot afford it.  Your "25x" the first year entry cost seems like the "licensing bureau" is attempting to bar entry.  Do such high costs to get into the industry protect the Washington consumer?

To a bureaucrat, licensing = good inspector, or licensing = consumer protection.  In my experience here in VA, I beg to differ.

What's Washington's goal with this thing?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Good post Steve,

I was asked to talk about this subject at a local real estate office meeting earlier this week. It seems that the real estate agents are hearing alot about this and are looking for answers.

After jumping though the hoops to get licensed, I am happy that there are folks out there that have even heard about it.

It is a little confusing to explain that home inspectors need to be licensed by Sept 2009, and thensome others by July of 2010....However I really think the total percentage of folks in the second category is very small.

BTW I don't believe your Skagit and King County links are working the way you intended.

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

Harold,

Weird about the links. Worked this AM. I fixed them.  I am hoping that the state site does not change something in the address so they will die each day. We will see. Handy as long as they work.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Kevin,

I understand where you are coming from.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

 Jay,

The stated goal is consumer protection. We are not seeing that many classrooms open here for the reasons I stated above, it requires 120 hours of butts in seats in the classroom and most of the HI schools are not setup for that extended a course. So far, we got BTC and two franchises who do not train the public. I do not think this will lead to flooding since they have to pay for the training and, since it is -- with field training -- a full month in class, it is not cheap.

For many inspectors who tried to provide quality service, it will make little difference that they are licensed. It appears that there are a certain number of inspectors who are getting out of the field. I have talked to a few longtime inspectors who are convinced they cannot pass the NHIE. Having taken it, and realizing the passing score is 70 percent, it makes me wonder about their abilities. I would doubt that anyone could be much of an inspector if he or she is unable to pass the NHIE. It is pretty basic. I think that requiring people to pass this bare minimum test does cut some of the really unqualified people.

This does make running, and getting into, an inspection firm more costly than it was. On the other hand, the guy who cuts my hair paid $20,000 to get trained. The fees went up primarily because they had to setup a home inspector administrative dept at DOL. Basically a minimal staff but they will have someone to investigate consumer complaints too. Also, by having state standards, it does have the potential of providing some consistency. I know some working inspectors who inspect to no known or written standards at all. Seriously -- inspections according to Garp.

It is a mixed bag, good things and bad things. We will all have more understanding of it in a year. And it sure does not look like there is any glut on inspectors entering. They expected 1500, I do not track it daily but last I saw was under 300 who have applied so far.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Jay, below is the requirements for a home inspector license in the State of Virginia.  With no specific number of hours or specific guidelines as to field training, it is understandable that there would be a lot of inspectors that might flood the market that were under qualified----with lots of 1 and 2 week courses poping up to make money off of future inspectors----especially in a time when the market was hotter than it is today.  Given economic factors and requirements for education I would not project a glut of home inspectors in WA any time soon.  As Steve said we are already not seeing the projected numbers of inspectors signing up to be inspectors---some even fearing they would not pass the NHIE that is considered a minimum standard.  If we are to ever become a profession even to the level of a hair dresser or massage practitioner we must start somewhere.

 

Since the Board for Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors does not have
the statutory authority to approve home inspectors training courses, any
“classroom” instruction that covers the areas tested on the National Home
Inspectors Examination will be accepted to meet the entry requirements as
described in Board Regulation 18 VAC 15-40-30 for Certified Home
Inspector. Those contact hours of instruction that cover topics other than
the areas tested on the National Home Inspectors Examination will not be
accepted.
Please note that correspondence courses (home study courses) and on-line
courses (internet courses) cannot be accepted. The Board was very specific
in requiring "classroom" instruction. The Board felt that the
student/instructor interaction, as well as hands-on training, was necessary.
The Board-approved exam is administered by the Examination Board of
Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI). For information regarding the
examination and the content areas tested, please review their web site

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Charlie,

That is an interesting comparison.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Jay is right on.

The entire legislative effort in Washington was a scam.

Disguised as an effort to "protect consumers" it is nothing more than a marketing tool being used by those inspectors who could manipulate their way into assisting the bill to pass (then "coincidentally" finding themselves appointed to the board and rule making committees) to reduce the number of their competitors.

Consumers are far from protected by this legislation....but, indeed, are harmed.  How?  In the same way reduced competition harms people in every industry.  Number them, yourself.

For those who want proof....it is evident in the fact that there was no activity on the part of any consumer or consumer's group to initiate or advance this act of greed into law.

The law should be opposed in order to protect consumers.  IMO, the home inspector who civily disobeys it is doing more for the consumer than anyone who pushed to profit from it. 

If the protection of the consumer is your honest interest, fight for the repeal of this travesty.

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) about 5 years ago

Jim, I think Wikipedia says it best:  

Poppycock - Anglicized form of the Dutch pappekak,[1] which literally means soft dung or diarrhea (from Dutch pap pap + kak dung) - is an interjection meaning "nonsense" or "balderdash".

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Jim,

You are entitled to your opinion.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

I have to say that is hard to argue with Jim on this one. .....

