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Inspection News & Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc.


6 8

Being Frank: Giving Thanks

Chasing Water With

Thermal Imaging, Part 1

12 Herspective 18 Score One for the Big Guys! 34  T ouching Up Your “Find An Inspector” Settings

38 Handling Complaints, Part 2


Mold Sampling Basic Kit $299 USD #8706301

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Zefon Bio-pump Plus Kit $699 USD #8706002

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FHA/VA Water Test Kit Basic+2Day TAT Prepaid



ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Radon Gas Test kit Call For Pricing!



November 2017

Features 8

Please Support our Advertisers: EMSL Analytical, Inc. Target Professional Programs Home Inspector Pro Allen Insurance America’s Call Center ASHI Free Logos NHIE Study Guide ASHI Print-On-Demand ASHI Online Learning Center InspectionWorld® 3D Inspection System US Inspect How To Operate Your Home Business Risk Partners American Home Warranty InspectorPro Insurance Sun Nuclear Corporation HomeGauge

Chasing Water With Thermal Imaging, Part 1


Peter Hopkins, United Infared, Inc.

“Why not be a Home Inspector? You’d be Good at it!” Carolyn Cassidy 13 For Succesful Marketing, Being Present is Key Dustie Amatangelo





Smart Inspector Science Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc.

Vol. 34, #11

Score One for the Big Guys ASHI Staff

Change is Essential: A Retired Home Inspector Looks Back Keith Swift, PhD

Getting to the Root of it With Sewer Inspections Peter Hopkins, United Infared, Inc.

2 5 7 11 14 14 17 17 17 19 37 37 844-268-2677 40 41 43 45 47 48

38 Handling Complaints, Part 2 Alan Carson, CarsonDunlop

Departments 6

Being Frank Frank Lesh, ASHI Executive Director


28 ASHI Community

Chapter News, Listing and Education

Hands-on Home Inspection Training

Membership, Endorsed Member Programs & Anniversaries

33 The ASHI School 34 Your ASHI

42 Postcards From the Field

It’s Wacky Out There

46 On My Mind

By ASHI President Howard Pegleow

20 November 2017 •


ASHI National Officers and Board of Directors Educated. Tested. Verified. Certified.

A SH I M ISSIO N S TATEM ENT To set and promote standards for property inspections and to provide the educational programs needed to achieve excellence in the profession and to meet the needs of our members.

Officers Howard Pegelow, President Gilbert, AZ, 414-379-4186

Donald Lovering, Sr., Treasurer Indian Trail, NC, 704-443-0110

Tim Buell, President-Elect Marysville, OH, 614-746-7485

Mike Wagner, Secretary Westfield, IN, 317-867-7688

Scott Patterson, Vice President Spring Hill, TN, 615-302-1113

Randy Sipe, Immediate Past-President Spring Hill, KS, 913-856-4515


Main Phone: 847-759-2820, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Mon. - Fri., CST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Frank Lesh, Executive Director, 847-954-3182, Bonnie Bruno-Castaneda, Executive Assistant & Project Coordinator 847-954-3177, EDUCATION, CE APPROVAL, ASHI ONLINE LEARNING CENTER, INSPECTIONWORLD, CHAPTER RELATIONS

Michele George, Director of Education, Events and Chapter Relations, 847-954-3188, MEMBERSHIP, BOOTH RENTAL, PRODUCT ORDERS

Jen Gallegos, Manager of Membership Services & U.S. DOE Home Energy Score Assessor Coordinator, 847-954-3185, Janet George, Membership Services Supervisor, 847-954-3180 George Herrera, Membership Services Assistant, 847-954-3196

Bruce Barker 2015-2017 Cary, NC, 919-322-4491

Bruce LaBell 2015-2017 Scottsdale, AZ, 602-765-2140

Michael Conley 2017-2019 Anna Maria, FL, 941-778-2385

Reuben Saltzman 2017-2019 Maple Grove, MN, 952-915-6466

Mark Lester, Membership Services Coordinator, 847-954-3176

James J. Funkhouser 2017-2019 Manassas Park, VA, 703-791-2360

Bob Sisson 2017-2019 Boyds MD, 301-208-8289


Bryck Guibor 2017-2019 Tucson, AZ, 520-795-5300

Tony Smith 2015-2017 Cedar Rapids, IA, 319-533-4565

Beverly Canham, Financial Assistant, 847-954-3184

Ken Harrington 2015-2017 Delaware, OH, 614-507-1061

Blaine Swan 2016-2018 Columbus, OH, 614-506-0647

Richard Hart 2016-2018 Conyers, GA, 770-827-2200

John Wessling 2016-2018 St. Louis, MO, 314-520-1103

David Haught 2016-2018 Huntington, WV, 304-417-1247

Speaker, Council of Representatives Hollis Brown, 2017-2018 Manassas, VA, 703-754-8872

Publisher: Frank Lesh Editor: Carol Dikelsky Art Director: Kate Laurent Assistant Art Director: George Ilavsky American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. 932 Lee Street, Suite 101 Des Plaines, IL 60016

847-954-3179 Reporter calls only

ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Michael Krauszowski, Membership Relations Administrator 847-954-3175,

Toni Fanizza, Accounting, Purchasing and Human Resources Manager, 847-954-3190,


Mike Rostescu, Assistant Executive Director & Director of IT 847-954-3189, COMMUNICATIONS

Dave Kogan, Director of Marketing & Business Development Advertising, Marketing, IW Expo Hall, Public Relations 847-954-3187, Kate Laurent, Design & Digital Strategy Manager, “ASHI Reporter” Art Director, 847-954-3179, Chris Karczewski, Social Media & Digital Strategist, 847-954-3183

847-299-2505 (fax) Reporter only Email:

George Ilavsky, Graphic Designer & Free Logos,

Advertising: Dave Kogan Phone: 847-954-3187, Email:


ASHI REPORTER – ISSN 1076-1942 – the official publication of the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. (ASHI), 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines IL 60016, is published monthly. Annual subscriptions: $44.95 to non-members. Periodical postage paid at Des Plaines, IL 60016 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ASHI Reporter, 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016-6546. Copyright© 2017, ASHI. None of the content of this publication may be reproduced, in any manner, without the prior written consent of the publisher. Inclusion of or specific mention of any proprietary product within does not imply endorsement of, nor does exclusion of any proprietary product imply non-endorsement, by the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. Opinions or statements of authors and advertisers are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of ASHI, its agents or editors. See above for information pertaining to submission of articles, advertising and related materials.



Russell Daniels, Executive Director of the ASHI School 847-954-3178, Michelle Santiago, Executive Assistant, 847-954-3198 Tracy Vazquez, Sales Representative, 847-954-3181 Avery Dinn, Sales Representative, 847-954-3191

Choose our E & O / GL insurance and save 15% on the cost of outstanding coverage. As ASHI’s endorsed provider for E & O and General Liability Insurance, Target Professional Programs offers ASHI members the highest premium discount available anywhere – a full 15% on any amount of coverage purchased. More Attractive Advantages In addition to covering all inspectors in the firm (including interns), Target’s policy covers your administrative staff, referral agencies and even spouses. Plus, Identity Theft Coverage up to $25,000 is a no-cost bonus with every policy. Target includes coverage for specialized inspections: • 4 Point • Infrared Thermography • Commercial (Up to 100,000 Sq. Ft.) • Pool & Spa • Construction Draw • Radon • Code Compliance • Septic / Well • EIFS • Water Testing • Energy • Wind Mitigation • HUD / Section 8 Optional policy endorsements let you purchase only the extra coverage you may need for inspections you actually perform: Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Mold and/or Termite inspections. Coverage for Drone Inspections At a low premium of only $100, this optional endorsement provides $50,000 in coverage per policy term for damage or injury caused by an inspector’s drone during the course of an inspection. We’re happy to offer you (or your insurance agent/broker) a no-obligation quote at any time. Visit: for an application and more details about coverage features & benefits. Or contact us: Fausto Petruzziello 973-396-1790

TARGET PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS Insurance for Particular Professionals

November 2017 •


© 2017 Target Professional Programs is a division of and operates under the licenses of CRC Insurance Services, Inc., CRC Insurance Services of CA, Lic No 0778135. No claim to an


GIVING THANKS By Frank Lesh ASHI Executive Director American Society of Home Inspectors Direct: 847-954-3182 •

4. 5.

 Business. This is a great time to be in business. But then, I think anytime can be if you have #5 below.

I 1.

t’s November, so I’d like to share my “Thankful List,” professionally speaking…  Good Health. It’s hard to make a living without it. If you’re sick a lot and not able to do your job, you don’t just lose the day’s inspection, you may also lose future inspections, because referrals from real estate agents, attorneys, bankers or even home-buying clients may not recommend your services due to unsure reliability.


F  amily. For moral, financial and staff support. Like many other inspectors creating their own businesses, my wife and I started Home Sweet Home Inspection Company, with her doing the essential stuff like booking the inspections upselling ancillary services and running the office. I got the fun part of doing the inspections. My kids helped, too, when they were on vacation or school breaks. Among other things, my son would carry the ladders and be the “gofer,” and my daughter would jot down deficiencies as I spotted them. Now, my daughter is a sales rep for The ASHI School, and my son is an ASHI Certified Inspector. Some clients say, “He sounds just like you, Frank.” (I don’t know if that’s meant as a compliment or not.) My wife is a former First Lady of ASHI and she still enjoys going to InspectionWorld®.


 Weather. There are folks who think the weather in Chicago is atrocious, but truthfully, I’ll put up with some snow, rain, heat and crisp days… they’re called “seasons.” I’m grateful, though, to not have hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes or 120-degree days for weeks on end. And the beauty of having “weather” is that things wear out quickly, which means there are more things that need to be inspected and more maintenance projects that you need to talk about with clients. All of this leads to more business. But no matter where you’re located or what type of climate you’re in, make the best of it.


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

A  ttitude. We are in a business that finds fault. Clients don’t hire us to tell them how pretty the view is or what a great school district they’ll be in. They want to know the condition of the house. Often, that means that we’re the bearers of bad news. But even when presenting bad news, your attitude, or what I like to call your “bedside manner,” can make all the difference in the world to your client.

How you present your findings is important. And in my opinion, that does not compromise your responsibility to the folks hiring you. Accurate analogies are hard to assign to situations, so the best I can produce is what it’s like when you go to the doctor. If she finds something wrong with you, how she explains it to you will have a huge impact on your psyche—much like how your client feels when your report details a significant defect in the house. I recommend that you use language that makes you most comfortable. But keep in mind that even if you like short, to-the-point answers to complicated issues, be cautious because you should recognize that some clients might be turned off by that method. Your client may feel that you’re being rude or insensitive. So, although your observation in one case might have been right on the money, your delivery might have been poor.

