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I have a little time this morning, because the inspection I was scheduled to perform got cancelled - by me. We have cancelled approx 20 inspections this year.

The scenario is this: Buyer calls, schedules an appointment and confirms it with their agent. We show up, always a little early, and find a "pretty" older house - you know the ones with new vinyl siding, cardboard flooring, pvc or flex PEX, 100amp panel, gfci outlets everywhere, bright interior paint, new composition kitchen cabinets, decks, three prong outlets, new stool and vanity and cheap carpet.

Buyer shows up, single young working mother, first home, no down payment Kamakazzi Mortgage company, and promptly tells you how much she is depending on YOU to protect her from buying a bad house.

Ya Ya, don't get nutty on me, I been doing this for decades and know how to handle the situation. This company is quite sucessful because we are always honest and keep up with continuing education. We are not the problem, the buyer is not the problem, the real estate agent is not the problem - the problem is this is an investment house. Two years ago the house was bought as a repo by a ribbon clerk with his 401K funds and proceeded to lickem and stickem with his late night TV books and schemes and now we have a piece of ***** that will fall apart in a year or so and be back on the repo market.

Sure it is easy to start writing notes that would fill fourteen legal pads and render a report that would be accurate and meaningful or just tell Miss Buyer this may not be the house for you and your skill set as an owner.

Everyone gets disappointed, I get feeling sorry for Miss Buyer because $300 is alot of money for a poor choice. Oh well, I guess I am just feeling guilty because a buckethead inspector will "inspect" it next week for someone else and it will pass HUD standards with flying colors. Then it becomes a FHA approved house that is perfect in everyway.

Some of my favorite updates from these investor crooks are: 100panel with three breakers and knob and tube within 16" of panel, pex supply lines, cardboard flooring that slaps when you walk on it, carpet with edges glued and no tack strips, new stools supplied with galv pipe and no stop valve, plastic(Saran wrap) tub enclosures, carpet tile in bathrooms, wobbly decks fastened with drywall screws, kitchen cabinets fastened thru back board with drywall screws, three prong outlets on K&T, new water heaters with 3" flues into a 2'x2' unlined chimney - - - -

I could go on forever, but now I feel better!

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Good for you, Les!

I had to do the same thing about 6 months ago.

A young girl first time home buyer purchasing a 120 year old farm house needing tons of work. The floors were more like a mountain range.

The "dad" in me took over and I told her "You simply aren't prepared to own this home. It's a project that will eat you alive."

She walked and when she wasn't looking even her agent looked at me and clasping her hands mouthed a relieved "thank you!" It was hilarious.

No charge just use me again when you find something more suitable.

Come to think of it, I never heard from her again, but that's fine with me. I'm sure she'll never foget what I did for her.

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But I question the RE agents in both cases. I feel it is their duty to help you find "the right house". Unless the agent thought she had a dummy, and was looking for a quick buck. Ya think there are agents like that out there? Naw...

MGB, If that look she gave you was a look of relief and not embarassment, why didn't she simply not show her client the house, or tell her it wasn't for her, even before she called you?

Some, probably most inspectors would have done the inspection and presented the potential buyer with a report... and a bill. Both ways are honest, Les and you showed you had a heart.

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In my case, I believe the buyer was on a mission and wasn't listening to reason until I flatly told her this is the kind of property that people with deep pockets buy prepared to sink $30,000.00 to $50,000.00 into. That made her realize she was destined to live in a perpetually unfinished home. She got the picture. In her mind, the agent was an unqualified opinion in such matters.

I don't wish to steal Les' thunder. This was his post about his inspection. I was merely letting him know, "been there done that" too. Sometimes you have to watch out for stubborn kids.

Sorry, Les!


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You have a good heart, Les. There are times I'd like to do like you, but here in PA, a buyer would need the inspection report to back out of a deal. Before a buyer can have a house inspected, they need to enter into an agreement of sale and put down a substantial deposit.

There ought to be a special place in hell for people that buy a piece of crap, do a cheap cosmetic makeover and throw it on the market, hoping to hook a starry-eyed first time buyer - a buyer thinking she's buying a house that won't need any work (or cash) until far down the road. Some are near tears when I break the news to them.

I've had maybe three like that so far this year. One really got to me. The buyers were both disabled vets living in Florida. They didn't travel the thousand miles to attend the inspection. The wife, who was handling the arrangements, was absolutely devastated.

What really irked me was that I think that it was the listing broker's own property (he's also a part time flipper). After he put it back on the market, he again advertised it as: "Completely redone. All new kitchen and bath. All new interior. Nothing to do but move in!" To top it off, he touts his agency as being run on "Christian Principles" and uses a cross in his advertising. Like I said, there ought to be a special place in hell .......

Here's some pictures of the "completely redone" place:


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Les, I know just how you feel. We have many many of these 'completely remodeled' homes here in Flint. The thing that really makes me mad is that I am always the bad guy in the deal. The buyer is in love with the new siding, cabinets, paint, and carpet - and the agent is in love with the commission. When we look below the surface and point out all the work that still needs to be done it's as if I broke the house!

When the client is grateful for the info and money that we saved them it can be very satisfying. More times than not, the client is upset, and the agent is mad (and angry). Sometimes home inspections can be a thankless job.

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I used to get many homes like that. There are a lot of summer homes around here built in the teens and twenties. They were never intended to be permanent buildings or even year 'round homes (no foundations) built in areas that flood every five years. Cosmetic coverings and kitchen & bath kits from HD are the only improvements. The inspections usually end when I come out from under them. Twice, I had agents stop the inspection saying "I won't let these kids buy this POS."

I don't think I've had more than a handful of 1st time buyers in the last decade. I'm pretty sure our fees are out of reach for most, considering how far their stretching to buy anything these days.

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We have approx the same rules in Mich that PA has. We have developed a two part form that we can complete right on-site that can get a potential buyer out of the deal. On the inspection above, I wrote "At this time this house does not meet minimum HUD standards for a residential dwelling". By the way, I did charge her for that inspection - $10.00. For the rest of her life she will be calling us for inspections and telling everyone at the "club" about us and our candor! Likely never will see the agent again.

We work with hundreds of first time buyers every year. I have grown to like them, because I can have a meaningful impact on their life and I usually end up working for their bosses, Mother, Dad, bar friends and various church members. I really do love this job, just get a little frosty at times.

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