Friday, April 1, 2016

The Holmes Imperative & A Partial List of Inspectors

M. Holmes is a populist TV builder/contractor personality. He is direct, truthful, and does not mince words. One of his publications was and is instrumental to me as an inspector. M. Holmes, The Holmes Inspection: The Essential Guide for Every Homeowner, Buyer, and Seller (NY: Time Home Entertainment, 2012). This text has horror story example after example of bad inspections, incomplete inspections, inspector-to-realtor conflicts of interest, and the like. As a new inspector, I approached this book with fear and trembling. Since reading the book, I go back to it periodically to remind my self how essential it is to be careful in inspecting. That I need to have the same fear and trembling that was present at the beginning. Holmes infers that diligent care and competent communication are more important than making a dollar at the expense of quality. Add to this testimony the story after story (after story) I have received from clients who have had abbreviated, quickie inspections and reports themselves. One page report for 450$! Said nothing. Missed twelve cracked windows. Etc. The inJustice of the 17 page report that missed large item after large item on a property I reinspected after a prior un-Just inspector had done his thing.

I am a buyer's inspector. But not completely. I am an inspector for whomever hires me. If you are a realtor, buyer, bank, or seller who wants a quick, check off list type of typical inspection that covers the big issues only or seeks to treat the inspection as another hoop to jump through, Domuspect is not for you. Go to the next inspector on the list, please. The list is at the end of this post.

Domuspect's reports are detailed, long, have many maintenance suggestions, and like Holmes, seek to speak the truth and plainly. I tell people to use high grade silicone caulk that is 10$ a tube, to use stainless steel flashing and fasteners, and to not cut corners for the sake of greed. Since I am a born maintenance man, I include explanations how to do your own work if you are that type of personality. I shall not gloss over issues to make the sale or help the transaction in any way. If you want the detail, it will be there. If not, read the summary only or else get another inspector. I once had a realtor nearly shout at me, "You cannot be a deal killer." In response, I seek to observe critically though fairly, and then speak the truth. Deal with it! And she has dealt with it: she never refers me and that's just ok with me!

Recently, an inspection of a property outside Nehalem that was along river. The river had deep banks, a somewhat built up dike, and during calm times (almost always), portrays an idyllic riverfront property that looks most appealing. Beautiful country with your neighbors out of your face. Simply walk twenty feet off of your porch to fish or kayak or get your river blackberries or visit your river rat pets Frank and Jules, or whatever. However, thrice in the last twenty years, the property has flooded. The house is only accessible by boat when this occurs. Your car is up to its wheels on the high ground (fully underwater on the low ground) and all your firewood floats away! Water is under the house at a one foot depth average. The house skirting on two sides is caved in from the force of the flooding water.
The rest of the house and pole garage were in fabulous shape. I would have given an A- or B+ for the structures alone. But I told my client, "I give this property a flat F because of where it lies. You shall experience flooding that will be detrimental toward the structure, dangerous to you/yours, and beyond this, to you even being able to get in and out when this occurs. It is not a matter of if this flooding will happen, it is rather a matter of when." My report paralleled this conclusion, come what may.

Ok, a list of inspectors besides myself in Tillamook and Clatsop Counties. This list has no reference to any abilities, experience, knowledge, etc. of these persons, companies. I am just giving a list; YOU make up your own mind based on speaking with the person(s). I hate, despise the idiotic good old boy network where one person in control likes person a, f, and t and only recommends them while another likes b, g, and t and only recommends these. As Holmes says, YOU THE CLIENT should be the one to interview people and make up your mind intelligently on whom you are using. Invariably, one person loves that guy (person) while another does not, for whatever reasons. Some of these inspectors may be out of business. If not here and want to be listed, contact and I'll add. With the exception of one inspector (out of area who works primarily in this area) whom I have inspected after he and cannot endorse his superficiality and lack of interest in his clients' financial and safety concerns.

The Tilly:
Steve Schroetke, Silvertide Inspection Services. 503 351-8156.
Jeff Schick, Amber Home Inspections LLC. 503 734-7564.
Scott Neimann, 4 Corners Home Inspection. 503 812-5603.
Aric Barnes, Northstar Home Inspections. 503 738-7488.
Jeff Hayes, Top Notch Home Inspection. 503 816-6098.
Deleted, see *** below.
Jim Smith, Professional Home Inspection. 503 458-5602; 503 791-8028.
Brent Mallory, Coastal Pacific Home Inspection Services. 503 791-5997.

