What I'm Seeing Now

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"Home Inspectors Are Just Placebos"

It was a phone call from a concerned, potential, client.  He is building a new townhouse.  A friend told him to hire a roofer to make sure that rubber was put between his roof and the houses next to his.

Yes, that puzzled me too.

I told him that step flashing and some form of counter flashing, even if it was vinyl siding, is an appropriate transition between roof and sides.  And that I had never heard of using rubber.  But, "I can check that flashing for you.  You really don't need a roofer.  In fact, a roofer is going to charge you almost as much as I will for a complete home inspection."  Asking my price, he confirmed that.

He set up an inspection.  "But, I might be calling you back because I want to check one more thing."

He called back.  "I'm no longer going to need your services."  

"Well, you're the boss," I said, "but why not?"

"Because I am told you home inspectors are just placebos."

Suppressing a laugh, honestly, I needed to pursue this one!  "Sir, this is the first time I have heard that one!  Please, explain!"

"Well, you almost never find anything.  And when you do, the builder won't fix it anyway because they build everything to code and won't change that."

I am REALLY amused at this point and wouldn't want to do his inspection anyway, but this was too good.  Now I am laughing.  "Who in the world told you that?!"

"THE SALES LADY IN THE BUILDER'S OFFICE."

That's right!  The sales lady.  The sales lady!!  Miss Information herself!!  (Read that misinformation...)

"Sir, I am going to bet you did not have a pre-drywall inspection, am I right?"

"I didn't need one.  The builder gave me a walk through."

During the conversation I found out what he did for a living.  This is a very intelligent person.  But, CLEARLY,  not at all smart in this regard!  Here is someone who CLEARLY doesn't know what he doesn't know.  He is listening to a friend who CLEARLY doesn't know what he doesn't know.  He is listening to his builder who CLEARLY doesn't want him to know what he doesn't know. 

AND I AM A "PLACEBO..."  How do you spell Aaaaaarggghhh?  Is that close enough?  I could say more, but I will leave this as polite as I can.

 

My recommendation:  Don't call a placebo.  Call a home inspector.  Call an objective, independent home inspector.  Call one with experience.  Call one who stays current with annual continuing education (I usually do 35-40 hours annually).  And call one who wants you to know what you don't know.

For sure you won't be calling one of these pills to the left.

Oh, and don't take your advice from friends or "the builder!!!"  Because you never know.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 100 commentsJay Markanich • December 21 2009 05:09AM

Comments

I LOVE THIS.

Your statement: 

Here is someone who CLEARLY doesn't know what he doesn't know.  He is listening to a friend who CLEARLY doesn't know what he doesn't know.  He is listening to his builder who CLEARLY doesn't want him to know what he doesn't know. 

says it all. 

I always recommend a home inspection for new construction.  I recommed that the home be inspected at three stages,

1.  after foundation is constructed.

2.  prior to drywall.

3.  about 30 days following closing. 

You'd be surprised what our home inspections find in new construction.  Well, you wouldn't but many home buyers would.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Thank you Lenn.  And you are right.  I am amazed sometimes by what I find on new construction!  I call it "7-11 construction."  They pick these guys up at 7-11 in the mornings and that is what is building the house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Oh my... the sales lady in the builder's office...  I can't believe a buyer would believe this recommendation to NOT have a home inspection.  LOL.  Thanks for a good chuckle this morning.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Well, Margaret - the very definition of "not smart in this regard."  Glad you enjoyed it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay,

I'm sure I can get a few listing agents to say a home inspection isn't really needed either. I've heard you guys/gals called a lot of things, but placebo is a new one on me.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Me too Rich!  And I have been doing this almost 30 years!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I'm in lending and just don't understand why inspections are not mandatory. When spending hugh sums of money over a 30 year period and not investing another few hundred to have a professional opinion is crazy

Good post

Tony

Posted by Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv (REISA - 317-663-4173) over 8 years ago

Thanks Tony, as I would tend to agree.  But I am a bit biased...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay I had an inspector find standing water in the crawl space of a $360,000 custom built home, that was coming from a tiny leak in the sprinkler system that nobody else noticed. I shudder to think what might have happened.

And while we are on the subject same inspector went into crawl space of a townhouse and water was dripping from the beams, worst he had ever seen. We backed out of that one and the sellers had to do a huge project that involved french drains etc.

