Washington State Real Estate Agents and Brokers -- Licensing Questionnaire

By
Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

It is time to ask realtors in Washington state a couple important questions. Within the home inspection industry there is speculation as to how real estate professionals will handle referrals after the new home inspector licensing laws take effect on September 1, 2009.

I would like to receive feedback from Washington state realtors and brokers who are at Active Rain. I have written on this topic, and how the soon to be licensing will be implemented, in a previous post.

I have two questions that I would like your feedback on.

1. In your offices, are you aware that the rules regarding home inspectors will change on September 1, 2009 and are your offices formulating new policies on inspector referrals?

2. The law gives some inspectors, depending on when they got into the field, through June of next year to acquire additional education and field training. In the meantime, they may legally work but they will not be licensed nor will they show as licensed. How will your office deal with the group of inspectors who may be legally working for another ten months but they are not licensed?

Thanks for participating and please leave your responses in the comments below. Your answers will provide insight. I think these are questions that many inspectors are wondering about. 

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Charles Buell 08/10/2009 12:12 PM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Washington Whatcom County Bellingham
Groups:
Bellingham WA Business
Puget Sound - WA Real Estate
Tags:
washington home inspector licensing
king of the house
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ferndale home inspector

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Rainmaker
56,380
Kevin Pierce
Cascade Builder Services - Tacoma, WA
New Construction Warranty Management

"The other unanswered question, that makes it hard for realtors, is they do not know for sure which of the people in that group will go on to be licensed, and which ones will drop out."

 

A licensed inspector could call it quits as well.  What's the point of worrying agents.  It smells like your specifically bringing attention to this group of inspectors to somehow discredit them.

Aug 09, 2009 05:02 PM #11
Rainmaker
56,380
Kevin Pierce
Cascade Builder Services - Tacoma, WA
New Construction Warranty Management

Charles-I completely agree.  That's why I'm wondering what the point of Steve's post is.

Aug 09, 2009 05:04 PM #12
Rainmaker
56,380
Kevin Pierce
Cascade Builder Services - Tacoma, WA
New Construction Warranty Management

"Kevin the list, as I see it is merely to see if an inspector is "legally" doing inspections in the State..."

 

After 7/1/10.

Aug 09, 2009 05:09 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,181,363
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Kevin,

I never would have even thought of this particular questionnaire post had it not been your comments yesterday at another post, when you fairly stated that realtors needed to be made aware of this group of inspectors who will not be licensed yet, but may still operate till the middle of next year. You suggested that realtors should be told that this group exists because, if realtors look only at the state licensing list come 9/1, then they are likely to exclude those in that group that may be legally working.

Then our discussion moved to how brokers and offices would deal with referrals. I said that one of us should ask realtors at AR, so I did that this morning. I wrote this with care. Had I simply written -- Realtors will you refer inspectors who are not on the state licensing list come September 1, then that would not have been fair, based on the conversation yesterday. Therefore, I had to explain this group so realtors know they can be legally working, based on what we know.

There is a reality here as well, the DOL list is online now. It is public record. Realtors and brokers are aware of it. They will be looking at it, heavily come September. Of that we can be sure.  It is probably better for them to know that this one group can operate for a time, than to ignore the fact that many of them will be looking at the list. Personally, if I was in that group that can inspect till the middle of next year, I would be doing PR right now, meeting with realtors and explaining to them the situation. I think the process is complicated enough that, if those impacted by it do not, then this information might fall through the cracks to that groups detriment.

I also know that, for the most part, DOL does not seem to look upon everything being meaningless till June of next year. The whole program is geared for the bulk of it to kick in Sept 1.

Aug 09, 2009 05:32 PM #14
Rainmaker
56,380
Kevin Pierce
Cascade Builder Services - Tacoma, WA
New Construction Warranty Management

Understood.  Where are all the agents anyway?  You usually have quite the crowd.

Aug 09, 2009 05:47 PM #15
Ambassador
1,087,576
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

So far it seems to be a party of inspectors:)

Aug 09, 2009 05:50 PM #16
Rainmaker
1,181,363
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Kevin and Charlie,

They know what a pain in the ar_se we home inspectors can be. Maybe they are all in church or ducking us. Charlie said he will repost later on, he has quite the following too. I should have remembered -- Never on Sunday.

