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Messages posted by: rthowell
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This attitude needs to change. They are eliminating verification of their self-described high standards. This is akin to a restaurant conducting their own health and safety inspections and giving themselves an A every time.

There's almost always something that wasn't done properly, and frequently these items cause damage to the property which the builder ends up paying for any way. Buyers are looking for honest behavior because they're putting a lot on the line.

Here's an example of what I mean: Recently, we inspected a custom home built by a very reputable builder in the area. It had a brand new $60k roof and we discovered, during the course of the inspection, a damaged vent flashing that would have allowed rain water to pour directly into the kitchen through the vent where a $6k Wolf range would have been soaked, not to mention the custom woodwork and cabinetry that would have likely been damaged. It was a $40 fix since we caught it before the big rains in Southern California. No big deal. How's that for ROI?
Saw one of those the other day. Installed in a closet with a dedicated water heater outside the master bath. Those people were serious about their plumbing.
I would have respectfully disagreed with the agents, just as you stated you did.

I would have also said that mold growth is an indication of a water problem, which can and will degrade the structural integrity of building materials, to mention nothing of the negative health effects of problem levels of mold. Not calling out the possibility of mold growth with the recommendation of testing to determine the validity of your hypothesis, based on your training/certification/professional know-how would be a breech of your code of ethics. It could even be construed as negligence, in my opinion. (BTW, some agents prefer it be called something other than the "M" word, which is fine--the clients aren't dumb, though. So why beat around the bush or attempt to trick them?)

I'd also show them the InspectorLab report, if you use it. Explain how it's designed for RE transactions. It proves you understand their concerns and their profession.

Finally, focus more on protecting their clients than CYA. The reality is you ARE protecting their clients. And if you protect them as much as you can, the CYA is just a fringe benefit. They care a lot more about the former than your legal exposure.

Hope this helps.
Michael Altizer wrote:Ryan Howell,

Don't believe everything you hear. I don't believe that first statement / sentence to be true, in any shape, form or way. I'm heavily medicated today because I took my morning medicine twice on accident and I could easily mouth off about people trying to give home inspectors a bad reputation. However, I'm trying to respect Mr. Thornberry, the rest of you all and his forum. I literally have 100's of friends that are Inspectors throughout the state of California and each and everyone of them inspect all items accessible under 1 of the SOP's. I am boiling hot mad right now because of uneducated trouble makers attacking our industry. Not every Inspector will walk every roof and I am one of those Inspectors. That doesn't mean that the roof doesn't get inspected, it just means I didn't traverse it and the reason stated in my report. Some Inspectors are using drones and some others choose to use a camera pole and or binoculars, etc. Inspectors who claim that they walk every roof, just haven't had a bad experience catch up with them or they are trying to be show off Heroes. I'll tell you another thing and I've stated it many times over the years: I will believe a home inspector any day over any agent, lawyer,vendor, etc. No disrespect to you, Nathan or any Inspectors but I'm disgusted to no end with numerous issues affecting our industry.

No offense taken. Only sharing my experience and I appreciate everyone's view on this issue.

I'd only suggest that anger (which can be a very useful emotion) on any interested party's behalf ought to be carefully directed into action in the form of written testimony or petition to appropriate state and national governing bodies in addition to educating agents. Standards are a minimum and recently developed technology will only make inspecting roofs, among many other exterior features easier for inspectors to perform while also more perfectly illustrating what we're talking about.

In summary, I completely agree with you.
A lot of CA agents tell me their current inspectors don't inspect the roof. They are usually surprised that we do, which I always found odd. I point this out only as empirical observation that their expectations by and large are even lower than the minimum in some areas while downright unreasonable in others. This is an education issue more than anything. Agents don't know or don't care to know all they should about the home inspection and it's up to us to systematically share our knowledge both of the home and of the industry.

Not trying to minimize the all out war that needs waging in Sacramento. Wish I could help there, but all my contacts are in DC.
Ask the question while you're logged into ISN with the live chat function. They are unusually helpful over chat and sometimes can even do things for you.
Spoke with the RE investor that bought it, today. He said, "Oh yeah, we know about it. Not too bad compared to others we've had repaired." ... oookay.

They normally dump $70k - $80k into their houses. This has to be eating up a large portion of that. Although, I'm sure the price was right.
This is one of the worst foundation issues I've seen. It was bought for fix n flip, but it may end up being a scrape n build. One end of the house was 3 degrees out of level.


SanDiego101 wrote:Would love if you could please share any advice or information regarding starting my own Home Inspection Co. in So.California.

I've been in the construction industry for over 24 years. First as a framer/laborer/journeyman ...etc. I've been a Const. Superintendent~Site Safety Officer working for a contractor for the last 13 years. I am ready for a change. I am planning on getting my contractors license and simultaneously want to become a certified Home Inspector.

