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  1. #1
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    Post History of the Profession

    For all of the "old-timers" on the board, I am working on an university project. Part of that project deals with the history of the home inspection profession - how it began, major way points in its growth, influences, things of that nature. Any information, help, or research guidance would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    The American Society of Home Inspectors better known as ASHI was formed in 1976 making it the oldest national home inspector association. You can go to their web site and garner info directly.
    The California Real Estate Inspection Association, i.e. CREIA was also formed in 1976 making it the oldest state association of home inspectors. CREIA members and in fact all practicing home inspectors in California got its most important boost from a legal case regarding disclosure, i.e.; Easton v Strassbuger 1984. (web site) EASTON V

    Both associations have entry level and advanced inspector exams, require continuing education and have a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
    Perusing their web sites should provide fertile ground for your article. Others on this BB may chime in with info regarding various other home inspector associations.
    Good luck
    Jerry

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  3. #3
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    The Florida Association of Building Inspectors (FABI) started in 1984 as I recall.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Once upon a time Billy Bob the builder was asked by his neighbor to look over a home they were about to purchase.

    Billy Bobn said the home looked great and got his but suid off for missing a broken receptacle cover. Then back in 19 of 76 ASHI came along to look after those Billy Bob folks and things have gotten so messed up over time it is hard to follow anymore.

    Lets blame it on the home inspector. I don't care ifn he inspected the home ten yearins ago. I know for a fact, causen a friend told me, that he shouldaknown thesin here systems were agonna fail someday. I isagonna get that Billy Bob.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    I think Texas was the first state to require licensing, but double check me on that.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I think Texas was the first state to require licensing, but double check me on that.
    It was. I want to say '92, but not positive. It was the only state for several years after that.

    I think the first paid inspection was back in the 60's somewhere up in the northeast???
    Before that it was "your uncle".

    Please keep us up to date with the info you find - should be interesting.

    Last edited by Richard Stanley; 08-11-2009 at 04:21 PM. Reason: add

  7. #7
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    I know it was prior to '95 when I got my license. A year of two before that and I had not even heard of a home inspection, the profession has come a long way since then.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  8. #8
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    via google

    A Brief History of the Home Inspection Industry
    The early 70's saw the creation of a new industry within the real estate field as home buyers began hiring general building contractors to perform pre-purchase inspections on intended home purchases. As this burgeoning home inspection industry grew, it soon became apparent that the depth of knowledge necessary to adequately evaluate a home's systems and components was beyond the capacity of most general contractors.
    Gradually, the term, “Contractors Inspection” was dropped in favor of “Home Inspection” as qualified inspectors came to be looked upon as industry “experts” performing inspections to confirm the current condition of a home's general overall condition. By the 1990's, due to California real estate law, increasing consumer awareness, coupled with Realtor's marketing, pre-purchase Home Inspections became commonplace.
    The majority of homes sold in today's market are now inspected. Locating and scheduling home inspectors has generally been in the realm of the agent representing the buyer. However, as a result of public awareness programs and an increased Internet presence sponsored by inspectors and associations, more home buyers have begun seeking qualified inspectors on their own. Additionally, home sellers are increasingly seeking out the services of professional Home Inspectors at the time of (or prior to) the listing of their property to ease the transaction process.
    In the early days of the home inspection profession, some real estate brokers and their agents may have felt threatened by the industry. Eventually the real estate community came to understand and appreciate that a professional inspection was far superior to having a simple “walk through” performed by someone with only a general construction background.
    The savvy and more experienced real estate agents soon recognized that a professionally performed property inspection was not only a smart marketing tool, but could help shield them from potential litigation after the close of escrow. The famous Easton vs. Strassberger court decision changed this supposition from theory to fact.
    This landmark case occurred in 1984, when the court held that the duties of a real estate broker include “the affirmative duty to conduct a reasonably competent and diligent inspection of the residential property listed for sale and to disclose to prospective purchasers all facts materially effecting the value of the property that such investigation would reveal.”
    Real estate brokers and their agents immediately recognized that it would be prudent to refer to independent experts to provide a far more complete and thorough inspection than they were capable of furnishing. They also recognized the opportunity to share potential disclosure liability by introducing another player into the sales transaction.
    This resulted in a significant increase in homes being inspected by professional inspectors before the close of escrow.
    By 2002 more than 14,000 home inspectors have entered the profession nationwide and approximately 1,800 professional inspectors are working full or part-time in the state of California. The inspection business continues to grow. A professional, independent home inspection has become widely recommended by real estate authors and columnists.
    Inspections are gaining popularity on new homes as well as resale properties. Today, buyers, sellers, real estate agents, attorneys, banks, and relocation companies are seeking professional inspectors in an attempt to help meet disclosure requirements.



