January, 2006
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Saying Goodbye


As ASHI enters its 30th year of serving home inspectors, there are a lot of memories to be shared. Last year, ASHI Member Doug Zimmerman used a letter of resignation to 2005 Standards of Practice Committee Chair JD Grewell and fellow Committee Member Roger Hankey to share his memories.  

How I got started with ASHI

In 1982, while working at the Missoula Building Code department, I began to receive calls from people complaining about problems they found in their newly purchased Doug-Zimmerman.gifhomes. I would meet with them as a public service and try to help them. One day, a light bulb turned on in my head, and I began to think about becoming a home inspector. In 1983, I resigned my code inspector position and jumped 100 percent into the unknown world of home inspections. I tried for several months to convince the real estate agents and brokers that home inspections would benefit them as well as buyers, but couldn't get to square one.

One day, I went to the local library to look up home inspection organizations. I found ASHI listed, called the phone number several times, but all I got was an answering machine. Finally, one day I received a phone call from Mr. Williams. He said he would send an application. I immediately filled it out and began the process to become an ASHI Member.

In 1983 and 1984, I was the only home inspector in Montana where, at that
time, there were probably more sheep in the state than people. I had a large potential market of homebuyers, but with still a lot of opposition from the real estate market, I felt I needed more knowledge, so I went to my first ASHI conference in Houston, Texas. There, I met you (JD and Roger), plus Ron Passaro, John Cox and many others. That conference gave me the spark I needed. It came from the excitement I saw in all of you and from the encouragement you gave me to stick in there. My inspection business began to happen.

The ASHI conference was my only support because there were no ASHI chapters close to me. Starting my own chapter with a total membership of one would not work.

At several of the early ASHI conferences, John Cox cornered me, asking my permission to list my name as a candidate for the ASHI Board of Directors. He always seemed to catch me in a corner where there wasn't a door behind me. I finally asked him he why he wanted me-an inspector from Montana. He said he thought ASHI needed representation on the Board from a remote part of the country and he couldn't find anyone more remote than me. That statement, coming from an inspector from Washington, D.C., to an inspector surrounded by sheep and a few homebuyers, I couldn't say no to him. I was elected to the Board and, of course, the sheep jokes started. Believe me, I have heard every sheep joke. At the Board meetings, I was introduced as, "Doug Zimmerman from Montaaaaaana," as you probably recall.

John cornered me again and, of course, no door behind me for escape. He
wanted me to be on the Standards of Practice Committee. ASHI was going through a major revision of the Standards, and he wanted my input. I agreed. Memories from being on that committee are numerous, but to be part of a committee with so many knowledgeable inspectors was an honor.

What ASHI means to me

Without ASHI from the start and the encouragement from many ASHI inspectors, I would have quit the business a long time ago.

Why I am resigning

I found a new ASHI inspector who is going to buy my business, and I am thrilled about giving him a jump-start. I am scheduling some inspections in the evenings and on the weekends so he can get used to doing inspections and get
his inspection program up to speed. It seems like I am burning the candle at both ends, like I did 20 years ago. I just don't have the time I feel is needed to deal with the SoP issues.

So, when my Social Security kicks in this fall, I will find a part-time job or maybe I will buy some land and start raising sheep.  
I will keep my e-mail address, so write me. Remember to have good batteries in your equipment, be careful when climbing ladders, don't fall through any roofs and follow the ASHI Standards of Practice.<

-Doug Zimmerman, ASHI #347