Since it is a complete utter waste of time and effort, to address each of the false accusations he continually lodges at inspectors here in Washington.

Sometimes taking time to learn the issues and ask questions, instead of making it up, goes along way to understanding what is really going on.

As Ron White would say there are some things you just can't fix.

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

Harold,

I have been around long enough, as have you, to know how these forces played out and I am afraid that Jim has not nailed one single point correctly in his history of how this process started, but then again, we should not expect him to be able to know any of the facts since he is so far away.

If he knew more about our state, he would realize that the primary impetus to get this ball rolling came years ago from a powerful legislator who had a family member who was  unhappy with the quality of a home inspection. In trying to find out more about this inspector, the legislator discovered that inspectors were not licensed, worked to no set standards, and that they were hard to pursue in court and it was not possible to get their license pulled since they did not have one.

She set out to do something about that, despite protests from much to most of the industry including some formal organizations. In the state hearings a number of consumers did come forward with their own stories about lousy inspections. Some of those I think were totally overblown.  Then a big TV station in Seattle got involved playing up stories of people burned by inept home inspectors.  That is how it all started. The story unfolded from there, but WHILAG, ASHI. NACHI involvement came about later in the process when it was clear that this WAS going to happen.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

And the reality is licensing is here. So just the same as any contractor, real estate agent, appraiser, engineer, architect, or for that matter any person who drives a vehicle, ...we are required to obtain the appropriate license.

I was not crazy about paying out all the money in this licensing process. But running a successful business costs money. At least I suppose the money is now going to a relevant and more legitimate entity, than those so called professional organizations that collect inspectors money and call them certified. :)

 

 

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

Harold,

If nothing else, requiring all working inspectors to inspect to some uniform minimum standards is of value. I was stunned, a while back, when I ran into two inspectors in this state who inspect to no known or written down standards. They did not even know their standards other than they kind of "felt" them as they worked.

Well, I turn on the furnace with the thermostat. If it runs I say it works. If it does not start, then I tell them to call a repairman. They take no covers off, they do no visual inspection other than at the thermostat. Insufficient heat? What is that?

Well, heat pumps, we turn on the thermostat, if it comes on it works. I really do not understand how they work at all so I do not go into that.

Under the existing system, these people who work as listed above, are working to their standards which are none. One of the guys has been doing this for a decade plus.

I think even the worst critic of licensing would agree that mandating some sort of standards -- even if they mandated using ASHI or NACHI standards would have been better than zip.

 

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Perhaps much of the difficulty in pointing out the errors in my post has to do with the fact that they are not present.

Again.....produce the "consumers" who lobbied for the bill that got Steve a law that mandates students to pay him a tuition to attend his school.  Produce the "consumers" who lobbied for a bill that would have the immediate effect of reducing competition among the few remaining home inspectors.

As for the ridiculous idea that your licensing board can administer fines....think about this.  The licensing board only has jurisdiction over those whom they license.  Others will have to be reported to the prosecuting attornies of their local jurisdictions who may (if prepared properly in advance) be sympathetic to one's attempt to civilly disobey a law that has nothing to do with protecting "consumers" and everything to do with lining the pockets of special interests.

It's obvious to all who are reading this thread that its originator's purpose was to guide realtors away from referring certain inspectors who may not appear in some database somewhere.

You guys are not fooling anyone.

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) about 5 years ago

Jim,

Your comment makes it increasingly apparent that it is hard to argue with someone who has no clue of the facts and no grip on reality. You are a classic example of someone who likes to get online,, multiple sites, and argue, cause trouble when there is nothing to carry on about. I believe they are called "flamers."

You know about as much about this state as I know about Missouri, which is nothing. If you could even read you would see that I never said the license board was administering fines. That will be DOL, just like the WSDA before them. Sometimes it is best to keep one's trap shut and appear to be a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. By the way, what you refer to as Steve's School is Bellingham Technical College, one of the top technical colleges in the state for more years than you have been alive -- part of the public school system. I am involved in one course. The law is written so DOL has a process by which they may pursue, and assess fines, against those who are unlicensed. Are you so misguided that you think driver's licensing laws only impact licensed drivers. Trooper says: Oh gee, you don't have a license. I guess I cannot give you a ticket for doing 60 in a school zone. Get a grip on reality and the real world.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Jim, you are free to spout malarkey in this country---but that does not alter what it is---malarkey.  Regardless of whether there was one consumer or 1000 consumers that started the ball rolling the FACT remains that the impetus for home inspector licensing did not come from home inspectors.  You come in here like some crusader on a high horse when there is nothing to crusade about.  There are lots of great things to be Don Quixote about---but this sure ain't one of them.  I love how one minute home inspector licensing is going to FLOOD the market with unqualified inspectors while on the other hand all of a sudden it is limiting competition.  It seems that you put on what ever bag of arguments fits your own personal agenda at the time.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Your attempts to discredit the messenger might work on smaller minds....but what about the message, Steve?