“Remember, a huge part of successful entrepreneurship is getting repeat business.” It costs far more time, effort and money to get new clients than it does to get repeat customers and referral business from them. Ultimately, your attitude will have a direct effect on your success. Like I said at the beginning of this list, it’s November. Count your blessings and give thanks for what you have. H

7November 2017



Chasing Water With Thermal Imaging

CHASING WATER WITH THERMAL IMAGING, PART 1 By Peter Hopkins, ACI, Level III Thermographer, United Infrared, Inc.


hasing water is what I do for a living. I’ve found thermal imaging to be an excellent tool that complements any leak detection strategy. With the understanding that water always chooses the “path of least resistance,” we can use thermal imaging to help explain the often-mysterious origins of water leaks, which may be far from the physical evidence of damage. Thermal imaging technology has allowed me to expand my business by mapping paths with a completely noninvasive technique. Thermal imaging provides immediate visual results that can reveal the actual sources of leaks. This article details how my company has helped many clients solve their “mystery leaks.”

THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE People tend to choose the path with the least number of steps or the fewest obstacles to achieve a goal. Computer navigation systems offer the shortest distance between points A and B or provide a route with the least amount of traffic. As defined by, “the path of least resistance describes the physical or metaphorical pathway that provides the least resistance to forward motion by a given object or entity, among a set of alternative paths. The concept often is used to describe why an object or entity takes a given path.” Water, of course, is known to follow the path of least resistance. Think of how a river, seen from above, follows a long, snake-like path. Water, unlike human beings, doesn’t care how long it takes to get to its final destination as long as it travels along the easiest route. This fact is often what confuses people when it comes to understanding where a water leak originates, as they commonly assume the leak must be near the area of visible damage. Having been in the building inspection business for more than 20 years, the number of times I’ve encountered people frustrated with “mystery leaks” is huge—it’s such a common problem that as a key word search on the Internet, it yields nearly 10 million results.

Aerial views: Left, one segment of a river’s actual course indicated by yellow lines measures 14,508 feet; right, the distance between the same starting and end points on the river measures only 5,676 feet when traveled in a straight line.


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Manmade waterway, notice the straight course.

WHAT’S IN THE BAG? The primary tools in my bag are my knowledge and experience. Physical tools are no substitute for effective research, clear communication, use of proper investigative techniques and thorough documentation of problems. I can then use a thermal camera, along with moisture meters, hygrometers, measuring tapes and a digital camera, to the best advantage.

SIMPLE SCIENCE When objects become wet (due to movement of air), a cooling effect takes place on the object’s surface—a process known as evaporation. The infrared (IR) camera doesn’t “see” water, but rather the effects of water on temperature and environment.

THE CASES There are all kinds of leaks out there—from plumbing systems to building fenestration leaks to a surprising problem we’ll call the “take a leak” syndrome—all of which can be diagnosed with thermal imaging.

THE SEVEN-YEAR MYSTERY My company was retained to source the moisture of an ongoing leak taking place in a downstairs office of a two-story home. The owner asked us to perform water testing of an exterior window, as recent repairs had been done to the plumbing system and the owner did not believe that the water came from this location.

These photos show a definite leak at the garage floor. The opposite area in the lower hallway showed no sign of leakage or damage anywhere.

Thermally speaking, these pictures are worth a thousand words.

Thermal Imaging quickly identified the location of moisture; it was up to us to chase the source.

By using thermal technology, we mapped out the suspected leak location. Note that the plumber is digging right at the “X.” We viewed the room above, noting a colder area at the right side of toilet that, when viewed with a moisture meter, had 100% moisture. Thermal imaging was resourceful in identifying that there was a failed wax seal and a loose toilet.

SLAB LEAKS We are often asked to identify slab leaks. Initially, we recommend the clients consult with a leak detection company that uses ultrasound (a licensed plumber), as they usually get good results and their fees may be less than what we charge. Based on the client’s situation, however, we do accept some of these jobs and have had great success. This first case was reviewed by a company that used ultrasound. They did not source the leak, however, so our infrared technology quickly brought to light the problem area.

As you can see in the images, “X” marks the spot.

Another case was more exciting, in that we were able to obtain the remediation pictures that helped prove how effective IR technology (properly used) can be. In this case, the client found our company by searching the Internet for a solution to his known slab leak. Problem was, he didn’t know that the source, as the evidence shows, was 6 feet away.

What do you know? “X” did mark the spot. The homeowner called me the next day to express how “upset” he was that my calculations were a whole 1 inch off! The picture on the right shows the newly repaired pipe and everything back in order.

DECK LEAK The following example shows how water travels and how, in some cases, what’s thought to be the leak actually is confirmed to be something else. A contractor suspected an upstairs bathroom leak that ended up being a deck flashing leak, so he hired us to do thermal imaging.

We mapped the moisture and showed how having a stain in one area doesn’t mean that the cause is opposite the evidence and how moisture takes the path of least resistance. 9November 2017




Chasing Water With Thermal Imaging

POOR ROOF DESIGN (THIRD TIME’S A CHARM, RIGHT?) A persistent and never properly repaired roof led us to another case. A southern California homeowner was frustrated after her roof had been repaired three times for the same problem, but it still was not fixed. The roofing contractor suggested replacing an upper roof to solve the problem; however, the client was not convinced and instead contracted our services. H

We saw normal evidence of a bucket to capture the water. Thermal imaging immediately showed the wet area at the ceiling. The arrow at the image indicates how the water traveled, directly over the bucket. As water traveled down, ceiling to wall, exiting at the wall opening to the living room.

These thermal images show a time lapse of 30 minutes of water testing.

The water testing helped identify this leak to the source and in a semi-non-destructive manner. The stain in the image to the right was the final resting place of the water, as seen in the last IR image. Obviously, this was not opposite the source, which was several feet away. With technology and a little brain power, we mapped it to the root cause.

The wet area identified in the thermal image first was confirmed with a moisture meter to have 100% and then to the source. We viewed that the roof had a steep slope, with an upper roof cascading over it. This design was causing water to first hit the structure and bypass the counter flashing, leading to moisture entry. The suggested repair on this home involved a new design for a valley flashing versus a suggested roof replacement.

Want to see more water mysteries solved? Watch the Reporter for Part 2 of this series, which will focus on IR testing in more homes and large buildings. I’ll also share advice on marketing the thermal imaging aspect of your business. Check out another article from Peter Hopkins starting on Page 22, as well as information about Peter’s upcoming InspectionWorld® educational session on Page 27. 10

ASHI Reporter • November 2017

11November 2017




arolyn Cassidy studied civil engineering in college and worked in structural engineering for a few years. After that, she switched to banking and a few years later, she and her family moved to the suburbs of New York City. Once there, she was a full-time mom who took on many volunteer positions. In 2008, one of Carolyn’s neighbors asked her to help handle a property dispute—someone wanted to portion off part of an adjacent lot to build another home. While doing some research, Carolyn met with a local building inspector. During their conversation, the building inspector learned a bit about Carolyn’s background and saw evidence of her knowledge and expertise. Before the end of the meeting, he suggested that she think about becoming a home inspector, saying, “Why not? You’d be good at it.” Carolyn also start thinking, “Why not?” Over the years, she’d hired home inspectors for her family’s two homes, but she hadn’t paid much attention to what they did, how they did it or the way they reported on it. But when she took a class to explore the profession, she found that she enjoyed learning about all the topics. In 2012, she became licensed as a home inspector and formed Benchmark Home Inspection LLC. As she created her business model, she reached out to real estate agents she knew in the community and began marketing herself as an option for home inspections. In the beginning, she used a software system that wasn’t working well, but when she switched to Horizon, by Carson Dunlop, things really came together for her business. Carolyn said, “The Horizon software and its platform are easy to use, and it fits into my routine. I like to include illustrations and photos to help people understand the report. For many buyers, the home inspection is the first time they are being asked to understand these systems, and providing visuals and organized information helps them learn what they are getting. I always try to write what I say, and say what I write.”


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

For Carolyn, once a civil engineer, always a civil engineer. “One strategy I use in my inspection process is to connect with the local building department to see if there are any open permits on the property. This can verify whether upgrades or repairs were done according to code. Most agents don’t do this or even suggest it, but I think it can help at the point of inspection, because finding out about an issue later can hold up a closing.” “I like working with buyers, making them feel comfortable about their home-buying choices. Now that many of my peers are starting to downsize or move to other communities, I’m getting requests to do pre-sale inspections. This is an important market—people want to know how to prepare their home so that it easily sails through inspections down the road.” “My home inspection course instructor stressed to everyone in the class that we should join ASHI, so it was the first thing I did when I launched my business. I belong to the NY Metro Chapter and I love attending the continuing education sessions every year. I also shadowed a colleague from the chapter and it really helped me to see how he conducted his inspections. I rely on ASHI resources as references—I even keep a binder of articles relevant to me that I’ve organized by topic. Most of all, I love the postcards in the Reporter!” Carolyn said, “Some people are surprised when they find out what I do. They say, ‘You mean you actually go into people’s homes? Even into the crawl space?’ Lots of people don’t really pay attention to what a home inspector does until they need one for themselves.” “I definitely look at my own home differently now that I have become a home inspector. When I bought my first two homes, I was as oblivious as I expect most people are. When faced with so many big decisions at the same time, people can be overwhelmed.”

