It was a phone call from a concerned, potential, client. He is building a new townhouse. A friend told him to hire a roofer to make sure that rubber was put between his roof and the houses next to his.
Yes, that puzzled me too.
I told him that step flashing and some form of counter flashing, even if it was vinyl siding, is an appropriate transition between roof and sides. And that I had never heard of using rubber. But, "I can check that flashing for you. You really don't need a roofer. In fact, a roofer is going to charge you almost as much as I will for a complete home inspection." Asking my price, he confirmed that.
He set up an inspection. "But, I might be calling you back because I want to check one more thing."
He called back. "I'm no longer going to need your services."
"Well, you're the boss," I said, "but why not?"
"Because I am told you home inspectors are just placebos."
Suppressing a laugh, honestly, I needed to pursue this one! "Sir, this is the first time I have heard that one! Please, explain!"
"Well, you almost never find anything. And when you do, the builder won't fix it anyway because they build everything to code and won't change that."
I am REALLY amused at this point and wouldn't want to do his inspection anyway, but this was too good. Now I am laughing. "Who in the world told you that?!"
"THE SALES LADY IN THE BUILDER'S OFFICE."
That's right! The sales lady. The sales lady!! Miss Information herself!! (Read that misinformation...)
"Sir, I am going to bet you did not have a pre-drywall inspection, am I right?"
"I didn't need one. The builder gave me a walk through."
During the conversation I found out what he did for a living. This is a very intelligent person. But, CLEARLY, not at all smart in this regard! Here is someone who CLEARLY doesn't know what he doesn't know. He is listening to a friend who CLEARLY doesn't know what he doesn't know. He is listening to his builder who CLEARLY doesn't want him to know what he doesn't know.
AND I AM A "PLACEBO..." How do you spell Aaaaaarggghhh? Is that close enough? I could say more, but I will leave this as polite as I can.
My recommendation: Don't call a placebo. Call a home inspector. Call an objective, independent home inspector. Call one with experience. Call one who stays current with annual continuing education (I usually do 35-40 hours annually). And call one who wants you to know what you don't know.
For sure you won't be calling one of these pills to the left.
Oh, and don't take your advice from friends or "the builder!!!" Because you never know.