Posted by David O'Doherty, Clayton NC Homes, Raleigh, NC (Raleigh Realty Inc) over 8 years ago

David - I hear and see this stuff all the time!  Once, on a new home, the crawl space was filled with water and I could not find the source.  No leaking, no dripping, nothing.  Now, over time that is going to do real damage and cause other things like various microbial growths, etc.  The builder said it was normal.  The buyer wanted it diagnosed and repaired.  The builder refused.  The buyer backed out.  The house was not far from mine.  A week later I saw a moving van in front.  What do you want to bet that Miss Information the new buyers it was not a problem or they did not do a home inspection?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I used to work for a commercial plumber who's mechanics weren't exactly the sharpest crayons in the box! Everyone assumes new construction doesn't need an inspection when buying. And others say home inspectors are deal killers. The ones I recommend will inspect a basement for at least 1.5 hours or more let alone the rest of the house! That's the way it should be. I think that woman fell on her head when she was a baby.

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 8 years ago

Jackie - If you mean the sales lady, she was doing what she was told - be gentle, sound reasonable and talk them out of inspections! 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Now this is a new one, I have to tell you. Who would not want an unbiased 3rd party putting an expert, fresh set of eyes on something they'll live in and borrow the largest sum of money in their life against? Penny wise, pound foolish- amazing. 

Here would be my reply: 

"Let's ask your lawyer if that salesperson would be willing to stand by those words in court."

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 8 years ago

It amazes me a buyer would believe that a home inspector does not have their best interest in mind and would allow anyone to tell them they don't need an inspection.

Just last week I scheduled an inspection on a new construction only to receive a call back from the buyer. The builder told him I could not inspect the roof or attic and the the inspection had to be done on a particular day or never. Needless to say I had to pass that one up.

Posted by Vince Santos, Southeast Michigan Home Inspector (StepByStep Home Services LC) over 8 years ago

Jay:

Of course builders do not recommend having home inspections.

Buyers should always have new construction inspected. You need a third party opinion of the quality of the workmanship and any possible defects.

Home inspectors are clearly not placebos but a necessary part of the home buying process.

 

 

Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) over 8 years ago

Well, Phil, I was aghast, to say the least.  I haven't heard that one before and love your answer!

Vince - methinks something is afoot with that builder!  I have had them want an inspection on a particular day, and tell me that I could not take thing apart (which I understand), but not to look at the roof?  Hmmmm.

Claudette - could not say it better myself!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

If he was really smart, just one response should've made him rethink his position: "So, you're going to go what the builder (ie, seller) and HIS sales lady are saying, both of which have a vested interest in selling you a property, while rudely dismissing a neutral third party opinion?  One question, would you so blindly believe a car salesman, too?"

It amazes me that people will research the hound out of a $29 DVD player before forking over any money, but will make some of the dumbest decisions in not doing the same with real estate.

Posted by Roger Johnson, Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate (Hickory Real Estate Group) over 8 years ago

That sales lady has the same kind of honesty that the "scientists" for the tobacco industry had. What really has me laughing this morning is that this person has no reasoning power. It isn't a stretch to figure this was not an unbiased opinion. If that was said to me then i might hire two inspectors instead of one.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 8 years ago

Great wording and way to handle a tough situation.

Posted by Tim Ludemann over 8 years ago

Builders have another opportunity to shine when buyers have home inspections.

1.  They can show the buyer how few and how minor the gigs are.

2.  They can show the buyer how responsive they are to issues.

Of course, this opportunity only presents itself to a builder who cares to hide nothing, and is confident in his product.

Edit:  I think this post is valuable enough that I Reblogged it.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 8 years ago

Roger - you just inserted the nail all the way into a 6x6 with just one hit!

I'm with you too Joe.  And also as regards today's politically-influenced "scientists..."

Well, Tim, I was astounded!  I might have been more than that, I just don't have the word.

Many of which, Mike, don't take either of those opportunities!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

 I have met some home inspectors who were real pills....that aside...know what you don't know...and don't ask someone who has a vested interest in the outcome....Inspectors "never" find anything....? Where we come from they find too much...and often raise suspicions to protect their "maybe and what if".....a good home inspector....Priceless !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

Save some money up front on an independent inspection and gamble that you won't have to swallow more pills later. It can go either way, guess it is their choice.

