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Old 03-30-2018, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
8,844 posts, read 17,437,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_because View Post
But if you turn it around and you were so unwise as to recommend a single inspector, your reputation would be closely tied to the perceived performance of that that inspector, never mind the legal liability risks. And everyone knows that inspectors and their real and perceived performance in identifying issues are a hotbed of risk in the transaction. And even if they do everything right, they often are the subject of blame when things go wrong. If you recommend one, it (rightly or wrongly) becomes YOUR inspector in the client's mind.
If your reputation is tied to a great inspector isn't that a good reflection? What legal risks, still waiting on you to explain this one?
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
8,844 posts, read 17,437,561 times
Reputation: 6194
Quote:
Originally Posted by I love boots. View Post
Everyone here keeps saying that they hire inspectors that are thorough and I have to ask how in the hell would you really know? Do you also look over the house yourselves for things they may have missed and know what you are looking at so you can call them out on it? I know real estate school didn't cover this stuff and the answer is no. I don't fee like I would ever know that everything that is suppose to be on that report is there. Especially after what I've seen happen. You can have 3 different inspectors write three different reports. They all leave things out that another would call out.
Repeated use, long reports, and multiple inspections. Reselling the home when my client is ready to move and nothing new coming up. I guess I could sum it up with "experience".
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:02 PM
Status: "In an Involuntary Time Warp" (set 22 days ago)
 
7,839 posts, read 10,144,052 times
Reputation: 11396
I could write a book about our multiple house inspectors. They're a joke for the most part. Trust your gut mostly is the best advise.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:03 PM
 
Location: PVB
2,387 posts, read 1,207,731 times
Reputation: 2765
My story is 100% true. The plastic was opaque and the thickness of a sheet of Formica and affixed to the wall and you couldn't look behind it. I was very apprehensive but the Realtor kept insisting it was not a problem. After that I only looked for basements in areas I knew would not have issues. The house I finally settled on was built on flint rock and was 60 years old without a single crack in the mortar or basement walls.

Here is an article about the problems in that area:

Report next month may get to bottom of sinking homes in N.Y.

Residents hope study could lead to federal relief

May 29, 2005|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

AMHERST, N.Y. - When Sandra M. Mussell renovated her kitchen in July, she chose a hardwood floor over ceramic tile. "If we decide to have a fire, it will burn a lot faster," she said.

Arson, she pointed out with a dose of humor, is not that bad an option when you are stuck with a home that is breaking apart, that is too expensive to fix and too notorious to sell.

Mussell and her husband, Roy, own one of the hundreds of so-called sinking homes in this suburban town just north of Buffalo. A federal report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be released next month will provide the first detailed explanation of why the homes are self-destructing as they settle into the earth. It could also give documented proof to neighborhood leaders who are applying for millions of dollars in federal relief for families like the Mussells and others who are hoping to salvage homes in which they have invested both financially and emotionally. "It's tormenting to come here," said Darlene Torbenson, who has been a leader in the neighborhood's efforts to deal with the sinking homes.

Amherst has always been a popular place to live. The main roads bustle with people heading to its many shops and inexpensive restaurants. Leafy side streets lead to homes that appear well kept. The problems with their foundations are undetectable to passers-by.

Much of the town was developed during a construction boom from the late 1960s through the 1980s, helped by a federal exemption won by a former town supervisor, which allowed homes with basements in a 100-year-old flood plain. But by 1985, scores of residents with relatively new homes were noticing foundation problems and said their houses were sinking.

Torbenson, whose house was built on marshland in 1981, said she first noticed problems in 1989. There were more than 40 water-main breaks in the neighborhood, five of them on her property. Gas and sewage lines broke, and sewage backed up into her basement. The electrical circuit box pulled away from the wall so often that Torbenson learned how to rewire it. Doors would not close properly, and walls cracked.

In 1997, she heard what she thought was a sonic boom and discovered a large crack running the length of the basement floor. The company that had insured her house refused to pay her claim, and the statute of limitations for suing the builder had expired.

After discovering that her neighbors had similar problems, she canvassed nearby streets and learned of damage to 14 other houses. Torbenson started going to Town Board meetings and to libraries, trying to learn as much as she could. The town lowered her home's assessment to $43,000 from $158,000. She used up all her savings making the repairs she could afford, while ignoring the ones she could not, including fixing the basement, which would cost $70,000. Even worse, she said she received threatening calls from residents worried about property values, who told her that she "needed to be quiet about this, or else."

