November, 2005
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Warning--Beware of Hazards in Disaster Areas


Responding to a request from the Consumer Products Safety Council, ASHI included information about the hazards of returning to a disaster area in the dues waiver e-mail to the membership in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The “Returning Home Safe” poster warns of the dangers of CO poisoning from the improper use of generators, as well as electrical, gas and children’s hazards.
The CPSC has asked for ASHI’s help in distributing these warnings. To print copies of the door hanger and posters, visit the Latest News section on ASHI’s Web site’s Members only Extranet.

Rebuilding after disaster
Katrina recovery has many examples to turn to Keith Tyson, a Miami Realtor for the last 25 years, has lived through many Florida hurricanes. He also works for Miami-Dade Search and Rescue and is currently helping out in New Orleans, and said it takes about a year and a half for things to return to normal after big disasters.
After the initial concerns of rescuing people from natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the next big question is over the recovery and rebuilding process, which has already begun in Katrina-ravaged areas.
Disasters such as hurricanes, tornados and wildfires throughout history have ravaged communities, leaving thousands homeless and cities without major necessities like water and electricity.
Initial estimates after Katrina reported some 200,000 homes destroyed from the storm.
In Southern Florida in 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed about 28,000 homes, causing $15.5 billion in losses. In Northern California in 1991, the Oakland Hills fire destroyed 2,886 homes, apartments and condos, causing an estimated $1.5 billion in damage. And in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, two hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Center leveled 16 acres of the city’s downtown area, destroying 12 million square feet of office space and rendering another 9 million square feet unusable.
Inman news has published a three-part series on the recovery following three major disasters (see below). To subscribe to Inman News and have access to the series, visit
“In Part 1, ‘Oakland Hills fire transformed character of hillside homes,’ we revisit the Oakland and Berkeley Hills areas just outside San Francisco that were ravaged by fires in 1991. The disaster left a moonscape of charred, barely recognizable home
foundations set in barren, blackened slopes. Today, the hillsides are filled with super-sized homes that sell for more than
$1 million.”
“In Part 2, ‘Hurricane Andrew: A blip in a hot market,’ Prudential Florida WCI Realtor® Keith Tyson recalls how real estate prices in the areas ravaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 fell precipitously. Houses that sold for $100,000 before the storm were selling for $15,000. ‘In the affected area immediately after a disaster, homes are sold not as normal homes but as damaged goods,’ he said.”
“In Part 3, ‘Downtown Manhattan real estate bounces back,’ Prudential Douglas Elliman Executive Rob Gross recalls the initial shock to the Manhattan real estate market in the months just after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the unprecedented real estate boom that quickly followed. He said there are many more places to live in downtown Manhattan today than in the years prior to Sept. 11, and that new development in the district is driving a lot of real estate sales activity.”
21 Things Every Home Inspector Should Know
New book provides practical advice for entering and building a successful home inspection career – or not!
“21 Things Every Home Inspector Should Know,” by veteran industry writers Frank Cook and Pat Remick, is a straightforward briefing on a great business that can be emotionally rewarding and lucrative, but definitely is not for everyone.  “21 Things…” dismisses industry misconceptions without pulling any punches about what it takes to succeed. No, you don’t need to be strong, but yes, you do need to be comfortable around creepy, crawly
critters. Yes, you need to understand how homes work, but more importantly, you need to be able to explain its systems in their simplest terms to fretful homebuyers.
“More than 7 million homes are changing hands every year and consumers are demanding to know what they’re getting,” says co-author Pat Remick. “Inspectors can’t just hang out a shingle anymore. States are regulating them and training is mandatory.”
The book includes interviews with dozens of the industry’s most respected home inspectors, who provide practical advice on all facets of the industry to help potential inspectors:

• Assess if they have the skills and the personality to enter the business
• Learn of critical resources to help them understand the business such as trade industry associations, and to network
• Analyze the start-up costs, potential income and liabilities of starting their business
• Learn to market themselves and their business
• Become aware of the dangers of
the job
It also provides readers with insight into industry politics and ethical issues, as well as first-hand testimonials from women working in the home inspection industry.
“Over the years, we have learned that the home inspection business is more than just looking for cracks and leaks,” says co-author Frank Cook.  “Knowing how a house works is one thing, but knowing how people work, how they think about their homes and the politics of the industry is another.”
 Frank Cook is a nationally recognized real estate industry expert, having covered the real estate business for more than 20 years.  
Pat Remick has been the editor and co-owner of The Real Estate Intelligence Report since 1989.  “21 Things Every Home Inspector Should Know” ($24.95, 220 pages, paperback, ISBN: 0-7931-9623-X) is available now in bookstores including the ASHI Store at
About Dearborn Home Inspection Education
Dearborn Home Inspection Education, a Kaplan Professional company, publishes training materials for current and aspiring home inspection
professionals. Its products were authored by Carson Dunlop & Associates, one of the largest independent home inspection firms in North America. To find out more, visit www.dearborn, or call 800-903-6036.<