Posted by Mary Strang over 8 years ago

I learned very early when I became licenced that it is essential to properly inspect new home construction since so many things can be done incorrectly.

Posted by FN LN over 8 years ago

This is so true about many things in the world,listening to the wrong people and not knowing the right questions to ask.

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker ABR, GRI (Windermere/lane county) over 8 years ago

S&D - inspectors are probably hired to BE pills!  And they never find anything...

Mary - it is amazing.  What do you bet he doesn't have a one-year inspection?

Marc - smart advice.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Rob - and this from an otherwise intelligent person.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Very well done Jay----I need to go take a pill just reading it:)  You said it best with"Aaaaaarggghhh"

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

Jay - As a builder, I always recommended that my customers get an inspection. It helped me avoid having problems surface in the future and, in the end, gave me more satisfied customers.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 8 years ago

I have it clearly written in my New Home Construction Buyer's Guide to get three inspections.  I write that even though I also list new construction for builders.  Go figure!

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 8 years ago

Charlie - we will NEVER hear or see it all!

John - and why not?  I know a structural engineer pretty well who asked me to do a pre-drywall inspection on his house!  I asked him why he wanted me and he said he trusted my opinion and 4 eyes were better than two.  Pretty smart!

Cindy - like I said, some people can be pretty intelligent, but not smart.  That is smart!  By the way, thank you for referring Ellen Moyer...!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, talk them out of it? That is scary to say the least. I guess they have something(s) to hide. Wow!

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 8 years ago

That, Jackie, or they arrogantly think they do not!  Unlikely...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

During the boom period in Phoenix, AZ homes were going up so fast that there wasn't enough skilled labor to construct them.  The quality of construction didn't matter because homes were selling as fast as they could be built.  These new "gingerbread" homes looked nice.  It wasn't until after the builder's warranty expired that the shoddy construction methods became apparent.  A home inspection by a quality inspector is well worth the cost.

Posted by Rick Obst over 8 years ago

I call that "7-11 construction" Rick.  The builders go to 7-11 in the morning to pick up a few "carpenters," and get what they pay for.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

"What we have here is a failure to communicate"!

I actually have a Home Builder here who sells my services to his buyers. Builders have so many sub-contractors going in and out that he welcomes an unbiased eye. My inspection also relieves some of his burden in regard to teaching the new buyers how everythings works and how it should be maintained. Educating his buyer's has led to a lot less headaches!!

The buyers now call me if there is a question on operation or maintenance.

Posted by Hank Richter (HomePro Inspections of RI) over 8 years ago

Hi Hank.  I too have a custom-home builder who refers me to his clients.  In this case, though, I think the builder was communicating exactly what he wanted to.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

The inspection is my favorite part of the transaction (besides closing, of course!). People think that's odd, since there's always problems uncovered. But what I like about it, is at that point my clients do know the answers to sooooo many questions they had when they wrote the offer. It's important to have an inspector who helps the buyer think through what each item would entail for repairs. I can usually tell them the same things, but agents want the deal to close, there's no getting around that. An inspector is (should be) impartial as to whether or not the buyer decides to go through with the purchase. I hope buyers understand that.

Posted by Joetta Fort, Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder (The DiGiorgio Group) over 8 years ago

That is a very circumspect position to take, Joetta!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I want my buyers to have a home inspection on every house I sell, new or old.  We have a form that we rename the "right to be stupid form" if someone elects not to have a home inspection just so it's all in writing.

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) over 8 years ago

Jay,  I have a feeling this is one of those stories you'll be telling for a long time to come.  It's amazing to me how penny wise and dollar foolish some people can be.  

I always recommend my clients get a home inspection on any home, whether a resale or new construction.  In fact, if they decline, I have them sign a waiver stating so.  Having been in the Boca Raton/Delray Beach area during its boom years and building two homes during the beginning phases of new communities, I've seen homes being thrown up quickly.  Always best to get a home inspection and someone on your side.

Great post.

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL - (561) 716-7824 - CRS, ABR, GRI (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Allen - I know realtors here who do the same thing, but don't know if they call it that!

