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Truth about real estate agent-referred inspectors

(The opinions and views expressed on this page are those of Dennis R. Robitaille and many of the IHINA home inspectors. They do not represent the views of all home inspectors. These comments are based on personal experience, feedback from clients, conversations with home inspectors, attorneys and real estate agents and written correspondence from a former MA State Representative.)

What’s Wrong With Real Estate Agents Recommending Home Inspectors To Prospective Home Buyers? Most real estate agencies work on an average commission of 5% paid by the seller of the property. A house selling for $350,000 has a potential commission of $17,500. (FYI, real estate commissions are negotiable.) Sometimes a selling agent will recommend particular home inspectors to a prospective buyer, sometimes a list of three is given out. How did these inspectors “qualify” to get on the “approved” list? Is the agent recommending a thorough non-bias inspector or is the agent recommending someone who will help protect the potential $17,500 commission?

Do prospective home buyers have the right to use an inspector of their own choosing? If a real estate agent tells you that you cannot use an inspector of your choosing, or insists that you use one of their “recommended” or “approved” inspectors, you should contact your attorney. A real estate agent who tries to get you to use an inspector of the agent’s choice is trying to control the home inspector selection process. Prospective home buyers must keep in mind that real estate agents who receive a commission from the property seller, are working in the best interest of their client, (the seller.) As the prospective home buyer, you are a customer of the agent, not a client. As the prospective home buyer, the inspector you’re paying for should be working in your best interest.

What Is A “Deal Killer”? The derogatory phrase “deal killer” is a term used by by real estate agents to taint home inspectors who give buyers objective / non-bias information. Information that may lead the buyer to renegotiate or to look at other properties. Many real estate agents view these “deal killers” as obstacles to the sales commission and will use a number of tactics to control the inspector selection process to make sure that prospective buyers do not retain independent home inspectors.

How Does A Real Estate Agent Control The Inspector Selection Process? The agent could discourage a potential buyer from using a certain inspector by making comments like: “That inspector takes too long” or “we’ve had trouble with that inspector” or “we don’t allow that inspector to inspect any of our listed properties” or “that inspector is too expensive.” A twist on the fee tactic is to advise the prospective buyer that they should expect a home inspector to charge around $250 or $300. By advising home buyers to expect these low fees, they are in effect steering home buyers to certain “agent friendly” inspectors.

The tactics used to encourage use a particular inspector include: “We’ve had good luck with this inspector” or “this inspector has a low fee” or “we use this inspector all the time” or “this inspector only takes an hour and he gives you a report right on the spot.” Some agents may have a list of three inspectors who have been screened to be “agent friendly”. The list, however, will be long enough to protect the agent from referral liability should the buyer want to blame the agent for any inspection mistakes.

If There’s A Potential Conflict Of Interest With Sales Agents Recommending Home Inspectors, Why Doesn’t The Government Do Something About It? A real estate licensing law went in effect in Massachusetts in May, 2001, which to some degree, addresses the potential conflict of interest of real estate agents referring home inspectors. The law amended Chapter 112 section 87YY of the MA Real Estate Broker and Salesperson Licensing Law. It prohibits real estate brokers and salespersons from directly recommending a specific home inspection company or home inspector. Instead, upon request, the agents must provide a complete list of licensed home inspectors prepared by the Board of Home Inspectors. (So far, MA is the only state which has this provision.) The prohibition does not apply if there is a written agreement between the buyer and agent that the agent is acting exclusively for the buyer as a buyer’s agent. Potential buyers must still be aware that regardless of who the real estate agent claims to be working for, his or her commission is still coming from the successful closing of the sales transaction.

