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I'm shocked and angry


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This morning I had a typical flipper: It looked all shiny and new, but was a disaster beneath the surface. An inspection report was lying on the counter. It was prepared not for the seller, but for the listing agency. The inspection was done two weeks ago, on February 19. That inspection took two hours, according to the report. I was there four hours. The report was horrendous.

This is what was said about the garage roof (in its entirety):

"The garage roof is beyond its expected useful life and although not currently leaking, will need replacement."

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This cracked waste pipe is about five feet above the floor, right next to the exterior basement door. It's also cracked on the underside, so naturally, it leaked when water was run. It would be impossible to miss this. There was not a word about it in the report.

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There is widespread, major termite damage, but not a word about it in the report.

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Of course, being flipped, new ceramic floors were just installed. In addition to new ceramic being installed over floor framing that had unrepaired termite damage, it was also installed over framing that's shown a history of major movement. The section of basement below this area has finished ceilings, so there's no way to know why there is so much sag. Certainly, it was idiotic to install ceramic without finding out what's going on. There's not a word about this in the report.

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Needless to say, the tile installation job was crap. The framing under the tub is undersized. The floor crackles when walking on it there. It's uneven enough to be a minor trip hazard, and some of the grout is already failing.

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This is the top of the main stairs. You'd think a buyer would notice it and realize the implication, but maybe not. There's not a word about it in the report.

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The chimney was partially rebuilt some time in the past. The house was built in 1930, but the chimney brick looks like it's from the 60's or 70's. The top four sections of liner are OK, but below them, the liner is either very deteriorated, or it transitions to the original unlined brick (it was somewhat hard to see).The top three or four courses of brick were so loose, they could be easily pulled apart by hand. The chimney was mentioned in the report. A photo of the chimney part of the report is below.

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These are just a few of the bigger things. There are literally dozens of things that I'll be putting in my report that are absent in the pre-listing report.

This has me shocked and angry. I'm shocked because I know the inspector. I'm sure many of you here have met him, or know of him. I'm shocked to see the caliber of his report.

I'm angry because he's an ASHI Certified Inspector (as am I), and frankly, I feel that he?s cheapening my credentials. I'm used to flippers pushing off crap like I saw today, but it turns my stomach to see a fellow ASHI member facilitate it. I'm also angry, because if the young woman buying this house had relied on the pre-inspection report, she'd have been in a world of hurt down the road. I did an inspection for her parents about eight years ago and they recommended to her that she hire me to do an independent inspection. Thank goodness for caring parents.

I really don't know why this is bugging me so much. That report is really no concern of mine. Maybe I'm just too naive or idealistic. I do feel a bit better after my rant. Now on to the report. It's going to be a long night.

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I think it's three times that I have had agents who knew me call me with roughly the same request. It goes something like..."Our office/brokerage is trying to streamline our procedures and we are looking for an inspector to provide reports for all of our listed properties." I have firmly declined each time, albeit probably more politely than it deserved. And then, isn't it strange how you never hear from those agents again? There is no way you could retain your ethics in that situation with such a large chunk of your income dependent on providing a steady flow of fluff.

That bit of "reporting" on the chimney belongs in the MLS listing fiction. [:-bigeyes I'm surprised he hasn't had his ass sued out of business.

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Marc:

In PA, home inspection is regulated, but there is no enforcement arm. Compliance is pretty much voluntary. It's a strange situation, but it's been that way since 2001. Violations would be covered under consumer protection laws, but I don't think that would apply here.

The report doesn't come close to meeting the ASHI SOP (which was included in the report), but I don't know if ASHI has a mechanism for dealing with something like this. A big conundrum is, this inspector is a 'good guy'. This sounds strange, but in the 12 or so years I've known him, he's had the interest of the profession at heart, and has devoted countless volunteer hours to bettering it. That's why I was shocked when I saw the report.

