I'm sitting in my car, just finishing an inspection. I am looking at the roof of the house across the street. Suddenly a woman exits the house and comes straight for me. Um, that can be good and that can be bad...
"Hi. I'm willing to pay you to come in and diagnose a problem we experienced with our house last night. Do you have time now?" You should know that the night before we had a very windy and very rainy night.
"What was the problem?"
"It was real muggy so we turned our air conditioning on. As soon as we did we heard banging in the attic and the sound of dripping water. My husband thinks that since it was the first time we turned on the system it was having to remove a lot of condensation and that is the dripping we heard."
I am looking at the roof pictured to the right. I know exactly what they were hearing. The wind had blown off part of the ridge vent, which they heard clapping on the roof. The dripping was water from the rain pouring through the gap opened when the vent blew up.
I decided to milk it.
As I touched my forehead and closed my eyes, I said: "And this morning you see some moisture in an upstairs bedroom ceiling and the banging has stopped since your turned off the AC, right?"
"YES! WOW, HOW CAN YOU TELL ALL THAT?" At that moment I became MEZkanich the Magnificent Mentalist! I knew the problems did not result from turning on the AC. She didn't...
Still touching my forehead I said, slowly and in a somewhat mysterious voice, "Your AC had nothing to do with the problem. The wind last night blew off part of your ridge vent and that is what you heard. That is also the source of the water evidence you see this morning." I opened my eyes and she is looking at me like the grateful Tin Man receiving his heart from Oz! Then I pointed at her roof and said, "Look!" And I explained the whole thing.
She turned back to me, smiled big, shook her finger (you need to know that I get the shaken finger a lot...) and said, "You are really bad! You knew all along!" Then she turned and walked back to her house!
MEZkanich the Mentalist in that moment morphed back into MARkanich the Miniscule.
"But you said you would pay me if I diagnosed your problem!" She turned, smiled again, and continued walking. Sheesh...
My recommendation: If you are going to offer to pay a home inspector for his advice, geezy whiz, pay him!