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TV Personality Advocates Skipping Inspectors


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Mike Holmes, a sort of Canadian fix-it guru, who has a popular TV show wherein he rescues homeowners from all sorts of ills, says that home inspectors are basically untrained and inexperienced. Instead of hiring a home inspector, he recommends that buyers spend the few thousand that it will cost to hire a licensed specialists in specific trades to check out their potential new home.

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I'm semi-reluctant to bring it up, but the article rings bells for me. I spent about 20 years following behind not just knucklehead home inspectors, but also knucklehead builders, pea-brained muni codes guys, errant tradesfolk and not-quite-legit RE agents.

I had plenty of people asking for advice, and I had little to tell them, other than, "you've been hosed." I went on local radio and TV, and all I could say was, "these people have been hosed." I even made up a joke name for errant HIs and builders: HoseMasters.

The day that I figured out that I could pay my bills without doing HI work every day, I quit inspecting houses for sale. These days, most of my "housey" work comes from hosed homeowners looking to recover money from the HoseMasters.

I can see why Holmes is fed up. Lately, when would-be customers call asking if I'll do one-off inspections on foundations, walls, roofs, etc., I refer them first to a structural engineer (for the foundation) and a roof consultant. If a would-be customer has a known defect in his house, I refer him to a building-defects lawyer. I come in later, around investigation-and-deposition time.

I don't know about anybody else, but I found that even working with an excellent partner wasn't enough to keep the work interesting or enjoyable. It's like when we were doing EIFS inspections -- we knew that every inspection would turn into endless arguments with vendors who weren't fit to do their jobs. Every day was Groundhog Day.

All my way of saying: it's devilishly hard for a person who takes pride in his work to roll out of bed every morning knowing that he'll spend every day looking at halfass work and listening to halfass excuses.

It's enough to turn a man into a card-carrying member of The Media.


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So, why won’t hiring tradesmen work?

They did the work to start with. Or could they be the same tradesmen whose work he is correcting.

What happened in our society that allowed the training/journeyman process to falter? Is it not the same problem that plagues our industry?

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I agree. He's suggesting folks should hire foxes to evaluate the hen houses. If you ask a roofer around here to look at your roof, you're sure as hell going to need a new one. The general skill, knowledge, and ethics level of contractors across this country are the very things that insure our future. I don't worry about that changing.

His suggestion is doomed to fall mostly on deaf ears anyway. Spend thousands on multiple inspections? Very few will seriously consider that advice.

All that said, he's certainly not wrong about the average HI. Far too many of our group are poorly trained, generally clueless, or downright crooked. I can't change that anymore than he can cure his group.

I've seen two of his shows recently; Holmes on Homes, on HGTV. He's a bit bombastic, as you might expect, but from what I've seen so far, I kinda like him. He frequently says things like "That isn't up to code" or "Why didn't they just do it right the first time". Those are the same sort of things we say every day. I particularly like watching his crew open walls and ceilings to find the underlying causes of problems. Verrrry instructive for HI work, I think.

Brian G.

Pundits Abound, Real Solutions Do Not [8]

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I think he's pretty cool also. He just doesn't understand what he's talking about regarding the real estate transaction process.

Not that the process is good. It's not. It's amazingly screwed up, largely because it's controlled by the other clueless group, realtors.

What's necessary is a candid and frank discussion of how screwed the NAR model is.

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