Richard:

I've never been asked to do a report for the listing agency. If I were asked, I'd decline. I've done pre-listing inspections for buyers, but I don't like them. When I have one, I always ask the buyer in several different roundabout ways, "are you sure you want to do this?"

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I really don't know why this is bugging me so much. That report is really no concern of mine. Maybe I'm just too naive or idealistic. I do feel a bit better after my rant. Now on to the report. It's going to be a long night.

You should be angry. It is an indication of how the profession has been reduced in importance by the Realtwhores. Copy your email to ASHI with the name of the inspector. At least he should follow the standards - (assuming the report did not meet them). But then again, ASHI is playing with the standards once again. We had a very strong ethics committee in the old days.

You might also find out who the state representative is that covers the district the house is in and let him/her know how their constituents are being dragged over the coals by these practices. Makes good political fodder for the local news. And, if you have any good consumer advocate reporters in the area you can feed them the story.

Unfortunately the Realtwhore lobby is very powerful and the greed of low priced inspectors has fed the beast.

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In PA, home inspection is regulated, but there is no enforcement arm. Compliance is pretty much voluntary. It's a strange situation, but it's been that way since 2001.

Never understood the PA law. E&O is required but I can't see a mechanism for using it.

How would you collect on E&O?

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It's an absolutely toothless law.

It provides for penalties (Fine and Jail time) for violations of certain provisions but those provisions involve misrepresentation of one's status as a member of a national home inspector association or the failure to include certain weasel clauses in the report that tell the client essentially, "Hey, nothing is guaranteed here. If you want to be surer, hire independent experts and not a home inspector."

It looks like whoever wrote it was more interested in protecting their turf by initially insisting that someone be a member of a certain association and they built lots of escape clauses into it for themselves. Later it was amended to be more inclusive of other associations but the escape clauses remain and it looks like you get in more trouble for not including the escape clauses in the report than you will for not telling the truth.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Unfortunately, $3-350 is the going rate around here. Just ask any RE agent...

I need to review the NY SOP and COE to see if there is anything actionable going on with this one.

They appear to be in violation of at least 4 subsections of Article 12-B, Real Property Law, 7 subsections of our COE, and subject to revocation or suspension (and a fine of $1000/violation) under 4 of the 8 Causes of Action.

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Unfortunately, $3-350 is the going rate around here. Just ask any RE agent...

I need to review the NY SOP and COE to see if there is anything actionable going on with this one.

They appear to be in violation of at least 4 subsections of Article 12-B, Real Property Law, 7 subsections of our COE, and subject to revocation or suspension (and a fine of $1000/violation) under 4 of the 8 Causes of Action.

No problem. Governor Andy did away with the council last year. It's a free for all.

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When people beat you up about high fees, tell them to Google "Fung Wah Bus Line"..

This Boston-NYC low-fare bus line was notorious for crappy drivers, bad buses, breakdowns, accidents and what-not.. I learned to steer clear of these clowns on the MA Pike.. the DPU and the Feds 'pulled' their certification, but they insisted on running one day longer..

You get what you pay for... in this country (sometimes..) On the other hand.. on the subject of my 'taxes' (which I pay for), I am NOT getting what I paid for.. funny.. ain't it?

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FWIW...It would be cool to find a way for those of us interested to come up with a way to network and develop underlying tenets for a model SOP and set of HI's laws. As far as I know, no one ever came up with basic tenets to use in designing a set of laws and an SOP, they just injected a massive consultative effort and groped in the dark until agreement was at hand. Tenets give guidance, sets the compass so the consultation knows where it's going and keeps it all cohesive and coordinated.

If I were younger and bold enough, I'd start with an in-depth study of the HI laws and SOP of Washington State. They seem to be doing well.

We'd pitch this model SOP to states currently lacking full regulation like PA or with regulation poorly designed and failing like Mississippi. The more states adopt it, the greater the momentum.

