Without Fools, There Would be no Wisdom...

a.k.a. "Why skimping on or foregoing a home inspection is rarely a bargain"

It pains us to have to be the bearer of bad news, yet we seem to be doing a lot more of it lately.  With YouTube and the plethora of "DIY" reality shows available, it would seem that the sky is the limit when it comes to doing things that a "professional" normally does--saving the cost of hiring them in the process.  At a minimum, the Internet can provide enough information to enable hiring a service provider or tradesman totally based upon the cost/price for their services.  Well, why that may be true to a degree, what is often overlooked are the more nuanced or non-routine conditions that may be encountered by the newly endowed DIYer or inexperienced  inspector sent out by the Realtor's referred franchise (many of whom are unlicensed and relatively untrained).  Unfortunately, it is in situations like these where the extra money paid for a professional inspection is more than worth it--especially if it prevents the purchase of a money pit or identifies a significant, extremely expensive defect.  Here are some examples from projects we've worked in the last year...

 

Don't worry, some bleach will fix it...

The new tenants noticed musty odors in the upstairs master bedroom and reported it to the property manager. Upon investigation, we discovered significant accumulations of mold in the attic--ultimately resulting in an extensive remediation project and insulation replacement.  The cause?  The landlord had hired "some guys standing in front of Home Depot" to put on a new asphalt shingle roof after noticing water staining upstairs.  They did it all right.  We counted three layers of shingles on the roof.  Coupled with the lack of ventilation and the exhausting of both the bathroom vent fans and the clothes dryer into the attic, the extra "blanket" of shingles made the attic a virtual petri dish.  I noted that the inspector the landlord used prior to the purchase of this property should be reported to the state, but, alas, there was no inspection done prior to settlement.  Put it this way, just the cost of putting his tenants up in the hotel exceeded the price of even the most expensive home inspector.  $400ish or $15,000+???  Seems abundantly clear in hindsight, doesn't it?

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Screw those guys! I found someone much cheaper on Craigslist...

We were called in to evaluate and remediate a moldy basement by a REO asset manager.  Upon inspection and sampling, we found several varieties of mold--a virtual cornucopia of fungus--growing wild and freely within.  The manager was furious!  Turns out he had hired another "mold inspector and remediation contractor" to do the same thing at that address and the problem apparently returned within 90 days.  He called us because (you guessed it) the previous guys were not to be found.  I asked him about the initial treatment mold test results from the previous job.  He stated that the "contractor" performed the testing and assured him that a proper remediation was completed.  He added that the photos supplied with the invoicing seemed convincing.  However, when I asked him if he verified the license and IAC2 certification or other credentials of his previous hire, he reluctantly admitted that he found the guy on Craigslist and went with him because there wasn't much time and this guy was way more cheaper than others he contacted at the time.  Our remediation status for that project is a year and counting w/o a reoccurrence.  However, you might say that our $10,000 invoice, coupled with the cost of the former "mystery contractor," certainly bears out the old adage of throwing good money after bad...

 

Does it seem cold in here to you?

Following the death of the homeowner, the executor asked us to "spruce up the place and prepare it for sale." Our standard practice is to perform a home inspection to inform and to properly scope the work in cases like this.   The executor informed us that she would not pay for an inspection as the deceased always kept the place up and, although it might be a bit dated, it was well maintained.  We told her the inspection was inclusive as part of our service agreement and she agreed.  It seemed initially that she might have been right until we went into the attic.  Turns out that the elderly, wheelchair bound homeowner had hired a "weatherization contractor" to insulate and seal the air gaps in his attic a few years ago.  We found the fiberglass batt insulation still neatly bundled and stacked in the attic--dusty and undisturbed.  The executor showed us the virtually illegible handwritten receipt, but the total dollar figure was plainly visible--$3,800...

 

What do you mean the deal is off?!?

A frustrated seller called us out to evaluate a derogatory home inspection report from the buyer's home inspector.  The buyers were threatening to cancel the purchase agreement if all identified defects were not corrected prior to closing, and the report listed over 20 items...  The seller had purchased the newly constructed house just three years previously and was understandably upset.  We found that all but two minor defects (hard to operate windows and a racked interior door frame) were bogus--including an "inoperable" garage door opener.  We produced and delivered the report to our client, who then refused to correct the imaginary defects. The buyers played hardball and demanded their earnest money back, and the house was sold to the contingency buyer.  The initial buyers were angry that they missed out, so they threatened to sue us.  What they should have done is sue their Realtor.  Under Maryland law, ANY referrals made by a Realtor to any party in the transaction MUST include the VERIFICATION of the referral's CURRENT license.  What an unfortunate waste of time and emotional energy: they would have been much better off if only they had hired an experienced, DLLR licensed inspector instead of their Realtor's bargain priced friend... 

 

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