From: Owl Home Inpsections [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 11:16 PM
Subject: HI Blog
I'm sure you have received many comments from Home Inspectors about your latest blog entry. I find it deplorable that you paint an entire profession with such a broad brush and with incorrect information.
Specifically: (Your blog in blue, my comments in Bold)
A home inspector is a waste of time for a lot of reasons.The first reason is that they do not do what you think they do.
Then the inspector has not done his job upon the initial consultation - any good HI will make sure his client understands what will and will not be done during the course of the inspection.
You think they are there to find existing or potential problems in the house
Yes, they are
so that you can decide if you should or shouldn't buy the house
many factors go into a house buying decision, with the inspection and resulting report being one of them.
You could not be more wrong about what they do.
Assumes facts not in evidence.
You should understand that a home inspection is nothing more than a "feel good moment" for you provided courtesy of the Texas Real Estate industry.Unless you find one of the rare inspectors that actually understands home construction and what problems normally beset homes,
And you would be wise to do your homework before picking anyone to work for you, be it Real Estate Agent, Inspector, Accountant or lawyer
This next part is especially irresponsible - I challenge you to find one report that *only* states if there is a dishwasher, a fireplace and if the plumbing "works"
you will probably receive a 5 to 20 page report that will tell you if there is a dishwasher, a fireplace, that the plumbing works, etcetera. The etcetera encompasses many things here - foundation/structure, roof, grounds/grading, electrical system, HVAC, water heater, interior, etc - also these systems may have many individual components that need to be evaluated.
The Texas Real Estate Commission licenses home inspectors, but don't be fooled.
If you have a problem with your state's laws, then put forth some energy into making it better.
Often, these "inspectors"have NO prior experience in home construction or repair.In Houston, after Enron failed, several former Enron employees became home inspectors.
Again, you would be wise to do your homework before picking anyone to work for you, be it Real Estate Agent, Inspector, Accountant or lawyer. However, a construction or repair background does not automatically make a good inspector - what if they've been lousy contractors to begin with?
A home inspector is only required to tell you one of four things:
- That an item is present
- That an item is not present
- That it was inspected
- That it is damaged or needs repair
You are certainly more well versed in Texas RE law than I, however what is or is not inspected and what is and is not reported is really up to TREC. The Inspectors are bound to follow what TREC has laid out and "defined" their scope of work. If you have a problem with that I suggest you title a blog "Beware of TREC"
So in the case of the air conditioning system, the inspector will say if it is there or not; that he inspected it and as long as it blows relatively cool air when turned on, he will not note or report that it is damaged or in need of repair.
Guess the word "relatively" is meant to demean the inspection process, but wait...
But wait- if the a/c system is ten years old and does not cool sufficiently due to a leaking compressor, will he tell you that?NO.
Again, false and inflammatory statements. If it does not cool sufficiently then it is in need of repair. Also with a leaking compressor.
What if the a/c system is not even sufficient to cool the space involved?He won't tell you that either.
Some HIs do indeed test systems for efficiency, however it is beyond the scope of a standard Inspection as defined by your lawmakers. I would also venture to guess that if it was not sufficient to cool the space that it would be pretty evident at the time of the inspection and thus be documented as in need of repair.
All he is required to do and all that he typically does is turn things on and see if they appear to work.There is no evaluation of how well they work or whether you may be incurring repair expenses or replacement in the near future
Again, not true. Many Inspectors will let their clients know if systems or their components are at of beyond their normal expected lifespan and to be prepared to repair or replace various systems in the future. If this is not allowed by TREC, once again you should take it up with them.
What can you do? Hire a licensed air conditioning repair service to evaluate the system.It is money well spent.
This may be the most inane comment in the entire blog. First off, a "licensed air conditioning repair service" as you suggest would not be impartial and would probably find something wrong with the A/C that they could fix. Secondly what is a "licensed air conditioning repair service" going to tell you about the roof, plumbing, electrical, structure, soil, etc..
Mr. Dugas, I have never attended Law School, but I am under the impression that the first rule of lawyering is "Never ask a question you don't know the answer to". Seems rule #2 should be "Get your facts straight before you start speaking of something you know little about" And Rule #3 perhaps, "Do not paint with such a broad brush".
I find your erroneous and slanderous blog to be unbecoming an Officer of the Court. Perhaps you've had a bad experience with one or two Home Inspectors that were either deceitful or ill-equipped to perform their task. However, that should not be portrayed as the Home Inspection Industry in general. I do know that there are some Inspectors who may not be "up to par" and need to either get re-educated or changer careers.
Probably like that with lawyers too, huh?
Illinois Home Inspector
I am going to post your response on my blog.I will grant you that home inspection should be a crucial factor in buying a house.In Texas, however, the bar is terribly low.I could lobby the Texas Real Estate Commission to change the standards and increase the qualifications or make the inspection more thorough.However, I am primarily concerned with warning home buyers that a home inspection is not what they think it is any more than a termite inspection is what they think it is.For the record, I have defended successfully home inspectors at trial.There is no doubt that home inspectors that are conscientious do excellent work and provide a useful service.I have also encountered indifference and disdain for obvious problems including damage that was later deemed to be discoverable at the time of the inspection.I stand by my comments, harsh as they are, that the average home inspection fails to address the three most important questions in a home for the consumer:the roof, the foundation and the HVAC system.The roof is usually inspected by looking at it from the street with binoculars.Not only is the inspector not required to climb up a ladder and inspect it, most inspectors do not even carry ladders.Secondly, the foundation is inspected but not with the detail that is necessary to evaluate existing and future problems.Finally, in Texas, the HVAC system is turned on but no comment is made about its age, previous repairs and its rating for the size of the spaces it is cooling.For these reasons, I recommend that buyers hire a licensed HVAC contractor to evaluate those issues because the homeowner will need to know if this system will require replacement or future repairs.
I agree that the Texas Real Estate Commission should increase its standards on these three areas and I will submit my own letter along with any comments from any home inspector that wants to also contribute.Please feel free to comment directly and I will post rational rebuttals.
EVIN G. DUGAS