Carolyn Cassidy Benchmark Home Inspection LLC Westhampton, NY 914-441-2851

“In Florida, where my husband and I recently bought a home, I made sure that I walked with the inspector and learned about the mold testing that is commonly done there. It’s interesting to learn about the regional differences in homes—for example, the bracing for roof systems in Florida is such that it can mitigate the forces of high winds.” Carolyn’s advice to all home inspectors is to take a personal interest in your clients. Find out what’s important to them, especially about the type of the home they want to purchase. Taking this kind of personal interest is what makes Carolyn so excited about her job—to help people understand the homes they hope to own. Look for Carolyn at InspectionWorld® in Orlando in January! H

For many buyers, the home inspection is the first time they are being asked to understand these systems


Dustie Amatangelo VP of Business Development Florida Building Inspection Group Tampa, FL 813-409-3249


ustie Amatangelo may not be a home inspector, but she provides marketing support for Florida Building Inspection Group (The FBI Group) in Tampa, FL. Before entering the world of home inspection, Dustie worked in retail management and for a newspaper, in advertising and marketing sales. A few years ago, a friend introduced her to Tom Frey of The FBI Group. Dustie remembered, “Tom and I sat down to discuss the new position in marketing. He wanted a person to help him run candy bowls to the real estate offices and assist with scheduling.” Dustie seized the opportunity to explain the value she could bring to The FBI Group, given her background in advertising and marketing, and her connections in the local real estate community. They came to an agreement and formed a profitable working relationship. Dustie explained her vision so well, Tom handed her a phone and the password to sign into Inspection Support Network (ISN), their scheduling system, and said “Go!” And off she went. She started calling on 10 offices weekly. Dustie stated, “It’s about building relationships because everyone does business

with people they know, like and trust. Getting through the gatekeeper is the hardest part. You have to pay attention to the surroundings and pick up on any little tidbit you can, such as a new baby, a child’s sports team or a promotion. Also, mention any real estate agent who is doing business with you within the company. Find a connection to break the barrier and then you must be consistent. Always call on the office on the same day every week. Bring them pens, pads, candy, snacks, just something to leave behind with your contact info on it.” The result? It worked and she hasn’t stopped since. It’s a good thing, too, because Tom took to heart the coaching he received from Millionaire Inspector Community (MIC) to grow his business. In July 2015, Tom was a one-man show. That September, he hired his first inspector. Today, there are 10 employees at The FBI Group. Tom, of course, leads the team, Dustie and a second marketing agent focus on business development, two administrative assistants handle scheduling and providing excellent customer service and five inspectors perform residential and commercial inspections. One of Dustie’s roles is to create and schedule presentations on a variety of topics to educate real estate agents on the inspection process. One popular session is called “Inspector 101—What to Expect When Inspecting.” This training session educates agents on the types of inspections and the insurance reports needed in the home-buying process. Dustie also works with the agencies to create presentations if they feel they need more knowledge on topics such as mold, radon and wood-destroying organism (WDO) inspections. Dustie’s advice to inspectors: “Delegating aspects of your business that you do not like to do or do not have time to do makes you a smart businessperson. Your first step is to find someone with a passion for marketing and hire them. One of the best places to look is your local chamber of commerce. They will know who the connectors are and they will help you connect with them. Imagine, if you

Delegating aspects of your business that you do not like to do or do not have time to do makes you a smart businessperson. will: You now have someone handling your marketing and scheduling your appointments, leaving you to focus on the client at the inspection. This will certainly increase your profits due to the referrals being sent your way.” Dustie’s passion for the niche market of home inspection is palpable. She says, “I absolutely love what I do and I get to be the face of The FBI Group. I also love my community and create outreach programs around breast cancer, domestic violence and Easterseals. I find partners in our community like mortgage lenders and builders, and I like to have a little fun by hosting brokers’ bus tours, business after hours and builders’ tours.” Dustie stated, “Most of our referrals come from real estate agents, so that’s my main focus. However, once you get going, mortgage lenders, insurance companies and remediation firms can be great source of referrals as well.” Wrapping up, Dustie said, “The human touch is missing is this digital world we live in today. Be Present, make Presentations and create those Personal lasting relationships. Give them what they want, a little bit of YOU!” ASHI is a strong influence at The FBI Group. Tom strongly believes in the organization. He is a Master Certified Inspector and has been licensed since 2012. All FBI Group inspectors are certified through ASHI’s program. Dustie and Tom plan to attend InspectionWorld® in Orlando in January, so look for them there. H

13November 2017





We got this.

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Come learn the difference between a call center and a true extension of your inspection business. Your bottom line will thank you. Call (888) 462-6153 or visit and start picking up more business today!

Make an Impact Use your Free ASHI logo to print your marketing materials. Serving as a strategic partner exclusively to home inspectors since 1998


ASHI Reporter • November 2017


JANUARY 21-24, 2018 ORLANDO, FLORIDA Quench Your thirst for Knowledge The four-day event will feature over 45 expertly led educational sessions, exciting networking events and an expo hall packed with vendors showcasing the latest in tools and technology.




Drink It All In

Re-energize Yourself & Your Business

Take courses in a special educational track covering regional home inspection issues:

• Three days of access to industry vendors offering information on the most advanced software, supplies and services • Vendor Grab ’N Go Sessions • Get the IW® Conference Event app to plan your own schedule and gather information

• 4-Point Inspections • Elevated Houses • Tile Roofing • Hurricane Mitigation • A/C • Stucco • Disaster Inspections • Pools and Spas • Florida Home Inspection

Refresh Your Knowledge • Three days of educational sessions presented by industry experts • Pre- and post-conference certification training courses offerings • NHIE Examination Preparation and transport to the exam site • Earn 20 ASHI and 18 FABI CE credits, as well as state and other industry CE credits

Reconnect with Your Colleagues

• Sunday Annual Meeting and Awards Lunch • Exhibitors’ Opening Night Reception • President’s Gala Dinner and Dance • Activities for spouses • “New to ASHI” event for first-time attendees and new members • Special evening events, planned networking opportunities and social activities

Go to to get details. Questions? Contact Michele George: 847-954-3188,

InspectPAC EVENT AT IW 2018

Monday, January 22, 7:00-8:30 PM

Relax and unwind after a busy day of learning and networking at InspectPAC. For just $50 a ticket, there’s an open bar, a spread of hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment and signature drinks in souvenir glasses. All proceeds benefit ASHI’s InspectPAC, which raises money to help elect and re-elect candidates to Congress who have an understanding of the home inspection profession and who are supportive of the profession. Contribute to InspectPAC along with others who also believe in ensuring a strong home inspection profession. This special event takes place on Monday, January 22, from 7:00-8:30 PM.

November 2017 •






any moisture issues are related to the dew point temperature of the air. Dew point confuses some people, but it’s just basic science. If the outdoor air temperature drops below the dew point temperature, condensation occurs as rain. You’ve seen how it rains when a cold front moves in. If the temperature of a hard surface is below the dew point temperature of the air in contact with that surface, water condenses on the surface. Invisible water vapor is always present in the air. When that air contacts a surface below the dew point temperature, the invisible vapor condenses as visible moisture. If you see moisture forming on a surface, think: “the temperature of the surface is below the dew point temperature of the air.” That’s all you need to remember.

TAKE IT INSIDE What does dew point mean to home inspectors? We need a basic understanding of the dew point to understand several issues. For instance, think of a drafty old house in a cold climate. Air leaking in from the outdoors made the interior of this house cool and dry—and kids had great fun shuffling their feet on the rug to create shocks from static electricity. Relative Humidity/ Dewpoint illustration below shows that when we take typical outside air at 30 degrees F and 80% relative humidity and heat it to 70 degrees F indoors, the relative humidity drops to 20%, but the dew point stays at 25 degrees F. That cold outside air moves into a home and really dries it out. There is no condensation on interior surfaces because the indoor temperature is above the dew point of 25 degrees F. Think about a bath fan with dripping around the housing or below the discharge, shown in the Bathroom Exhaust Fan Problem illustration below. When the damper sticks open, warm air moves up into the cold duct or cold air drops into the duct. The duct is below the dew point temperature of the air and moisture forms.


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc.

Another example is condensation on windows, shown in the Glass and Interior Condensation illustration below. Window glass is often the coldest surface in the home. Cold air drops along the glass to the sill. The glass, cooled by the outdoor temperature, is below the dew point temperature of the air, and condensation forms. If the temperature is below 32 degrees F, ice will form. In a warm climate, condensation will form on the outside of the glass, because the glass is cooled by the air conditioning below the dew point of the outside air.

YOUR MESSAGE ON WINDOW CONDENSATION What should you tell customers with window condensation problems? Here’s one suggestion: “The temperature of the glass is below the dew point temperature.” There are two ways to remedy this—by raising the temperature of the glass or by reducing the moisture in the air. H Tom Feiza has been a professional home inspector since 1992 and has a degree in engineering. Through, he provides high-quality marketing materials that help professional home inspectors boost their business. Copyright © 2017 by Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. Reproduced with permission.



“Report Writing—Describe That Defect”

INSPECTIONWORLD ORLANDO JANUARY 21–24, 2018 — Caribe Royale Resort

ASHI Print–On–Demand WHAT’S NEW IN THE • Create • Print • Save Time


Make an Impact Use your Free ASHI logo to print your marketing materials.

30 NEW modules are NOW available!! Enjoy interesting sessions recorded at IW 2017 and past IWs. Find Basic and Advanced Technical, Specialty/Diversification and Business Management topics. Log in on

Easy. Education. Excellent. FREE to ASHI members!! The ASHI Online Learning Center provides 2-hour modules approved for 2 ASHI CEs. (Special section) Many Past IW modules State-approved for online education.

17November 2017



Score One for the Big Guys!




he Home Energy Score fits multi-inspector firms like a glove. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Home Energy Score is a perfect example of an ancillary service that pays dividends for a home inspection business of any size—it’s a proven winner for any inspector who wants to offer a full range of solutions to homebuyers and to be seen as a leader in a changing industry.

That said, there are some aspects of the Home Energy Score that make it especially well-suited to larger firms, and since the program is now gaining some real traction in that sector of our industry, this article will speak to those larger operations in particular.

GETTING ON BOARD Ask any home inspector who’s been through it—the DOE’s simulated, video-game-style (“Sim”) training for the Home Energy Score might be a great source of building science knowledge, and a nifty technological achievement besides, but it also can be a lonely slog if you’re left to tackle the training on your own. Larger firms usually turn a group of inspectors loose on the Sim at once, which means that they can help each other through any sticking points they encounter (tech-savvy young people helping the older ones, for a change) and share in the celebration of passing the test.


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

If you can bring together even a small group—people within the same firm or people within the same ASHI chapter, for example—the DOE team and their partners at ID Energy will conduct a Sim training webinar for the team at no cost. And if you put together a group of 20 or more people, that same DOE team will come to your office to conduct “boot camp” training so that your team members can be scoring homes in record time!

The Home Energy Score report is easy for homebuyers to understand, contains valuable (and marketable) information and can be completed in 30 minutes.


Score One for the Big Guys!



As you read in previous issues of the Reporter, we’ve been covering the fact that a home’s energy performance is more on the minds of homebuyers than many inspectors realize. This trend is becoming undeniable and it can be seen by a taking a look at any of the online real estate portals, where energy information about home is being incorporated faster than anyone can keep track.

Many big firms became “big”, in part, because they learned how to do things efficiently. When it comes to programs like the Home Energy Score, a single operator who delivers a Score only every now and then might never develop a smooth enough process to achieve “efficient” status. A larger firm, on the other hand, has the ability to truly evaluate the program’s in-field requirements, cut out unnecessary steps and maximize inspector productivity through trial and error—essentially, to get the most customer value and operator profit from a service.

Business-savvy inspectors across the spectrum are responding to this new market. Large firms in particular are directing their sales and marketing efforts toward providing a service that meets this growing market need, offers exceptional credibility benefits and generates attractive margins.

