This Week's Pet Peeve: Bad Home Inspections

To start with let me offer that in every industry there are warts. I'm sure Real Estate Brokers make home inspectors as crazy as they in turn make me. Certainly the overwhelming majority of those inspectors are valued, experienced professionals that are an incredibly important part of the process of home sales. Unfortunately some inspection companies are now far more concerned about being sued than telling the whole truth. They add information to home inspections for example that are not about code violations, not about defects in a home, not about deferred maintenance. They're about nothing more than CYA. I for one am about ready to start denying these companies access to my properties. Examples?  Sure. Here's one from this week from an inspection. "The chimney on this property didn't appear to be 12 feet in height which by current standards means it's not far enough above the roof line. This is improper.'  What the clod inspector forgot to mention was that the home was 13 years old and the chimney was perfectly in code when it was built. Does the inspector want us to tear down a chimney on a gas fireplace and rebuild it despite it being correct for it's year built?  I don't mind an inspector mentioning current code. Just be sure to also say it was correct for it's year built and no I don't give a damn about whether you want to do it that way or not. if you're calling out a defect, you had better provide all the facts if you want to ever inspect my listings again.  

Here's another. 'It appears that the trim around the chimney appears to be rotted." It appears. In other words the inspector never even went up on the roof. It also just so happens that the trim around that chimney had been replaced and painted 75 days ago and because you didn't go up on the home in the rain you couldn't correctly assess it. I get we don't want you falling off but we also don't want you guessing. I'm sure the buyers AND the sellers don't want you guessing. If you can't correctly tell us you'll have to come back when it's dry. Don't have the time? For the $500+- you're making time if you hope to not have me telling everyone in the sun you're doing a terrible job for your clients. 

Then of course you have the usual array of inspectors not being able to find light switches, not being able to make a high end sink faucet function, not knowing that the furnace was designed that way to code despite the fact you don't know any better. I don't care one bit you don't know how to operate certain amenities in a home. If you can't you shouldn't be there. Or at the very least you shouldn't be identifying ANYTHING as a defect if you don't actually know it's broken. 

Here's the bottom line. BOTH home buyers and home sellers deserve correct assessments of properties when they go through the sale process. They also deserve a realistic, fully explained analysis. Not just one that keeps the inspector from legal exposure. I don't want you to be sued either but telling half the story just to keep yourself our of trouble is no longer acceptable. Don't tell me that a home doesn't have a battery back up on the sump system and that one needs to be installed. No it doesn't. That's a choice of the current owner and the future owner. Mr Home Inspector...keep your opinions to yourself if they aren't based on code or fact. 


Indianapolis Monthly - Brand Self Destruction?

Let's start out with the disclaimer, shall we?  I am employed by no one and these opinions are my own. I have numerous media affiliations in our city. In the end I am a contractor and not an employee of anyone. 

Yesterday I had some fun on Twitter poking Indianapolis Monthly magazine. I did so because they ran a piece written by a writer that basically slammed my profession. I also did so because in their arrogance when it was suggested to them they may have presented a slightly biased position they acted like the rest of us were idiots for not understanding it was just 'satire.' Their return tweets to me on Wednesday night were ridiculously condescending. It's funny about that whole satire thing. In the actual hard copy of the magazine pictured above there is NO mention in the article about it being 'satire' or an 'opinion piece'. NONE. Yet now as it appears online there's a clear disclaimer. Why the change? If IM 'in their judgement' was so certain that EVERYONE should know it's satire there should have been no need to clarify it now. Unless of course you realize that you've just pissed off 7000 Realtors locally and tens of thousands more across the country. Unless you also know that there are lawyers who are also looking at this. 

I get that every profession has it's warts. But this is MY profession. I know there are issues and I also know the sacrifices I make for my clients. I'm the guy who drives across town in the middle of the night to check their vacant home when the alarm goes off and they've moved to Atlanta. I'm the guy who races to their home to clean up dog puke right before a potential buyer wants to come back through their home as they're deciding whether to buy it. I'm the guy who has met countless contractors at their home over and over as we try to resolve inspection issues to get to closing. I bust my butt for my clients and I am blessed by enormous loyalty and appreciation from them for those efforts. I am grateful and humble for the success and opportunities I have. This would be why I don't take an arrogantly presented article by a dying entertainment rag lightly. Yes...we all know they're dying. In my best Dean Vernon Wormer voice THEY'RE OUT, THEY'RE FINISHED, THEY'RE THROUGH. It's just a matter of time. That still does not give them the right to denigrate my profession without consequences. 

The reaction to my overreaction was quite interesting. First, literally thousands of real estate associated people across the country responded by posting, reposting, commenting on , emailing or sharing this article. They were as a group outraged. Their words to me were enormously supportive. if you've never had this many people who you don't know come to your defense and preservation let me tell you it was a humbling experience. On the other hand to my amusement about two dozen local clown trolls attempted to poke, prod and denigrate me about my disdain for the article. They had one common thread. They were essentially all fools. One attempted to point out she thought I had to be losing countless followers for my rant. When I shared with her I had actually gained followers she responded by telling that I shouldn't think more followers meant support. Sorry clown troll girl...you can't have it both ways. You're a fool and you're blocked. (For the record we all know numbers of followers mean nothing. It's quality of interaction that counts). While I'm at it...that's another thing. The whining by the clown trolls about being blocked. Hilarious. They couldn't believe I would block them from my network and kept asking why I would do such a thing. Well here's why. You're a bunch of knuckleheads and BECAUSE I CAN...that's why. The clown trolls thought they were right when in fact they were about 2% of the total response. I don't need to be in any discussion with this type of individual. "But Greg...aren't you just giving them more attention by doing this?' Probably...but  I don't think pointing out their mistake makes them look better. "But Greg...aren't you upsetting even a small group of people by taking this stance?' Probably...but judging by the responses from the clown trolls I'm not overly concerned. See paragraph three again. 

Finally...what's it mean for me. For one I will not be spending any dollars on Indy Monthly in the future. Not on their cheesy awards ads either. I also know of at least one major advertiser who will be distancing themselves from Indy Monthly as well. 

It's not just about the article you see it's also about their response. If they'd just said 'hey...we appreciate who you are and we certainly regret you're upset' most of us would be over it. Continuing to stand by this crap as 'satire' when you've already contradicted yourself is not ok. Not one hint of an apology from them EVER doesn't endear us to you.  It's absolutely why their bottom line will hurt for this and their brand for many of us is worse as well.
greg cooper 


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