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) about 5 years ago

Charles - The limitation of competition is the original goal and initial effect of many of these marketing plans (also known as "home inspector legislation"), but eventually the market is flooded in spite of all the present efforts (look at them, yourself) of your licensing board to avoid it.

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) about 5 years ago

The licensing board has no authority to administer punishment on any Washington citizen not licensed by it.  Ask your attorney general.  For someone who is unlicensed, there is a system referred to as a "justice system" that gives them their day in court.  Sorry to break it to you, Steve, but you are not governing an entire state....just those who submit to you.

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) about 5 years ago

 

Jim, it is way easier to see a conspiracy in something---than it is to do one’s homework. Also did you not read Steve's last comment about who administers punishment?  It has nothing to do with the board but with the DOL which I can guarantee has lots of clout.  I can guarantee also the state will be looking to make an example of anyone that thinks otherwise.

 

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

James,

I have never seen anyone who is so good at ducking the facts or not reading responses that people actually took the time to write to you. I think, and will tell you up front, that the licensing board will probably have little to do with fines. And I think the board will have nothing to do with unlicensed people. Never thought nor said that they would. Now, DOL on the other hand, has the authority. This is from state law, right off the books at DOL.

If the disciplinary authority makes a final determination that a person has engaged or is engaging in unlicensed practice or other act or practice constituting a violation of this chapter or the chapters specified in RCW 18.235.020(2) or a rule adopted or order issued under those chapters, the disciplinary authority may issue a permanent cease and desist order. In addition, the disciplinary authority may impose a civil fine in an amount not exceeding one thousand dollars for each day upon which the person engaged in the unlicensed practice of a profession or operation of a business for which a license is required by one or more of the chapters specified in RCW 18.235.020. The proceeds of such a fine shall be deposited in the related program account.

I wish you lived here, it would be fun watching you make your stand and see how much money it would cost you ultimately wrangling with the state, not the licensing board.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Your success in tricking your legislature into enacting your marketing plan....both, for your business and your class...is worthy of congratulations, but in no way legitimizes what you and others have done to the public...under the disguise of "protecting" them.

We have recruited several investigative reporters in a few major cities in licensed states who are preparing stories on that very thing.  It won't be long until your state joins in.

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) about 5 years ago

James,

You are a silly. Please have them interview me under oath.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Jim, I am in too---good luck with that as they say:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Jim asked for consumers that lobbied for the home inspector legislation in Washington. See below.

Now, it has been a while and I know there were more. The hearings can all be viewed on TVW.

But there are really consumers that have found serious problems in their homes after taking possession, and after having a home inspection. Believe it or not.

 

...but to start with the Moltz Family was the "poster" distressed buyers for legislation early on.

http://www.kirotv.com/consumer/2557349/detail.html

 later on the Hayes Family, along with numerous others

http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/7486032.html

There was a pretty detailed list of consumers on the bandwagon for this bill that I remember seeing.

Of course I think Jim's crack investigative team could uncover alot more about that if they wanted.....but that is not the agenda.

And what is the difference between paying a fee to the state and becoming licensed, and paying a fee to Certified Master Inspector and being able to market your self as better than those who have not filled out the application? At least licensing requires you to show some level of proficiency, where CMI just takes your money and an affidavit. No test. (but does prove you can fill out paperwork)

 Seems that Jim is saying it is OK for him to advertise his qualifications, but it is not OK for those with a license to do so. Hypocritical.

Send me a few hundred dollars and I will certify you as the "Super Duper Inspector". Now that is a scam!

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

The media reports are not citizens lobbying for a law.  They are consumers who are being exploited by those who are lobbying for a law.  These media reports are arranged by the proponents in every state where special interest groups are pushing for these marketing schemes.

Funniest story is Massachusetts.  When they were lobbying for their marketing plan to be turned into a law, they used an example of a certain inspector who had been sued more than 12 times by consumers.   the media exploited him as the "poster child" for Massachusetts legislation.  Now....are you sitting down?  Guess who got appointed to the Massachusetts Home Inspector Licensing Board?  Yep....the media darling who was used to get the law in place.  The 12 times sued inspector.

The second most funniest story is the State Senator in new Jersey who claimed a $30,000 loss in the purchase of new home due to a shoddy home inspection.  The next year, he wrote what (at the time, until it was later repealled) was the toughest inspection law in the country.  As for the inspector who caused him the damages and the need for the law?  This is good.....He was "grandfathered" and got his license without any conditions being met at all.

If you are a real estate agent...you have less protection, as does your client, from a "state license" than you do from your own experiences.  In my opinion, you shoud ignore these data bases and stick with your inspectors that you have tried and tested, yourself.

Don't be tricked and misled by those who are using this law to "eliminate" their competitors and force you to select them because they supposedly "proved" their competence.  The same government that allows up to a certain percent of rat feces to be processed into your lunch meat....has provided licenses to these home inspectors.  Think about it.