Firms are leveraging the expertise imparted by the Home Energy Score Assessor designation and logo in their messaging, using DOE-developed sales presentations to impress their real estate agent networks and employing the Score as a great way to reach out to former clients with a valuable follow-up service. Similarly, larger firms often are better able to uphold the “one-stop shop” business model, in which they make available the fullest range of profitable inspection services to every client. Many of them are adept at recognizing the competitive advantage that comes with being an early adopter of those same offerings. This is the position that new firms taking on the Score find themselves in right now.

Furthermore, large firms have the inspection volume and field-won expertise to offer a loud and welcome voice for the DOE’s program itself. ASHI members’ inspection firms were instrumental in developing the Home Energy Score’s current inspector-friendly structure, and the energetic inspectors now taking part in the program can expect to earn a seat at this expanding table as the industry evolves toward high-profile energy information. H For more information or to get your firm on the fast track to offering the Home Energy Score to your clients, please contact Jen Gallegos at

The DOE provides ready-made presentations for speaking to real estate agents.

JANUARY 21–24, 2018 Join us in Orlando, Caribe Royale Resort


ASHI’s annual meeting and the largest education conference and expo of the year for professional home inspectors.

Quench your thirst for Knowledge Go to for details





A special raffle will be held November 1, when three lucky registrants will receive complimentary registration to InspectionWorld Orlando. 19November 2017



Change is Essential: A Retired Home Inspector Looks Back



By Keith Swift, PhD


bought an outlet tester on the day before my first inspection, about 28 years ago. I don’t remember exactly what I paid for it, but it was only a few dollars. I hurried home and showed it to my wife. We both stared at it, fascinated by the colored lenses and the technology contained in such a tiny instrument, as though we were watching a magician about to perform a trick. “Wow,” she muttered, impressed. After reading the small words printed on the front, she asked me, “What’s reversed polarity?” “I’m darned if I know, darling,” I replied, “but it’s not good.” We chuckled then, as we did when I remembered that moment as I retired, but the story shows how little I knew at the time. It also makes me realize how much has changed over the years. Change is essential for survival and when I look back, I remember how changing circumstances and the need to survive and grow as an inspector compelled me to make changes. The thoughts and experiences I’m about to share document some of these changes, which I hope will contribute to dialogue in the industry and help those who are just starting out.

The industry is regulated by standards written by the best minds in the business. They define inspectors as “generalists,” whose service is visual and whose job is to defer to licensed “specialists.” Standards are an essential asset and, from a legal perspective, might be said to be the first line of defense, but they’re not immutable. In the pursuit of perfection, they’ve evolved and should continue to do so. Specialists have their own standards and also depend on their senses, but they use specialized instruments, too. What is a specialized instrument? The outlet tester I bought seemed “specialized” at the time, and a few years later, I read an article that described an ordinary spirit level as a specialized engineering tool, which seemed like an exaggeration. But I must admit that the flashlight I used on my last inspection also seemed specialized. It was a fraction of the size of the first one I owned and had a piercing beam of light that made my first one seem like a candle held aloft in the darkness. Anyway, I hope you see what I mean because some argue that the use of specialized instruments can violate industry standards and jeopardize an inspector’s standing as a generalist, but even truth is subject to interpretation. For example, the tests for truth typically are established by numbers, tradition and authority. In other words, if a large enough number of people say something is true, it probably is. And if something has been done the same way for a long time, it’s probably also true. Or if a person, such as a pope, a pastor ASHI Reporter • November 2017


I wanted to be a good inspector, but I was also a humanist, not in the strict philosophical sense, but in the sense that I relied on my intuition and my experience, rather than the strict authority of standards, to lead me. For instance, among the first significant things I learned was that the inspection industry was plagued with frivolous lawsuits that were rarely talked about, as if they were a family secret instead of a known threat. I came to believe that any instrument that might prevent me from becoming the victim of a frivolous lawsuit was worth the cost of being branded a renegade or an outsider.

For instance, among the first significant things I learned was that the inspection industry was plagued with frivolous lawsuits that were rarely talked about, as if they were a family secret instead of a known threat.



or even a president, says it’s true, then it likely is, but it’s all not as simple as it sounds. However, the truth is, when it came to my career as an inspector, I tended to follow my instincts and my experience.

I also believed that if my status as a generalist was being challenged, it would likely mean that I was already the victim of a lawsuit or about to become one. At that point, any defense would be academic inasmuch as the vast majority of lawsuits are settled out of court, simply because the cost of settling them is far less than the cost of defending the innocent. Of course, this is no secret to anyone who wants to know the truth, and I hope this does not sound like a rant about lawsuits and the legal system, because it’s not meant to be. I only mention this fact because lawsuits are a continuing threat, and because I want to talk about meaning and the delicate balance between instruments and standards and the necessity of change.


Many years ago, I became acquainted with a geologist who was with me on several hillside inspections. I noticed that he used a self-leveling laser level (about the size of a contractor’s tape) that projected vertically as well as horizontally. At that time, I carried a torpedo laser level that had to be held level and only projected horizontally. I used it occasionally when my inner ear warned me about a sloping floor. I’d been told that veteran inspectors carried marbles to check for the same thing, so I felt that I was years ahead of them with my torpedo level. The geologist noticed my interest in his level and invited me to try it. I was impressed that all I needed to do was to turn it on and set it on the floor, and that it displayed vivid red lines across a considerable distance. The display was impressive, but it was an expensive instrument. It may not have seemed expensive to him as a geologist, but to me, it was hundreds of dollars more than I’d paid for my low-tech torpedo level.

He said that he’d only recently bought it after being sued over a dispute about a floor that was out of level, but which he had not mentioned in his report because he’d not been aware of it. He was still angry because his insurance company elected to settle, even though the floor was only slightly out of level and it was likely built that way and not related to soil. He had never anticipated being sued and had a very high deductible. Few people care to admit that they’ve been sued, but he did so because he regarded me as a fellow traveler on life’s journey who could be subject to a similar lawsuit. He told me that he used his level on every inspection to note the slightest deviation from plumb and level, and even on the tiniest cracks, which he always deferred to a structural engineer to protect himself further. Needless to say, I promptly bought the same level and not only used it, but photo-documented the degree of slope with a tape. I too reported on every crack and unsquare opening. However, my acquaintance with this geologist also led me to reconsider fees, standards and prejudices. (I say prejudices to acknowledge what might be said to be a personal bias.) To explain, my friend the geologist was responsible for evaluating the stability of soil, which is a simplified definition of geology, and for which he was charging fees that were astronomical compared with mine. And yet, ironically, I was on site much longer than he and responsible for evaluating many more things. In other words, I too, could be sued over floors that slope, but I also could be sued over foundations, roofs, plumbing, electrical, heating and air-conditioning, and even something as insignificant as a toilet. Ask anyone in real estate about this common fact and they’ll likely say, “yes, of course,” because they don’t see inequity in the disparity between the services and the fees of “generalists” and “specialists.” But with the constant threat of frivolous lawsuits hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles, I certainly did and resolved to make more changes.


I want to talk about meaning and the delicate balance between instruments and standards and the necessity of change. as specialists, and hold them liable for everything they do and report on, or fail to report on. Perhaps it’s an aberration of human nature or the misapplication of the scientific principle of cause and effect, but if after an inspection a roof leaks, a toilet blocks or a floor is found to slope, an inspector is likely to hear about it. To quote an ancient Chinese proverb, “One rat turd ruins the rice.”


I hope you’ve found my reflections useful. Now that I’m retired, I have no need to advocate change. For the record (and in case someone reads more into this than they should about where I stand and what I believe), I hold inspectors in the highest esteem and I believe that the American judicial system is the finest in the world. I also believe that justice is an ideal, that the legal system is easily corrupted and that I utterly despise people who file frivolous lawsuits. They’re scoundrels who only care about money and nothing about truth and justice. I also believe that change is essential. In fact, when we stop changing, we start dying. This is as true for industries as it is for individuals. If you’d like to hear more about instruments and standards and changes in the industry, I have some time on my hands now, so feel free to call me at 208-916-8263. H

For many years, I’d considered myself to be a generalist, the furthest thing from a specialist, but few things happen in isolation. Change is glacially slow and I’ve noticed that some inspectors distinguish themselves by declaring to be “master inspectors” or “certified inspectors,” and the distinctions are becoming more varied. In truth, my own inspection service was becoming more specialized and I was even beginning to think of myself as a specialist. However, perhaps because of my military background, I came to regard myself as a “soldier” once more, first in the line of fire. I decided that I needed more ammunition and better body armor and that my fees should reflect the risk I was taking. One indisputable truth continued to haunt me: Regardless of how inspectors choose to view themselves, many clients and the majority of attorneys and court officials tend to view them 21November 2017



Getting to the Root of it With Sewer Inspections



ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Having been a home inspector for 20 years now, one thing I can tell you is that I have ridden the rollercoaster and learned a lot along the way. During my first decade in home inspection, my business enjoyed constant growth, expanded to include four inspectors and rewarded me with a handsome income.


y 2005, however, the economy changed and the real estate market started to flatten out. That forced me to rethink my business and how I approached it. What I learned was that I chose a business over which I didn’t have complete control. In other words, if the banks would not lend money to people to buy houses, then obviously, people wouldn’t be needing home inspections.

You’ve heard the saying, “Save your pennies for a rainy day,” right? This was something I didn’t comprehend in the good years. I was buying new trucks, RVs and even a bigger house. The problem was, my income didn’t continue to sustain those purchases, and I needed to make drastic changes. So, I decided to expand my business vision with services that were less driven by the economy.


