Today we went and looked at a leaky roof.
This woman bought a house back in July. She looked at over 100 homes
before deciding to buy the one she has. She's had carpet replaced,
she's painted, she's having new windows installed, etc. Before she
bought the house she hired a very highly recommended home inspector to
go over it. This highly regarded home inspector gave the house a
passing grade, including the three year old roof.
We went and looked at this roof. Just about everything that could have
been done wrong was. The leak that is showing is a valley leak. This
valley has just about everything wrong with it. To begin with the
wrong plane of the roof was installed first (it is a closed, non
woven, non "California" valley). When doing valleys, the lower plane
should be done first. On this one the higher plane was done first
which makes water from the higher plane go under the shingles on the
lower plane at the valley. Next, there are fasteners as close as 1/2
inch from the center of the valley. Small pieces of shingles that do
not cross over the valley anywhere near far enough were used on the
first plane installed.
Other clues the "inspector" missed are face nailed shingles all over
the various planes of the roof. Poorly done counter flashings on the
rakes, some shingles exposures stretched so far that it seems water
can directly penetrate under the shingles below, etc., etc., etc.
Home inspectors. Anyone who's read some of the opinions I've posted
about home inspectors won't be surprised by my disdained for this
particular "inspector." Admittedly, not all home inspectors are nearly
as bad as this one was, but this woman came to this fellow in good
faith in order to learn something about the state of this house. She
paid him good money for his service and supposedly well educated
opinion. I have to wonder what else this fellow missed? Standing on
the ground in the front of the house I could tell the roof was a
problem. It has been a long time since I've seen a roof as poorly
installed as this one, and then that a home inspector, licensed by the
state, gave this roof a passing grade? The fellow needs to be horse
whipped and put out on display for stealing this woman's money and
then be made to refund it.
As for the storm chasing vultures who installed this roof, well they
just need to be chased back to their country of origin and not allowed
We'll fix this leak tomorrow by removing the shingles in that valley
and re-installing the valley correctly. We'll even look over the rest
of the roof and patch obvious problems. At this point she doesn't want
to re-roof the entire house. But she'll have more leaks, to be sure.
Thanks to bad installers who are no better than thieves and thanks to
a "home inspector" she hired to tell her if she'll have any problems
with the house. That "inspector" is just as competent as the
originators of the roof problem.
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
I do a lot of work with real estate brokers. As a licensed electrician I'm
forever writing letters to home buyers or sellers, correcting mistakes made
on home inspection reports. I'm not exactly sure how these folks become
"qualified", but I know their reports have healthy disclaimers on their
Most home inspector contracts are written such that they are not really
responsible for anything they miss and most states do not license them. In
Florida, where we require a state certification and a license to braid hair or
paint toenails, a home inspector only needs an occupational license from the
county. There are no requirements beyond having $30.
yeah, lots of these guys have an area of 'expertise' and some general
experience watching how the rest of it it all goes together after building
houses for a while, but not much else. and as you say if they have some
sort of license, it didnt require much more than paying the fee to get it...
get in good with a few real estate agents, kick them back a couple bucks for
each recommendation, and its not very hard work for some pretty good money.
i realize they werent the ones that screwed it up in the first place, and
you cant expect them to inspect every nail in the house, but missing
something like a completely botched roof should not be able to be written
off by some 'im not responsible' clause.
i dunno. there are some reputable home inspectors out there. but mostly
its a bunch of hacks.
I don't believe that such disclaimers of responsibility are valid in
court. The inspector is clearly selling his expertise. The prospective buyer
is clearly buying this expertise. For the inspector to then argue that in
fact there is no expertise won't wash. This homeowner should file a claim
with the inspector's insurer for an entire roof replacement based on the
"Which is the point. Nearly all home inspectors are a total waste of
I strongly disagree with that. Sure, like any contractor, how good a
one you get depends on how you pick them. If you just use the yellow
pages, you have no way of knowing. If you check the inspectors
qualifications, background, ask friends/neighbors for recommendations,
you have a much better chance of getting a good one.
And even a not so good one is better than none for a homeowner that is
totally clueless and may not even have owned a home before. For
example, in the missed
bad roof example, we don't know how many other things the inspector did
find that would have cost the homeowner money. Finally, in most cases,
the inspection more than pays for itself for the buyer, because in an
average home, even a mediocre inspector will find enough things to go
back to the seller and negotiate down the price more than the cost of
On 12 Jan 2005 04:49:29 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org scribbled this
This inspector was recommended by a realtor with almost thirty years
experience in the area. The inspection was paid for by the prospective
buyer, not the realtor, not the seller, not the mortgage company. The
inspector was an agent for the buyer, no one else, so there was no
realtor to keep happy, no mortgage company to keep happy, no other axe
Not true in this case. If our new customer who just bought this home
had gotten an accurate report she would not have purchased this home
and instead kept looking for one that had fewer (or no) real problems.