Elyse - I am sure you are right.  And I agree with you!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay -- It is sad the lack of objective understanding that consumers have regarding our services.  An ounce of prevention can be worth 10 pounds of cure.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 8 years ago

Nice post Jay. That must be the home inspectors "FSBO" and must be frustrating as all get out. I particularly hate when a buyer has "dad, uncle, best bud, neighbor"do the "inspection" because they once built a dog house and have construction experience.  Even though our P&S form has a place to waive the right to inspections, I make them sign yet another form just to re-iterate to them the importance of having a professional inspect the property.  The sad part is, at least for now, in our state, ANYONE can call themselves a home inspector.  NO licence or certification necessary.  That is hopefully about to change but hasn't so far.  The good news is, there are so many wonderful inspectors out there and you are sorely needed. I want to say thank you to all of you!

Posted by Diana Hoyt (Lakes Region Buchanan Group, Ossipee, NH) over 8 years ago

Well put Chris.  Poor Richard would be proud of the modern context!

Diana - well, it is what it is...  I am often replaced by the uncle or whatever.  Worse is when they show up at the inspection and take over!  And, you're welcome!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

35+ hours of continued education in home inspection and you don't have a bunch of letters after your name? What's wrong with the inspection trade? LOL.

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) over 8 years ago

Greg - most home inspectors have a boat load of letters after their names!  I don't know any who use them though...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I loved it! Sounds like he knows it all cuz the sales lady said he did!

Posted by David Salvato (David Home Inspection Service Home Inspector San Bernardino) over 8 years ago

The only part of the post that I have a slight disagreement with is the advice that the prospective client not hire a specialist for a particular component of the home.  While I agree with your logic, and typically suggest a general home inspection that will isolate potential problem spots before spending the additional money on all manner of specific inspections (roofer, A/C tech, etc), I would never actively discourage someone from hiring as many specialists as they would need to feel comfortable.  Just inviting blowback if there are any issues that arise from that specific component post-closing, regardless of whether it was something you could have caught or not.  It is obvious you were looking out for the best interest of his pocketbook, but in doing so could have opened yourself up to unnecessary liability had you convinced him to eschew the roofer entirely.  That minor nit aside, the I found the post spot on.

Posted by Paul Slaybaugh, Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate (Realty Executives) over 8 years ago

What a great article, I almost spit out my coffee reading this...from the laughter....I always recommend my buyer's get a home inspection no matter the age of the property! 

Posted by Paul C. Wilkinson, GRI, REALTOR -Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula - (951) (CENTURY 21 Preferred) over 8 years ago

"Building according to code" means this.....I built it to meet the very minimum required safety and construction standards using the minimum acceptable materials and workmanship.  Anything less would be illegal.

If more home buyers were aware of what "meeting code" actually meant, fewer builders would be confessing their crime.

 

Posted by Jim Bushart, Missouri Licensed Public Adjuster (Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster) over 8 years ago

David - he did not know what he thought he knew, for sure!

Paul S. - the roofers he checked with wanted $250-$350 to make sure there was flashing (who knows what the rubber was...).  I will do the same thing the roofer will do.  My fee for a whole inspection was to be $275, based on the price and size of that house.  After my inspection, had I thought he needed a roofer, I would have told him.  I have zero liability checking the presence of absence of flashing, and still retain the ability to refer the client.  Nonetheless, I am GLAD you liked the post!

Paul - I am never to cease to be amazed.

Jim - there are seven AR posts under my name regarding codes and their minimal nature.  Here is one:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/863583/we-build-to-the-minimum-standard-required-by-law-part-1

I tease building supervisors all the time when they proudly proclaim their adherence to code!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay,

Clearly, the "saleslady" did not want an inspection, because it was not in her best interest.  Couldn't he see that she was looking out for the builder who employed her?  I always recommend the inspection for new construction, even though the builders HATE it.  I once sold a new construction home that had been completed and issued a C.O.  We went to do the inspection, (closing later that week) and the inspector discovered the gas furnace was not hooked up - there was no gas line run to the house to hook it to!  I have buyers who think I am getting a kick back or something because I recommend the inspection. They just don't get that I am trying to look out for their best interest.  If they refuse the inspection, I have them sign a wavier that they are forgoing the inspection against my advise.  I certainly do not see a home inspection as a waste of money but a necessary piece of the transaction.  Unfortunately, this consumer is another case of penny wise and pound foolish.