 

 

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) about 5 years ago

Jim said, "If you are a real estate agent...you have less protection, as does your client, from a "state license" than you do from your own experiences. "  So let me get this straight.  The law says that if an agent recommends a home inspector that is not licensed they are performing an illegal act.  How exactly are they better off recommending someone that is not licensed?  It would seem to me that your advising agents to break the law places you further out on a limb.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Charlie,If disciplinary actions by the DOL and realtors licensing board or losing their licenses makes them better off, then I guess he has a point there.  Maybe some of them really did not want to be in real estate after all, they just thought that they did. If so, he has captured another vital pulse of the community in Washington state.  Furtunately, anyone reading these comments would realize how ridiculous and non-sensical this man's arguments are. The primary proponents of liceninsg in this state, far as I can tell, were the legislators themselves. Home inspector organizations, like ASHI and NACHI both got involved after the state senate had already passed the first bill around three years ago as I recall. That went down, but came back and was passed with changes added by WHILAG a year later. I, by the way, had no connection with WHILAG.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Hey guys - sorry to have missed this party, I have been at a VERY HOT Virginia Beach and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg for three days. 

I certainly did not mean to stir up a bees nest!  My point about the classes in VA, despite Charlie's quote above, was that certain teaching companies, and one home inspection company, flooded Virginia to "teach" how to conduct home inspections.  One by one they then got the VA HI licensing people to accept their particular tests as being similar enough to the national exam(s) to accept them to qualify for VA licensing.  Then, of course, their students miraculously pass their accepted exams.  This practice flooded, and I mean flooded, VA with home inspectors.  I once Googled and found around 20 home inspection "companies" within about 5 miles of my house.  Whether they do them or not is unknown to me.

I am continually being called upon to rebut something said about a house by one of these classroom trained and graduated home inspectors, which I don't like to do, but sometimes they say things that are ridiculous.  Just two weeks ago, a repairman went to a house that I inspected, called by my clients to do repairs on things I had identified.  He said he does home inspections "on the side."  He told them that I have caused them extreme danger because the furnace room, located in the garage, needs to have a wooden slotted doors to allow the gas furnace and WH to breath!  The room currently has a double, metal fire door, as it should, and two breather vents INSIDE the house, as it should.  However, he so frightened my clients with my ineptitude that they began calling Realtors, including the one who referred me, telling them not to use me as a home inspector because I am a dangerous incompetent!  The Realtor who referred me told them that this repair guy was a dope, but they refused to believe him!

I was afraid they actually had this smooth-talking joker put that door on the room so I called the county to warn them and have them contact my clients to make sure the fire doors are still there.

Also, I probably get 10 or 12 mailers a year to join this or that class to train me to be a home inspector or a "better" one!  Some of these teachers and their classes move from area to area like Mr. Haney on "Green Acres."

By the way, Charlie, that is a GREAT picture!  So, can I still call you "Shadow?"

Steve, any time a post gets this much interaction, it is a good one!  I hope your state's system, despite its best intentions, does not break down as the VA one did.  It probably will.  There are always unanticipated consequences to bureaucratic, nanny rules.  My wife is chronically ill and has seen many very licensed doctors in many disciplines for many problems.  I can tell you unequivocally that despite the hopeful testing and licensing restriction(s) to entry, there are a lot of really bad, really licensed doctors out there...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay,

I know there are some pretty marginal doctors out there. However, would it make for better quality doctors if they had to have zero education or licensing? I doubt it. Then we would have  some like the quacks in the Philippines who are doing psychic surgery. Quacks or not, I have yet to see any major scams like that here.

The case you described with the door could happen here any day of the week. All that involves is bad training. To have no training at all is not likely to improve or solve that. Maybe you ought to contact the school. Sometimes students get crazy ideas. We once had one who decided he did not like CPVC for TPR drains. We had to set him straight that it was not really his choice. That was nothing we taught.

I am sure that there will be some rough edges as the system goes. But the standards are  such that I do not see any glut in quickie schools. There are three statewide now that are approved, total. And there is no way that the board is going to allow a school to substitute anything as a test. That is not going to happen. It states right in the law that the test must be nationally recognized and psychometric. That pretty well leaves out school tests.

The fact we have people inspecting to no standards of practice at all, while many follow Nachi or Ashi, is not helpful. Nachi and Ashi standards are similar, but no professional should have zero minimum posted standards. An inspector in this state will now have set minimum standards.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

You use CPVC for TPR drains??!! Kidding… I’m not a fan of garden hoses, though.

To take your last statement first, the market will grind out the bad guys over time. Yes, there would naturally be pain along the way as the market figures out who is good and who is not. That is the nature of markets. We accept minimum standards all over the place, like various codes, but how do home inspection “standards” get proposed generally? More bureaucracy?

It would be easier require that to get a license home inspectors join one of the associations that require annual testing and have strong standards, but then bureaucrats would begin telling the associations how they should behave. Then the associations would have to change or install requirements to meet this or that state’s wishes. The best way to improve one’s craft is experience.

My reaction to growing government is not knee jerk. It is a reasoned, considered reaction. I am not a “flamer,” an interesting word I read above. I don’t deal in conspiracies.

