It’s 8 a.m., I’m just about to step out of my van as I feel a dark cloud fall over me. Pausing slightly I look up to see a realtor step out of her black Mercedes scowling at me, ready to do battle, ready to protect her sale because the client had picked me, a noted “Deal Killer”, and not one of her favored “Blind Eyed Home Inspectors”. And that’s how my day all too often starts
As the subtitle states, I’m a real home inspector and not a manufactured TV celebrity or one with made-up credentials behind my name. I’m not one that turns a blind eye to issues in order to help a realtor close the deal. In the big picture I see myself as an advocate for the house, while at the same time protecting the best interests of my client. Writing this book is my way of saying that I’m fed up with self-serving television sensationalism and with realtors who are more interested in promoting less-than-reputable or unqualified inspectors. Inspectors that daily play down and turn a blind eye to serious issues and defects in order to save the realtors sale and commission. I’m fed up with television and realtors trying to run my industry. In this book I’m shooting straight from the hip to set the record straight and to expose some of the facts about who is really working for you and who is pretending to work for you while in reality are only looking out for their own personal best interests, at your expense!
Although I’m a real home inspector from the front lines of the home inspection industry, I’m not here to defend home inspectors.Although I’m opinionated (as most inspectors are), my ego doesn’t require attention and I don’t claim to be a hero. This book is simply based on facts as I know them and personal experience. Whereas we’re all familiar with the phrase “Truth is stranger than fiction,” I’m often quoted as saying, “Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always tomorrow…!” You should find that the first few chapters serve as an overview; many of the topics touched on there will be elaborated on in later chapters.
Unlike television celebrities or news broadcasters who’s job it is to entertain, I don’t have an international stage with script writers or thousands of emails from disenfranchised homebuyers with stories to capitalize on. Instead, I’ve actually been trained and practiced as a home inspector for 15 years. Combining this experience with having designed and built custom homes, been a practicing realtor, taught dozens of new inspectors, performed a few thousand real inspections and having been actively involved with our professional associations, I feel that I’m qualified to comment on the state of the industry. (see About the Author for details). Although I practice in Ontario, Canada, my professional association involvement keeps me abreast of the national picture in both Canada and the United States. Although we have major geographical differences we are united regarding the majority of our industry problems. Where the USA have been both the industry forerunner and leader, it’s this little guy from the north who’s prepared to stand up and, although politically incorrect, discuss the missing links that others only talk about behind closed doors!
Besides moving a building at age 16, I acquired my introduction to property management and maintenance when my parents decided to purchase an investment property. Dad was always the organizer, Mom was appointed the decorator and I the handyman. Since then I have owned and managed a significant number of different houses, large, small, city and country, as well as vacation properties and office buildings.
From scratch I’ve designed and been the general contractor for three custom homes, dug wells, laid septic beds, designed and poured footings and foundations by hand. Most recently I was trained and have personally installed two geothermal heating systems. As a divorce survivor, I understand what it’s like to start over by purchasing and fixing up a duplex where my downstairs tenants paid the mortgage and I lived upstairs before moving on and holding it as an investment property. I’ve worked on commercial projects in malls, government buildings, schools and hospitals.
In the world of home inspection, there are many inspectors who know more than I do and others who know less. The one thing that I feel confident in saying is, the list of inspectors who know less than I do is far longer than the list of those who know more. But no matter where any of us stand in such a grand list, seasoned or new,we all bring some special knowledge to the table. Those of usinvolved in professional associations are required to annually upgrade our education and, simply by associating with fellow inspectors, are continuously learning from each other.
I stress that I’m only writing about things I know through personal first hand experience. All the “stories” and “picture stories” are from my personal files. Where as there are days that I think I’m just getting old and crotchety, it’s my hope that this book will help inform readers while righting some of the wrongs and misunderstandings that have been perpetrated by the media, realtors and blind eyed inspectors, towards the home inspection industry.
I’m sure that you’ll find a number of my stories as disturbing as they are entertaining, but again they are true. Like most of you, I’m just another little guy in a world of little guys who are dominated by big guys and corporations that hide behind money, bureaucracy, lawyers, legislation and media campaigns which, for the most part, simply piss me off! In the following pages I’m going to unmask a number of those so called respectable institutions and individuals who have involved themselves in our industry and are hiding behind regulation, media glitz and questionable qualifications in order to pull the wool over your eyes.
Again, I’m not here to defend or paint a rosy picture of home inspectors. I’m here to explain what you should know and who you can trust regarding home inspections. In a number of cases I’ll expose what is really going on in the industry along with things that are not beneficial to you. At the end of the day it’s safe to say that I’ve always considered myself a bit of an activist and champion of the little guy. As those around me often referred to me as being “passionate” about my beliefs, I, along with many other professional home inspectors,consider ourselves as “advocates of the house” and do our best to speak to our clients on behalf of the house. In the pages to follow, it’s my objective to supply you with insight and information in order to help you protect yourself when making decisions about buying or selling property, choosing a home inspector, realtor or even entering the industry as a home inspector or realtor.
For any law makers or legislators I’m also going to be explaining why some of your assumptions may be misguided. I’ll explain a number of the missing links as to why your rules and systems do not work as well as they could.
welcome to my world…