Fischer: Botched home inspection tales of woe, part 2
Welcome to part two of “Home Inspectors from Hell.” As a recap, we had detailed just some of the perils of soliciting the services of unqualified home inspection companies, of which, sadly, there are a fair number. As we last left our true tale of troublesome tragedy, our illustrious trio of hardworking hirelings had removed wall hangings, dumped fireplace ash onto the floor and switched the air conditioning unit to the off position (in 97-degree heat). If that were all, perhaps it could have been forgiven and chalked up to a few too many cold ones too early in the day. Unfortunately, however, they had not yet completed their path of destruction.
One would hope at this point that perhaps they would have been a little less thorough in their inquiry, and in fact, as it turned out, they had been unconscionably so. Yet not before disconnecting the exhaust on the central vac, resulting in an impressive dust storm in the garage. The swarm then decided to head up to the attic, where they managed to bust the frame around the opening, sending shards of wood onto the carpet so my client could find them in the soles of her feet later than evening after removing her shoes.
What these inept buffoons didn’t do, however, was call out any items of concern. This is great for my client; however, we were expecting at least a red flag with the roof, since it had reached the end of its lifespan as was clearly shown by the curled shingles and missing roof tiles. In fact, the roofer was scheduled to come a few days later to replace the roof since my client knew it would be an item of concern for the inspector (plus, she said she just wouldn’t feel good about leaving it like that for the new buyer). They also missed a crack on the walkway up to the home that left a gap as big as the Grand Canyon.
Utah is one of 14 states that does not require licensing for home inspectors. Now I’m the first person to admit that licensing doesn’t necessarily mean much when it comes to hands-on experience — after all, they did give me a driver’s license and I really have no business driving. However, I think it would give us all a small level of reassurance to know that someone wasn’t entering a client’s unoccupied home with the definitive absence of either a clue or an ounce of decency.
Frankly, the seller has every right to maintain a presence in the home while the home inspection is taking place. I usually advise my sellers to stay, if need be, and then to vacate for a few minutes at the end while the buyer’s agent, the buyers and the home inspector meet together to debrief. This way, if my sellers are not comfortable with someone who is unlicensed, underaged, inexperienced or three sheets to the wind to spend a few hours in their home unattended, they do not have to. The seller does, however, per contract, need to provide access for a home inspector.
As the buyer is the one who chooses the home inspector, the seller has very little control over this. However, the seller can either be present or, at the very least, let the inspector know that the security cameras will be on and recording during the inspection. This will at least allow for some assurance that the proverbial Three Stooges aren’t in the theater room cozied up on a LoveSac watching the latest James Bond with a couple of open brewskis in tow.
As a buyer, go ahead and take the recommendation of your Realtor, and then do some research on that individual or company for yourself. Call them up and have a chat. Ask about their experience. Ask them if they do it themselves or if they are going to send their nephew who is just trying to get back on his feet after his short stint in the county jail. Most likely they will be legit, but it will be worth the effort. After all, it’s not every seller that will replace a roof just because it was time.
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or firstname.lastname@example.org