Why Don’t Home Inspectors Organize To Change The Current Control Real Estate Agents Have Over The Inspector Selection Process? You would think inspectors would welcome the opportunity to allow prospective home buyers to freely choose a home inspector. Unfortunately too many inspectors rely upon real estate agents to steer clients their way. As you can see from the number of Independent Inspectors listed on this site, less than 1% of all home inspectors claim that they do not solicit real estate agents for client leads. In a free marketplace, companies that provide a poor service eventually go out of business. In the world of home inspection, there is an artificial marketplace controlled by real estate agents. This allows “agent friendly” inspectors to stay in business, regardless of their inspection abilities.

What About Inspectors Who Claim To Be Independent, But Don’t Belong To IHINA? Many inspectors claim to to be independent, but are not willing to sign the IHINA pledge. An inspector who claims to have no real estate agent affiliations doesn’t necessarily mean they do not solicit real estate agents for client leads. If you find that the inspector or inspection company maintains brochures in real estate offices or if the inspector or inspection company is on the real estate agent’s “recommended” or “preferred” list given out to prospective buyers, or is listed on a real estate agency web site, this should tell you something.

What Can Be Done To Prevent This Potential Conflict Of Interest? Contact the Representatives and Senators of your own state. Send them an e-mail with a link to the: Independent Home Inspectors Of North America web site. Do not ask the real estate agent for the name of an inspector. Do not accept any short list or recommendations from the agent. If the state you’re buying in requires home inspectors to be licensed, obtain the list of licensed inspectors. Do a little research and choose your own inspector. The best referrals will come from people who do not have a vested interest in the sale. Remember, it’s your money and your potential future home. Choose your home inspector wisely!

Roof Ice Dams

If you drive in the colder climates, you have likely seen this highway sign, “CAUTION ICE ON BRIDGE”

So, what does that have to do with my roof?

Let’s start with some basics. The ground does radiate some heat, even in winter. Even when the outside air temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, mother earth continues to radiate its heat to the earth’s surface and does battle to delaying ground frost. Eventually, the air temperature continues to drop until frost occurs. Now let?s cross that bridge. The air surrounding the bridge, including under it, is far from mother earth?s heating influence. So, the cold air is going to do its job. Any water or moisture can now freeze that is on the bridge surface. Keep this thought while we go to your winter climate home.

It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and look at all that beautiful snow on your roof. As you enjoy the warmth inside your home, the heated air rises against the ceiling and actually raises the air temperature of your attic. Together, the warming attic and the sunshine beading down on your roof (about 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit) will start to melt the snow.

Now, your roof eaves tell you the snow is melting by the constant dripping. Then, the sun goes down and so does the air temperature. The constant dripping at the eaves of your roof slows down and starts to freeze. Remember why the ice on the bridge formed? The same applies here, your eaves are just like the bridge. There is freezing air just waiting for that next drip. Actually, this is the beginning of icicles, destructive, roof damaging icicles. As the icicles get longer and longer, they also get wider. To make matters worse, the warm home continues to melt the snow on top of the roof. The melting snow rolls down to the eaves and collects against the eave gathering ice. This is known as ice damming.

The destructive ice starts to work its way back up the roof and under the shingles. Your roof protection has been compromised. It’s just a matter of time before this repeated scenario makes its way, as a ceiling stain. So, what can be done to reduce destructive ice damming? Insufficient attic ventilation and inadequate attic ceiling insulation are the first things to look for. The proper amount of ceiling insulation will minimize the upward heat loss from the living area, which will then allow the attic ventilation to do its job.

As far as knowing if there is sufficient ventilation in the attic, you can simply record the outside air temperature and then the attic temperature. Ideally, your attic space should be within 15 degrees Fahrenheit of the outside air temperature. The overall goal is to influence the accumulated snow on your roof via effective ceiling insulation and ample attic ventilation, so the snow collectively and uniformly melts off. Depending on your attic configuration, there is a formula to figure it out. However, it’s then time to call a qualified licensed general contractor.

