Hello WAHI Members,
Well, the 2023-24 winter season has finally arrived and with a vengeance! As I write this article, I’m looking out my window at lots of snow and my weather app indicates it’s -7º outside - no, I’m not a big fan of winter anymore. I keep reminding myself at least we don’t have hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires and the summers are beautiful here in Wisconsin. Only about 8 weeks ‘til spring!
The Winter/Spring copy of Working RE Home Inspector, a publication put out by the Organization of Real Estate Professionals (OREP), arrived in the mail this past week and the main article is titled, “The Rise of Multi-Million Dollar Inspection Firms.” One of the inspectors interviewed in the article was Mike Crow who started and built a million-dollar inspection company more than once. I attended one of his Millionaire Inspection Community seminars in 2015 with Tom Feiza. I remember how much Mike and the other presenters stressed the idea of owning a multi-inspector firm to become a millionaire. Ironically, I was recently contacted by one of these companies trying to buy out small, independent inspectors like myself. (Obviously that didn’t happen!). Furthermore, large equity firms are buying out successful multi-inspector companies to create multi-million-dollar inspection companies. Due to the large number of independent inspectors in Wisconsin, I think it will take a long time for these multi-million-dollar, multi-inspector firms to take over, but I think it will happen in the future. What do you think?
Before we know it, we’ll be attending our WAHI Spring 2024 Education House and Training Seminar in Madison and then spring truly will be just around the corner! I hope you’ve already marked March 8-9 on your calendar to attend - look for further details from Julie in the newsletter.
And remember, 2024 is a leap year so everyone gets to celebrate their birthday this year. If that’s you…Happy Birthday…a bit early!
Stay safe out there…and warm!
Hello WAHI Members!
WAHI Needs YOU!
Happy New Year everyone! 2024 is here and it’s time to make all those new year’s resolutions again, right? How about this one – “I resolve to become more involved in WAHI in 2024 by regularly attending chapter meetings, as well as the spring and fall seminars.” If you are already a regular attendee, thank you, and see me directly for other resolution suggestions ☺
In a recent article, I spoke about the importance of volunteers and leaders in WAHI. All organizations need leaders who are committed to their roles for the benefit of the members and the group’s future. The success of an organization also depends on the active participation of its members. As you might have figured out already, the theme of this month’s article is to encourage our members to regularly attend chapter meetings and educational seminars each spring and fall.
My inspiration came from WAHI’s mission statement which reads as follows: The foremost state professional home inspector’s organization, the Wisconsin Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (WAHI) will lead its membership by providing education opportunities, advocacy and fellowship to develop professionalism in the home inspection industry. Each chapter meeting and seminar is an opportunity to take advantage of some of the best in-person education being offered in the state and the camaraderie experienced with
other members is invaluable. In return, WAHI receives much needed funds to continue offering these great educational opportunities and to function as the professional organization we are! We truly need your regular
participation at chapter meetings and seminars.
I understand that taking time away from home and work for a seminar can be difficult, so if you are unable to attend in person, the education presented on Saturday is available to watch online when your schedule allows. I look forward to seeing you at our next seminar in Madison this March!
Best, David Nason
Hello WAHI Members -
Another successful WAHI Pre-Licensing Home Inspector Training Course, Fall Education House, and Training Seminar are in the books. The Milwaukee Chapter kept the bar high for the training previously set by other chapters. I would like to extend a big thank you to all the leaders and volunteers that make our training the best in Wisconsin. At the Board of Directors meeting on Friday before the seminar, it was decided to separate the pre-licensing class from the Education House to improve the experience for both the pre-licensing students and Education House attendees. The Madison Chapter is up next - look for information in upcoming newsletters about our Spring Training Seminar to be held in the Madison area.
My lawn is still pretty green, however, all the leaves are off the trees, so you know what’s next…cold weather. And snow! Be sure to take some extra time when walking around the exterior of a home to remain safe. Icy conditions can cause slips or falls, and deep snow can conceal hazards or landscape features that can be damaged or cause an injury. Be aware of where you are walking to avoid these potential concerns. Also, if you are setting a ladder to access the roof or look at the shingles be sure the ground is dry and clear of snow and ice. Remember, we don’t have to inspect a roof by actually going on the roof - so if it isn’t safe, stay on the ground.
I’m writing this just before Thanksgiving thinking about the upcoming long weekend of getting together with family and friends and always eating too much delicious food. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and look forward to the preparations and celebrations that the upcoming holidays bring.
