"Home Inspectors Are Just Placebos"

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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.

 

 

Posted by

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


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Re-Bloggged 8 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Maureen McCabe 12/21/2009 05:24 AM
  2. Mike Jaquish 12/21/2009 07:33 AM
  3. Bob Haywood 12/21/2009 07:35 AM
  4. Donald Bradbury 12/21/2009 02:38 PM
  5. Dawn A Fabiszak 12/21/2009 02:47 PM
  6. Lyn Sims and the Blog Dog 12/22/2009 12:10 PM
  7. Gareth Ellzey 12/22/2009 10:10 PM
  8. Damon Gettier 12/23/2009 08:47 PM
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Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Active Rain Block Party
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Professional Home Inspectors
The Vent
Tags:
home inspection
home inspector
new construction inspections
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Comments 100 New Comment

Show All Comments
Rainer
117,198
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Where Buying & Selling Works
Keller Williams Suburban Realty

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....

December 22, 2009 03:39 PM
Rainmaker
116,020
Jason Burkholder
Sales Manager, Assoc. Broker, Realtor, e-Pro
Weichert, Realtors - Engle and Hambright

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"! 

December 22, 2009 04:01 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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!

December 22, 2009 06:36 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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...

December 22, 2009 06:42 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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!

December 22, 2009 06:45 PM
Rainer
42,548
Paul Smith
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Mason-McDuffie

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.

December 22, 2009 08:51 PM
Rainmaker
284,186
Vanessa Stalets
REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate
RE/MAX Elite

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

December 22, 2009 08:56 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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!

December 23, 2009 05:34 AM
Rainmaker
147,037
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches
RE/MAX CROSSROADS

Jay,

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

December 23, 2009 05:19 PM
Rainmaker
351,438
Damon Gettier
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert

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

December 23, 2009 08:49 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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.

December 23, 2009 08:59 PM
Rainmaker
78,050
Eric Middleton
Professional Property Inspector
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.

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!

December 23, 2009 09:48 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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

December 23, 2009 10:11 PM
Rainmaker
229,481
Reuben Saltzman
Minneapolis Home Inspections
Structure Tech Home Inspections

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.

December 24, 2009 07:20 AM
Rainmaker
52,122
Hank Spinnler
Atlanta Home Inspector
Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA

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?


December 24, 2009 08:09 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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!

December 24, 2009 08:42 AM
Rainmaker
52,122
Hank Spinnler
Atlanta Home Inspector
Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA

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.

December 24, 2009 09:33 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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!

December 25, 2009 03:51 AM
Rainmaker
357,953
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

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

February 28, 2012 06:54 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,425
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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

February 28, 2012 08:37 AM
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,216,425

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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