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I blame the media... well I partly blame the media


Chad Fabry
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You folks may have noticed that I've been posting an article or two concerning our profession. I spend a little time each morning and surf the net looking for interesting, disgusting, maddening, educational or entertaining news to share.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the void of information concerning the true highly technical demands of our profession. I know we're generalists and we're not supposed to be experts, but it's always been my contention that to do the job we really do need to be expert in just about every building science discipline.

I referred to a 'void' when in fact it's worse than a void. It's a cosmic black hole of misconception: a place where folklore, misinformation and the people that promulgate such are gathered.

This particular "news" story epitomizes the ills of not only our profession but the lack of skills in the reporting profession. The more I read the more I realize we probably don't get the truth about anything.

Some of the worst reporting ever. Someone explain the difference between perspective and prospective: both useful words but hardly interchangeable.

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In some states home inspections are required before a house can be sold, but in Colorado it's a risk far too many people are taking.

Wow, that gets off to a great start. So now getting a home inspection is a risk that far too many people are taking. Wonderful.

Christian Blochinger owns Blochinger Home Inspections and is a third generation home inspector who's gone over thousands of homes.

Third generation home inspector? His website says the company was established in 1979. I'd love to see the chronology of that claim.

And with so many foreclosures and short sales right now, that makes skipping an inspection that much riskier. ........ And with so many homes on the market, the potential for hidden problems goes up.

Really? How so?

So skipping a $200 to $500 inspection only to find out you bought a lemon leaves you with a money pit, by missing red flags like old, overloaded electrical systems.

Someone who gets a $200 inspection has already bought a lemon.

"With plumbing, old galvanized plumbing after 30 years is going to be corroded."

Aside from the redundancy of starting that sentence with "with plumbing", that's nonsense.

"A regular home inspection should take two hours to three hours," he said, "And they should be covering over 2,000 different items."

I love how some inspectors tailor the time they say an inspection should take to the time that they spend. I can't remember the last time I spent less than 3 hours at an inspection - and I don't do on site reports.

You should research inspectors online.

Check their professional associations ask about the tools they use and how thorough they are.

I wasn't surprised to see that Mr. Blochinger uses Nacho's Standards of Practice but has a link to the ASHI virtual home inspection. Surely that must raise a question in the minds of prospective (or maybe I should say perspective) home buyers?

Ask how thorough they are. That's a good one! Yeah, I'm sure the answer to that will always be an honest one.

"Also the biggest problem that people have in their houses is they don't ventilate it properly," he said as we examined an older model furnace unit, "So moisture comes up from underneath the house gets sucked into your furnace and winds up corroding the inside of your furnace."

After thinking about it for a while now, I still can't think of a rejoinder to that one.

To be fair, I don't know which comments are from the inspector and which are from the reporter. Many of the statements without quotes certainly seem like they would be coming from the inspector. One thing is for certain though - there's enough blame shame to go around.

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I agree that the skills of home inspectors and TV reporters are generally weak.

But there's not much home inspectors can do to "fix" either group. In my humble experience, many HIs are willfully and proudly ignorant. It should be clear to any reasonably-well-educated person that many -- maybe most -- home inspectors are disconnected from any meaningful knowledge base. Best I can tell, most are handymen bluffing their way through, relying on folklore and sometimes the voices in their heads.

With the exception of some buyers who've been truly burned by an HI -- enough to suffer through litigation -- few people really care what home inspectors do. I think most buyers see the inspection as something recommended by a "real estate professional," so they pay up, skim the report, throw it away and move on.

Regarding media coverage: from what I've seen -- and I worked for a newspaper for 13 years -- reporters aren't interested in HI stories. We've all seen enough HI stories to see that the average HI just advertises his willful ignorance. Reporters don't want to bother with such stories.

My experience says that print journalists are generally sharper and better-informed than TV reporters. But keep in mind that over the past several years -- and even more so over the past several months -- print reporters have been fired by the busload, columnists are disappearing from newspapers, and newbie journalists work for low, low wages.

Savvy and accomplished HIs and similarly-skilled reporters may be able to find good niche work, but IMHO, your average HI and your average reporter -- print and TV -- will continue to degrade.

It ain't going to get any better,

WJ

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"Covering" >2000 items in 3 hours works out to approx. 1/10 of a second per item. Well, actually, something more like 5.4 seconds per item, but I digress........

When "reporters" are not even capable of figuring out those sorts of idiocies, it's not worth continuing to read the rest of their blathering, column inch filling, word spew.

While it's important to know what's going on in the world, current "news" organizations don't provide useful information anymore. Having been a new junkie for most of my life, I willfully avoid news nowadays. Consider Fox News as the model, and notice how many news organizations are adopting the model.

Anything really important will find its way to me on it's own, usually instantaneously.

Completely apropo of nothing, I did find one of todays headlines disconcerting. Apparently, a Wal-Mart door opener was trampled to death early this morning as they opened for the big sales.

I am not making this up. NYT today.

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Originally posted by kurt

"Covering" >

While it's important to know what's going on in the world, current "news" organizations don't provide useful information anymore. Having been a new junkie for most of my life, I willfully avoid news nowadays. Consider Fox News as the model, and notice how many news organizations are adopting the model.

People don't have time anymore for in depth information. Look what its reduced the Chicago Tribune's new format to - pretty pathetic. It's no wonder that people don't want to wait around for some 3 hour inspection. And read the report? You gotta be kidding!

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There are at least two problems:

1. The few college grads who want to be journalists aren't adequately educated.

2. The people who own/run the media don't have enough ready cash to hire first-rate people.

And it'll get way worse before it gets better.

New Zealand looks better every day.

Besides that, I heard on TV today that a huge house in a gated community on the beachfront in Mexico goes for about $300K. (US equivalent is over $1M.)

Might be time to go see Charlie...

WJ

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