Aug 09, 2009 05:55 PM #17
Rainmaker
95,077
Jim Bushart
Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster - Springfield, MO
Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster

I am thinking that a realtor who has been using an inspector for several years and is satisfied with his work will continue to use him.  If he is smart, he will contend that he has no duty to research any databases anymore than an inspector has a duty to research the validity of a realtor's license.

Instead, he will continue to use his inspector with certainty that the inspector has done his homework and has taken whatever steps are appropriate to be in business in his state. 

After all, the realtor is immediately aware that a license is an indicator of nothing more than an inspector has met the minimum basic standard as required by the state.  It does not mean that he is a quality inspector who writes quality reports.  He has this assurance already from the inspector he has been using....he would be foolish to change.

 

The realtor has a business to run and clients to serve.  That is his priority.  Helping your marketing strategy is probably not a big part of his agenda.

 

Illinois has licensed home inspectors for years.  Realtors seek out the best inspectors who are sometimes located minutes away in a bordering state.  I have had an offer from a realtor who asked me to come to Illinois to do an inspection for him and he would have a licensed inspector "sign off" on my report so that everyone would be "okay" with it.  I declined, but many do not.

Aug 09, 2009 10:22 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,181,363
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Jim,

I might tend to agree with you on part of that, other than that the real estate law has been written to now reflect that realtors who refer unlicensed parties are, also, subject to fines and various retribution. What you suggest, might well be the case till July of next year. Also, realtors will know who is licensed or not because all licensed inspectors will be required to put a license number on all advertising. Also, in this state, realtors have for years and years demanded that inspectors they refer be WSDA licensed. They check that meticulously so, I suspect, that the brokers will be on top of this one. Most realtors that I have dealt with, who have to have their own state licenses, have been pretty irritated that home inspectors were not in the same position. Realtors want home inspectors to be licensed. I think you might have had a pretty good post there if you did not have to go back in and the end and try to make it insulting, then again to do otherwise would not be you.

This one we will have better answers on a month or two down the road. James, this post, a questionaire for realtors, has nothing to do with you and further comments by you will probably be deleted at this post. As they say in legal terms, you have no "standing." You are just stirring the pot.

Aug 09, 2009 10:50 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,181,363
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

I was reading Active Rain tonight and ran across this blog that AR has featured. It is members only but it seems like everyone posting here can read it. Check it out, it gives a pretty good description, better than I got across above, of how most realtors I know feel about licenses. I think the fact it is featured at AR says something about that too.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/1188369/can-you-sell-real-estate-without-a-license-big-ooopps-

 

Aug 10, 2009 12:22 AM #20
Rainmaker
56,380
Kevin Pierce
Cascade Builder Services - Tacoma, WA
New Construction Warranty Management

Why aren't agents or brokers touching this post or Charles' re-blog?  That's a very interesting question.

Aug 13, 2009 11:50 AM #21
Ambassador
1,087,576
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Kevin, I had hoped to get a lot more response to these questions---I guess "none" doesn't really equate with "more":)

Aug 13, 2009 12:06 PM #22
Rainmaker
56,380
Kevin Pierce
Cascade Builder Services - Tacoma, WA
New Construction Warranty Management

I'm just really interested in why.  Does it have a meaning that not one agent or broker wanted to answer?  Very interesting indeed.

Maybe Jim hit it directly on the head in post 18.

Aug 13, 2009 12:13 PM #23
Rainmaker
1,181,363
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Kevin,

I think they are just not reading it or responding. As for Jim's post, I think it is naive to assume that realtors brokers will allow them to defy the state law once all parties must be licensed after June. This is more muddled until then. At that point I think an inspector with no license will be out of luck and work.

On a personal level, I have had three calls from local realtors in the last few days asking me if I am licensed. I also had one potential client call asking for my license number. She had read about licensing online and had many questions.  I know that Charlie also had an Email. Maybe he could post the words,  without the realtor's name or office name, so one can see what that large Seattle office is doing.