Posted by Karen Pannell, Owensboro KY Real Estate -270-903-2167 Homes, Cond (Real Living / Home Realty) over 8 years ago

Karen - well put!  Do you know that 15 years ago I never did new construction inspections.  Actually, at least around here, they were unheard of.  For me it started about 10 or 12 years ago.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I occasionally get this type of customer as I am sure we all do. He's too smart for his own good. I'm sure he approches a lot of things the same way.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

James - I won't mention his profession, but I HOPE he doesn't approach that in this manner!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

If you're a placebo, can you charge medical rates? My son just saw a doctor and the bill was $125 for a 10 minute consultation. Think you can get those rates???

 

Laughing.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 8 years ago

I can't Erica, unless, of course, it is a double blind test.  Then I can qualify for a government (read that YOUR MONEY) grant worth millions to study the effectiveness of placebos or some other similarly worthless,  nonsensical thing...  That's much more than $125 for a 10 minute consult!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

It's like life insurance, if you need it you've got it!! It's worth the few bucks to have an inspections.

Patricia/Seacost NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 8 years ago

That's the goal Patricia!  That's the goal...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

During the boom many of the builders felt they could call all the shots including price, inspections, access, etc. Whole nother story now. The builder that jerks a buyer around is playing a losing game. We have had more than one builder here get all of their permits and inspections from the local authorities, and two years later find out that the building was falling apart. Of course, the developer???? bankrupt or out of business. This is kind of like when I was teaching. I would have some bratty kid whose parents would refuse to accept that their angel could do anything wrong. I would just smile and inside say to myself "wait until little hellion gets to be 15" ha, ha. That is when I will be avenged.

Posted by John Elwell (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Amazing! This person didn't want to pay .05 of a percent of the price of the home to make sure he is not getting ripped off. To each his own I guess. What's sad is that if he does end up getting screwed he will blame the realtor, I just know it. LOL

Posted by Nathan Tutas, Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

John and Nathan - that boomerang usually comes back and hits people in the back of the head.  And, you might not be surprised, no realtor!  He bought the house from the builder!  And when he goes to blame "the sales lady" she will no longer be there or they will just say that she was only the sales lady...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I never heard that term to describe home inspections. . . A home inspection is security for me and my buyer

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 8 years ago

Me neither Fernando!  And I would hope home inspectors offer more security than a placebo!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Great post. I have been amazed through the years what the code guys did not know and the inspector knew!

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) over 8 years ago

I'm sorry to say that you are fighting an up-hill battle as an industry.  I have seen more "blows" from home inspectors - both ASHI members and others - that really makes me wonder if there shouldn't be some form of consumer protection against a deficient home inspection.  My last point was the $800 water heater that blew up 3 days after my buyer client moved in. The home warranty company denied the claim stating that the water heater was rusted and this should have been caught by the home inspector.  Before that, it was the radon testing equipment that was improperly placed in a sealed closet that caused my seller client to have to install ventilation even though they had had a pre-inspection AND a previous radon test that showed lower than average levels of radon when their 1 year old was born.  Personally, my first home that I ever owned had a flawed inspection and the inspector's comment to my attorney was "so sue me  - I ain't got no assets."

Just like brokers need a bond, so should home inspectors.  This would go a long way to weed out  careless and reckless inspectors.  Records of complaints maintained by the State (kind of like the BBB does) would also help consumers and realtors make better informed choices.

Why do  I say all of this?  Because a lawyer friend once told me that it is very hard to go against a seller for failure to disclose once a deal closes.  Caveat Empetor.  Buyer Beware.  But if the buyer thinks that he should rely on the home inspection report as part of his due diligence, and the report isn't worth the paper that it's printed on  - what is a buyer "victim" supposed to do?

Posted by Martin Kalisker, Professional Standards & Legal Assistant (Greater Boston Association of REALTORS) over 8 years ago

Can you even get a loan without inspections?  You need inspections to build.  You need inspections to buy.  Who doesn't get an inspection? 

Sorry about the whole, you being a placebo, thing..

Posted by Karen Rittenhouse, Real Estate Investor (www.JKKPropertyInvestors.com) over 8 years ago

Wow Jay - that is akin to people's attitude right now that appraisals are just one more hoop to jump through to get the deal done.

"People" fail to realize the difference between the general run of the mill inspector, appraiser, Realtor, etc.....and the ones which skill, training, experience, and professionalism. 