There are some indisputable principles regarding bureaucracies: They grow. They require more bureaucrats. They become more intrusive and further restrict liberty as they derive what they think is more power. Bureaucrats are assigned to act and decide in certain ways, and as they do so they stultify choice, freedom and business effectiveness. Business is forced to react to them, rather than acting for themselves in ways that create new development and advances. Bureaucracies require more money, either through their coercive restrictions (entry fees, etc.) or taxes as they grow. They drain the economy. I find your state’s $20K entry costs for hair dressers to be hilarious! Along with the comparison of home inspectors “rising” to the level of hair dressers and massage therapists… wow!

Bureaucrats, no matter the ilk, even if they are home inspectors or somehow connected to the home inspection industry, become more bureaucratic. That is the nature of the beast.

A good book on this thinking is surprisingly called Bureaucracy, by Ludwig von Mises. He is of the Austrian School of Economic thought. Von Mises was a good friend and mentor of Friedrich Hayek. This Austrian school greatly influenced the Chicago School in this country (Frank Knight, Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Henry Hazlett, Thomas Sowell – many more).

As to the new bureaucracy your state bureaucrats have created, to quote the Carpenters, “[You’ve] only just begun…” To say that you will see what shakes out after the first year or so is a very bureaucratic statement. That implies problems that will need to be tweaked, more this, more that (almost never less with government), growth, bigger, more offices, fees, more regulators and restrictions, etc. To think that the state will never accept this or that school’s testing standards is something VA said years ago. Your pie may be in the sky that your state will “never” do that, but time will tell what happens there too. Every state has its nepotists and bribe accepters. You have no politicians there? I saw how your governor was installed.

One of my favorite economists, George Stigler, earned a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1982 for his development of the Economic Theory of Regulation. There is a book by the same title. In this regard, he developed what he called “capture theory.” In his theory of regulation he proposes that interest groups and political participants will use government in a coercive way to pass laws and regulations that benefit themselves and the bureaucracies they create. The final conclusion, as you can guess, is that regulation becomes bigger and more intrusive and more coercive and eventually causes more dislocation and problems than it solves – unintended consequences.

Regulation becomes a bad deal that just gets bigger and badder. Just like the Carpenter’s song.

Capture Theory is pretty cool. There is a basic discussion here -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_%28politics%29 – which is an OK beginning. It discusses public choice and preferences – how interest groups create laws and then focus their energies as regards what they have created, while the public generally ignores it as they have individually small stakes. This public disinterest continues until they have reason for some sort of self interest, and then they become part of the problem.

Regulatory capture is a form of government failure… the regulators do not, as time passes, protect what they intended to protect.

You will have those home inspectors who will not participate – for whatever the reason – intimidated by the test, can’t afford the fees, philosophy, their pride, whatever. You stated that of the 1500 expected, only about 300 have come to fore. I’m not sure such a severe reduction in the numbers of inspectors, if that is what is happening, serves the consumer. Already, perhaps, you have restricted entry beyond what the market can provide.

Maybe they are responding to the coercion you described above – fees, fines, etc - and have decided to go elsewhere or do something different. That’s what the theory of economic regulation describes!

The door is now open. New regulation ALWAYS portends unintended consequences. While these regulations may begin with good intentions, human nature has a way of mucking up the process and creating monsters. I wish you the best, of course, but fear the worst.  I hope that what you describe does not sweep across the nation and land here. Maybe, in part, it already has!

And please know, Steve, that I write this along with a big agape smooch.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay,

I know you are not a flamer. Despite it being a bureaucratic thing to say, I will report back on how it has turned out a year or two down the line. Nothing else I can do. I do not expect much tweaking to take place. I know of a couple things, but for the most part I think it is going to be implemented as is for some times. Over years, of course changes could be made.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

As of today there are 70 inspectors with an "active" license in the State. It seems that alot of folks have been approved for examination but are somewhere from taking the test to applying for the license. Just a couple weeks is all that is left.

Also, I would like to point out that there seems to be no inspector numbers below 200, meaning there may be alot fewer inspectors applying than thought. (200 to be exact) To me it appears the state picked an arbitrary starting number, like when you open a checking account.

 

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

Harold,

I think you were one of the first in the state to test. What is your  number?

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

I am pretty sure that I was the first to test in Everett, back in mid May.  My number is 209. They administered both the National and State portions of the test, and gave a me a Pass certificate. Later I realized that I should have received two separate certificates, and so I went back to PSI, and he explained that when I tested they were still learning what they had to do.

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

Harold. I think that 200 is probably correct at the start. I do not think the number necessarily reflects when we tested however. You took the test prior to me and I have a lower number, only by two. It may be kind of random that way.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

The order is based on when they received your first application for the examination and issued your "candidate" number, this same number became your license number later after testing.

The lowerst number I have seen is David Pioli #203. So candidates #200, 201, and 202 have been approved for examination but not finalized the licensing process. Their license number will not show on the site until they are "active".

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

Good job Harold!

Why would they start at 200?  To give it some initial juice?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay,

I think they did not want anyone crowing about being the first ever licensed inspector #1 so this makes it more elusive so nobody really knows who is on first.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

The marketing potential of being announced as the #1 home inspector in Washington State boggles the mind:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Charlie,

I do not think it would matter, would it?