Best, David Nason
Hello WAHI Members,
It’s almost here…the WAHI Pre-Licensing Home Inspector Training Course starts Monday, November 6th with the WAHI Fall 2023 Education House and Training Seminar the following weekend - all in the Milwaukee area. If you haven’t signed up yet or maybe your plans have changed, there’s still time to join your fellow inspectors! See the highlighted banner above for registration details.
I visited the Madison Chapter in August and joined them on their field trip to the USDA Forest Products Laboratory. If you are ever in Madison and have a few hours to spend, the tour is very interesting and worth the time. In October, I was able to visit the Fox Valley Chapter for their monthly meeting. The education provided by Affiliate member Accurate Airtight Exteriors was very informative and the meal was delicious. I look forward to visiting the Central and Chippewa Valley Chapters in the coming months.
While at the Fox Valley meeting, Public Relations Chair Bob Turicik shared that the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA) conference at The Kalahari in October was well-attended and our booth giveaway, small green WAHI flashlights, were a hit! My sincere thanks to Bob and the other WAHI members who volunteered time in our booth. The Sunday before the conference, WAHI conducted the 1st WAHI Education House for the WRA. Ric Thompson, Past President, initiated the program and Madison Home Inspector member Rich Reinhart found a great house close to The Kalahari. A small group of WAHI members “inspected” the home and educated over 20 realtors while addressing the requirements in the Standards of Practice. The event appeared to be very well received by the Realtors and I hope we can make this an annual event!
WAHI seminars are a great way to gain valuable knowledge for your inspection business. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with inspectors from around the state and see friends you maybe haven’t seen in a while. For me, this fall marks 10 years since my first WAHI seminar. It was held in Oconomowoc at the Olympia Resort and each one since then has been informative and memorable.
As we head into the holiday season, this is a great time to get together to hone our skills, greet old and new friends, and be thankful our business has the support of WAHI.
Best, David Nason
Hello WAHI Members,
While writing this month’s article, I received an email from Julie announcing registration for our WAHI Fall 2023 Education House and Training Seminar is open. I encourage everyone who is able to attend to sign up for both Friday’s Education House and Saturday’s Seminar! We’ll be following the same successful format started this past spring where our WAHI Pre-Licensing Home Inspector Training Course is held the same week as the seminar and concludes with the Education House. I look forward to seeing you all at the Friday night cocktail party to share exchange some stories (tall tales?) about the year so far! See the banner above for all the details and registration.
We are still in a tough real estate market where waiving contingencies in offers is still common practice. I recently received a Facebook article from a WAHI member posted by a realtor in his area encouraging buyers and sellers to be “flexible" when it comes to contingencies. Now it’s one thing for realtors to advise their clients of the options available to them, but I think it is a slippery slope for realtors to encourage their buyers to “Skip the Contingencies”. To avoid losing inspections altogether, I have been informing realtors that refer me on a regular basis that I perform pre-listing and post-closing inspections, in addition to traditional pre-sale inspections. You might be surprised how many realtors don’t know all the services we can provide - be sure to tell them! So far these inspections are comprising about 30% of my total inspection business for the year.
After being elected, I mentioned one of the things I wanted to accomplish during my presidency was to address the difference between inspecting a condo, which is not covered in our standards, and a single-family home. Adding or amending the State Standards of Practice to address condos could prove to be a time-consuming, difficult process and may take us down a path with the legislature that we don’t want to travel, so updating our pre-inspection agreement seems like the way to proceed. I received one agreement from a member who added some “condo language” - I would encourage anyone who has done the same (or has thoughts on this topic) to share theirs as well. As information is collected, I will share it in future articles for further discussion.
Best, David Nason
Hello WAHI Members,
I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to those members of WAHI who have served in a leadership role in the past or are currently serving, some for many years. This is a volunteer run organization that relies on its members to be leaders. WAHI would not enjoy the respect it receives from the inspection industry and Wisconsin elected officials without their efforts.
I have had the good fortune of working closely with one of WAHI’s founding members, Tom Feiza. In 2014 as a new inspector, I was strongly encouraged by Tom to join WAHI and when the time was right, to get involved. So I joined a committee that interested me and soon became the Arbitration Committee Chair, which provided my first experience interacting with the Board of Directors. This led to my desire to be on the Board and was elected as a Member-At-Large for the Milwaukee Chapter. Then this past spring, I was elected President.
