One Person's American can be Another Person's Nightmare…

Home Inspector with Complete Home Inspections, Inc. TN Lic#050

One Person's American can be Another Person's Nightmare…
Being affiliated with the real estate industry, I can fully understand how ecstatic one must feel
The "Nightmare on Main Street" ~ Photo by Michael Thorntonwhen a buyer finally signs an intent to purchase contract and issues an earnest money check. For some buyers, the gambit of emotions leaves a feeling of uncertainty in the pit of their stomach, much like the feeling that they have eaten something that did not quite agree with them. Nevertheless, the transaction must proceed and an inspection is ordered.

The property was a quaint little 650 sq. ft. cottage, built in an era where the code was: "Bud, There ain't no codes." But then, inspectors aren't "Codes Inspectors". Being generalists, we must ascertain whether the construction methodologies are "acceptable" and do not demonstrate major structural deficiencies - not do they meet today's codes. They won't.

Stepping into the dwelling was like stepping into a shallow soup bowl. The ceiling line looked more
Everything went down hill, even the floors! ~ Photo by Michael Thorntonlike a sway backed horse that had been ridden hard and put away wet. <sigh> Staring at the at the "Nightmare on Main Street" and cursing my luck, I stepped outside to regather my composure. After a few minutes, I set about the task at hand; inspecting someone's American Dream, my personal nightmare.

Needless to say, the property went on like an all day sucker. Every room, every nook and cranny was a new adventure. The crawlspace was a disaster. It was hard to not to be jaded, but then, I am a professional and like the Brits, Kept a stiff upper lip.

The walk-through with the buyer at the end was as unpleasant for me as the inspection itself.
I've been working on the rail road - NOT...Holding back the urge to blurt out, "Well, the light bulbs work and that outlet over yonder is in great condition." I bit my tongue and proceeded through my findings. As is our policy, we focus on the positives but let it be known too, of any issues that must be addressed.

Driving back, I pondered the situation as I often do when encountering tough properties such as this. Although I initially cursed and shook my fists at the gods for giving me such a POC to inspect, I was tankful for the pay day. I realized too, that the property was this person's American Dream. It's not my job to squelch it. Hopefully, the gods will smile upon me and give me a better property next go-round…

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Complete Home Inspections, Brentwood TN 615.661.0297


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Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Michael - I love the way you inject humor into a serious subject - two lines that made me laugh out loud - "Well, the light bulbs work and that outlet over yonder is in great condition." and ...where the code was: "Bud, There ain't no codes." The next inspection has to be better - it couldn't be worse! Oh wait, there's always!

Feb 26, 2011 12:01 AM #15
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Michael-there are HI who would have taken the opportunity to tell the buyer to far away.  There is a buyer for almost every house or piece of land it's just a matter of making the marriage work.  You are right our dreams are not what a buyer is's theirs.

Feb 26, 2011 12:11 AM #16
June Piper-Brandon
Remax New Beginnings - Baltimore, MD
Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time

Michael, I have seen my share of these types of homes.  It always helps to have a great home inspector that knows what they are looking at and educates the buyers of the pitfalls and benefits of home ownership.

Feb 26, 2011 12:14 AM #17
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

So long as they understand what they are getting into, it's fine with me when someone buys a house like that.  And hey, those are the most fun inspections!

Feb 26, 2011 12:14 AM #18
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Michael so tell us did it pass??

Feb 26, 2011 12:17 AM #19
Cindy Marchant
Keller Williams Indy NE 317-290-7775 - Carmel, IN
"Cindy in Indy" , Realtor, Fishers Real Estate

I often tell my inspector, his job is not one I would ever got into some dark places for sure!

Feb 26, 2011 12:59 AM #20
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

I have spent the last two hours writing the report. I now have a splitting headache...

Feb 26, 2011 01:01 AM #21
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Wouldn't you just like to be able to write "tear down and start over" as your summary?

Feb 26, 2011 01:21 AM #22
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

YOu are right and we all need to remember day I heard an agent saying how she was laughing at this decor and that whatever showing a home and giving all her opinions....we can do that sometime,but let the client speak first!

Feb 26, 2011 01:46 AM #23
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

I don't know if it was the material used for the story or the way you spun the tale, but this was one of the most humorous posts I have read in ages. Thanks for the laugh and not spoiling the American dream!

Feb 26, 2011 02:05 AM #24
Bill Burchard
3B Realty: 951-347-3818, CA - Murrieta, CA
Broker, Realtor, Representing Buyers and Sellers

Good morning, Michael. I must say that I’ve had similar reactions to some of the homes my buyers fall in love with. Sometimes, as soon as we pull into the driveway of a home on our list of “must-sees”, my first reaction is to just put the car in reverse, back out, and then head over to the next home. But I don't. I never know what may appeal to my buyers… what positives they will see that override the glaring negatives I see. So, like you, I keep my subjective thoughts to myself and provide objective feedback to their questions.

Feb 26, 2011 03:13 AM #25
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

You nailed it when you said it's not your job to squelch someone's American Dream. All you can do is report the findings and remain impartial. After all, what's a nightmare to someone is a dream come true to someone else.

Feb 26, 2011 04:03 AM #26
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

All I can say is I don't want your shoes to fit me!

Feb 26, 2011 06:43 AM #27
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


In this day of foreclosures I see many of these. People cannot understand what we mean when we say that it can take longer to do 60 sq ft than 5000 sq ft if the God's are looking the other way.

Feb 26, 2011 08:01 AM #28
Don Rogers
Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield - O'Fallon, MO
Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes

Good evening my friend,

I am sure the gods will be smiling on you again real soon.  They always do for those that do their job.

Feb 26, 2011 12:31 PM #29
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Oh well somebody has to do it. Next time you drive by that little 650 sq. ft. dream house you may be surprised, maybe the new owner will be a real handiman and get'er all fixed up.

Feb 26, 2011 01:46 PM #30
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Michael- I sometimes shudder at the houses I see with my buyers and have been lucky that most of them want more for themselves and haven't had to settle for anything really bad.  When I first started in real estate though in 2005, the entry level in our area was $200K and they were shacks.  I had a few buyers struggle to find something.  I think during that time there was the fear to buy now or you may never be able to buy. I try to give them my opinion when possible without offending them over something they like.   I have learned that as long as my buyers know what they are up against, I can't judge what they like or don't like.  I hope your next one is much easier!!! 

Feb 26, 2011 01:51 PM #31
Bill Saunders, Realtor®
Meyers Realty - Hot Springs, AR


So what is your opinion of using old crossties as support beams? A wonderful post. Woke some folks up this morning reading, "Well, all the lightbulbs work!" Now that's a glass that is half full. Thanks for making my morning...

all the best...

Feb 26, 2011 11:58 PM #32
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

These 'jobs' are work. They can be fun as Jay says, but the headache is from trying to inform your client so they can make a good 'cost - value' decision. 

Feb 28, 2011 12:43 AM #33
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Michael, this is such a hard lesson to learn, to be objective, not subjective...

Mar 01, 2011 01:40 AM #34
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