May, 2018
Discussion from Executive Director
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Uncle John's Band


Last month I talked about civility and what that meant to a couple of great inspectors. I hope that, in a pensive moment, a lot of you agree with me that life is way too short to be going around with a chip on your shoulder.

We’re all lucky to be where we are. I’m grateful to be working in a profession that has given me a sense of worth. Many of the folks who hire us are starting a new life in a new-for-them home and are counting on us to look after their best interests. That’s a heavy weight on our shoulders…leaving little room for that proverbial chip.

As I write this column, I’m sitting on a plane heading back home from a conference where I learned that, too often, many of us waste time on minutiae when we should be focusing on the big picture. It reminded me of when my colleague Ron Passaro shared what he would tell his clients before each inspection:

We’ll be looking at the home inspection as if we’re on a safari. We’re looking for the big game. We may run across a few little critters now and then. And we may ‘bag’ a few of them. But let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

(Ron, please excuse me for using poetic license to summarize your driveway speech, but I hope that everyone gets the gist of what you meant: Focus on the big deficiencies because those are the ones that will come back to bite you.)

Not to drive home too fine a point, but try not to trip on gnats. Concentrate on the defects that your client needs to know about. That’s not to say ignore all of the little critters, but your main focus should be to make sure the house is safe and sound, not whether the carpet is frayed. Keep in mind that there is only a finite amount of time during an inspection. So, time spent on nitpicking may cause you to miss the subtle, but important, deficiencies. 

If you haven’t realized it yet, the theme of this month’s article can be summed up in lyrics from The Grateful Dead, “Wo-oah, what I want to know, where does the time go?” For you young ’uns, here’s a YouTube link:

Speaking of where the time goes, around 13 years ago, a delegation from Japan came to ASHI headquarters to learn about home inspections in the United States. Check out this link to read the ASHI Reporter article about that visit: 

Much more recently, I met with Skip Walker, Ken Collins, Steve Fishman and Jim Dal Porto in San Jose, CA. There, we teamed up with a group of home inspectors who belong to the Japan Society of Home Inspection (JSHI) to inspect retired inspector Jim and Keiko Manning’s home. When shown the Reporter article mentioned above, some of the JSHI inspectors recognized members of the delegation who came in 2004. We posted some photos of the group inspecting the house on ASHI’s Facebook page. 

It was rewarding to see how seeds planted over a decade ago have grown into an impressive organization on the other side of the globe.

So sometimes, like the Stones sing, “Time, time, time is on my side, yes it is.”