During the late 1990s, one of the inspectors on my team advised me that he needed to make more money, so he had taken a night shift working as a thermographer. I became completely enamored with this idea. I actually wrote a business plan to incorporate an infrared-related business almost immediately. Unfortunately, I lacked the time to expand my business and implement my plan due to my solid inspection schedule, so I put the plan on the back burner. November 2017 •



Getting to the Root of it with Sewer Inspections


Like most inspectors, I am always looking for an edge on what can differentiate me from my competitors—for me, what it boils down to is the variety of services I offer. If you’ve ever invested money, your financial planner has probably told you to diversify your investments. Adding new services like thermography, radon testing, energy testing, mold testing and sewer inspections can help you diversify your services so that if a slow economy occurs again, you will be better positioned to handle it. “Work smarter, not harder” can be applied here because during a down economy, you will likely do fewer inspections, but you might make more money per inspection. Most inspectors appreciate this idea! We will get into the money part later, but for now, let’s dive a little deeper into sewer inspections so that I can explain why you should seriously consider offering them to your clients. Years went by before I pulled the trigger, but in 2005, I finally made the investment in thermography. Coincidentally, Communicator magazine published an article that same year titled, “Infrared Inspections: The Wave of the Future?” Ending the title with a question mark was subjective, but not to me. I saw the trend coming and this led me to create United Infrared, Inc., in 2008. Although it was a smart decision to expand my offerings with thermal imaging as a stand-alone business, would I have been better off had I started when I first wrote the business plan? That’s a question that I’ve often asked myself. One thing I can tell you is this: A decade after that article was published, the future of infrared inspections is here. “Infrared” has become the latest trending tool with home inspectors. Unfortunately, most home inspectors claim there is little or no money in adding infrared as an add-on to their inspection. Adding thermography appears to be more of a marketing decision than a huge moneymaker for many inspectors. Thermal imaging as a stand-alone business is a whole different animal. It has made me a lot of money, but that is another story. (See my article “Chasing Water With Thermal Imaging, Part 1,” starting on Page 8.) For now, I’d like to “dive” into sewer inspections and tell you why you should consider doing them, even if you are riding that home inspection rollercoaster upward right now!

Often, the home inspector is proven to be the most trusted person in an entire real estate transaction. This is why homebuyers often take the inspector’s advice seriously and without hesitation. People buy out of fear—Fear that something serious could go wrong if they don’t buy will haunt them. This is a very simple sales principle that you can use to upsell a sewer inspection during a home inspection. The buyer knows that forgoing a negotiable item now could become a required expense later. The buyer also knows that if there are no problems with the sewer system, they will sleep better at night.


There are a few things you should know about sewer systems to help you decide if this business is for you. The sewer lateral or line from a house to the city connection or to the septic is typically the responsibility of the homeowner [See Diagram 1 on the next page]. This means that even if the sewer line is under the street and damage occurs, it is on the homeowner to make repairs. Trust me, this can get very expensive when it comes to dealing with public works and digging up a street. According to, the average cost of a sewer line replacement is $7,493, with ranges of $50 to $250 per lineal foot; I’ve seen repairs cost over $30,000. Unfortunately, the scope of the home inspection is testing functional drainage at fixtures. Rarely does a home inspector ever identify a sewer problem downstream; rather, they typically discover some kind of hair clog at the trap. Additionally, sellers have a hard time disclosing unknown problems, which makes unraveling this whole mystery more appealing for a buyer when you offer them a vision into the “unknown.” Photos 1-3


ASHI Reporter • November 2017


I use a simple formula to determine whether doing a sewer scan is appropriate. It is a likely prospect if the home is 20 years or older, if it has a nice, newer cleanout (which I take as a sign of past problems), if it has trees between the house and city sewer or if there has been a disclosure of any past repairs [See Photos 1-3]. My office staff is well versed in this principle and usually upsells the sewer service before I ever show up to an inspection. In cases for which the client didn’t order a sewer inspection, but I can see that there is an accessible cleanout (unfortunately, we do not pull toilets) and the previously mentioned conditions exist, I will offer the service to my client during the home inspection. Most clients accept the service and at a cost of $175, I increase my home inspection revenue by 35%. Overall, I find the sewer scan to be a win-win proposition—I help my clients and increase my revenue at same time. Performing a sewer scan adds about 15 minutes to the inspection time and it reaps a good return. The equipment necessary to complete a scan is a sewer camera. There are several options, features and price points. One thing I suggest is to not make your decision solely on price; after all, this is the advice we give our clients, right? Low-cost camera systems are available, but you can make good money by using a high-quality camera. You will find that residential-type cameras range from $1,000 to $12,000. Lower-cost models typically have bulkier or larger equipment and lack necessary features. More expensive models have a professional look and the features you want and need. I chose a mid- to high-priced unit with a pan-and-tilt camera that was compact and offered a professional appearance [Photo 4]. The pan-and-tilt camera head has additional uses for chimney or duct inspections. Diversity is everything, right? For those who question the

Getting to the Root of it with Sewer Inspections

Photo 4

investment, here is a simple calculation: If you have good credit, the monthly payment to finance a $7,000 piece of equipment works out to be equivalent to the fee for doing one sewer scan per month. If you think you can manage that, the rest will be all profit!


It’s true that we find all kinds of things in sewer lines, but let me address a few rumors. No, you will not be running your camera through poop (a.k.a. “pudding”). And no, the camera is not coming back out with a bunch of feces on it. Yes, there is debris and a cleaning method, but when you are prepared (get the best rubber gloves you can buy) and follow a procedure, you are still good to shake the client’s hand at the end of the inspection. Diagram 1

25November 2017




Getting to the Root of it with Sewer Inspections

Photo 5 - The drain line is over 80% clogged.

Photo 6 - Follow-up repair photo.

Photo 7 - Bellys (low points).

Photo 8 - Scale build-up.

Photo 9 - Offsets.

Photo 10 - Roots.


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

The most common things we find are roots, bellys, offsets, damaged lines and debris, and, yeah, a few critters. Photo 5 shows a big enough hole for a full flowing tub to drain, but as you can see, the drain line is over 80% clogged. The agent sent me a follow-up JANUARY 21–24, 2018 repair photo and the copy of the invoice (the seller paid $2,500) [Photo 6]. us the in Orlando, Caribe Royale Resort While Join scanning drain line, we often find conditions like bellys (low points) [Photo 7], scale buildup [Photo 8], offsets [Photo 9], roots [Photo 10] and, of course, a few “interesting” things. To see more photos or videos, visit and check project gallery. ASHI’s annual meeting andout thethe largest education


conference and expo of the year for

Of course, adding this service can increase risk on your inspection. professional home inspectors. You should search for proper insurance coverage and discuss the ramifications of adding this service with your legal consultant. That being said, for my business, it is a risk-reward condition. As inspectors, we take risks each day in doing home inspections, and this is no different. However, sewer inspections, the hourly pay rate much higher. Go to for for isdetails Provided that you do your job and report the conditions, I believe that the risk is minimal, as the video and photos will speak for themselves.


Quench your thirst for Knowledge




I can’t emphasize the be importance of getting proper training, A special enough raffle will held November 1,the when three lucky registrants will receive as it is complimentary important to understand what you are getting into and how registration to InspectionWorld Orlando. to do it properly. You can reinvent the wheel or search out those who can give you a procedure. Some people are concerned about how their agents will respond and my response is that once they understand it, they will accept it. Once a condition is known, the sellers will pretty much be on the hook, and if the buyers back out, they will be required to disclose. In the end, they will have to fix it anyway because the likelihood of a buyer proceeding with the purchase of a house with a defective sewer is very low. In the end, the buyers will be happy and as the saying goes in real estate, DOwife YOU SCIENCE? “a happy = a LIKE happy SMART agent,” or INSPECTOR something like that!






Adding sewer inspections can give your business the opportunity to “The Science Behind Great Home Inspections” add more revenue and prepare you for an economic downturn by giving ND Inspections give people peace you more service opportunities toApursue. “Report Writing—Describe Thatadd-on. Defect” of mind and the sewer inspection is the perfect H Peter Hopkins has operated a successful home

JANUARY 21–24,inspection 2018 — Caribe Royale company since 1996 andResort has performed

more than 7,000 property inspections. The company expanded into infrared in 2005, with the opening of SoCal Infrared ( and has found success in many areas of diversification. Peter expanded his business in 2014 with the purchase of a sewer camera and found success in adding a new revenue stream to his business. He is the cofounder of United Infrared (www.UnitedInfrared. com), a national network of contract thermographers that provides applicationspecific training and business coaching in a multitude of applications related to infrared technology and other vision technologies like sewer cameras. Peter is a Level III Certified Thermographer, ASHI Certified Inspector, ICC Code Certified Building Inspector, Electrical Inspector and Certified HERS Energy Rater. Peter lives in Southern California with his wife and two children. Contact Peter at 888-722-6447, email,


INSPECTIONWORLD ORLANDO JANUARY 21–24, 2018 — Caribe Royale Resort

27November 2017



ASHI Chapters and Council News

NORTH CENTRAL ASHI Central PA Second Monday, 6 pm, except Jan. & July, Hoss’s Steakhouse 1151 Harrisburg Pike, Carlisle, PA Kevin Kenny, 717-226-3066

Keystone (PA) First Monday, 5:30 pm The Crowne Plaza, Reading David Artigliere, 610-220-1907

Ohio Howard Snyder, 330-929-5239

North Central Ohio William Stone, 216-308-9663

Pocono-Lehigh (PA) Third Tuesday, Tannersville Inn, Tannersville Ronald Crescente, 570-646-7546

PRO-ASHI (PA) Second Wednesday of Jan., March, May, July & Nov. Ray Fonos, 412-461-8273

Tri-State (DE, NJ, PA) Second Tuesday except April, Aug. & Dec., Dave & Buster’s Plymouth Meeting, PA ules Falcone,

MIDWEST Great Lakes (IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, OH, WI) For monthly meetings: schedule-of-events/ Carol Case, 734-284-4501

Greater Omaha (NE) Jon Vacha, 402-660-6935

Heartland (IA, MN, ND, SD, WI) Reuben Saltzman, 612-205-5600


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Indiana ASHI Quarterly Danny Maynard, 317-319-7209

Iowa ASHI Fourth Tuesday, 7:00 - 9:00 pm Clarion Inn, Cedar Rapids Craig Chmelicek, 319-389-7379

Kentuckiana (IN, KY) Allan Davis, 502-648-9294 elitehomeinspections@

Mid-Missouri Second Thursday, 12:00 pm, even months of the year; Columbia Board of Realtors office: 2309 I-70 Drive NW, Columbia, MO Mark Kelsey, 573-356-5305

Northern Illinois Second Wednesday (except Dec.) 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm Allegra Banquets, 237 W St. Charles Rd., Villa Park, IL 60181 Jeremy Meek, 630-854-2454

OHIO SOUTH ASHI Meeting: Last Sat. every month, noon @ Frickers, North College Hill, OH P.O. Box 532197 Cincinnati, OH 45252 Chris Green, 513-939-4036 Email


MOUNTAIN Arizona Bryck Guibor, 520-419-1313 Quarterly education on

New Mexico Bi-monthly meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at LePeep’s Restaurant (Jan., March, May, July, Sept.) located at I-25 and Jefferson in Albuquerque. Meeting starts at 8:45 am; Breakfast starts at 8 am. Lance Ellis, 505-977-3915

Northern Rockies (ID, MT)

Great Plains (KS, MO) Second Wednesday of even months The Great Wolf Lodge, Kansas City Doug Hord, 816-215-2329