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

What does Nutsy think?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

I think he thinks it a good idea. Did you notice that he is certifried assistant #1.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Didn't Charlie suggest a .001 in front of the 001?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

jay it was actually a ".00" in front of the 001----.00001:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Nutsy is one tightly wound package.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc) about 5 years ago

Hi Steven,

It amazes me sometimes that Mr. Bushart, a former Army clerk who really hasn't been in the home inspection business very long, and lives and operates in a non-licensed state, is able to constantly hold himself out as some kind of a subject matter expert on licensing when his only expertise in the home inspection business seems, at least to me, to consist of hanging around on a message board and browbeating people with snide comments and unfounded accusations. Has he every contributed anything useful in the way of technical expertise in home inspection anywhere on your "association's" board? Does he even know what a moisture meter is?

Mr. Bushart,

Eliminate my competition? Get real - mine is what one would probably call a boutique inspection business; for the market that I serve, my only competition is other very experienced and technically competent inspectors. The kind of clients I get tend to interview the hell out of me before they hire me, because they won't hire less than those that they consider to be the best. I'm sure that, numbers-wise, most inspectors in the state do more inspections a year than I do  and I'm fine with that because I can't keep up with the few inspections that I do anyway. I know who my competitors are for that particular demographic and last week I passed out their phone numbers to no less than seven callers when I couldn't accommodate their needs within the time frame they needed the competition. If I were interested in eliminating my competition, why didn't I just hang up after telling them that I was unavailable those days? 

Besides, the Puget Sound market is such that a good inspector doesn't need to try and find referrals - the referrals will come on their own as long as the inspector does a good job. There is plenty of work here for everyone. I haven't actively marketed to any real estate folks since 1998 and I don't intend to begin now, so nobody in the business who depends on real estate referrals for work has to worry about me stealing their thunder at the local please refer me fest at the local real estate shops. Those inspectors are all free to compete with each other as they see fit and I won't be snooping around behind bushes with binoculars trying to catch anyone who is operating illegally. The market either will or won't weed out those who aren't in compliance and it will have very little impact on me or my business.

Steven, 

Notwithstanding his bizarre implication that that you and I, and other members of the board, are somehow originators of the whole licensing thing and have an evil intent to eliminate our competition and make a fortune off of the process, I'd like to give you a little feedback here.

As of yesterday's board meeting, out of all inspectors that have taken the tests only two have failed the test. When one considers that the tests are used to gage an inspector's understanding of the basics of home inspection and not the full extent of an inspector's expertise, the fact that so many have passed should not surprise anyone, because the impetus on taking the test now is on experienced inspectors - those who've been in the business for at least two years and have completed at least 100 inspections - frankly, it surprises me that two alleged "experienced" inspectors failed such basic tests. I'd personally expected that 100% of all experienced inspectors - regardless of how well they perform inspections - were going to be able to pass them. That's why I've always been in favor of a peer review process over use of the NHIE or some other written test as a way to determine competency.

As far as Mr. Bushart's rambles about how ineffective the board is going to be at enforcing the rules - and how civil disobedience can easily short circuit any attempt by the board to enforce the rules - he's just, once again, displaying his complete ignorance of the whole process and, once again, showing all of us how adept he is at just making stuff up.

First of all, the board had nothing to do with the RCW that defines what can happen to someone who violates licensing law and they have absolutely nothing to do with enforcing those rules - those rules were written many years before anyone even thought about licensing home inspectors.  Ours is an advisory board and we have absolutely no power to enforce anything - all the board is empowered to do is to make recommendations to the Director, Department of Licensing. If the Director doesn't care to listen to the board's advice, there is absolutely nothing that any of the board members can do about it except suck it up and drive on - or quit the board.

 Besides, talk about enforcement right now is way too premature. When the first official licensing deadline passes September 1st we really shouldn't see much difference in the way that anything plays out in Washington state because the only deadline that is really going to matter is July 1st of next year. That's the day that experienced inspectors who've not made the September 1st deadline, plus inspectors who did not have at least two years of experience and 100 inspections under their belts as of June 12, 2008, will have had to complete their training, completed their 40 hours of supervised inspections, done their five inspection reports, and taken and passed the NHIE and the Washington specific test.

Before then, it really isn't practical to expect DOL to even attempt any kind of enforcement of the rules because there is no way for them to differentiate between experienced inspectors who should have their licenses by September 1st, lesser experienced inspectors who have until July 1, 2010 to get their licenses, and new inspectors (those who got into the business since June 12, 2008) who aren't even allowed to perform inspections after September 1st until they've completed all of the requirements and gotten their license.

Between now and then, anyone who is, as Mr. Bushart alleges, expecting to eliminate any of his competitors with this new law is going to be on a fool's errand because the only inspectors that won't be allowed to practice until then are those who've entered the profession after June 12, 2008 and who've not completed the requirements. If Bushart had any idea of what he was talking about, he would have known this and wouldn't be going around shooting off his mouth and sticking his foot in it.

