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Jim Morrison

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Jim Morrison last won the day on February 14

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About Jim Morrison

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    Newspaper reporter

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  1. Who covers greater Philly? A reader just asked me if I knew anyone. Thanks in advance, Jimmy
  2. Very kind of you to mention my name, Bill. I hope it doesn't keep too many people away. Alternative headline: Washed-up home inspector advises everyone in the business to learn from the best-of-class Yeah, that'd probably be too long. I've learned plenty from all three speakers and if you were holding it just a little closer to Boston I'd be there to soak up their knowledge and to pick up a little more of what Les is laying down, too. I hear things might be a little different now, but this conference is exactly what ASHI was in the early days. Honest, accomplished and earnest home inspectors seeking out the best in the field and learning what they had to teach. At dinner, they'd trade war stories and learn best practices from each other and at the bar later in the evening, they'd make great friends. No one who doesn't do what you guys do can understand how damned hard it is to be good at it, let alone great. Bill, Chad and Jim do. They'll up your game. Enjoy it. Post some pics. And please will one (or more) of you kind people buy Les a glass of something he likes. He's shared enough 'lessons learned the hard way' to save us all a heap of trouble. Cheers!
  3. No homebuyer would read this all the way through to the end but if they somehow managed to, they would not come away with a clear understanding of what to do next. #InspectionFail
  4. All my adult life I've heard smart people I respect say, 'Lead tastes sweet.' My question is: How do we know that? Who tasted it and told us? What is the source for this information?
  5. Good catch, Chad. This house is being built, so I presume the $10K tax bill is based on the previous value which was about $950K.
  6. Check this out. A developer bought a property for just under $1 million. He then renovated it with all kinds of next-level survivalist, high-level storm-protection/security features, and has it on the market for $5.7 million. Mind you, construction isn't finished and no one can see it until spring. http://realestate.boston.com/news/2019/10/23/you-need-to-pass-a-cori-check-to-tour-this-listing/ Anyone ever seen anything like this before? I sure haven't.
  7. Ladder climbing does involve risk. So does showering, walking indoors, walking outdoors -especially in winter, removing electrical panel covers, standing near a water heater whose TPRV lacks a decent discharge pipe, operating furnaces, eating romaine lettuce, driving to and from inspections, and opening emails. In every case, a bit of knowledge and training greatly mitigates that risk. Come on.
  8. A 32' commercial grade extension ladder will probably get you to the roof of more than 90% of American homes. It is also considerably more durable and cheaper than a drone. They weigh about 65 pounds, making them about as heavy as a fourth-grader and much easier to handle. Also, on a residential home inspection, the use of ladders is not subject to federal oversight, another attribute weighing in their favor. So why mess around with drones?
  9. Hey friends, I'm inspired by some truly awful home inspection advice that ace inspector Ben Hendricks came across and posted on social media this morning. It read: "You should not inspect in greater depth in areas where clients have concerns. This upsets the balance of the inspection and may expose you to greater liability because the depth of inspection in one area was not matched in other areas." I'd like to write an article taking on some really bad, published home inspection advice. If you see any online, please email me a link at JamesAndrewMorrison@gmail.com Or if you know of a pathetic book on home inspections, please either email me the title, or better yet, a .pdf of an offending passage. Hit me with your worst shot. And as always, thanks very much, Jimmy
  10. Marc, it's good that you proofread your reports and excellent that you sometimes do it more than once, but it's just not possible to catch all of your own mistakes. Even editors use editors. Don't be too hard on yourself. Striving for perfection is enough. None of us will ever reach it. Mike, I think photos can dramatically improve HI reports, but -just like words- more is not better. I'm sure a good photographer like you knows how to take an image, edit it, and use it with some words to tell a story. A lot of inspectors don't and I think their reports would be better if they learned how. Pictures certainly CAN be be worth more than 1000 words, but many aren't. Hey Chad! Why don't you ask Mike Lamb to write an article on how HIs should take, edit and use photos in their reports?