I’d like to encourage our newer members, and even those of you that have been around for awhile and never volunteered, to consider taking on a leadership role. Affiliate members can be leaders too. Talk to an officer in your chapter about any openings. Or your first step may be similar to mine and you can find a statewide committee to join - I know the Arbitration Committee, and others, are a little thin at the moment. And then at our elections in spring, you might consider an elected position.
If you have taken on a leadership role or are an elected officer, remember that the rest of the members are looking up to you and are counting on you for their continuing education, growth as an inspector, and making chapter meetings worth attending. I encourage you to be responsible in your role to the best of your ability, and if you are unsure of anything, there are always other WAHI leaders willing to help. If you are not a leader, remember we are all volunteers that want the best for WAHI, so be sure you are receiving what you need from your membership.
Let’s go WAHI!
Best, David Nason________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hello WAHI Members,
I missed the July meeting for the Milwaukee Chapter due to being on vacation, but I heard it went very well! My thanks to Bingo Emmons, owner of Creative Construction of Wisconsin, and his employees for hosting the meeting in their new training room and providing a cookout dinner. The classroom portion of our November Pre-Licensing Home Inspector Training Course will take place there as well. Bingo is an active Affiliate member and also serves as the Milwaukee Chapter Education Chair, and we cannot thank him enough for his continued generosity towards WAHI.
During the meeting, discussion took place about the importance of presenting a professional appearance as a home inspector. Jim Oezer, Milwaukee Chapter President, shared that an inspection recently took place near his home and he witnessed the inspector’s arrival. This inspector, not a WAHI member, was dressed in shorts and flip-flops and brought his dog along in his truck. Certain situations may lend themselves to a little more casual attire; however, as WAHI members we should always strive to present ourselves in a professional manner, including our attire, in front of our customers, realtors, and any neighbors that may be watching. In my opinion, shorts and flip flops are not the image I want to portray.
I mentioned being on vacation last month. My family and I rented a 32’ RV and headed to Utah’s national parks. This wasn’t our first road trip as we have traveled as a family to all 50 states over the years. In all these trips we have not had a single incident on the road, not even a flat tire. I attribute that mostly to our preparation. Before each trip our vehicle is scheduled for an oil change and thorough service. Our route each day was well planned, which minimized surprises while driving. We often talk about being safe during our inspections on ladders, roofs, and in attics, but we also need to be safe and prepared when traveling to and from our inspections. So, take the time to make sure your vehicle is well maintained and always know your driving route in advance.
Hope you’re enjoying your summer!
Best, David Nason
Hello WAHI Members,
Summer is finally here! Hope you are all taking some time to enjoy the beautiful weather we have been experiencing.
In the southeastern part of our state, this summer has been near drought conditions. And as much as I like the sunshine, we could use more rain (although as I’m writing this that much needed rain is falling). These dry conditions can make evaluating a foundation a little more challenging. Chris Mancuso, owner of Accurate Basement Repair and Milwaukee Chapter Affiliate Member, told me that as clay soil dries out, it can pull back on a foundation that is tipped or bowing in during wet ground conditions. So when we see a concrete block foundation wall that has horizontal and step cracks, but the wall is not out of plumb or bowed, it could be moving in and out based on the wet or dry condition of the soil. Consider recommending “further evaluation” by a qualified foundation consultant or repair contractor to determine if bracing is needed.
Speaking of WAHI Affiliate Members, these contractors are a valuable resource for home inspectors. They provide very beneficial information and education when giving presentations at our chapter meetings and training seminars. Recently, Julie sent an email to our Chapter-Elected Member at Large Board Members. She requested they seek names of quality contractors and service providers their chapter members rely on regularly - the plan is to encourage them to become a WAHI Affiliate Member. If you have relationships with contractors that you count on, who know their industry well, please pass along their information at your next chapter meeting.
The real estate market is crazy again with offers being written with no inspection contingencies. I suggest taking the time to update your inspection template if needed, complete some online training, and stay in touch with realtors that refer you on a regular basis so you’re ready when needed.
I’ll be taking some upcoming road trips to attend each chapter’s meeting before this fall’s seminar in Milwaukee so I can get to know more of our members - see you then!
Best, David Nason
Hello WAHI Members,
We often talk about staying safe when doing a home inspection because it is a very important aspect of our job. I’m sure all of you want to complete each inspection safely in order to go on to the next job and finally home to your families every night. Safety should be part of your routine as you perform each inspection.