Attic Ventilation

In our haste to build houses in the past twenty years, we have been careless at times with some very important details. Attic ventilation is one of them. A home that I inspected this weekend is a really good example. Upon entering the attic space I found a lovely even layer of cellulose insulation about 10 inches thick. It had been well installed. Often I see it in waves or looking like a mountain range. Cellulose is a good insulator and has become popular in the past ten years or so because it is cheaper than glass fibre. Its main use is attics where there is more room and where its tendency to pack down won’t be a problem as it would be in walls.

Poor ventilation in an attic space means that the air in the attic will change very slowly. Let’s say that we have a prolonged warm spell, like we have had a couple of times this winter. The air in the attic space becomes warm and more humid. If the temperature suddenly drops, just as it has, the humidity in the moisture condenses against the roof deck, especially on roofing nails or gang nails on trusses. It then freezes. If you were to enter the attic area at this point you would see a layer of frost on the underside of the roof deck or you might just see it on the nails. If you have seen this in your attic area, you don’t have enough ventilation. An ideal situation would be to have soffit vents with either gable vents, roof vents, or a ridge vent. Soffit vents being 50% of the area of the total ventilation and, oh yes, more is better!

The house I inspected had another complication. I could see a truss which appeared to be wet on top. Then my client noticed a black stain near some of the baffles on the underside of the roof deck. Upon testing with a moisture meter I found the truss was wet and got wetter as I moved down, toward the baffles. My immediate thought was a leak in the roof, but since water doesn’t flow uphill, that was impossible. The black stain turned out to be mildew and, again, it was wet, Over 19% humidity in wood means it is actively rotting. So the truss was rotting and mildew was forming on the underside of the roof deck. As we puzzled over this rather odd localized moisture problem, I crawled around the rest of the attic, finding that, although it was humid, it wasn’t actually wet. Crawling isn’t really that accurate for how I have to get around attic spaces. To avoid disturbing the insulation, I sort of walk on my side, my feet pushing on one web of the truss with my shoulder on another. Moving from one truss to another in this position is very tiring.

The best explanation I could come up with for my client was that since the bathroom was in the same general area as the signs of moisture in the attic, and the prevailing wind hit the house on that side, the moisture came from the bathroom fan. These fans are most commonly vented through the soffit. It should then be fitted with a proper boot to make sure this warm and very moist air goes outside. Sometimes this pipe is left to discharge inside the soffit as I believe it is here. In this case, the wind is pushing the warm moist air up into the attic, making this poorly ventilated attic even wetter.

I am constantly amazed at how much damage a little detail can cause. For the very small investment of hiring a home inspector and another small investment correcting the situation, my client will save himself thousands of dollars of repair work later on, when the roof would have collapsed.

 

Should I Install an HRV?

Let’s start with “What is an HRV?”

A Heat Recovery Ventilator is a system which pulls fresh air into the house and pushes stale air out of the house under fan pressure, that’s the ventilator part. The heat recovery part is accomplished by forcing the incoming cold air (in winter) through a series of shallow and broad chambers which are in contact with another series of shallow and broad chambers containing stale warm air going the other way. In this way the cold air coming in is warmed by the warm stale air going out. This is a simplification, you’d have to see a diagram or the real thing to completely understand it.

Why would we want an HRV? The answer is to increase and regulate the number of air changes per hour in our homes. Houses built before the mid-seventies that haven’t been upgraded have more air changes per hour than are needed to maintain a healthy supply of fresh air in the house. After the mid-seventies, houses became more tightly sealed because of rising fuel prices. The R2000 program was in development: R2000 homes were so tight that the stale air didn’t escape and the air in the houses was unhealthy to breathe.

Enter the HRV. If your house was built after 1975 or has been upgraded, you may want one. Consistently high humidity all over the house during the winter is one sign that you need an HRV. The only way to be absolutely sure is with a rather costly test used by the R2000 program. If you have an HRV, maintain it! Check the filter once a month and do a general cleaning yearly. If you need one, you want it working properly. If you heat your home with electric baseboard heaters or hot water or steam radiators, an HRV isn’t going to work well. It needs circulating air to affect the whole house. HRVs are also sometimes used to eliminate overly humid air from bathrooms or to eliminate smoky air from houses where people smoke. In both cases I would recommend either an open window, or better, a ventilating fan.

