First, let me wish you a very fulfilling, happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
In these past few years, we have experienced one of the worst down cycles of the U.S. housing market. But after four bad years, 2012 has proven to be "the turnaround year" for the housing market, for ASHI and for most ASHI inspectors.
Last year, I visited more than 25 ASHI chapters around the United States and Canada to speak with and to listen to you, my fellow ASHI members. Many ASHI inspectors told me that 2012 was the best year they had in the last five years. I met inspectors who had their houses repossessed two years ago, but told me that in 2012, they are putting in maximum hours and have hired additional inspectors to take their overload. I have met inspectors who have been hired by real estate investors to inspect 100 houses a month for investment purposes. Most ASHI inspectors I met around the country told me 2012 was a very good year for their inspection business.
On the ASHI front: The ASHI School has turned around and the first quarter of this fiscal year is 100% ahead of last year. The trend in ASHI membership bottomed out last fiscal year and this year will likely see the first increase in ASHI membership in five years. Likewise, advance registration for ASHI Las Vegas InspectionWorld (IW) hotel and conference is the best it has been in five years. And, at ASHI.org Find-A-Home-Inspector, our members now are permitted to list up to eight specialty inspections to help develop additional new streams of revenue.
ASHI is the only national home inspection organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy to perform the new DOE Home Score energy-efficiency inspections. (Also a specialty inspection where homebuyers can find you at ASHI.org Find-a-Home-Inspector.)
What about the future? That is where the threat to the survival of our industry lies.
Out of the blue, without federal consultation of the affected home inspection industry, federal regulators have declared war on the home inspection industry. We are now engaged in a great battle with federal regulators that have instituted requirements on appraisers to evaluate the condition and code compliance of the homes they are appraising. In other words, appraisers are being asked to conduct home inspections. The fear is that real estate agents will say that appraisers now are required to report on the condition and code compliance of all houses they appraise, so there is no need for a home inspection.
If this effort is successful, it could destroy the home inspection industry and ASHI. The GSEs (FNMA & FHLMC) have instituted these requirements even though they have been advised by ASHI that this violates state inspection licensing laws in 30 states, is against the wishes and not within the expertise of appraisers, and is not covered by appraiser E&O insurance. Further, the ICC states this appraiser code compliance opinion violates their jurisdiction and requirements.
Your American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is standing up for transparent real estate transactions and the right of homebuyers to be truly informed by professional home inspectors and code inspectors as to the condition of the home they are buying.
ASHI has created a task force that is working together with the ICC, E&O insurance carriers, appraisers and ASHI's lobbyist to come up with positive solutions that hopefully will lead to appraisers requiring ASHI Certified Inspectors with special training to issue a report to be used in refinance transactions, repossessions and home purchases. ASHI is fighting for you to turn a potential big negative into a big additional stream of new inspection revenue.
I feel honored to have been able to serve you and the needs of the inspection profession and look forward to being able to continue to contribute to a bright, ever-expanding home inspection profession.
We look forward, hopefully, to 2013.