What I'm saying is that ASHI came up with an SOP a long, long time ago and many states eager to set up regulation copied it in part or full. They'd rather copy something than start a ground zero effort. We can do better than ASHI. Got enough horsepower right here on this forum to do it.

The model codes are an example of this mechanism. They change every 3 years and states adopt them, in whole or part.

Marc

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Unfortunately, $3-350 is the going rate around here. Just ask any RE agent...

I need to review the NY SOP and COE to see if there is anything actionable going on with this one.

They appear to be in violation of at least 4 subsections of Article 12-B, Real Property Law, 7 subsections of our COE, and subject to revocation or suspension (and a fine of $1000/violation) under 4 of the 8 Causes of Action.

No problem. Governor Andy did away with the council last year. It's a free for all.

Then I won't be in a big hurry to complete the CE audit they sent me.

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FWIW...It would be cool to find a way for those of us interested to come up with a way to network and develop underlying tenets for a model SOP and set of HI's laws. As far as I know, no one ever came up with basic tenets to use in designing a set of laws and an SOP, they just injected a massive consultative effort and groped in the dark until agreement was at hand. Tenets give guidance, sets the compass so the consultation knows where it's going and keeps it all cohesive and coordinated.

If I were younger and bold enough, I'd start with an in-depth study of the HI laws and SOP of Washington State. They seem to be doing well.

We'd pitch this model SOP to states currently lacking full regulation like PA or with regulation poorly designed and failing like Mississippi. The more states adopt it, the greater the momentum.

What I'm saying is that ASHI came up with an SOP a long, long time ago and many states eager to set up regulation copied it in part or full. They'd rather copy something than start a ground zero effort. We can do better than ASHI. Got enough horsepower right here on this forum to do it.

The model codes are an example of this mechanism. They change every 3 years and states adopt them, in whole or part.

Marc

Sounds great, except your idea as a major flaw. Who would pay for everything?

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I envision it being mostly the right people with the right experience giving of their time and effort to improve the profession. There would be a need to hire an attorney to clear the language once the draft is done.

Correct me if I'm wrong but TIJ must have been a major effort to get started and the right folks came together and did it without compensation. Something along those lines.

Heck, I've already come up with a couple tenets. Maybe I'll post them on a new thread and ask for feedback. Washington State's HI laws/SOP are already printed out. Only 26 pages.

Marc

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I've been offered to to see previous inspection reports. I refuse every time. What another person did has nothing to do with what I'm going to do.

A previous inspection and report has no relevance to me.

Once in a blue moon I'll be offered a look at a previous report on a home I'm inspecting. I never look at it until after I've completed my inspection. When I do look at it, I feel validated in saying I did a better inspection then the other guy.

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Unfortunately, $3-350 is the going rate around here. Just ask any RE agent...

I need to review the NY SOP and COE to see if there is anything actionable going on with this one.

They appear to be in violation of at least 4 subsections of Article 12-B, Real Property Law, 7 subsections of our COE, and subject to revocation or suspension (and a fine of $1000/violation) under 4 of the 8 Causes of Action.

No problem. Governor Andy did away with the council last year. It's a free for all.

Then I won't be in a big hurry to complete the CE audit they sent me.

Please do send me an email of where it came from. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... ws5rSPVlEg

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I envision it being mostly the right people with the right experience giving of their time and effort to improve the profession. There would be a need to hire an attorney to clear the language once the draft is done.

Correct me if I'm wrong but TIJ must have been a major effort to get started and the right folks came together and did it without compensation. Something along those lines.

Heck, I've already come up with a couple tenets. Maybe I'll post them on a new thread and ask for feedback. Washington State's HI laws/SOP are already printed out. Only 26 pages.

Marc

This talk about SOPs is a nice thought. You can SOP your way to the moon and back if you like, but until the referral system is taken away from those who feed inspectors who care more about that next referral than following an SOP, nothing will be any different.

Guys who play by the REA's SOP and code of ethics will always make enough to pay for a couple of complaints.

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