Long Beach Peninsula:
Leslie A Colvin, Colvin's Quality Inspections. 360 777-8880; 503 791-2313. 

 Sicut Domino, gaudio, inspectans!! (As unto the Lord, inspecting with great joy.)

*** Mike Harrison of Seaside: you are off the list. You are a vastly experienced contractor having many decades of contractor experience. However,

1. How many times must I hear from your former clients about your abbreviated inspections, spending fifteen to forty five minutes on site. (Fifteen to forty five MINUTES!?!!!!!) No access to roof. To other components. You may be an old school contractor, but you are no inspectorial prophet and seer. You simply cannot stand at the edge of a property and look over it and accurately pontificate what is defective and in need of work. What lazy arrogance, this?
2. We live in a computer age. You need to either come to terms with this, integrating it into your work, or leave your occupation. Your half to one page hand written check-off reports shall not do. No pictures. Hand scribble that is nearly illegible. These reports do not at all do justice to your clients' interests. You would not want a report like this were you spending 250K on a property; hence, DO NOT expect that your clients' will either.
3. The straw that broke the back: My neighbor from across the street bought his house two years ago. He found massive rot on two sides of the structure -- such that he has had to tear the structure apart to remove this rot and remediate. On my off time, I have been going over and helping him with this work since he is too under-employed to pay for this work. His structure is a war zone now, has been for the last year, and shall be for many months and even years. Imagine my surprise last evening when my neighbor said that you had inspected his house. Fifteen minutes on site and 350$. A short one page of report that said nothing. As I bend down with sore back, wrists, and elbows to lay a sill plate or repair this or that, you come to mind. Enough is enough Harrison. Either come up to a minimum standard with the quality of your work, or abandon your stubborn demeanor and leave the profession. Shameful!

One Man's Clean Laundry is Another's. . .

Recently a seller of a property that I inspected said the following in a review.

This company has caused us much grief because of the incredibly erroneous reports on the home we lived in. We even showed the reports to professionals in the construction field who said the report was completely ludicrous. A friend of mine from MIT told me he usually referred to this type of 'professional' as "Revenge of the C students". 
I inspected this property on behalf of two potential buyers and not for this woman. Both buyers told me that the owner was not willing to budge at all on the price. The place needed work in two primary areas, with the usual odds and ends that go with any structure new or old.

This complaint is actually a badge of honor from a seller. Conversely, it is nothing good if from my client(s). I hear third person on occasion that sellers are angry at my reports. Too detailed! Incompetent! Demands too much, Etc. My response: oh well and oh well. . .

I am not the "law;" I am not a Municipal Code Inspector. People can take my suggestions or not. You do not like what is said? Move on and move on!

I inspect each and every structure as if inspecting for my God, the one, only God, with Him as my Employer, and not a company or primarily any clients. True, I do seek to defend by seeing and informing my clients and their massive financial outlay that is hanging in the balance. But my inspecting is to please my authentic Provider, Employer. Pretty simple.

Doxe Monoutheou: with honor unto the One, Only God

Our logician friends would perhaps say that such a one is appealing to popularity or consensus. "My collection of contractor experts say. . ." Also an appeal to intellectual snobbery/elitism, my friend the MIT professional no less. The criticism of this MIT professional, the classic abusive "against the person" argument. Perhaps more, with pejorative terms and language, etc.

For any topic, point, argument, paper, presentation, whatever, there are always persons to line up on whatever side and support one side and condemn the other. The Investigation-Discovery channel and the unending line of expert witnesses to argue both for the prosecution and the defense in past court cases. The current ever-charged and divided political climate, with the various heresies (positions) and definitive arguments on why this or that person is America's right choice. Bottom line: money and ego. Agree with me and help fill my bank account and you are true, right, correct, even good. Do not, and you are an incompetent lout. . .

Meanwhile, I lie down into by crawlspace "belly buggy" and head off into the nasty, dusty gloom to see what things there are to be seen, to the honor of my God, in defense of my clients, and to let the angry old woman get angrier.