Midwest PRO ASHI (KS) Ray Fonos, 412-461-8273

St. Louis (MO) Second Tuesday, 6:30 pm Spazios Westport 12031 Lackland Rd. St. Louis, MO 63146 Frank Copanas, 314-456-0783

Chris Munro, 208-290-2472

Orange County CREIA-ASHI (CA) Third Monday, 5:30 pm Hometown Buffet 2321 S. Bristol, Santa Ana Bill Bryan, 949-565-5904

Oregon Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm 4534 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Portland Jay Hensley, 503-312-2105


Steve Jenicek, 406-949-6461 Secretary: Kelly Campeau 877-749-2225

First Tuesday each month Elijah’s Restaurant 7061 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard San Diego, CA 92111 Dennis Parra II, 619-232-1100

Rocky Mountain

San Joaquin Valley (CA)

Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm Brian Murphy, 303-791-7824

Southern Colorado Second Thursday, 6:30 pm Valley Hi Golf Club, Colo. Springs Daniel Noteboom, 719-332-9660

Utah First Tuesday, 7 pm Marie Callender’s, Midvale Fred Larsen, 801-201-9583

Arkansas Lonnie Moore, 479-530-5792

Inland Northwest (ID, WA)

PACIFIC Alaska Meeting dates: Jan. 1, March 1, Aug. 1, Nov. 1 Location varies each meeting David Mortensen, 907-243-4476

ASHI Hawaii Alex Woodbury, 808-322-5174

California Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833

Central Valley CREIA-ASHI Peter Boyd, 530-673-5800

Golden Gate (CA) John Fryer, 510-682-4908

Third Thursday, 6 pm 1736 Union Avenue, Bakersfield, CA Raymond Beasley, 661-805-5947 Mail: 3305 Colony Oak St. Bakersfield, CA 93311

Silicon Valley ASHI-CREIA (CA) Skip Walker, 650-873-4224

Southwestern Idaho Second Monday David Reish, 208-941-5760

Los Angeles-Ventura County ASHI-CREIA First Thursday, 5 pm Holiday Inn, Woodland Hills Bob Guyer, 805-501-0733

South Bay (CA) Webinar meetings Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833

Western Washington Chapter Meetings held at chapter seminars in March and Sept. Karl Nueffer

NEW ENGLAND Coastal Connecticut Third Thursday, 6 pm, Westport VFW Lodge, 465 Riverside Avenue, Westport John Hamlin, 203-912-1917

New England (ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)

Greater Rochester (NY) Second Tuesday, 6 pm, Jeremiah’s Tavern, 2200 Buffalo Rd. Gates, NY 14624 Jim Brennan, 585-520-5575

Hudson Valley (NY) Fourth Thursday, 5 pm The Lantana, Randoph, MA Michael Atwell, 617-630-5629

Second Tuesday, 6 pm Daddy O’s Restaurant 3 Turner Street Hopewell Junction, NY 12533 Michael Skok, 845-592-1442

Northern New England (NNEC) (ME, MA, NH, VT)

Long Island (NY)

www. Third Thursday of Jan., April, June and Sept. Tim Rooney, 603-770-0444

Southern New England (CT) First Tuesdays, 6:30 pm Billy T’s, 150 Sebethe Dr. Cromwell, CT Richard W. Hall, 860-281-4238

NEW YORK/JERSEY/ DELAWARE Capitol Region (NY) Third Thursday, 7 pm, Doratos Steakhouse and Pub, Guilderland Robert Davis, 518-885-7949

Central New York Second Wednesday, 6 pm, Tony’s Family Restaurant, Syracuse Peter Apgar, 315-278-3143 peter@craftsmanhomeinspection. net

First State (DE) Third Wednesday, 7 pm The Buzz Ware Center 2121 The Highway, Arden Mark Desmond, 302-494-1294

Garden State (NJ) Second Thursday The Westwood, Garwood Ernie Borsellino, 973 761 0050 Third Monday, 6 pm, Domenico’s Restaurant, Levittown Steven Rosenbaum 516-361-0658

New York Metro Last Thursday, 5pm Travelers Rest 25 Saw Mill River Road Ossining, NY 10562 Chris Long, 914-260-8571

Southern New Jersey (NJ) Third Wednesday, 6:30 pm Ramada Inn, Bordentown Rick Lobley, 609-208-9798

Western New York Second Thursday, 6:30 pm Tony Rome’s, West Seneca Andy Utnik, 716-636-9676

MID-ATLANTIC Central Virginia Second Tuesday, 6:30 pm Keegan’s Irish Pub 2251 Old Brick Road Glen Allen, VA 23060 John Cranor 804-873-8537 cranorinspectionservices

Greater Baltimore (MD) Third Thurs. except July, Aug., 6:30 pm Maritime Institute Conf. Center 5700 N. Hammonds Ferry Rd. Linthicum Heights, MD 21090 Volney Ford, 410-458-5704

Hampton Roads (VA)

Gulfcoast (FL)

Second Thursday, 7 pm, Cypress Point Country Club, Virginia Beach Gregory Murphy, 757-535-4355

First Thursday, 7 pm, The Forest Country Club, Fort Myers Len Gluckstal, 239-432-0178


Lone Star (TX) Second Wednesday, Rockville, 6 pm Senior Center, Rockville Mark Mostrom, 301-536-0096

NOVA-ASHI (MD, VA) Fourth Tuesday, Associate hour 6-7 pm, Membership meeting 7-9 pm, Northern Virginia Resources Center, Fairfax Tony Toth, 703-926-6213

Piedmont ASHI (VA) Robert Huntley, 540-354-2135

SOUTH ATLANTIC ASHI Georgia Shannon Cory, 404-316-4876

East Tennessee Third Saturday of Feb., May, Aug. and Nov. Paul Perry, 866-522-7708

Mid-Tennessee Ray Baird, 615-516-5511

Mid-South (TN) Steven Campbell, 901-734-0555

North Carolina Bud Rozell, 214-215-4961

Louisiana Quarterly Meetings Michael Burroughs 318-324-0661

Suncoast (FL) First Tuesday, 6:30 pm; Please see our website for meeting locations. Steve Acker, 727-712-3089

Southwest Florida Serving Manatee, Sarasota & Charlotte Second Wednesday, 6 pm Holiday Inn, Lakewood Ranch 6321 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota Michael Conley, 941-778-2385 FLinspector@outlookcom

CANADA Home Inspectors Association BC Sean Moss, 604-729-4261

CAHPI Atlantic Lawrence Englehart 902-403-2460 Meeting TBA Andy Hilton, 336-682-2197

CAHPI Ontario

South Carolina

Prairies (Alberta) (CAHI)

First Saturday of Feb., May, Aug. & Nov., 8 am Roger Herdt, 843-669-3757

Quebec AIBQ

GULF ASHI South (AL) Rob Cornish, 613-858-5000 Chris Bottriell, 780-486-4412 Pascal Baudaux, 450-629-2038 Quarterly, Homewood Library Homewood John Knudsen, 334-221-0876

Florida Wiregrass Second Wednesday, 6:30 pm Sleep Inn Hotel, Wesley Chapel Nancy Janosz, 813-546-6090 November 2017 •


ASHI Chapters and Council News


On September 15 and 16, ASHI’s Western Washington Chapter held its 2017 Fall Education Seminar in Seattle’s northern suburb of Shoreline, WA. This two-day seminar drew 130 inspectors, most of whom are licensed home inspectors in Washington, as well as many home inspectors from Montana, Oregon, Idaho and Hawaii.

Michael Casey, who needs no introduction to most ASHI members, carried the second day by leading discussions on several topics, including “IRC Structural Changes Update,” “Floor and Roof Truss Inspections,” “Unusual Components New and Old” and “High-Efficiency Appliance Venting.”

Brad Albin, the chapter’s education chair, along with Mike Brisbin, the chapter’s immediate past-president, kicked off the first morning by introducing Darrell Marsolais, ACI, and chair of the Washington State Home Inspector Licensing Board. Marsolais updated the group on changes to the laws and regulations of home inspector licensing.

Our chapter members benefit greatly from the educational seminars sponsored by the Western Washington Chapter. We welcome everyone who would like to attend. We provide great food and great speakers to guarantee our success! With our chapter’s focus on the Year of the Mentor, our chapter membership has increased by 25%. Karl Neuffer, chapter president, and Dylan Chalk, chapter vice president, are expanding chapter members’ opportunities for education and mentorship.

Jeff Kyger, Northwest Log Home Care, kicked off the educational portion of the seminar with a presentation on log home care and maintenance. Then, our chapter’s own Charles Buell, ACI, facilitated an entertaining discussion titled “Myths of Attic Ventilation.” Dylan Chalk, ACI, our chapter’s vice president and an author, talked about “Story Telling and Report Writing.” After his presentation, we engaged in a discussion about foundations led by a local contractor from R&R Foundations.

Many thanks to Brad Albin and Mike Brisbin for putting together another great seminar. Our next seminar will be held at the Boeing Museum in Everett, WA, in March 2018. Make plans to join us now! H

Dylan Chalk presents to chapter members.

Darrell Marsolais, chair of Washington State Home Inspector Licensing Board, and Darrell Hay, chapter COR.


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Charlie Buell, presenter.

ASHI CHAPTER EDUCATION Upcoming GLC Events Heat Pumps and Dual Fuel Systems: November 7 Location: Mama Mia’s, Livonia, MI

New Mexico ASHI Chapter Fall Seminar - Home Inspections in the Land of Enchantment When: November 4, 2017, 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM Location: The Pecos Trail Inn and Cafe 2239 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87505 (Lodging reservations recommended) CEUs: Earn 8 CEUs Topics: NM Electrical Code 2015; Inspecting Adobe houses; HVAC Mini-splits; Flat roof inspections; NM Inspector panel Contact: Douglas Ramsey, 2017 ASHI-NM Treasurer 575-571-2108,

Louisiana ASHI When: December 2, 2017 Location: Baton Rouge, LA Topin: Infrared Inspections and Sewer Line, presented by United Infrared Website: Mike Burroughs, 318-324-0661

IMPORTANT REPORTER DEADLINES: • JANUARY 2018 ISSUE -11/7/17 • FEBRUARY 2018 ISSUE -12/7/17 • MARCH 2018 ISSUE -1/7/18 • APRIL 2018 ISSUE -2/7/18 • MAY 2018 ISSUE -3/7/17

To have your chapter seminar listed here, email all information about your chapter seminar to: BE SURE TO INCLUDE ALL INFORMATION: seminar subject, when, where, CEUs & a link for more information or contact information.

The Reporter is produced 6-8 weeks ahead of the week it arrives in your mailbox.