Perhaps this sales lady had only experienced the former, and thus, has a biased perspective now that inspectors are just unnecessary.  But as you stated, hiring an inspector with experience, skill, and above "average" training - is well worth the extra few hundred or so dollars! 

I take the same approach with people and their perspective on appraisers.  Perhaps they have only experienced the "find 3 comps" and minimal canned comments kind of appraiser...and do not see the value in a veteran of the industry posing thoughtful, well articulated commentary on the market and the current value of their new purchase. 

There is a difference in quality, even if there isn't a difference in price.  Consumers need to be educated on how to interview an inspector to find one with quality and experience - rather than one who may just fill out some forms, etc...

Posted by Richard D. Ferris, Florida State Certified (FHA) Appraiser (AmcAppraisalsinc.com) over 8 years ago

"Can you even get a loan without inspections?  You need inspections to build.  You need inspections to buy.  Who doesn't get an inspection? "

The inspections you are referring to are from the building department that has authority over the area.  These inspections are only to see that the home meets the building code.  Kepp in mind that the building code is the"minimum acceptable standard" of building.  Your windows could be installed such that they could not be opened, but would meet the building code if they are properly secured to the wall.  Is that the level of construction you want?

In addition, I worked as a Quality Control Manager for 2 different builders for about 9 years.  BTW very few builders have anyone that actually checks the home as they are being built.  You would be amazed at the things I found after the building inspector had passed the home.  These items ranged from improper nailing of truss straps, which might never actually be a problem, to damaged trusses that were likely to fail even without a strong wind storm.  If I had not discovered the building inspector's "oversight", the home would have been completed and closed without anyone knowing the problem.

As a homebuilder, I was always nervous when I heard that one of the buyers was having a home inspection.  Not because the home was being inspected, but because all too often, the buyer would hire an inexperieced inspector (because he was cheap) who didn't know what he was looking at.  I could always tell because his report would point out things that were very minor (or not really a problem at all) and make them sound horrible.  I would spend more time trying to explain why the item in his report was not really a problem then correcting real problems.

I did not mind when they hired a good inspector.  He would tend to have very few items on the list, but the itmes he found were legitimate problems.  I never had a problem when someone pointed out that I missed something.

Trust me, from my experience, you want a home inspection on new construction and I recommend one at each stage to ensure everything is correct before it is covered only to surface years later.  The only thing is as Jay said. you want an inspector who has the experience to know when something is really a problem (and sometimes even more important when something isn't a problem).  You may have to pay $25.00 to $50.00 more for the inspection, but it will be money well spent.

Robert Sole

REM Inspections LLC

www.REMinspections.com

www.OrlandoHomeInspector.net

Posted by Robert Sole (REM Inspections LLC) over 8 years ago

I tell my clients ALL the time to get the house inspected. 

I'm many times met with a response with "well, it's appraised by the bank, isn't it?"

To which I reply, "The appraisal is for the bank, the inspection is for you."

Even if the inspector finds a few things that the builder / home owner might not fix or give value in exchange for, they are things that the new owner should attend to in the first few months of ownership to stave off possibly huge repairs in the future. 

It is truly the 'ounce of prevention', and well worth the couple of hundred dollars.

 

 

Posted by Michael Loeb (TGC Financial) over 8 years ago

Jay-What is the home inspector's liability if he or she misses a defect or shortfall in an inspection?

Posted by Mike Goff-www.southwestoregonrealestate.com (Oregon Mountain Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I guess the buyer didn't know that the seller's representative usually isn't licensed and also doesn't have to abide by a code of ethics. It would be a perfect world if we could all believe faithfully that the job was done right in the first place!

Posted by Sandy McAlpine, Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC (RE/MAX EXECUTIVE) over 8 years ago

Lenn is absolutely correct that if you're building (not buying new construction) then you should absolutely have multiple inspections during the construction process as builders can AND will take short cuts. I'm not saying they do it intentionally but if they don't inspect the work of each and every sub, then there will be problems and condos (guessing townhouses too) are the worst.