A call from a man we’ll call Craig presented this problem: “We had an addition put onto the back of our house and it is much colder than the rest of the house. Do you know why? What can we do about it?” Craig told me the room is on the north side of the house and has a lot of windows – OK there’s the first problem. Windows are poor insulators and on the north side of the house the heat loss through these windows would be high. There was obviously more to this problem, so I drove down to Craig’s place to have a look.

Craig wasn’t kidding about his addition. It was 10C/50F in there. I checked the windows and doors for leaks – none. I checked the connection between the addition and the original house. All the work had been done professionally and since the addition had been put on in the past year, I had no doubt that it had been insulated properly. The township building inspector would have made sure of that. So we went down to the basement where I found once again that the work had been done professionally and again there was no source of outside air. Next I turned to the heating system: three warm air supply ducts and one cold air return, all 5 inch diameter. This is not ideal, but should have been sufficient for the size of the addition. What struck me was the length of these ducts. In a forced air system like Craig’s, the air in the duct cools as it gets further from the furnace. In fact, Craig recorded a 9C/16F difference in the temperature of the air coming from the heat register closest to the furnace and the register in the addition.

The best place therefore, for a furnace is in the centre of your basement, not at one end. The pipe lengths will be shorter and the heat more evenly distributed. The only solution that I have found for this problem is to insulate the ducts. This is best done by a professional since the insulation goes on the inside of the duct and special insulation is used for the purpose. If you have a forced air system and a cold room in the house, try this test. Place an ordinary thermometer on the heat register closest to your furnace. Allow the furnace to come on normally and shut off normally. As soon as it shuts off, read the thermometer and record the temperature. Take the same thermometer and put it on a register in the cold room and repeat the process. It is a very simple and telling test.

Mike Lancop is a certified home inspector and member of the American Society of Home Inspectors, the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors, and Independent Home Inspectors of North America, and owner of Buyer?s Edge Home Inspection Services, High River, Alberta.

Pre-Listing Inspection

Having a pre-listing home inspection by a qualified home inspector before you list your home for sale can have great benefits. Eventually your buyers are going to conduct a home inspection. You may as well know what they are going to find by getting there first. Also, having a pre-listing home inspection performed ahead of time helps in many other ways:

a. It allows you to see your home through the eyes of a critical third-party.

b. It helps you to price your home realistically.

c. It permits you to make repairs ahead of time so that:

1. Defects won’t become negotiating stumbling blocks later.

2. There is no delay in obtaining the Use and Occupancy permit.

3. You have the time to get reasonably priced contractors or make the repairs yourself, if qualified.

d. It may encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency.

e. It may alert you of items of immediate personal concern, such as safety hazards or surprise defects that need attention.

f. It may relieve prospect’s concerns and suspicions.

g. It reduces your liability by adding professional supporting documentation to your disclosure statement.

h. It may alert you to immediate safety issues before agents and visitors tour your home.

Careful consideration of these points will help the seller see it is more of a benefit to inspect than not to inspect. More and more people are choosing to have a pre-listing home inspection in order to avoid the problems of killing the deal with suprises just before the sale goes through. This trend is becoming more popular and will increase rapidly as the marketplace feels the positive impact it is having. If you want to sell your home for more and get it done faster, then consider the benefits of a pre-listing home inspection today.

John B McKenna is a Certified Master Inspector serving the East Texas area. John has been licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and appoved by TREC as an inspector trainer. He has more than 25 years experience in the construction industry and is certified by the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI). He continues to update his yearly education and testing requirments. Call his office at 1-888-818-4838 (Toll Free) for more information.