MAC ASHI Chapter When: November 4, 2017 Location: Johns Hopkins University Rockville, MD Topics: Impacts of Exterior Grading, Drainage and Vegetation - 2 CE hours Plumbing Systems and Components - 6 CE hours CEUs: 2 and/or 6 CE hours Speakers: David Hawkins, Kenny Hart Contact: David Goldberg, 301-913-9213

East Tennessee ASHI When: November 11, 2017 Location: MasterDry, Knoxville Topics: Beyond the Basics and Wood Destroying Insect Infestation Report CEUs: 4 CE hours Contact: Tom Maides, 865-453-9965

OHIO ASHI Fall Seminar When: November 18-19, 2017 Location: DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Cincinnati, OH 45241 CEUs: 16 ASHI CE hours Website:

May 23-26, 2018 Los Angeles/Ventura County Chapter AND San Diego County JOINT CREIA & ASHI CHAPTER Level-1 Thermography Certification Class Taught by Mr. Bill Fabian of Monroe Infrared. Presented at the Downey, CA Board of Realtors Conference Room.

Registration information TBA.

31November 2017



ASHI Chapters and Council News

Due to the size of these lists, the new and move-up member lists have moved to the monthly online Reporter.

New ASHI Inspectors

New ASHI Associates MEMBER


New ASHI Certified Home Inspectors


Call for Volunteers— Help Shape ASHI’s Future Your affiliation with ASHI means you are recognized as a leader in your profession. As a volunteer leader, you are a key to ASHI’s success. As an ASHI volunteer, what’s in it for me?

• Opportunities to give back to your profession • A chance to contribute to ASHI’s mission and vision • Networking with your peers to form business and personal relationships • Recognition for your involvement and support • Opportunities to enhance your leadership skills • Business-building ideas from other inspectors • Interactions with ASHI leaders to share your ideas and expertise

What’s expected of me when I serve as an ASHI volunteer? • A willingness to learn from others and to welcome diverse viewpoints • An ability to receive and consistently respond to email communications

Take the first step now to become a volunteer!

1. Visit the ASHI website at 2. Select “Members-Only” 3. Click on “Downloads and Forms” 4. Fill out the Call for Volunteers form 5. Email the completed form to Bonnie Bruno at H 32

ASHI Reporter • November 2017


News From the ASHI School By Russell K. Daniels, Executive Director of The ASHI School


he ASHI School continues to grow! We believe it is important to remind our new and seasoned inspectors that The ASHI School provides training in several ancillary service areas. We currently offer many excellent classes and we are developing new training opportunities.

EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) Inspections • Know the elements of an EIFS inspection • L earn to perform EIFS inspections • D etermine whether the exterior of a house is functioning properly


Termite Inspections • L earn practical tips to perform a termite inspection

The ASHI School currently provides training in the following ancillary areas: • M old • Radon • Commercial inspections • Four-point wind mitigation Visit The ASHI School at for course dates and details.


Inspectors want training in ancillary areas so they can market themselves as “a one-stop shop” to potential clients. The ASHI School is developing a curriculum for each of these broad topic areas: Business Overview • Know the importance of having proper business insurance coverage • C hoose the best location for your business • Determine the type of entity you want for your business • Understand the importance of using a business plan • Visualize business models • Learn time-management skills • Understand financial concepts • Determine how to define the price and costs of goods and services Marketing Tutorial • C reate a marketing plan for your business • Track your business sales • Learn strategies to compete in today’s market

NHIE Prep Course • P repare for the National Home Inspection Examination (NHIE) • Visit for course dates and details. H

Upcoming Classes November 6-17, 2017 • Baltimore, MD • Bellevue, WA • Brentwood, TN • Cypress, CA • Cincinnati, OH • Des Plaines, IL November 24-December 8, 2017 • Cumming, GA • Lakewood, CO • Leesburg, VA • Tampa, FL 1-888-884-0440

33November 2017



TOUCHING UP YOUR “FIND AN INSPECTOR” SETTINGS By Jennifer Gallegos, ASHI Membership Services Manager


ave you ever gone to the ASHI website to look up inspectors in your area, including yourself? No? What are you waiting for? The “Find an Inspector” search tool is a terrific marketing and data-tracking tool,and ASHI makes it easy for you to use!


Your first step is to fill in information on the Find A Home Inspector search tool on the first page of the ASHI website. It’s important to know that anyone who goes to the ASHI website can use this tool to look up home inspectors in any zip code, city and state. People also can search by last name (to look for an ASHI Certified Inspector) and by specialty. Users can narrow the search to find inspectors within a five-mile radius of a location or widen the search to find inspectors stretching out to a 150-mile radius.


Simply by understanding how potential clients and real estate agents can access your information on the ASHI website, you will have a better understanding of what information you should provide to users. How much information people can access depends on how much time you are willing to spend customizing your profile. Having a venue to provide targeted information to your potential clients is a key marketing strategy.


Log on to the ASHI website (, choose the Members Only tab (found along the top of the page) and click on the My Membership link. Once you’ve logged in, you will see a link for Find an Inspector Settings (shown in the picture below). In Find an Inspector Settings, you’ll be able to complete the fields to update your information. In the field Company Description, you should make a general statement about your company that can include how long you’ve been in business, how many people are on your company’s team, what services you provide, which languages you speak and so on. Some ASHI members include some personal information about themselves. Adding this kind of information gives potential clients more insights about who you are and those insights might lead them to choose to contact you. Next, you’ll add your company logo. Including your business logo on your Find an Inspector page can add marketing value to your business. For example, the fact that you even have a logo lets potential clients know that you have taken the time to brand yourself and that you are serious about your business.

Step-by-Step Guide 1. Login to 2. Hover over the Members Only tab at the top 3. Click My Membership from the drop-down menu 4. Click Find an Inspector Settings 5. Add your information into the blank fields 6. Click on the Save Changes button at the bottom Screenshot of “My Membership” page on (Step #4)


ASHI Reporter • November 2017




E S T.




Logo design examples, FREE with your ASHI membership






After you’ve uploaded your company logo and written your company description, you should ensure that your contact information is accurate. You can select options to receive emails or texts (or both) from potential clients who want to hire you. It’s good to know that your contact information (including email, phone number and address) is connected directly to the ASHI database, so when you make a change to your Find an Inspector settings, you’ll be updating the database as well.




Don’t have a logo? As an ASHI member, you are entitled to receive a free custom-made logo for your business, designed by our talented graphics team. To access this member benefit, go back to the Members Only tab on the ASHI website and select Free Logo Design to get more information.






Important Note: You have the option to update anything—except for your address—on your own. (To update your address, contact ASHI HQ at 847-759-2820 or The address you see on your page is the address that ASHI uses to geographically place you on the Find an Inspector search tool. So, if you live in a suburb of Chicago (Des Plaines, for example), but you also want to be found by people searching for home inspectors in the greater Chicago region, you will need to broaden your search radius or select Chicago as one of your metro areas.


All ASHI members can choose three metropolitan areas to appear on their profiles. But, there’s a catch: When prospective clients view “more search options” in the Find an Inspector page, they will only see members who are ASHI Certified Inspectors (ACIs) and ASHI Inspectors in the listing. This is another special benefit that you receive by becoming an ASHI Inspector or ACI. For more information on moving up within the “ranks” of ASHI, check out the article, “Your Journey to Move Up in ASHI,” published in the October issue of the Reporter. You can also contact us at

PACIFIC INSPECTIONS, INC. with any questions. Having access to the metro area searches can help you broaden your services to other regions and to potentially attract more clients.


By updating your Find an Inspector Settings, you create a platform for yourself to stand out. You also help your potential clients to determine if you are the right fit for their needs. If you’d like to keep track of how many clients and or real estate agents search for and click on your name, you can visit the Find an Inspector Contact Views link, found on the My Membership page (shown in the picture below). This page will tell you how many times your profile has been viewed and how many potential clients have requested that you contact them. This is a great tool to use to see how well you are marketing yourself. Your results might convince you that maybe it’s time to freshen up your profile. For a step-by-step guide on how to update your profile using Find an Inspector Settings, visit ASHI’s how-to videos at http://www. and click on Membership Profile Update 2. H

Update your profile and watch as those views from potential clients start accumulating! Screenshot of “Find an Inspector Views” page on

35November 2017



FREE ASHI Member access to past IW sessions. 1. Go to 2. Under Education & Training 3. Click on:


CURRENT ASHI MEMBERSHIP ASHI Certified Inspectors: 3,631 Inspectors: 224 Associates: 4,485 Retired Members: 114 Affiliates: 83 Total: 8,537 Members as of 10/7/2017

ASHI MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT PROGRAMS ASHI-ENDORSED PROGRAMS ASHI’s E&O Insurance Program: Target Professional Programs 860-899-1862 ASHI Personal Lines Insurance Program: Liberty Mutual ASHI’s Protecting Home Inspectors From Meritless Claims Program: Joe Ferry – The Home Inspector Lawyer 855-MERITLESS (637-4853) ASHI Service Program BuildFax Tricia Julian, 877-600-BFAX x161 ASHI Customer Appreciation Program: Brent Skidmore, 864-386-2763 Brett Symes, 913-529-2683 LegalShield Joan Buckner, 505-821-3971 Dave Goldstein, 800-882-6242


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

OneSource Solutions 877-274-8632 Eliab Sisay, 206-218-3920 ASHI Rebate Program Dana Fishman, 800-634-0320 x1417 ASHI-ENDORSED EXAMS ASHI Standard and Ethics Education Module Go to, click on Education, then click on the link for the ASHI Online Learning Center. NHIE Exam: 847-298-7750 ASHI-ENDORSED TRAINING PROGRAMS ASHI@Home Training System 800-268-7070 The ASHI School Russell Daniels, 888-884-0440 PLATINUM PROVIDER Millionaire Inspector Community Mike Crow Mention that you are an ASHI member.

Nove mber Anni versa ries

Twenty-five Years

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Fifteen Years Timothy Bach Bill Barnes Timothy Buell Roberto Chavez Scott Devers Michael Dominianni Mark Drewry Gary Edge Len Gluckstal Craig Haas Frank Hendron Robert Hoaglin Erik Maybee Terence McCann Christian Radomicki Peter Robberson Paul Shafer Jr. Frank Tiedeken Jeff Vanace Alex Woodbury

Five Years Joshua Allen Robert Hibbing Richard Ralston Jim Vriend Mark Diplock Brendt Mullan Chaney Becker Steve Reilly Uli Sommers Chase Millard Michael Walley

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37November 2017



HANDLING COMPLAINTS PART 2 By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop,, 800-268-7070

Author’s note: The material in this article is based on our experiences in the home inspection industry during the past 39 years and is not meant as a substitute for professional legal advice.


written complaint from a client should be taken seriously. The letter may come directly from your client or it may be from the client’s lawyer. First, read the letter very carefully and then pull the report. Letters require the same thought process as calls—find out if the problem is within the scope of an inspection and if the report addresses the problem.