 

I'm presently compiling a list of issues with my condo purchased new, and we are seeing same problem in multiple (proabably all but some are being rented out by developer):

  • Dryer vents not vented outside ... a fire hazard! that our neighbors found first, and we didn't find until we were researching a furnace problem.
  • Furnace - last winter (2 yrs old) and now (3 yrs old) we've had 1, maybe 2 service calls. Had dinner with our neighbors last night and they've had 2 calls already. My instinct says the supplier sold a known design problem to the builder who went bankrupt and never cared.
  • Hot water heaters are also wrong for our condos. Where exterior wall is a foot away, our heaters have blower fans on them to push exhaust out 20-40 ft like you'd find in an apartment building.
  • Flashing installed randomly but not discovered until last winter when we had a few quarts of water come pouring into the basement windows under the deck.Now my neighbor wants me to inspect his windows too ... for list we'll be taking to developer next spring.
  • You get the idea. Inspectors are critical and owning a handyman business, I hope to offer a construction monitoring service once new construction comes alive again.
Posted by Tina Gleisner, Home Tips for Women (Home Tips for Women) over 8 years ago

Good Post!! I agree with your comments

Posted by David Whitehead (RE/MAX Pace Realty ) over 8 years ago

Jay, I love this post.  You are right about folks being 'overly intelligent' saying stuff like this.  If you want to check the builder - hire your own advocate that is not partial or hired by the builder.  The roofer I am sure was going to do what?  Try and sell him a roof on a new townhouse?  Don't think so.  His friend is also not very construction savy.  Is his friend a builder?  A roofer?  A know it all?  Yeah, that's the one.  Spews out knowledge without having any background in said 'spew'.

Posted by Lyn Sims and the Blog Dog (Streamwood, Elgin IL Real Estate - RE/MAX Suburban) over 8 years ago

Excellent post. Why would that person even dialogue with the builder's sale's lady about getting an inspection? Your (homebuyer) about to spend THOUSANDS of dollar on a lifetime purchase and you want to save a few pennies in comparions? Some people just dont get it. This is your home and your protection people! HOME INSPECTION: Don't buy home without it!!!

Posted by Joey Arce (NUllennium Realty/NUllennium Lending) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay,  I feel your pain frustration.   Can't remember hearing this stuff either.  None of the inspectors I use qualify for the description you were given.  Hope your Holiday Season is the best ever !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 8 years ago

well I've seen many home inspectors who could certainly qualify as a placebo.....the worst was one who failed to notice that half of the house was sinking. I use a real inspector for my buyers.....he is also a certified mold inspector and has saved my buyers headaches and money.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 8 years ago

City/municipal inspectors are not "liable personally and is hereby relieved from personal liability for any damage accruing to persons or property as a result of any act or by any reason of an act or ommission in the discharge of official duties" per section R104.8 of the Internation Residential Code.

Posted by Joe Nernberg (AmeriSpec Inspection Services) over 8 years ago

Good post Jay. I think Lenn said it best. It's hard to tell someone he is wrong when he doesn't know what he doesn't know. People are armed with so much information regarding real estate they want to come in and teach all of us something. Normally, that's when they get burned the most.

 

...and, NOOOOO, that Sales Lady wouldn't have any reason to talk the buyer out of a home inspection. Hum....

Posted by Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux, Where Buying & Selling Works (Keller Williams Suburban Realty) over 8 years ago

Wow, lots of discussion here!  Not sure I have much to add that hasn't already been said, but I think it is interesting that the comsumer in your example seems to forget that the sales lady works for the builder, of course she is going to say "you don't need it"! 

Posted by Jason Burkholder, Sales Manager, Assoc. Broker, Realtor, e-Pro (Weichert, Realtors - Engle and Hambright) over 8 years ago

Gary - once on a pre-drywall inspection, the County inspector showed up and asked me what I came up with.  I told him and he failed the house and left right away.  Didn't even look!

Weichert - I don't know how you could define a "deficient home inspection."  Every association has minimum Standard Operating Procedures, with reporting standards that they hold their members to.  My report far exceeds anything any association demands.  You have had some bad experiences!  I do not know any home inspector who talks like that, either!  An experienced home inspector, with a comprehensive report, is, in my opinion, due diligence.

Karen - I don't think lenders require private inspections to extend loans.

Richard - as you say, skill, training and experience say it all.

Robert S. - right on, right on, right on...!

Michael - you and Poor Richard say it well!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Mike - that depends on many things - report writing, the inspector's diligence, belongings in the house, how the agreement is worded - I could go on...

Sandy - if not perfect, that would be a great world!  I have a blog post called A Golden Rule Business which you might like.

Tina - you are NOT alone!  I had a dryer vent the other day I could not find the end to outdoors!