Home Inspection True Stories

Radon Gas True Story (Don’t shoot the messenger)

Lawsuits And Apologies (Foundation repairs)

Nitpicky About Fire Hazards (Facts about home fires)

Choosing An Inspector (Agent referred inspector horror story)

New House Headache (Mold problem)

E-mail Correspondence (Between an agent and home inspector)

Radon Gas True Story
By Larry Lake

I have talked to realtors in the past trying to get my business going but have found some resistance, in my ignorance I was thinking that maybe inspectors and realtors could get along and work together….was I ever wrong! I will tell you what has just happened to me recently. A realtor woman called me and wanted to know if I could do a Radon test, I told her yes I would be glad to do it. Well first off I live in a small town Ponca City, Ok about 30,000 population and we have one big company here Conoco Inc. The realtor wanted me to inspect this particular house for a home buyer who was relocating here with Conoco from Colorado.

After doing a 48 hour test using a Femto Tech 510 Radon Monitor, the printout from the monitor showed an average reading of 48.5 pCi/L. The EPA standard says that you should never exceed 4 pCi/L also the lady living in the house had lung cancer! I immediately called the buyer who just arrived in town and told him the results, he in turn called the realtor, she called me and proceeded to yell at me. She was furious that I dared call the buyer with the results instead of calling her, she was demanding the report and wanted to know if she could come over right away and get it! I told her I was just finishing another report for a home inspection and have not put the report together yet and when I did my client would get it. She told me she paid me! I said yes but that the money really came from the relocating company with Conoco Inc. and was for the buyer (client).

I told her that he was my client and that the report belonged to him first. She kept yelling and finally threatened that she would not use me again, I tried to defend myself and told her that all my training and books say that my reports go to my client. This went on for about 10 minutes then she hung up on me, this really upset me to say the least. I have had problems with a few other realtors but not this bad, so bottom line realtors really turn me off, I suppose there are a few good ones out there.

I have always worked in the best interest of the home buying client and no longer solicit real estate agents.

Foundation Repairs
By Wayne Genser
Foremost Home Inspections

My client, two real estate brokers, and the owner of a foundation repair company met me as I got out of my truck. The Realtors told me the foundation repairs had just been completed, if I had any questions the contractor was there to answer them, and that I shouldn’t worry about any cracks in the slab because they would be patched before the end of the day. My standard answer for this type of situation is “I’ll just take a quick look anyway” and that satisfied them for the moment.

This house had style and that’s about all I could say for it. Style, however, certainly didn’t make up for the amateurish, slip shod and downright terrible manner in which this place was thrown together. Just about everything was wrong and the just completed foundation repairs struck me as matching the rest of the home perfectly. Several hours later I finished my inspection my fidgety client asked me to review my findings with the Realtors and contractor present.

As expected, no one liked what I had to say, including my client. The Realtors told him he should hire another inspector, the contractor told me he was going to call his lawyer, and my client told me he wasn’t happy about the commotion I had caused with the Realtors. I figured oh well, you can’t win ‘em all and made out my report which set forth everything I had just explained to them, including my comments on the foundation repair job. The client had his report, I had my check and I made up my mind to forget the whole affair as soon as possible.

Some three months later I received a phone call from this client. He started off by apologizing for arguing about my inspection and explained that before I arrived at the job both brokers had told him that I had a bad reputation and generally caused a lot of needless trouble. He said he was sorry he had listened to them instead of me, and informed me that his attorney had filed a lawsuit that morning against both brokers, the foundation repair contractor and an engineer the brokers had told him to call for a “good” inspection report.

Naturally I asked him what had happened and he said “everything.” He had closed on the home a week after my inspection and then had the entire interior redone; paint, tile, wallpaper – the works. Within two weeks the walls started to crack, the roof leaked, doors wouldn’t open or close, the plumbing system was giving him fits, the one inch crack in the living room slab had doubled in size and so on and so on. He said everyone involved with the sale of that home was being sued except me, and he thanked me for being so honest and straightforward with him – even though he didn’t listen until it was too late.