We have found that the best approach is to phone the client directly, even if the letter came from a lawyer.

When you call, follow the procedure for handling complaint calls that we described in our article “Handling Complaints, Part 1” in the October issue of the Reporter. Gather information, then set up a revisit, if appropriate. Remember that the closer you are to someone, the harder it is for that person to be hostile toward you. You also can use the clauses in your Inspection Agreement to point out items that are clearly not your fault. For instance, if you get a letter of complaint about a central vacuum system that broke on the day the owners bought the house, your letter would empathize with the client, but reiterate that central vacuums are not within the scope of home inspections. You then can refer to the agreement that the client signed regarding the limitations of the inspection.

HERE ARE THE REASONS WHY WE LIKE THIS APPROACH: • Calling has no downside. If the client does not want to speak with you and wants the lawyer to handle it, the client can just say so.

• There is a chance that you can re-establish your relationship with the client and meet him or her face to face. • It’s difficult to get an accurate gauge of emotion from a letter. The client may be very upset or the client might know that he or she is taking a long shot.


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

• The client may have been very upset when writing the letter or when passing the issue along to the lawyer, but the client may have cooled off during the time it took for the letter to reach you. The client may be willing to talk to you about resolving the problem.

• It is harder to be unreasonable when you are speaking to someone than when you are writing to them. It’s harder still during a face-to-face meeting.


Handling Complaints, Part 2

WRITTEN COMPLAINTS FROM LAWYERS If a lawyer sends you a letter on behalf of your client, you could turn the issue over to your insurance company or to your lawyer. Our feeling is that this tends to escalate things and takes control of the situation out of your hands. This may be the right thing to do if you are not comfortable dealing with complaints, but it also can be expensive. You will have to make a business decision about this. Many errors and omissions (E & O) insurance policies require you to inform the insurance company upon receipt of a complaint that might lead to a claim. Check your policy. At Carson Dunlop, we call the client directly, regardless of whether we receive the letter from the client or a lawyer. We have found that calling the client improves our chances of defusing the situation. Note: Some E & O insurance companies may not want you to do this for fear that you will say something that weakens their defense. Check with your insurer.

If you choose to respond to the lawyer rather than to the client, do it in writing, not over the phone.

If you live in the United States, use the “for settlement purposes only” clause. If you live in Canada, use the “without prejudice” clause.

You can be sure that the lawyer has heard only one side of the story. The client will have described the situation in the most dramatic fashion possible to support the argument. The lawyer is clearly at a disadvantage. You should assume that the lawyer has not seen the report or the inspection agreement. You must respect client confidentiality. Only discuss the report with the lawyer or attach a copy of the report and the inspection agreement if you’ve received the client’s permission first. You may point out the agreement, limitations and limitation of liability, if applicable, as well as any arbitration clauses that your client may have signed. We have found that there is a higher risk when we communicate directly with the lawyer. A lawyer may feel that it doesn’t matter if the client doesn’t have a logical and rightful claim because the insurance company may pay out anyway, assuming that you have insurance. Clients and lawyers may spend some time and effort finding out if you have E & O insurance. Continues on Page 40

39November 2017




Handling Complaints, Part 2

PERFORMING THE REVISIT Although you can deal with some complaints over the phone, you may determine that you should revisit the home. Here are some tips for revisiting a home. Take the report, standards and contract with you:

There is a good chance that the client will not have the report available at the revisit. You need this information in case you have to point out that you did cover specific things during the inspection. It is also common that when you get to the home, the client has come up with other issues as well. For example, the original complaint may be about a shower stall that leaks. The client might be so upset about it that he or she starts to doubt the quality of all the information you provided. The client starts to see defects everywhere, real or imagined, within scope or out of scope, inspected or not. This kind of reaction is entirely understandable, but you will be more ready for it if you have brought with you the inspection report, the ASHI Standard of Practice and your inspection agreement. Review the report, your booking information and the inspection agreement before going to the home. You need to know your report and the circumstances related to the inspection. Who attended the inspection? What was the weather like? Did the client have any specific concerns? And so on.


ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Give direction and be helpful:

When we arrive at a revisit, we go into our helpful and trusted advisor role. Often, this role is enough to satisfy a client who has a complaint. In our experience, many problems can be solved easily with a little common sense. The problems are often smaller than the client believes them to be. Your advice may include options that a contractor is unwilling to try because those options won’t make the contractor much money. Document your visit:

Taking photographs or video is a good idea. If you are unable to come to an agreement with the client, having this evidence will be helpful. You don’t want the client to fix the problem, leaving you with nothing to show what it looked like before. Don’t bring fancy equipment:

Don’t bring any equipment to the revisit that you didn’t use in the original inspection. Let’s say you are investigating a complaint of a damp basement. If you used a moisture meter during your inspection, bring your moisture meter. If you didn’t use a moisture meter during this inspection, don’t pull one out during the revisit. Your client will wonder why you didn’t use it in the first place.


Meet with contractors on site:

If there is a contractor involved, ask for the contractor to be there during the revisit. This is helpful for a few reasons: • It’s a good idea to form a professional relationship with the contractor. This contractor is probably telling your client that the inspector should have seen the problem. If the contractor is there, you have the opportunity to tell the contractor that there was snow on the roof at the time of the inspection and that your original report recommended further evaluation by a roofing contractor in the spring. This helps to get the contractor on your side.

Handling Complaints, Part 2

It’s better to speak to the source. You may look at your list of questions and ask the contractor to answer several of them. For example, it’s often revealing to learn how the contractor found the rotted bathroom subfloor. If it was found after the toilet was removed and the vinyl floor covering was pulled off, you may say that it was not visible during the inspection. If it were visible, why didn’t the contractor tell the client that the subfloor was rotted before starting any work? Don’t decide on site:

• You have the opportunity to bounce ideas off the contractor. If the contractor has indicated the need to replace some component, you can ask how much it would cost to repair.

Once you have finished your revisit and collected information, you don’t have to give your client a decision about your position on the spot. Tell your client that you will get back to him or her at the end of the day or the following day. This gives you time to collect your thoughts, consult with a colleague or do some research. You then can complete your consultant role and advise your client on how to correct the problem, if appropriate. H

• The contractor will have a tougher time being hostile to you in person.

In a future edition of the Reporter, watch for Part 3 of this series.

• The client is not an effective communication conduit between you and the contractor.

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41November 2017



NEW POSTCARDS EMAIL!! Please send your name, city, state, photos, headings & captions to:

Postcards From the Field

Note: By sending in your postcard(s), you are expressly granting ASHI the right to use the postcard and your name with it in the ASHI REPORTER and in other publications ASHI may select.

Air & Water Show

Give Me a Hand Up!

Keven Swartz True North Inspections Seattle, WA

Why Fix...

Randy Via Charles L. Gleich & Associates Columbus, OH

...the Leak?

Lawrence Transue Integrity Inspection Service / BPG Easton, PA

BUll’s-Eye! Kenny Rodriguez Loyalty Home Inspections, LLC New Castle, DE

Adam Weber Inside and Out Home Inspections, LLC Denver, PA


ASHI ASHIReporter Reporter •• November November 2017 2017

I Got the Sports Package for the Master Bathroom


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Postcards from the Field

NEW POSTCARDS EMAIL!! Please send your name, city, state, photos, headings & captions to: Note: By sending in your postcard(s), you are expressly granting ASHI the right to use the postcard and your name with it in the ASHI REPORTER and in other publications ASHI may select.

Teeter-Totter Rock

Matt Leahy The Edge Home Inspections Tucson, AZ

Only 2 Feet From Your Window!

Too Bad They Don’t Make Downspouts

Good Idea, Wrong Location

James Brock Boston Home Inspectors Boston, MA

Water Heater Bomb Can He Run This Gauntlet?

James Brock Boston Home Inspectors Boston, MA 44

ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Jeremy Provan Pro Vantage Home Inspections Columbia, MD

Raj Bansal A to Z Home Inspections Iselin, NJ

November 2017 •



HOW AMAZING IS ASHI? By ASHI President, Howie Pegelow


ell, time is closing in and I am approaching the end of my term. It’s hard for me to believe that I have just three months to go in my presidency. It has been a great nine months and arewarding experience. But I am not finished. I know I mentioned in previous columns that I had some medical problems during my first three months as President. Fortunately, I had a great backup team, including Frank Lesh, Tim Buell, Randy Sipe and the entire staff of ASHI.

I quickly was reassured that, no matter what a situation brings, ASHI operates to the fullest extent and in the best interest of our members. During the next three months of my term, I was able to broaden ASHI’s relationships with other home inspection organizations. ASHI leaders were called to Washington, DC, to provide ASHIbased information about the profession of home inspections. This led us to a productive meeting with Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It may be hard to believe, but even with all the time in my term being divided up by traveling, I was still able to meet with county officials and corporate and private property owners to provide member services suited to their respective needs.

During these most recent three months, Frank and the ASHI staff have been developing contractual corporate relationships that will result in ASHI inspectors being called on to complete inspection services throughout multiple states. In Colorado, for example, ASHI inspectors have conducted more than 1,000 inspections. This has been a team effort, with the logistics being conducted at ASHI headquarters by Frank Lesh and Bonnie Bruno. They have been managing initial assignments, procedural monitoring and final follow-ups. It is ASHI working at its best. 46

ASHI Reporter • November 2017

Even better, these contacts have opened the doors for us to meet with other corporate entities whose leaders have recognized that ASHI is the premier home inspection association. As I mentioned before, ASHI was contacted by a county official who was interested in forming a relationship whereupon ASHI inspectors would perform verification as to new construction permitting within the county. This would afford complete or draw-type inspections for our members. We are hopeful that we can establish a relationship that will lead to other governmental entities seeking our assistance. Unfortunately, the terrible natural disasters in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico (to name just a few of the areas affected) have required a call for help for inspectors to participate in FEMA’s program for emergency management. ASHI requested that all of its members consider answering the call. Accordingly, the FEMA training classes were overwhelmed with ASHI inspectors ready and willing to join.

It goes to show that ASHI members will get the job done when called upon. In closing, should you have any questions or comments at any time, please feel free to call me or any ASHI director. Our contact information is always on Page 4 of the Reporter and I’ve got three more months to proudly serve you as ASHI President. I welcome your calls and emails. H

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Your Partner in Radon Measurement 47November 2017




ASHI Reporter • November 2017

November 2017 Reporter  

Home inspection news and tips for inspectors, home owners and realtors.