Her stress level would not be what it is today and she most likely
would have more money in her pocket.
I suspect the only real problem the "inspector" caught was the obvious
moisture inside most of the insulated windows. The new homeowner was
savvy enough to negotiate down the price in order to pay for new
windows instead of having the seller fix them.
As to your last point, I feel the reverse way of looking at the
situation is more realistic. If this inspector missed such glaring and
obvious problems as those found on the roof, what else did he miss?
BTW, in Texas there are two ways to obtain a home inspector's license
from the state. One is to show from experience that you already know
it all, and the other is to take a prescribed number of hours of
coursework and take the state mandated test. How do I know this? Easy.
A friend of my niece's took the coursework, studied the exam guides,
and failed the test I don't know how many times before finally passing
it recently. This has been going on for years before she finally
passed the exam!
We too have had to go out and instruct home inspectors in how houses
are put together. One time a home we roofed was up for sale and some
inspector claimed it had two roofs on it, which it did not. This
fellow looked at the eve, at the double thickness at the eve, and
surmised that was two roofs, not knowing how a properly installed
composition asphalt shingle roof is assembled with a starter course
before the first shingle that will see the weather is installed!
Because of his incompetence the sale of a couple of hundred thousand
dollar home was postponed causing untold stress on both the seller and
the buyer. (By the way, how a house is properly roofed is part of the
Home inspectors need some sort of mechanism that weeds out the bad
ones. A bad home inspection is worse than no home inspection because a
buyer may be mislead into thinking a home has few or no problems when
the reality is, after they buy the house they will be spending
thousands of dollars to fix the problems the inspection should have
caught. Sellers may be prevented from selling a home that has no real
problems when an inspection report shows items that are of no
consequence or are outright wrong. In either case the inspectors have
stolen their fee, either intentionally or unintentionally, and should
be prevented from doing further harm to unsuspecting customers who are
paying for their supposed expertise.
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
Well, superficially maybe, but...
If the recommendation came from the realtor showing the house, there's
an implied benefit to the inspector to approve the deal and there's a
clear motive for the realtor to provide an inspector who will ensure the
deal is closed. There's a tendency for prospective buyers to believe
the realtor is "working for" them, but that is absolutely not so...
If the inspector was recommended by the realtor, how could there be no
conflict of interest? Sure, they're "suppossed" to be working for the buyer,
but what do you think the realtor will do if this particular inspector keeps
finding too many problems and nixing deals for this realtor?
So he/she isn't still using the same one(s)???
Sorry, the same motives still exist at all ages--I know, I'm getting to
be a geezer meself and "retahred" a couple of years ago--but, I didn't
change personalities. :)
in my case, the home inspection was required by our lender. the guy was nice
enough, and was probably competent, but the whole thing just seemed like
"going through the motions" - there was nothing in it that wasn't pretty
obvious. reading the report went something like this:
report: roof is >20 years old and needs to be replaced
report: wiring is knob & tube and needs to be replaced
report: smoke detectors should be installed in all bedrooms.
report: thanks for your $150
That inspection wasn't for you, it was for the lending institution for
their use in deciding whether or not to write the loan and as input to
the rate if so...if you get something useful out of it or not is no
concern of theirs. For many neophyte home owners there may well be some
eye-opening revelations, for experienced/knowledgeable ones, obviously
Actually, I read somewhere recently that K & T will pretty much last
forever; that is if left alone and not hacked into; and any new
circuits are run back to the main.
The article talked about how in the days of K & T, electricians were
still VERY paranoid about electricity, and went to great pains to make
sure that the installation was done as close to perfectly as possible.
Which I tend to believe. My brother owned a house built in the K & T
days for many years, which for whatever reason was in pristine
condition and had managed to make it through the decades without a
single renovation. I was pretty young at the time, this would have been
about 1978 or so, but I do remember going down in the basement and
marveling at the wiring and the care put into installing it. I mean it
looked like they used a laser to line up all the insulators; when the
wires took a turn I recall that they were all very crisp 45's, again
with the insulators placed exactly in line with one another, with each
wire exactly the same distance from it's neighbor; all throughout the
length of the house. It actually looked like a giant living piece of
art... to me anyway.
It seems it would if people wouldn't mess with it. Originally it was
setup for just general lighting, then today's
boob-brother-in-law-electrician-wanna-be run receptacles off of it to
give power to kids video games and tv.
That's when all heck breaks out.
tom @ www.ChopURL.com
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