Friday, August 18, 2017

Rotten Butts

I frequently tell clients that “if you wish to own with excellence, then do [this or that].” Usually the this or that has some reference to stainless steel and utilizing higher quality materials than the bare minimum, or the low levels of what code requires. I inspect many homes that really are well maintained on the superstructure. However, when accessing out of the way places, especially crawlspaces, the maintenance and care ends.

Recently I inspected a home selling for just under a million dollars in a hoity toity village down the coast. A million dollars! For real?! This was going to be a second or third home for the clients. The superstructure was something to behold. Well built. Maintained with excellence! Wonderful. Wonderful.

Then the crawl space. Unmaintained. Soaked. Rodents. Pulled down insulation in a sick soup-morass of dung, disease, wet filth. Garbage and debris everywhere. Old worn out plumbing. Supports on one whole side of the structure that looked like they were thrown together by the local pre-school. I call this type of supporting “Uncle Jed” supporting. The proverbial uncle jed came over, watched the game, then helped fix the electrical and raise the house when half intoxicated.

Do not show me the pretty upside when the downside is a corrupted morass. Rather, show me that you are the total property owner by caring not just for what can be seen, but also that which is not seen. 

This the essence of J’s condemnation of the religious self-righteous in the New Testament. Fancy clothes. Prayin’ in public for all to see. Showin’ off how much they give, how generous they are. How good they are. . . 

And all for naught. 

Likewise this house. A million dollars for a pretty face but a rotten bottom.

Why Good-Ol'-Boys and Girls Suck

The most successful real estate team in our rural area used to utilize my services frequently. Being used is nice. Making money is nice.

One day, one from this team decided to use me for a home that s/he was personally purchasing. I did not charge any less for this inspection than for any other structure of the same size or any other client. Some time later, after payment, this person contacted me and asked me to send a blank invoice so that the charge for the inspection could go to another and not him/her-self. I had already contracted with this person, been paid by this person, and the transaction was finished.

I do not bill anyone except the person paying for and receiving the inspection.   

You see, the State of Oregon requires that inspectors put the following on the front of their reports. It must be capitalized and bold faced.

I explained to this realtor-client that this mandatory statement is why I do not bill alternate parties. You pay for the inspection; thus, YOU are the person that is on my contract and to whom I send the report. The conversation was awkward; the realtor assured me it was no big deal and that I shouldn’t worry about it.

This was the last inspection for which this team utilized my services.

I am very much into inspecting, seeing, and report writing. I get a deep sense of satisfaction for seeing everything possible for a client, reporting this at length, and being in a very real sense a shield between the client and surprise and financial distress or even ruin. I am not into politics, schmoozing, politically advancing self, or associating in ANY WAY with any good old boy or good old girl networks. Being an outsider to this rural area, I have deliberately avoided politicizing in such ways.

I take words seriously. Speaking truth. This for me even goes as far as even avoiding pretence in the niceties that we so often say in greeting, lies really, when we say, “so nice to see you!” or “how are you?”, etc., when we do not mean it or care.

My way of dealing with the real conflict of interest that exists between inspectors and realtors: to put my head down and do my job, seeing and speaking and writing truth, and all else be damned. Work comes as work comes. 

It is a bother to not be used by some or to not make as much money as one could or the like. However, this boy lives by conviction and not by profit motive or motives of ego. And that is how it is going to be. Meanwhile, let’s go paddle across the river. The waves are angry and exciting this fine day!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reflections on the Occupation

People who become home inspectors seem to be the person who knows, who is in controlThis was demonstrated when listening to a budding inspector respond to a client’s queries. The dam broke; the words poured forth.  

How people handle knowledge is an interesting study. Some people keep their knowledge to themselves and judiciously speak. Perhaps these are the minority. People who know things usually seem to want to let others know how much that they do. Perhaps more than they know. Like the fellow on Wheel of Fortune the other evening who had to let everybody know that he could speak seven languages fluently, and several more languages conversationally. Or a past professor who lorded his knowledge over others like a stick, beating them, making them look stupid and small. Or the small-in-stature boss that I had for a period who did the same with those under his finger, seeming to gloat in making others look ignorant.

I wish to learn ravenously, but to be wise about what to speak. How. When. And to uplift others in the process. To genuinely listen to others when they speak and then to think about what they said. Not to be ready to answer in rebuttal or quick succession. To be able to say when I do not know something and not try to misrepresent. 

The growth pains continue. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fools of the Dynasty

Many dynasties have their clowns. The infamous megalomaniacs Nero and Caligula for the Julio-Claudian dynasty, etc. Again, the words of WASP, album Golgotha: 

     You cheered ya'alls clown to king. . . 

along with an ancient Hoseaic proverb, 

     Whoso sows the wind, shall reap the whirlwind. 

And another, 

     The labor of nations is fuel for the fire.

Let us enjoy the whirlwind, dÄ“mos. As we ride the mayhem together. The mad torrents of incompetent, raging ego.