Hard on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan is the world’s largest exhibit hall and convention center. McCormick place in Chicago can only be described as huge. The National Association of Realtors® held their annual conference and exhibit in a small part of the building while another national group also held theirs.
Booth 2044 was the ASHI booth operating with both staff and local volunteers to get the ASHI message out. What really was a hit was our popcorn machine. The aroma of fresh popped corn wafted through the hall and drew people to our booth. As they stood in line for a bag of popcorn the ASHI message was presented to them along with our Standards and a CD that installs a link to our Web site and the “Find an Inspector” function on their computer screen and provides highlights from the ASHI®/NAR® industry study. Many of those who viewed our “Find an inspector” feature on our live Web site hook-up in the booth were impressed with the ease of locating by zip code. Most impressive was the fact that throughout the four days of the exhibit we kept hearing that these people recognize ASHI and many promote only using ASHI Members.
While the attendance numbers are not available yet, we know there were thousands who came to see what new products and services were available. Several home inspection franchise companies were exhibiting, and in some cases reinforced our presence by stating on their booth backdrop that they employed ASHI members or that “All inspections were performed in accordance with the Standards of Practice of ASHI.”
The media also visited us, and Rob Paterkiewicz and I were interviewed regarding the recently announced General Accounting Office (GAO) study requested by Cong. Douglas Bereuter (R.-NE) to quantify the costs and benefits of mandatory home inspections in federal home loan programs.
This has raised the antenna of the media who are involved with real estate. The presumption that every federally-backed mortgage might someday have an ASHI inspection is a grand idea. While that may never come to pass, we are raising the issue of property flipping and predatory lending, and how an experienced ASHI inspector could help root out the fraud perpetrated against unsuspecting buyers.
InspectionWorld in January
I hope you all have made up your minds to attend InspectionWorld in New Orleans. Seeing the success of the NAR® show, and recalling the success of our last InspectionWorld in Las Vegas, I know there is much to be learned by attending a conference of this size and quality. The Conference Committee has decided to keep the early-bird rate in place because of the reluctance of many to travel. The Education Committee was in charge of the entire program this year, and those who served on it did a great job, scheduling excellent programs. For myself, I can only say that I have traveled many times since Sept. 11 and I feel safe and secure. You should, however, give yourself extra time to get through security.
Looking forward to seeing you in New Orleans.