I have done many blog posts in the past, that were dry like this, that got little response. I think this is just one more and not much should be read into it other than that realtors are not reading it or do not want to take the time to write a response. After September, we can check in and see how licensing has impacted the various parties involved. We know that the offices will respond to the new law but, like many inspectors who put off the licensing process until the last minute (including me) this is not a big priority for them. Come September, just by the circumstances, some changes will be made at the real estate offices. I am sure that the real estate board will make sure of that and I know that DOL plans to send out explanatory notices too. Again, till the end of June, it might be more confusing than it will be after that when things will be pretty cut and dried.

Aug 13, 2009 01:10 PM #24
Ambassador
1,087,576
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Yes, Steve, I have had a couple of agents ask me and the one email from a Coldwell Banker-Bain agent that simply asked. "Are you Licensed yet?"  I simply replied "Yes.":)

Aug 13, 2009 01:29 PM #25
Rainer
108,907
Stephen Stanczyk
Safe Haven Home Inspections - Puyallup, WA
Home Inspector - Puyallup WA

Kevin,

In regards to your two inspectors.  #1 is a fool.  If he had that much time and experience in his profession, he would have been aware of things that affected him and his livelihood, and he would have gotten his license by Sept 1.  Why would he voluntarily put himself in the position to be required to take the 120 class (that he could probably teach) and 40 hours of field training (that he could teach)  at the cost of thousands of dollars?  If he is that unaware, I wouldn't want him doing my inspection.

As for #2, those that build and remodel homes with "construction experience" are the ones that keep us home inspectors in business.  While construction knowledge is a plus, how many carpenters know about electricity or hvac or plumbing?  I would take an inspector that just came out of school and actually got to learn about items before I took someone that worked around another trade with no knowledge at all.  Who is to say that the person with "construction knowledge" was actually doing it correctly in the first place?

Any Realtor that puts his license and livelihood on the line just to keep refering an unlicensed inspector, even though they may do a good job, is nuts.  I have a retired 30 years journeyman plumber that I have recommended since I have been in the business.  When he retired, he let his license lapse.  He just wanted some side jobs for extra cash.  I called him and said I was sorry but that I would not be able to refer him any longer unless he had an active license.  Anyone that puts their career and profession on the line simply to refer another person, is suspect and I would be finding another to take their place.

Sep 06, 2009 11:05 PM #26
Ambassador
1,087,576
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Stephen, well put

Sep 06, 2009 11:13 PM #27
Rainmaker
1,181,363
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Stephen,

Based on what I am seeing, after September 1, there are two categories coming forth in the real estate field.

1. Those realtors and firms who have been unaware of the new law but are now becoming familiar with it and are formulating policies.

2. Those firms that know about the law and mandate, broker edict, that all inspectors referred must be licensed because they do not want to sort out who is legal and who is not in that other category. I think it might be harder for that "July" group to get business than was initially expected.

Also, I can say that there are a surprising number of inspectors who could have been grandfathered who did not get their paperwork and testing done in time. I have, as a board member, had calls from some of them.

Sep 06, 2009 11:16 PM #28
Rainer
108,907
Stephen Stanczyk
Safe Haven Home Inspections - Puyallup, WA
Home Inspector - Puyallup WA

I really hadn't paid much attention to the relationship between Broker and Realtor.  Hopefully some Agents or Brokers will chip in here on this subject.

Agents have their own license but they operate under the Firms license with someone assigned as Designated Broker, who must have a Broker's License..... if I remember correctly.

I can't think of a Firm or a Broker that is going to put their license at risk by allowing someone in their employ to continue acts of "Unprofessional Conduct" as defined by RCW 18.235.130  (9).

Once Rhonda starts answering her phone again, we will find out about when enforcement will start in regards to this issue as well as the advertising issue.

Sep 07, 2009 01:28 AM #29
Rainmaker
1,181,363
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Anyone is welcome to comment at my blog, as evidenced by previous posts above. However, I am turning over a new leaf. This comes after some discussion with the powers that be here at Active Rain.

From this point forward, any party who accuses, insults or otherwise attacks people -- including government officials, private parties or others who comment at my posts -- of unethical, illegal or nefarious acts may not leave such comments at my blog. When they do, they will be deleted.

There are parties online who are flamers. They enjoy strafing and starting fires. They have no regard for the truth and they have no regard for others. Such parties need to mind their manners and base their comments in fact not wild right-wing, or left-wing (not sure which) delusions and fact-less rhetoric.

Sep 07, 2009 09:53 AM #31
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Rainmaker
1,181,363

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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