  9. #9
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    Post Re: History of the Profession

    Guys, this is great. Keep the information coming. It is interesting to note the information on individual states. I appreciate your help with this.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    If you go to the EBPHI website you can find all of the licensed states listed and a little history of the states law. National Home Inspector Examination - EBPHI - State Regulations

    I noticed that TX was enacted in 1991

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  11. #11

    Default Re: History of the Profession

    I don't have the time to get into it right now. Professional inspections started on both coasts about the same time, circa 1955. My company started in Connecticut in 1956. ASHI was twenty years later. The centers for the first inspectors were New York major metro, Baltimore major metro, and Philly.


  12. #12
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    My company started in Connecticut in 1956.
    JG: Still have an inspection report from that time? Papyrus or what?


  13. #13

    Default Re: History of the Profession

    One page, three lines, two hunnerd bucks.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ghent View Post
    Professional inspections started on both coasts about the same time, circa 1955. My company started in Connecticut in 1956.
    Quote Originally Posted by John Ghent View Post
    One page, three lines, two hunnerd bucks.

    Fast forward 55 years ... YES ... 55 ... YEARS ... and many home inspectors ARE STILL charging that same "two hunnerd bucks" ... anyone think anything is wrong there?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  16. #16
    Ray Norton's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Web search the "Code of Hamurrabi". The need for codes was recognized as far back as 2000 B.C. These strict codes no doubt led to the need for inspections.

    One of King Hamurrabi's codes read:

    If a Builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.

    This code was later ammended to include other less catastrophic occurences, but still with stiff penalties.

    Could you imagine the quality of work we would see under penalties such as this???

    Intersting reading for sure!


  17. #17
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post

    I reversed the years and ... $200 in 2009 = $24.89 in 1955.

    That means that all those home inspectors charging $200 now would have only gotten $25 back then. Those guys would have been run out of Dodge back then, or tarred and feathered.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  18. #18
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I reversed the years and ... $200 in 2009 = $24.89 in 1955.

    That means that all those home inspectors charging $200 now would have only gotten $25 back then. Those guys would have been run out of Dodge back then, or tarred and feathered.
    You think? Min. wage per hour was 0.75. $25 X 100 = 2,500. That's around $1.30 an hour for a 40 hour work week (which nobody would work that many hours with only doing 100 inspections). That doesn't sound that bad for a one page report and only 100 inspections.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 08-14-2009 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Spelling error - Knowbody to nobody.

  19. #19

    Default Re: History of the Profession

    We made MORE money doing inspections from the 50's to the mid 80's than one could conceive. (Just as a point of reference, when ASHI was founded in 1976, most of the charter members charged a percentage of the selling price, and these were probably the most successful inspectors in the history of the profession.) When the "profession" became discovered and the newbies came in with their best marketing programs, (lower prices) things went south. We (most old timers) worked on a percentage of the selling price which was consistent with realtwhores and liers who also charged a percentage. The fixed fee of 1/10th of one percent of the selling price was very fair and in line with what people were used to paying in the real estate industry. It also was a fee that provided us (smart inspectors) with a gross that provided a profit. But the newbies in our trade/profession thought they could get mucho buckos with a fixed low price and attract business from the realtwhores. Welcome to 2009.

    I felt no guilt in doing a 3 mil house for a 3k (1/10th of 1%) fee in 1980. It was consistent with my liability and never questioned by the buyer. But I later had to deal with competition (newbie) that would save the buyer 2.5k and do the same house for 500 bucks. He saw that if he did 5 houses at 500 bucks a week he would make a bundle. I charged 3k and did five a week and made a bigger bundle. So now, no one (or very few) in this profession will ever make earnings like us olditimers made.

    Too bad, how sad.


  20. #20
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Too bad, how sad.
    JG: What's even sadder than the lackluster fees able to be demanded today is the fact that ASHI was evidently powerless to prevent this slide in HI income.

    Sadder than that is the fact that, if they continue on their present course, ASHI will be playing second fiddle in this band. Maybe that is already the case . . .


  21. #21
    sanjugibbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    It’s really amazing to see a forum that contains a very informative details, and people helping each other by contributing what they know to help others.


  22. #22
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    Post Re: History of the Profession

    This is a lot of good information. Fees have indeed fallen. And it seems to be getting worse. At what point did the real estate industry enter the picture, either recognizing the value of an inspection, or criticizing the inspection? When did the real estate industry become most influential in regulating the home inspection profession? What contributed to the growth in public knowledge about the value of the home inspection? Why do home buyers "price shop" versus "value shop" for their home inspection? Did the growth of the profession contribute to this in any way? A lot of good information so far, I really appreciate the feedback.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  23. #23
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Fees have indeed fallen. And it seems to be getting worse.