So what are you doing to protect your head? I’ve seen some inspectors wear a baseball hat or other cap on the job, offering some protection, but perhaps not enough. While I never really thought about wearing one myself, as of a few weeks ago, I started wearing a "bump cap” when inspecting attics. In early May I bumped my head pretty good on an attic rafter during an inspection. Even though I remembered it hurting at the time, with no blood present, I thought nothing more of it and continued on with my day. However, 36 hours later I woke the in the middle of the night completely disoriented and extremely nauseous. To make what could be a long story a little shorter, it turns out that “simple bump” turned into a mild concussion, causing me to feel dizzy and preventing me from working (and earning money!) for a few days. So let this be a reminder to everyone that staying safe includes protecting your head. Because while you might be able to continue working with a boot on your ankle or cast on your arm, if you can’t keep your balance from a blow to the head, the only thing you’ll be doing is missing work.
Speaking of safety, North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) has designated May as Deck Safety Month. Our state standards are not as strict as NADRA’s; however, we need to inspect decks thoroughly and not be afraid to call them a defect or recommend further evaluation when needed. If access under the deck is limited or restricted, be sure to note that in the report as well.
The dates have been set for our next WAHI Pre-Licensing Home Inspection Training Course, November 6th through the 10th, and the WAHI Fall Education House and Training Seminar, November 10th and 11th-both will be held in the Milwaukee area. Be sure to check out the “What’s Happening” section of the newsletter for more information.
Best, David Nason
Hello WAHI Members -
I’d like to first thank everyone who voted me in for President of this great organization. I’m looking forward to working with our Board of Directors and Julie for the next two years.
A very well deserved thank you is in order for our out-going President Ric Thompson. Ric took on this role looking to get more involved in WAHI and was soon dealing with the most important issue WAHI has had to confront in many years – what is now known as 2021 Act 17. The amount of time Ric gave our organization in order to lead WAHI through that process was far more than is typically asked of ourPresident. Thankfully Ric handled it admirably, and although changes to our standards were ultimately made, WAHI was well represented during the negotiations and is now known as THE source for training and education of home inspectors in Wisconsin. Thanks again, Ric!
Bang, bang, bang, (imagine the sound of my gavel)! - I call to order, my final article as President of the Wisconsin Association of Home Inspectors!
The past 4 years have been real, they have been fun and, at many times, real fun! Sometimes, real trying as well!
For my final article, as I did at the seminar, I want to take a brief look at the past four years of WAHI and what the Board has accomplished. It was a busy 4 years and I certainly hope that the association is in a better place than when I took my position. My goal was to make sure it didn’t take a step back!
My term certainly started out quite eventful with the introduction of the home inspector legislation! After much talk and negotiation and even some heated discussions, the WAHI Board took what initially seemed to be a dark cloud and make it mostly sunny. The first plus to the legislation was WAHI using this as an opportunity to become more visible under the dome in Madison. Multiple legislators have attended seminars and we are now the “Go To” for Madison when it comes to home inspector related items that may come across their desk. They now know who WAHI is!
The Board put a group of our greatest home inspector minds together to come up with the WAHI Inspection Guideline to help navigate the changes brought about by the legislation. This was even more beneficial for new inspectors – when most of us started out we didn’t know where to begin. Now, new inspectors, that become WAHI members, have a solid base to begin reporting from. This puts them ahead of where many of us were our Day One!
The Board also found a financial opportunity for WAHI in the education portion of the bill and took advantage of it. Now, the premier home inspector association in the state of Wisconsin has a successful, standard holding, pre-licensing program! I am proud to say we have had 25 graduates go through our training course. The program is financially in the black and will be a revenue source for WAHI for years to come! This might be the accomplishment I am most proud of our Board putting together.
We have also taken most of the hard work that goes into our seminar weekends and put it in the hands of the hosting chapter. This has made for more robust education and a much more economically friendly seminar for WAHI. Host chapters have been able to find excellent local presenters to improve the knowledge of our attendees. Which, of course, makes WAHI Inspectors the best in the state!
WAHI has made technological advances over the past 4 years as well! COVID forced us to take a look at our educational programming beyond in-person approach. We now have a growing online education library for those that can’t make the seminars or chapter meetings. Along with that, the Board placed focus on our online presence by doing SEO work to ensure that we are at the top of the list when it comes to home inspector association searches. It must be working - the majority of our Pre-Licensing students were a result of online searches.
Finally, the item I personally worked hardest on, is the relationship between WAHI and the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA). What was seen by me as a contentious relationship, has turned into a partnership with an open-door policy when discussion is needed on inspection issues relative to the real estate transaction. Now, when I meet with WRA representatives, it is a friendly, work together, kind of conversation. Both of us working to make the transaction better for the clients we share.