  11. When I got my first full-time gig as a reporter, my mentor warned me never to go back and read my first 60 or so stories. I did it anyway and found he was right. There were a lot of cringeworthy mistakes in them. None of us will ever be perfect, but if we keep striving to be better, we'll improve and hopefully that translates into more success.
  12. Actually Phrases From Actual Reports The following bolded comments were taken from reports submitted to me by intrepid TIJ inspectors. I was disappointed because overall, the reports were pretty good. I was really hoping to complete this series with some outstanding examples of horrific writing, but I suppose I should have known better. There were sharp handrail ends at the stairways, which should be serviced to help prevent injury. We know what the writer intended, but a buyer or a contractor might not. How, exactly, does one ‘service’ a sharp railing end? I think this is better, more clearly stated thusly: The end of the handrails on the stairs are sharp, which is a hazard. They should be rounded (or ‘returns should be installed’ or whatever the situation calls for) for safety. An extension cord was being used to power the condensate pump, but it should be plugged directly into its own outlet for safety. Have an outlet installed. The condensate pump is powered by an extension cord, which is hazardous. An electrician should be hired to hard-wire an electrical receptacle next to the sump pump so it can be safely plugged in directly. The stairs leading to the apartment are not level. They drop from east to west at a rate that well exceeds the allowed ratio of 1:48. The condition can be construed as a trip hazard. OK, we’ve all seen something like this hundreds of times. This was in an apartment attached to a 137-year-old commercial bakery. These places often have dozens of non-compliant features, some meaningful, some not. If it is important enough to put in the report, I think you owe it to your readers to use complete sentences and follow the OAR rule. This inspector nailed the observation, but the final sentence (analysis) is squishy and there is no recommendation. The phrase ‘can be construed as a trip hazard’ forces the reader to interpret it. I presume what the inspector was thinking was something along the lines of ‘I need to tell my client about this potential risk, but the only way to fix it is to rip the stairs out and rebuild them and I know he’s not going to do that and I don’t blame him. I have to write something, so I’ll just throw the criticism out there with a light warning.” I think replacing the final sentence with something like the following would be much better. “This is a tripping hazard. The stairs should be properly rebuilt for safety, which will be expensive.” That communicates the risk to the buyer, lets them know fixing it is a big deal, and that they should fix it. This is a very nicely built example of 1960’s construction. The floor joists and roof sheathing are slight by today’s standards but very typical for the era. This strikes me as unnecessarily confusing. It’s nicely built, but slight? Personally, I would ditch the first sentence altogether. If there was ever a major problem in this house, I can imagine the plaintiff’s attorney’s pupils turning into little dollar signs after reading that sentence. I almost never wrote anything complimentary in a report. Your client knows the house is nice; that’s why they’re buying it. I recommend restraining your focus on what you’re required to report and what’s wrong with the house. The toilet in the main bath is loose. It moves a lot. Repair will require removing the toilet and replacing the wax ring. This is a $6-8 project that should take about 20 minutes, maybe an hour if you have never done it before. Do not put it off. The wax ring could leak destroying the flooring and damaging the structure, the toilet could break, or both – costing hundreds or even thousands to repair. Can we save the author a bit of time and trouble? The toilet in the main bathroom is loose and moves when sat upon. Loose toilets leak, which will cause damage. This toilet should be properly reinstalled now. (This next line is optional:) It’s a fairly simple project that some handy people can take on themselves or you can have a plumber do it. That's it, friends. Thanks for reading. I hope some of it was helpful. Jim Morrison used to inspect homes in Greater Boston. Today he covers residential real estate for a trade publication in Boston. You can reach him at JamesAndrewMorrison@gmail.com
  13. Read this story to see how a single missing comma recently cost a Maine company $10 million. Commas matter. Words matter more. Make sure your reports are written in such a way that they are impossible to misunderstand.
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