Funny thing – I never heard anything from the brokers, contractor or engineer and never got a referral from any of them either. Of course I’ve had numerous referrals from this client.

Facts About Home Fires
By Wayne Genser
Foremost Home Inspections

Many Realtors have consistently criticized me over the years as being “Too nit picky” about small, insignificant items such as poor wiring, fire stops and window sizing that really didn’t mean very much. Well, if residential structures never caught fire and if no one was ever injured or killed in those fires, these critics could have a point.

In our real world fires do occur and “small, insignificant items” simply can not be ignored. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recently furnished some pertinent information. Between the years of 1989 and 1993 the NFPA conducted an exhaustive, highly detailed survey of home structure fires, and the following results speak for themselves. During the four years included in the survey period a total of 466,300 home fires in the U.S. were reported which resulted in 3,860 civilian deaths, 20,810 civilian injuries and $4,378,200,000.00 in property damage.

The NFPA broke down the causes of these fires into various general categories.
Misc. equipment caused 44,000 fires, 240 deaths and 1,700 injuries.
Heating equipment caused 85,400 fires, 540 deaths and 2,180 injuries.
Electrical systems caused 39,600 fires, 370 deaths and 1,490 injuries.
Cooking equipment caused 101,200 fires, 320 deaths and 5,060 injuries.
Incendiary or suspicious caused 57,900 fires, 680 deaths and 2,310 injuries.
Open flame (such as fireplaces) caused 22,200 fires, 130 deaths and 770 injuries.
Appliances, tools & air conditioning caused 31,200 fires, 110 deaths and 1,080 injuries.
Children playing caused 22,400 fires, 390 deaths and 2,530 injuries. Exposure to another fire caused 17,500 fires, 40 deaths and 180 injuries. Other heat sources caused 10,000 fires, 130 deaths and 770 injuries. Natural causes were attributed to 8,700 fires, 20 deaths and 160 injuries.

By eliminating those fires caused by items which were not an actual integral part of the home, we get an idea of just how dangerous some homes can really be. The fires attributed solely to heating, cooking and other equipment, electrical systems and appliances, and open flames as their cause accounted for a total of 323,600 fires, 1,700 deaths, 12,280 injuries and $2,397,900,000.00 in property damage. Granted, these are U.S. totals which represent a four year period of time, but I hardly think they or their respective causes can be classed as either “small” or “insignificant”. Whether I’m criticized or not, I think I’ll stay “nit picky”.

Choosing An Inspector — What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
By Paul Rude
Summer Street

Quick answer — plenty! Here’s a worst-case scenario. I received a call in 1998 from a first-time buyer who had just closed escrow on a house in San Francisco. His agent had steered him to a favored inspector. The buyer paid for the inspection, accepted the report, and bought the house. But then he had second thoughts about whether the inspection report was accurate. He was right to be dubious.

The house was an 1890s Victorian on a steep hillside. It had been extensively remodeled. A concrete retaining wall at the front of the house made it look like the house had a modern foundation. Living space had been added on the basement level. There were decks overlooking the city, with patio doors from the living room and bedrooms. A dream house? Maybe. The first inspection “report” was just a checklist, with major items noted as either serviceable or needing repair. Nearly everything was noted as “serviceable,” including the foundation. Apparently, the inspector didn’t bother to look, or maybe he looked the other way.

As soon as I drove up, I could see that the remodeling was substandard. The new stairs from the street to the house were irregular and did not have handrails. The deck railings had large openings that a child could easily fall through.Starting up the stairs, I noticed the old, rusty gas pipe protruding from the soil. This was the main gas supply to the house. A break in the pipe would result in a major leak, and possibly a fire or explosion. Next to the gas pipe was the sewer pipe (parts of sewers are often exposed on steep hills). It was an old, 3-inch pipe. As I approached the house, I saw that the newer part of the pipe, where it passed through the front wall, was the 4-inch size. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that connecting a large drain to a smaller one below will create full employment for Roto-Rooter.