    RA: Agreed.

    At what point did the real estate industry enter the picture, either recognizing the value of an inspection, or criticizing the inspection?


    RA: They have been there all along, but the coup de grace was when the Texas Real Estate Commission managed to get inspectors licensed under their agency.

    When did the real estate industry become most influential in regulating the home inspection profession?
    RA: Again, they have controlled the situation from the beginning. It is the brokers and agents who contract for and facilitate the resale of properties. So then, they are in charge of managing client expectation from before we enter the picture.

    Additionally, for the most part, new HIs entering the business (unless they purchase an existing firm) have no client database to work from. In the absence of a referral system, marketing through agents has been proven to be the most effective and least expensive route to take in the past for neophytes in the profession. The agents love referring them because they know little or nothing, can find little or nothing, and are not apt to sour the resale deals. Many inspectors never stray from this referral system and become agent pets. These are the skanks of the profession - the majority of which reside in the franchise arena.


    What contributed to the growth in public knowledge about the value of the home inspection?


    RA: ASHI, CREIA, TAREI, NAHI, INACH, et al.

    Why do home buyers "price shop" versus "value shop" for their home inspection?


    RA: Because the entry bar for the profession is set so low that it attracts individuals who are not sophisticated enough to market their knowledge as something other than fungible goods.

    Did the growth of the profession contribute to this in any way?
    RA: The rapid growth is also attributable to the low entry level requirements.




  24. #24
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    As a 20 something I bought my first house in '85. It was '55ish 1178 sq ft brick ranch with lots of deferred maintenance owned by a single mother with two teenage kids. Agent said I have to have a home inspection. Had no idea what one was or why I needed one. I asked if I had to be present. At the time I was too busy to worry about a home inspection. If was just another fee that had to be paid and a hassle to get off from work. I don't recall getting a report, or if I did it was no more than one page check box form at most. I did find a paper tag tied to the water heater exhaust flue in the attic later on. The 4 foot long, horizontal single wall pipe was completely rusted out and was really only an open trough and no longer a pipe. A hole was cut in the side of the furnace B-vent and the single wall pipe taped to the "joint".

    5 years and hundreds of man hours later, I knew more about houses than I thought possible. Purchased the 1983 NEC and read it while rewiring the kitchen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become a home inspector. Wore a suit and tie for Fortune 100 companies for another 20 odd years.

    Around '99 or 2000 my retired Dad took a 3 day course from a local home inspector. No licensing in that state then or now. Dad knew some real estate agents who threw him some jobs. 3 page checkbox report. He said he enjoyed it but about the time the leads ran out, so did his interest.

    Last time I used a home inspector was 1995. I called all the home inspectors in the phone book at the time. I figured they were all the same and price was the only factor. He offered to perform the inspection for $5 less than all the other $300 quotes.

    Home inspector brought along a trainee. Trainee kept his mouth shut the entire time. I asked a millon questions. When they got to the crawlspace, I told them to hang on, I had to put on my coveralls. Took off the necktie and wingtips and slipped on coveralls and combat boots. Inspector remarked he had never had a client follow him in a crawl. About a 5 page narrative report with lots of white space and no photos. No recognizable software program.

    A few years ago I got a postcard from a home inspector who was looking to hire some already licensed home inspectors to grow his business. Met with the fella. He had his own home grown software program, commerical office space, secretary and one other inspector. I decided to stay on my own. Pulled out my old inspection report and he had peformed the inspection years earlier. Turns out the fella is one the legends in the local market.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  25. #25
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Pricing is what it is due to the over abundant low ballers plying their wares. Also supply and demand. With the number entering the profession its not surprising.

    When I got in the is biz in 1991 I was charging $250 now I am up to $425 minimum and my pricing goes up from there.


  26. #26
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    Post Re: History of the Profession

    Some good stuff. When did conflict of interest and ethics questions first appear? Who developed the first standards of practice and code of ethics? Does any one have a copy of those documents? How were they received by home inspectors in general? When were the first professional conferences held?

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  27. #27
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of the Profession

    Some good stuff. When did conflict of interest and ethics questions first appear?
    RA: Like in the rest of civilization, from the very beginning.


    Who developed the first standards of practice and code of ethics?


    RA: ASHI, I believe.

    Does any one have a copy of those documents?


    RA: Contact one of the hoary heads at ASHI.

    How were they received by home inspectors in general?


    RA: Like most attempts to legislate morality.

    When were the first professional conferences held?
    RA: Contact one of the hoary heads at ASHI.


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