By the end of 2003, Torbenson had a list of 700 homes with similar problems. Many residents described desperate situations, with some saying they had raided their retirement savings or their children's college funds to make repairs. Some simply stopped paying their mortgages and abandoned their houses, while others said their marriages were ended by the stress of dealing with the problems. Others tried to make cosmetic fixes and sell.

Susan J. Greilick, the town supervisor, said that since the residents started reporting problems, the town had strengthened its building codes and imposed limitations on development. Greilick said, "I don't know how knowledgeable officials were about expansive soils. We're taking every step we can to make a home in Amherst marketable and a good investment."

The Army Corps of Engineers spent 18 months studying the situation and compiled information on 1,095 homes with foundation problems. Engineers with the corps suspect that there are more but say that people are afraid to have their property identified as a sinking home. Much of the northern part of town is affected, the engineers said. "It's fairly extensive," said Philip E. Berkeley, the project manager for the $500,000 study.

Engineers found more complex soil conditions than they expected. They knew that Amherst had been built on a former lakebed and a wetlands area, and that it had claylike soils. But it also has a mix of expansive, spongelike soils that are found in the West, where homes usually do not have basements. "Over time, it's like the perfect storm," said Bradley E. Guay, the project's technical manager, who examined the houses. Some houses are sinking while others are rising in the center, or buckling inward from the pressure on the walls. Repairing each home will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000.

To help affected homeowners, Torbenson is starting a nonprofit organization that will seek donations from charitable groups and sympathetic builders. She hopes the federal report will help her win a $3 million annual "hazard-mitigation" grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that would be used to pay for some repairs. Because of the complex conditions, the repairs will be different for each home - though the total cost could reach $50 million, Guay said.

For Mussell, who is 62, the forthcoming report is the first piece of good news she has had in a while. She worries about what the stress is doing to her husband. "He would roll over in bed, worrying and worrying and worrying," Mussell said. "I would tell him there was nothing we could do. Today, for the first time in 20 years that we've lived in the house, I think he has hope."
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:05 PM
 
1,528 posts, read 724,410 times
Reputation: 2062
Quote:
Originally Posted by I love boots. View Post
Everyone here keeps saying that they hire inspectors that are thorough and I have to ask how in the hell would you really know? Do you also look over the house yourselves for things they may have missed and know what you are looking at so you can call them out on it? I know real estate school didn't cover this stuff and the answer is no. I don't fee like I would ever know that everything that is suppose to be on that report is there. Especially after what I've seen happen. You can have 3 different inspectors write three different reports. They all leave things out that another would call out.
I think that's a fair challenge.

Agents will sometimes say that they don't want an inspector who is going to turn a blind eye on everything and just say the home is OK when it's not. I believe this.

Many will also not want an inspector who is awkward and spooks the buyer. This is a very delicate point in the buying cycle. As a client/consumer, I would question whether the agent's definition of the 'best inspector' is the same as mine. Considering that there is a conflict of interest involved - i.e. agent compensation is not earned until/unless the deal closes, it's fair to question whether this definition is the same.

I think it's a truism that sales people like to be in control of the sale. So I think many agents will like a 'predictable' inspector. A known entity is much better for them than someone who comes in from left field. If they've worked with Johnny on 100 deals and he's easy to work with and Johnny comes up with a major issue on the home, they can deal with that. Johnny has his license and his liability to worry about. But overall Johnny "knows the deal" and things go well with him. Clients like Johnny too because he's a 'good guy'. I get my deal done without spooking my buyers and my buyers like Johnny. Win-win. right?

I would rather have an inspector who does not 'know the deal'. Who's awkward. Who's not predictable. Who doesn't play games. Unfortunately since most inspectors live off of agent recommendations, they are few and far between.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Rochester, WA
3,827 posts, read 2,047,976 times
Reputation: 10552
Quote:
Originally Posted by I love boots. View Post
Everyone here keeps saying that they hire inspectors that are thorough and I have to ask how in the hell would you really know? Do you also look over the house yourselves for things they may have missed and know what you are looking at so you can call them out on it? I know real estate school didn't cover this stuff and the answer is no. I don't fee like I would ever know that everything that is suppose to be on that report is there. Especially after what I've seen happen. You can have 3 different inspectors write three different reports. They all leave things out that another would call out.
I dunno boots... it's not that hard for me to see, because I'm there at the inspection. I'm watching the inspector, and I'm listening when he explains things to me, and to the client. I know I often have to make a day of it for inspections, because it takes him that long to go through everything. And I see him notice small things and large.

