"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-Blogged 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
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
The Vent
Professional Home Inspectors
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Active Rain Block Party
Tags:
home inspection
home inspector
new construction inspections
placebo

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Rainer
117,198
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

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....

Dec 22, 2009 03:39 PM #82
Rainmaker
116,149
Jason Burkholder
Weichert, Realtors - Engle and Hambright - Lancaster, PA
Sales Manager, Assoc. Broker, Realtor, e-Pro

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"! 

Dec 22, 2009 04:01 PM #83
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Dec 22, 2009 06:36 PM #84
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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...

Dec 22, 2009 06:42 PM #85
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Dec 22, 2009 06:45 PM #86
Rainer
42,548
Paul Smith
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Mason-McDuffie - Tahoe City, CA

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.

Dec 22, 2009 08:51 PM #87
Rainmaker
288,195
Vanessa Stalets
RE/MAX Elite - Brentwood, TN
REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate

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

Dec 22, 2009 08:56 PM #88
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Dec 23, 2009 05:34 AM #89
Rainmaker
150,365
Kathy Opatka
RE/MAX CROSSROADS - Ocean City, MD
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

Jay,

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

Dec 23, 2009 05:19 PM #90
Rainmaker
351,538
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

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

Dec 23, 2009 08:49 PM #91
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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.

Dec 23, 2009 08:59 PM #92
Rainmaker
78,275
Eric Middleton
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc. - Uniondale, NY
Professional Property Inspector

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!

Dec 23, 2009 09:48 PM #93
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Dec 23, 2009 10:11 PM #94
Rainmaker
229,429
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis 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.

Dec 24, 2009 07:20 AM #95
Rainmaker
52,122
Hank Spinnler
Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA - Hoschton, GA
Atlanta Home Inspector

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?


Dec 24, 2009 08:09 AM #96
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Dec 24, 2009 08:42 AM #97
Rainmaker
52,122
Hank Spinnler
Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA - Hoschton, GA
Atlanta Home Inspector

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.

Dec 24, 2009 09:33 PM #98
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Dec 25, 2009 03:51 AM #99
Rainmaker
379,507
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
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.

Feb 28, 2012 06:54 AM #100
Rainmaker
1,267,812
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Feb 28, 2012 08:37 AM #101
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Rainmaker
1,267,812

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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