The Senator's mistake in designing this law was that she didn't think to provide any means for DOL to get an early handle on the number of inspectors in the state and track them. There should have been something in law back in June of 2008 that enabled DOL to immediately issue provisional numbered licenses with an expiration date on them that would have given every inspector in the state a deadline to get his or her provisional license or close up shop. That way, DOL could have publicized the whole thing and warned consumers not to hire inspectors at all unless they were carrying some kind of license.

Initial licensing could have started right after the law became official in June of 2008 with the issuance of provisional licenses to every inspector. The experienced inspectors could have all been issued licenses with an expiration date of September 1st, 2009 and been told that once they'd completed the application process and taken and passed the tests, they'd be renewed; otherwise, they'd have to retrain. That would have lit a fire under experienced inspectors early on.

Lesser experienced inspectors could have been issued licenses with an expiration date of July 1, 2010, told that they could continue practicing until that date, and that they would automatically renew once they'd completed their requirements. That would have eased a whole lot of tension in the HI ranks here.

Inexperienced guys could have been issued the equivalent of a learner's permit - basically a provisional license that allowed them to accompany experienced inspectors in order to learn the business, but not to perform inspections as an independent entity until they'd completed their 120 hours of training, done their 40 hours of supervised inspections and written their 5 mandatory reports and taken and passed both tests.

Such rules would have made the whole thing infinitely easier to implement and enforce, and it would have helped DOL to establish the total number of inspectors in the state 18 months ago as opposed to waiting until after July 1, 2010 to attempt to do so. Most enforcement could then come from the consumers and realtors; because, then, when a client or a referring realtor called up and asked an inspector for his state license number, inspectors would have been obligated to provide it, and real estate folks and consumers would have been able to instantly confirm on the state website that the inspector in question was operating legally.

That would have ensured that inspectors figured out very quickly that they need to get cracking on their license. The law doesn't require any of that, and there doesn't appear to be anything that DOL can do about it without an amendment to the RCW. Given that the next legislative section is months after implementation, any amendment would come a day late and a dollar short. So, there won't be any official enforcement possible by DOL until after July 1, 2010. After that date, everyone who is actively and legally performing inspections in the state must have a license number. 

Some realtors I've spoken to at inspections already realize that after September 1st and for the next 10 months it's going to be difficult for them to know who's licensed and who is not, and that's why they are already talking about not referring anyone that doesn't have a license, even though until next July it will only be the very new inspectors operating without a license that would be breaking the law and could cause them to be disciplined by DOL. If that idea spreads among the real estate professions and consumers here, DOL won't have to worry about enforcement because inspectors will learn real fast that they need to get trained, tested and licensed as quick as possible in order to survive.

I think that DOL realizes this and I don't think that they'll even attempt enforcement until after July 2010. If they do have to get involved in disciplining anyone, it will probably only come as a result of a consumer or real estate person turning in a very new inspector's name to DOL, or turning in the name of an experienced inspector for not inspecting in full accordance with the state SOP - certainly not by any means at their disposal to identify who is licensed and who is not.

 The next year is going to be interesting.

 ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike O'Handley, Your Inspector Inc., Kenmore, WA - Editor: The Inspector's Journal (TIJ)

Posted by Mike O'Handley (Your Inspector Inc.) about 5 years ago

Mike, well rambled:) but all really good input! It will be interesting to watch how it all plays out.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Mike

One correction.

JB is a former "Air Force" clerk.....not Army....

Spend much time over at the Nachi message board and he will throw around the fact that he was a clerk in a JAG office, and therefore that gives him some "legal experience" ......for whatever that is worth.

I suspect those that have spent the time and money on a legal degree and passed the state bar would find it all very amusing.  Let me just say I would not be going down to my local courthouse to ask the "clerk" what they thought about legal matters.

Military service has nothing to do with the home inspection field, so I have never used my own military service to claim my views are superior to everyone who disagrees with me.

But as you point out, when you have nothing else....like real home inspection experience.... then I suppose that is what some folks fall back on.

You made numerous good points in your post.

 

 

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

Ah, A zoomie JAGoff!

That explains everything.

I'm retired army. I don't think that the military uniquely qualified me for anything but I will say that I've been able to use a lot of what I learned in this business.

I was a line MP for about a quarter of my military career, a criminal investigator for about half of it, an instructor and platoon sergeant for another quarter, and did some other stuff as a linguist, engineer sergeant and operations sergeant before I retired as a MSG in 1996.

Though I learned houses from my father, a custom builder, I learned how to investigate stuff and write solid legally defensible reports from my experience as a criminal investigator and I learned some pretty solid stuff about heavy construction, water filtration and sanitation, road, bridge, airfield, bulkhead, airfield and bridge construction, as well as got a start on plumbing and electrical systems and boilers and heating systems when I took the 18C course. So, some of my military experience did translate.

