June, 2011
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Credentials Prepare Professionals for Economic Improvement


"Attaining professional credentials provides an immediately recognizable indication that a candidate has demonstrated the skills necessary to meet a standard of quality set within the industry," said Melissa Murer Corrigan, President of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). 

ICE accredited ASHI's certification program for home inspectors. 

Speaking before the House Committee on Financial Services earlier this year, Brookings Institution senior economist Donald Kohn testified that, "The headwinds [of the economic crisis] seem to be abating and many economists, myself included, expect that the pace of growth will pick up a little this year and the job market will improve somewhat."

The relative success of this recovery period will largely depend on the right people finding the right opportunities. Credentials from an accredited institution make it much easier for professionals to take advantage of opportunities presented in an improving economy.

Established in 1977, ICE (formerly the National Organization for Competency Assurance) is the leading international membership organization representing the credentialing community. The ICE membership is composed of credentialing organizations, testing companies and individual professional development consultants. For more information, please visit www.credentialingexcellenc.org.

National Do Not Call Registry Accepts Cellphones

The registry has always accepted cellphones and there is no deadline to register a home or cellphone number. But you do not have to register your cellphone to avoid automated calls from telemarketers. Despite the widely-circulated bogus email warning that a new database of cellphone numbers would allow an assaulted on cellphones users by telemarketers, Federal Communications Commission regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cellphone numbers.

If you have not registered, you can do so online at www.donotocall.gov or call 888-382-1222 (TTY 866-290-4236) from the number you wish to register. Registration is free.

Some calls are not covered. Once your number has been on the registry for 31 days, most telemarketing calls will stop. However, you still may get: calls from — or on behalf of — political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors; or calls from companies with whom you have an existing business relationship. A company may call you for 18 months after you make a purchase or three months after you submit an inquiry or application. However, if you request that the company place your number on its own do-not-call list, it must honor your request. You should keep a record of the date you make the request.

File a complaint.
If your number has been on the registry for at least 31 days and a telemarketer calls, complain to the FTC. Visit www.donotocall.gov or call 888-382-1222. You'll need to provide the date of the call and the phone number or name of the company that called you.

Existing-Home Sales Rise in March

Sales of existing homes rose in March, continuing an uneven recovery that began after sales bottomed out last July, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.10 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.92 million in February, but are 6.3 percent below the 5.44 million pace in March 2010. Sales were at elevated levels from March through June of 2010 in response to the homebuyer tax credit.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, expects the improving sales pattern to continue. "Existing-home sales have risen in six of the past eight months, so we're clearly on a recovery path," he said. "With rising jobs and excellent affordability conditions, we project moderate improvements into 2012, but not every month will show a gain – primarily because some buyers are finding it too difficult to obtain a mortgage. For those fortunate enough to qualify for financing, monthly mortgage payments as a percent of income have been at record lows."

NAR also tracks monthly comparisons of existing single-family home sales and median prices for select metropolitan statistical areas, which are posted with other tables at www.realtor.org/research/research/ehsdata.

PATH Shuts Down: Past Resources Still Available

Previously the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing, PATH is now an online resource for homeowners and homebuyers, the homebuilding industry and federal agencies. PATH catalogs the best resources on advanced building technologies and practices to emerge from the decade-long public-private partnership, which ended in 2008.

You'll find case studies, technology profiles, links to articles and publications, and tips for homeowners. All materials were current as of spring 2008. Go to www.pathnet.org.

If Green is Your Cup of Tea

BuildingGreen.com is an independent publishing company committed to bringing members accurate, unbiased and timely green-design information. It offers Environmental Building News, BuildingGreen Suite of online tools, GreenSpec directory of products and LEED user web tool.

While features are accessible only to members/subscribers, several sections are open to the public, including the Back Page Primer section with articles like the one on Heat-Pump Water Heaters and the Product News and Reviews section, which recently included "New Flame Retardant for Polystyrene—Too Much Like the Old?"