When I reached the house itself, I saw that the front retaining wall was crooked, leaning, and contained wood left from the concrete forms. Wood embedded in concrete is a great pathway for termites to enter a house. The wall was fairly new, all right, but it definitely had not been installed by a professional. Worse, it turned out that the new “foundation” consisted of concrete poured over the old basement floor, and over the bottom of the wall framing. Whoever installed it didn’t even bother to get it level, and there were no bolts to connect the walls to the concrete. This is a big deal in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the chance of a major earthquake has been estimated at about 50% within 30 years. In a strong quake, the house could slide down the hill if it is not properly anchored.

The “serviceable” roof had holes big enough to put your fist through. Parts of the roof framing were badly damaged by decay. There were gaps in the exterior that would let water into the walls. The old electrical panel was loose and hazardous, and circuits for the kitchen did not work. There was no sign of a drainage system to keep water out of the basement bedroom. I could go on, but you get the idea. None of this was mentioned in the previous report.

Needless to say, my client was less than thrilled when he found out his new house was a money pit. He went straight to his attorney, of course, and filed suit against the first inspector, the real estate company, and the sellers. The last I heard, he was finally getting a settlement after 2 years of litigation. Whether it will cover the full cost of repairs is anyone’s guess.

Just think of the trouble this buyer would have saved by calling a reputable, independent inspector before closing escrow! Even the real estate agents and the sellers would have been better served. They might have had to accept a lower price, or find another buyer, but they would have saved a considerable amount in legal fees, not to mention time and aggravation.

New House Mold Problem
By Scott Patterson
Trace Home Inspections, LLC

Recently I inspected a new home that was only 4 months old. The owners said that the master bedroom and bath had a musty odor and that mildew was growing on the walls in the bathroom. The owner said it started about two weeks after they moved in. They have both been sick with asthma and what they thought was the flu.

I found 3 major problems:
1. No bathroom ventilation exhausts fan had been installed.
2. The whirlpool tub drain was not fully connected to the drain, and water had been standing under the tub. The connection to the drain was off by over 3 inches to the left!
3. Mold growth was found under the wallpaper and on the supporting frame for the whirlpool tub. (Testing by a mold specialist revealed that the mold was of the Stachybotrys mold family. This is a mold that produces toxic spores.) Normally this would have been taken care of under the builder’s warranty, but the builder had gone out of business (bankruptcy) and no one was around to help! The new home owners ended up spending $11,400 in repairs and cleaning and much more in medical bills due to the mold that initially came from the faulty and improper installation of the tub and ventilation.

E-mail Correspondence Between Agent And Home Inspector
Submitted By David Fogle
HomeScope Augusta, Ga.

I got this email today from the listing agent of the inspection I did this past friday.

To: HomeScope Property Inspections

“You see, I am at this very minute trying to re-sale a property that was already under contract but due to your suggestions for improvement in your inspection report has caused major renegotiations on my part. Sir, my job is already tough enough without inspectors creating additional problems. Your inspection report should stick to the terms of the contract and not exceed those terms with SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT. These only cause additional problems with the buyer asking for these SUGGESTIONS be completed as repairs. I hope to never need your services again.”

My reply:

Dear real estate agent,

The items found in the inspection were relatively minor. Items we report on include things that may need repair, things that the new owner should consider doing as improvements, and safety issues. If your deal is having problems, it is caused by the condition of the property, of which I only report on. I would assume that you prefer a home inspector to sugar coat the defects in order to make the sales process go more smoothly. Sorry, but we are not part of the sales team. We report in an unbiased manner on the condition of the home. We get paid to tell the truth, for the benefit of our clients, not the listing agent.

If you would like to point out any examples of anything that we reported that were not accurate, please let me know.

David Fogle
HomeScope
Augusta, Ga.