Still, though I dealt with JAG lawyers all the time and constantly had to be thinking about legalities and such, I don't think anything I learned along those lines ever taught me how to be a barracks lawyer and I don't think that the JAG clerks that I met were ever very adept at legalities either. Most of the time, they were simply shuffling documents for lawyers and seeing to it that the lawyers' trash cans were empty and people were there on time for their appointments - at least that's what it looked like to us MP's. Of course, there's really not a lot of love lost between the jagoffs and the MPs anyway, so I guess I wasn't looking that hard.

For those of you who feel that I'm being too hard on Mr. Bushart, keep in mind that, compared to some of the things that he's said about me over the years, this is pretty tame stuff.

Enough of this, I now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion about licensing stuff.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike O'Handley, Your Inspector Inc., Kenmore, WA   Editor: The Inspector's Journal (TIJ)

Posted by Mike O'Handley (Your Inspector Inc.) about 5 years ago

Your governor, in appointing that rummy to your licensing board, has certainly demonstrated a sense of humor along with a total disrespect for our profession in your state.  Good luck with that.

Nice to see him publish his lack of wisdom on web pages that are actually read, though.

It makes sense why people like him, pilot fish swimming around the teeth of the shark, attach themselves so closely to licensing and attempting to control others.  His obsession to control others has been his trademark for many years.

I hope those who are appointed to replace the first crew will work hard to dismantle this ridiculous marketing scheme you guys call HI legislation.

 

 

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) about 5 years ago

The rants of such ignorance really don't even deserve any comment.

Posted by Harold Miller, Everett Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) about 5 years ago

Rummy?

That's funny, the last time I took a drink was January 23, 1973 - before I went into the Army.

It's interesting that he characterizes a licensing law as a marketing scheme; since it was a state senator who drafted the law and put it forward without the backing of the profession in this state. Her first draft would have had our profession run by professional educators, real estate folks, engineers and at least one consumer with only two inspectors on the board. Inspectors here fought her to a standstill and Bushart's hero, Gromicko, got involved fully a month after she'd been thwarted and took credit for it.

A coalition of inspectors from all over the state from all of the professional organizations, as well as independents, then spent more than two years in a game of chess with her, countering every move she made to control home inspectors with non-inspectors. Three legislative sessions and more than two years after she started, she finally asked for a sit-down with the coalition and she began to listen to the concerns of the profession; only then did she get the coalition's endorsement.

Marketing scheme? I'm not sure how; the law allows every inspector already practicing on the date it was passed to continue practicing without penalty until July 2010 - fully two years after the effective date of the law, and, up until then, all realtors are allowed to refer any inspector who was in business at that time to their clients. After that date, all practicing inspectors will have to be licensed. There's no marketing to it; everyone continues to do what they're doing and those who need to begin getting their ducks in a row to get their license by the deadline.

I dunno, maybe there are some folks that have figured a way to market it; I haven't. I do zero marketing. Besides what it costs me for the card stock I use to print my own business cards, I haven't marketed in about a decade and I don't intend to start. I get all the work I need from past client referrals and I send plenty of folks that I can't accommodate to other reputable and experienced inspectors. I'm not picky; if I know an inspector has a good rep and is technically competent, I pass out the inspector's phone number.

Mr. Bushart has made a lot of noise on various boards about how the board members are in this to enrich themselves. Well, at last week's board meeting, I asked Rhonda Myers, the Program Manager to tell us how many board members have submitted applications to have their home inspection fundamentals or continuing education courses approved by the state. Imagine my shock at learning that Mr. Bushart was totally uninformed when Ms. Myers told me that none of those who've applied for approval are affiliated in any way with the board.

He's also said that it's a way for those backing the law to make money on mentoring. I don't know if that will happen or not. I've mentored inspectors three times in the past 13 years and all three times the only compensation that I received from those I'd mentored was that they paid for lunch or bought the gas - whichever they preferred. It seemed like a fair exchange for having them come by my house for two hours three evenings of the week to sit down and go over technical stuff and then to allow them to shadow me on inspections and present one issue during each inspection, with me carefully watching what they were doing and correcting them when necessary, until they'd eventually inspected and presented every system of a house.  Each of those fellows spent literally hundreds of hours with me and I'll bet my total "compensation" amounted to less than $500 for the three combined. If that's what Bushart calls getting rich, I feel really, really sorry for him 'cuz his business must really be in the toilet. Perhaps we should take up a collection for him?

The board controls nothing because we have no power to control anything; we are an advisory board and the Director doesn't have to listen to us if she doesn't want to. Case in point, we voted to ask the Director DOL to prorate the fees and CEU requirements over a licensee's time to next license. I doubt if she'll even consider it.  My license was issued August 17th and must be renewed in September 2010, which means that my cost of this license over that period is more than $75 per month. It sure doesn't look to me like we're "controlling" anything.

Still, if feeding into these delusions is a release that helps Mr. Bushart get over the tough time he's been having at home the past couple of years I say let him continue to believe whatever he likes.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike O'Handley, Your Inspector Inc., Kenmore, WA - Editor: The Inspector's Journal (TIJ)

Posted by Mike O'Handley (Your Inspector Inc.) almost 5 years ago

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