October, 2006
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



The vast majority of practicing Home Inspectors are mediocre. A small percentage are particularly bad. An even smaller percent are very good.”

I read this statement buried in a collage of quotes in one of our media outlet articles. The comment was barely legible, in small print and purposely printed in half-tone. I needed to squint just to read it; yet, it still caught my eye as the comment got me thinking about our industry and if there’s much truth to this statement. I even thought it might be too broad or negative a topic...after all, if you place any stock in the statement, it’s a fairly poor reflection on the home inspection industry and what we do as service providers. With that said, ASHI members know who we are and what we stand for.

Ah...we are a feisty group, I thought, and not one to shy away from most topics. There is a noteworthy message here. So, how do we gauge where in this statement we fit as service providers, whether we offer inspection services, consulting, reporting ware or anything else that serves this business?  After all, what really makes us ‘very good’?  Since it is self-serving to apply labels of greatness to oneself, and certainly not without bias, I suggest it is instead a reflection of how the public views your business and whether it views your work as professional-grade. If you compete within the averages as a service provider, you can easily gauge where your business falls within the opening statement.

We are a society of individuals (not businesses, corporations or franchises) made up of real–not virtual–men and women who strive to take the high road to be the best in the business. We actually go out of our way to set standards and to advocate for excellence, even in the most innocuous corners of our world where the likelihood of someone actually reading an idea or rationale is slim to none. Our association leadership and professional staff are bent on getting it right— our members demand it be so. I am proud to report that in all my years serving ASHI this idea of honesty and integrity exists in all corners of our Society...our committees, board, leadership and staff...it’s actually contagious. This
doesn’t happen by chance, but instead by design: ASHI attracts individuals who strive to be among the percentage that is publicly viewed to be in the ‘very good’ category. Consider this also: ASHI’s membership continues to grow, and, the opinions and position statements we hold dear are sought after by media outlets and others looking for straight answers about an often suspicious industry. And, in my opinion, this public suspicion originates in no small part due to a fragmented industry made up of individuals, groups and business interests pulling at opposite ideals. It seems our industry lacks a common thread of principles to rally around; for instance, a universally recognized exam (although one exists), education standards, and real mentoring qualifications—commonly viewed as servitude.

But hope is not lost, and maybe a cooler real estate economy will help to shake out those who are not serious about making home inspection a true profession. In the meantime, we can all do our part to assure ASHI maintains its good reputation through strong leaders.

Each voting member of ASHI can do his or her part to assure qualified leaders carry on this long tradition. This is the time of year when we choose and consider individuals running for office, then vote for the leaders of our society. Realize leaders do not materialize from thin air. Association management and working with volunteers is a different culture, and there is a rather long ramp-up of baby-step activities that culminates into the making of ASHI’s leaders. The beginnings are many times modest, starting with seemingly minor projects that, when completed with pride and diligence, produce stellar results. Attitude adjustment takes place here in a different operational environment than found in a private small business or in a larger corporate setting. Our working committees, therefore, become the fertile ground where potential leaders work, produce products, get recognized by peers and eventually emerge as contenders for a leadership position. I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating: ASHI is fortunate to have a pool of talented individuals that is willing to share its experiences to elevate this profession.

The election of officers is upon us, and we have a duty as members to vote for the most-qualified person. These folks are charged with maintaining the association in forward motion and putting a public face on our profession. Remember, we all pay membership dues to take our local voices and amplify them on a national stage. Your leadership plays a significant role in moving us all into the realm of the “very good.” Do not waste your vote. Choose carefully, and then cast your ballot.