I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to start and what certification I should get in order to do this the right way.

Online course work would be ideal as I am still working while obtaining my license.

So far I've seen Internachi, CREIA, AHIT, ASHI, ICA. What about taking the PSI?

Bottom line, what do I need to get started?

Thank you very much in advance for taking the time to answer and advise!


Welcome and greetings from Orange County, CA!

It's good you've got a background in construction, as that will give you a good foundation of knowledge, but there is a lot to know, as I'm sure you're aware. AHIT is a popular start (I took that master course as well as many others here).

InterNACHI has some pretty good online classes and will issue a certification after passing their exam. I'd recommend taking classes before-hand to sharpen your knowledge.

You can join here: https://www.nachi.org/membership.htm

There are a number of business marketing courses, which have great info. You'll want to consider some USPs (unique selling propositions) that you will offer your clients, and importantly, the real estate agents who will likely refer you. For this, I'd highly recommend calling Inspector Services Group (http://inspectorservicesgroup.com/) 800.544.8156 to work out what would work best for you. I'm sure Brandon Wells or Mike Doerr will take good care of you.

There obviously a lot to running a business, so once you start working through all that, develop some questions and ask away if you'd like to drill into more detail.


Great to get an update on market demand. Helps us predict what our clients will soon be demanding.
From the photos you posted, they look fairly normal to me. Depending on how new the house is, it could even just be the joint compound shrinking at a different rate than the wall board. Keep an eye on it, and note any big changes (1/4" or more.)
Great info. I'll be spreading the word to all the top agents in Southern California!
Arguably the most important distinguishing characteristics of human civilization, design of all types is not easily practiced with competence. Yet, everyone can do it!

Good designers will spend more time in discovery than creation. They also cost more than $5.
I owned a digital marketing/advertising firm and managed some a wide array of very high profile clients for many years. I'm going outline what I know about Google to reinforce a lot of what's been already said here. For me, context helps me better understand they "why," so I'll do my best to provide some context. Other search engines are similar, but I have the most experience with Google, and they are the biggest.

I agree that the traditional methods of gaming search engines (e.g. keywords, meta tag manipulation, etc.) are a time suck. In addition, Google employs extremely intelligent algorithms which are constantly being tweaked to ensure gaming their system isn't possible--at least not for long. They will even punish you for doing so by burying your site in the results. I would discourage anyone from spending this kind of effort on SEO. The opportunity cost is in the thousands of dollars. You can't afford to spend thousands of dollars in a day's time for such little return, if any at all.

You need to understand what Google is trying to achieve for their users: relevant search results (and ads, but that's a different topic). The whole purpose of Google, and what set it apart from its competition early-on is that it connected users to the content they wanted faster than the competition, by a mile. In fact, they highlight this in every search performed; I just searched for "home inspectors" and this is the first thing displayed on the results page "About 31,800,000 results (0.63 seconds)." This still blows my mind!! Their model was a 180 degree departure from the directory approach Yahoo! and others were employing back in the day, whereby they tried to keep users on their site for as long as possible and charge a fee to the businesses listed on the directories (thank Google for not having this overhead. It was very expensive). This new approach caught on because users were getting what they wanted and now Yahoo! is a sad, purple, hot mess, and worth next-to-nothing. Lesson: give the market what it wants or they will abandon you with pleasure.

And so, how does Google know that you are the most relevant (i.e. what their users want)? It has a few computers that "crawl" the web and look at every publicly available website. The way these computers (aka "bots") see a website is nothing like what you see one your screen. Rather, they see a web of links (and other stuff, but we'll keep it simple for this illustration). The way these bots make sense of your website, and eventually assign a rank of relevancy to them is by looking at what other websites are linking to your site, how often those links appear, how often new links are generated on your site, and many overly technical things.

The main take away is that consistent content posts, getting other, reputable sites to link to your posts is paramount.


Take a look at this haphazard example: I write an inspiring blog post for my site regarding new technologies being developed in the home inspection industry. Naturally, it's well written, has fresh, unique ideas, and draws attention to the home inspection industry. By itself, a Google bot may be smart enough to read it and realize it's brilliant. But, if wired.com, nytimes.com or another well known website posted an article and linked to my post, it's rank would greatly increased and would likely be in the top 5 results for searches related to home inspection. That's because you're essentially getting an endorsement from a highly respected source, and Google knows you can't fake an endorsement like that, so this post must be really important and therefore relevant, which is exactly what you want to be.

Admittedly, you're not likely to get linked on wired.com. But, the concept works for other sites, like this forum, for example.

I hope this helped--even if it was only one person. There are many other methods and tools for improving your SEO. But, I believe this has the best bang for the proverbial buck.

Have not used this one, but the size and stability I've seen in reviews makes it a potentially great option for home inspectors.

DJI Mavic Pro
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