And you're right, it's not covered in any real estate classes, but when I walk through a house, I can usually see at least a few things that should show up on the report... and a few things I want to make sure I ask the inspector about. And I learn more with every one.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
31,592 posts, read 55,295,005 times
Reputation: 30150
Quote:
Originally Posted by I love boots. View Post
Everyone here keeps saying that they hire inspectors that are thorough and I have to ask how in the hell would you really know? Do you also look over the house yourselves for things they may have missed and know what you are looking at so you can call them out on it? I know real estate school didn't cover this stuff and the answer is no. I don't fee like I would ever know that everything that is suppose to be on that report is there. Especially after what I've seen happen. You can have 3 different inspectors write three different reports. They all leave things out that another would call out.
Of course, three inspectors will not perform identical reports.
Likewise,
Three agents do not do identical CMAs.
Three appraisers do not provide identical opinions of value.

Competence does not equal perfection or identical results.

But, one of the immediate disqualifiers is an inspector who refuses to cite an item that I point out, because he didn't see it first. I know them, don't refer them, and hope that my clients never select them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana Holbrook View Post
I dunno boots... it's not that hard for me to see, because I'm there at the inspection. I'm watching the inspector, and I'm listening when he explains things to me, and to the client. I know I often have to make a day of it for inspections, because it takes him that long to go through everything. And I see him notice small things and large.

And you're right, it's not covered in any real estate classes, but when I walk through a house, I can usually see at least a few things that should show up on the report... and a few things I want to make sure I ask the inspector about. And I learn more with every one.

It is unfortunate that so many agents close their eyes to obvious issues, or say, "Let's see what the inspector says," when the client sees the most obvious dealbreakers.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Athol, Idaho
2,182 posts, read 1,055,031 times
Reputation: 3184
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJaquish View Post
Of course, three inspectors will not perform identical reports.
Likewise,
Three agents do not do identical CMAs.
Three appraisers do not provide identical opinions of value.

Competence does not equal perfection or identical results.

But, one of the immediate disqualifiers is an inspector who refuses to cite an item that I point out, because he didn't see it first. I know them, don't refer them, and hope that my clients never select them.





It is unfortunate that so many agents close their eyes to obvious issues, or say, "Let's see what the inspector says," when the client sees the most obvious dealbreakers.
Ya, that's bad. Also bad that one inspector here is popular because he brings snacks.

I think you are wrong though. Things should be close enough to the same. If three agents do three CMAs and they aren't even close to one another then there is some incompetence going on and the same can be said about appraisers.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Rochester, WA
3,827 posts, read 2,047,976 times
Reputation: 10552
I agree MikeJ....

If the roof looks like a swayback horse, and your client is not up for a rehab project, we shouldn't close our eyes and say "let's see what the inspector says".

I actually don't have any experience with inspectors glossing over things that are important. That has NOT been my complaint with any of them.

Bad writing, unclear descriptions of problems, that we have to turn around and make sense of in writing repair requests, yes.

The worst home inspection experience, was from a guy the client found, no idea where. The guy was very thorough, but what I didn't like, was the upselling of 'related' services like home warranties and other service related subscription services. He had a whole scripted pitch I had to interrupt.... because he was wasting valuable time, and I could tell the client was unsure whether she was supposed to buy something like that. He was, IMHO, taking advantage of naive buyers. Not going to use that guy... even though he wrote a decent report! And alerted the client to a powder-post beetle problem she could not afford to fix. Glad he did, we got out of that transaction! And we used him again for the next house we made offer on, because his work was good, and his service fee was reduced on the next house.... but this time she was better prepared to tell the guy no on the upsell.

Last edited by Diana Holbrook; 03-30-2018 at 05:28 PM..
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
31,592 posts, read 55,295,005 times
Reputation: 30150
Quote:
Originally Posted by I love boots. View Post
Ya, that's bad. Also bad that one inspector here is popular because he brings snacks.

I think you are wrong though. Things should be close enough to the same. If three agents do three CMAs and they aren't even close to one another then there is some incompetence going on and the same can be said about appraisers.
So, let's quantify.
How much difference is acceptable between CMAs?
Or, appraisals?
Or, home inspections?
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