These are just a few of the highlights of the past 4 years! I am sure I am missing others but, I wanted to keep the article as short as possible while still mentioning these items.
I want to give one final “Thank you!” to all of the Board members that were apart of this ride. Absolutely none of this would have happened without all of you. Together we have made WAHI better and the best home inspector association in the state of Wisconsin!
Julie…no words can express my thank you to you! We didn’t always see eye to eye but, that is how things get done in a productive manner. You were able to calm my storm at times and keep us on a good path to improvement throughout the past 4 years. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Lastly, to David Nason…I wish you nothing but the best and know I am just a phone call away. WAHI is in great hands with you at the helm and I am excited to see the direction you take WAHI. As a wise person once said to me, “I am excited to see where the next person takes the association in places I couldn’t.” You will prove to be a great President for WAHI!
Thank you to all of the members for your support! You have made this job fun and well worth the time invested in it. Keep being the best home inspectors in Wisconsin and keep working with WAHI to make it even better than it already is!
I have tremendous respect for WAHI and hold our association in the highest regard. I will be around and will continue to be involved in WAHI - to just sit back and watch would feel unnatural to me. I look forward to helping in any way I can!
Be safe out there! (Bang, bang, bang goes the gavel one last time!)
Ric Thompson, President (Proudly!)
Good day all!
As I type this, we are preparing for our 3rd Pre-Licensing Home Inspection Training Course which we hope will produce 9 future WAHI members! Over the course of planning our 3 courses, we have tweaked the program a little each time to continue making it the Gold Standard of pre-licensing education in the State of Wisconsin. As we began, we had one house for the hands-on field training - we now have 2, which provides our students more exposure to what they may run into out in the “real world”. In all, our program has had 27 students, some of which have already become state licensed and have joined WAHI.
We are putting the finishing touches on our crown jewel, our biannual WAHI Education House and Training Seminar - my last as President of this great association! In my 4 years on the Board of Directors, we have made changes and improvements to this training weekend - changes I feel have made a really good thing even better. I look forward to seeing what our next President has in store!
The power of WAHI is so visible at our training events. Numerous members volunteer to educate inspectors to make them the best they can be! WAHI is an association that was built on volunteers and continues to grow stronger each and every year! With the Chapter and State elections on the horizon, this is your opportunity to play a larger role in WAHI - give it some thought! While serving in a leadership role you learn so much about WAHI and the home inspection industry in general – it’s amazing to be a part of that.
I look forward to seeing everyone at the seminar and learning with the best inspectors in the state!
Be safe out there!
The WAHI Spring 2023 Education House and Training Seminar is right around the corner! We have a great line up of speakers for Friday afternoon's Rotation Training and all-day Saturday.
On Saturday, we start off with the return of Golden’s Chimney Service to discuss new chimney information and a new certification related to inspections. Bill Majewski and his associate Tom Urban were great when they did a presentation for us in Neenah - they’re excited to join us again!
Next we will welcome Matt Bond of Badger Balancing. Matt is speaking at a WAHI seminar for the 1st time and will do a presentation on “all things HVAC”! He will get into the nitty gritty of what we should be looking for when inspecting mechanicals.
After lunch we have an AWESOME Realtor panel lined up. Michael Sewell is heavily involved in the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin (RANW) and the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA) - he is truly one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to anything pertaining to real estate. He knows the subject matter so well he teaches it too! Local Brokers Jenelle Bruno, Sarah Loberg, Kevin Jones and Gus Garcia will join Michael as we have an open discussion on the latest topics in the Realtor/Inspector relationship!
To close out the day, WAHI Home Inspector member John Freiburger, of Freiburger Consulting, will present on exterior veneers, focusing on masonry. John is a quality presenter with a wealth of knowledge - this will be an excellent presentation to finish up our information-packed weekend!
Don’t forget we have our WAHI Pre-Licensing Training Course that week as well - Monday, February 27th through Friday, March 3rd. We are very excited to have this program continue! Spread the word to those looking for a new career or a good side gig! We are focusing our marketing for this training on First Responders so share with them the opportunities our industry and association have to offer! We all know how well home inspecting can work with other employment and a variety of lifestyles!
See you all March 3rd and 4th in Fond du Lac! It is my last hurrah as your fearless leader - I look forward to seeing all of you and thanking you personally for your support over the past 4 years!
Be safe out there!