Thank you David!

Lyn - "spew" is a great word!  And I love Blog Dog!

NUllenium - when you figure that one out please let me know...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Bill - none of the inspectors I know either!  Merry Christmas to you too.

Karen - background and experience really count.  Glad your guy is "real!"

Joe - hence, lots of slip between cup and lip.

Bev - I said that too!  And you are so right about the sales lady.

Jason - I stuck a burr in most everyone's britches with this one, didn't I!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay,

I have sold a lot of new construction over the years. I always recommend the Buyer gets a home inspection on new construction and the inspector almost always finds justifiable repairs, although they are usually minimal. beyond the repairs the inspectors usually have great maintenance recommendations. You guys are well worth the money.

Posted by Paul Smith, BRE# 01107845, Servicing the Lake Tahoe area Real Estate Needs (Sierra Sotheby's International Realty) over 8 years ago

Jay, that's a new one for me too, placebo! And from the builders agent no less! Ahahahahaha

Posted by Vanessa Stalets, REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate (RE/MAX Elite) over 8 years ago

Paul - I had a pre-drywall once where I found such a structural defect that the buyer called the county.  The county inspector condemned the house, and all the other townhouses in the development because they had the same defect!  Usually mistakes repeat from house to house.

Vanessa - it was a new one for me too, and I have been doing this a long time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay,

I love my home inspectors!  They do a great job, are very thorough, and it's NEVER about anything petty!

Posted by Kathy Opatka, Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches (RE/MAX CROSSROADS) over 8 years ago

Great job and great point.  The building inspetors in our area are amazingly lax.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) over 8 years ago

That is great to hear Kathy.  See you next summer ... again?

Damon - many are here too.  It is too bad, but they are not the only problem - it is the professionalism of the worker that is most suspect.  I call it 7-11 construction.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hey Jay,

Just the other day I got into a disagreement with a friend of mine who is a licensed electrician. He states that home inspectors are not qualified to comment on anything related to his field. There are many people in the building industry who feel the same way. They need to get use to us, we're here to stay!

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

But we are Eric, as generalists!  Fer sher...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay - I knew knew knew it was going to be the saleslady / salesman in a builders office!  I've heard people in that occupation make the same claims many times!  

One of the funniest experiences for me was when I found a kitchen fan that was missing the vent cap on the roof (the hole had been cut in the sheathing, so the shingles lifted up when the fan was turned on), a bath fan with a stuck internal damper, improper circuit breaker size for the AC, improperly installed siding, and many other defects.  

We went back to the builders office to return the keys after the inspection, and watching the furious buyers call out the salesperson in the office for telling them they didn't need a home inspection was absolutely priceless.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

I wonder if the word Warranty came up in the discussion between the buyer, the sales lady and the builder?  That could have been a key variable in the purchaser's decision making process.

Definition of Warranty: "A guarantee given to the purchaser by a company stating that a product is reliable and free from known defects and that the seller will, without charge, repair or replace defective parts within a given time limit and under certain conditions."

The problem is, without proper training and experience, would the purchaser have the skills to recognize those defects that existed at the time of construction, and that could later develop within the warranty period?


Posted by Hank Spinnler, Atlanta Home Inspector (Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA) over 8 years ago

It is priceless Reuben!  Gee, how did you know it was the sales lady??  And you are right, there are things that come up, sometimes not insignificant...  Just the image of blowing shingles made me laugh!

Hank - typically the builders offer a 2/10 year warranty on the installation(s) and structure.  Some are offering less than that now.  A purchaser would NOT have those skills, typically.  Some might, but I don't think this guy did!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I respect Eric's resolve in his statement that they need to get used to us.  As long as we are accurate in what is called out, there's no reason to be bullied into stepping aside.  A code reference to refer to substantiate the report in many instances is invaluable.

Posted by Hank Spinnler, Atlanta Home Inspector (Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA) over 8 years ago

Agreed Hank!  I know I am a part of the process around here and I suspect you and Eric think so too in your areas.  The code sometimes isn't much help...  Here's my blog earlier in the month:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/1364087/unthinking-installation

That apparently was to code!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, This is great. Thanks for sharing. I do have to say there are some in our industry that are basically placebos.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Perhaps, Don, but for the buyer to take the sales lady's word for this is amazing!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

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