Some advice please

By
Home Inspector with Integrity Home Inspections LLC

I just read Kevin Corsa's post on "messy" inspection. I need some advice. I have been inspecting since 1997 and have completed over 3K homes to date. So I have seen quite a few different things in my time. Living in WV there are some fairly depressed places so we pretty much take it in stride. I was contacted by a lender to do an inspection on an abandoned property 1and 1/2 hours from my local area. The owner died in the home from a lung ailment, mice are on the floor DEAD, water is generally standing on the basement florr. The roof is leaking, mold is covering the walls. The electric is on but there do not seem to be any light bulbs, the gas and water are off. ALL this information came from the lender requesting the inspection. I have done quite a few for this bank but never have I been asked to declare a dwelling un-inhabitable and that is what they are asking me to do. If she is half right regarding the conditions I don't want to do it. I jacked the price double what it would normally cost to try and get out of it but they jumped on the amount. The underwriter said that if the report came back as anticipated that they would just condemn the property. Any thoughts other than "cut and run" ???

Blessings

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Rainer
75,636
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

Michael, I admit that I have gone above and beyond for certain clients, so that I can continue to get the next call, but it was never a situation like the one that you are in. It is a hard call. If you really feel that it is unsafe to do it, then speak to your contact about that fact, and see what he says. Otherwise, is it possible to don the Tyvek suit and take a quick look, and state that a further inspection is too dangerous? We are having some rule changes soon here in Texas, and part of it is going to be about inspector safety. If we come across a situation that is just too risky upon starting the inspection, we can say no to looking further due to these concerns.

I hope my two cents helps. Good luck with it.

Jul 01, 2008 12:14 PM #5
Rainer
9,597
W. Michael (Mike) Chris
HouseNspect - Saint George, UT
The HouseNspect Guy

Michael, my biggest concern is safety, if the inspection site is deem unsafe (and I'm the judge) I would kindly call back and decline the inspection, even if I've driven an hour and half away. In my neck of the woods when a black widow and scorpion walk out when I opened the access to a crawlspace, I've turned to my client and say I'm sorry but today's crawlspace inspection will not happen, most understand and agree with me. I can't help but wonder if you had called back if they would have understood. Keep safe.

Jul 01, 2008 12:25 PM #6
Rainmaker
69,086
Vince Santos
StepByStep Home Services LC - Canton, MI
Southeast Michigan Home Inspector

I think I would consider safety above all else in this case. Do you feel it's safe to do this inspection? Even if you are making ten times the amount you typically do there's nothing worth putting yourself in harms way here. Consider the environmental concerns with this inspection and whether or not a home inspector should even take on this task.

 

If the concern is losing this contact as a source of referrals I think it's probably unlikely that will happen but it sounds like you've already set the fee and they took it so how would you get out now?

Jul 01, 2008 03:46 PM #7
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Vince, Mike and Frank, I appreciate your comments. I have had the same thoughts rambling around in my head, Kinda like a "BB" in a box car...LOL. I think I'll probably take the super safety gear, enjoy the drive in the country, review the home (while staying safe) and file the report. Even if I don't write what they want to hear, decide to "Cut and run" or go ahead and complete the inspection (provided it is not as bad as they say) I can always chaulk it up to experience and learn from it. Experience can be the best teacher.

Blessings

Jul 01, 2008 10:50 PM #8
Rainer
21,833
Andrew Cox
Cox Property Services - Kissimmee, FL

Michael,

I would go for it.  Do as much as you can without putting yourself in danger.  If worse comes to worse, you can disclaim that portion of the inspection.  And if you can't finish it, you may even discount the fee to them, giving them credit to be used on the next property they ask you to inspect.  That would almost guarantee the repaet business.

And if you can't finish for safety reasons, and document that, especially with photos, that should give them enough reason to condemn the property.  With that, you've done the best you can, and they get what they need.

Good luck.

Jul 02, 2008 03:28 AM #9
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Thank You Andrew I appreciate your three cents worth. I think that is exactly what I am going to do. When I posted this original message I was up-to -my-ears in alligators. That is why I placed the post. It has always helped to get the input of other professionals in the Realestate market.

Blessings

Jul 02, 2008 03:43 AM #10
Rainmaker
488,279
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

I would not do it. Think of the possible(make that imminent) health issues that may arise.

Jul 02, 2008 04:03 AM #11
Rainer
208,211
James Wexler
wexzilla.com - Scottsdale, AZ

Thanks for the advice.  I have always recommended a preinspection to save such problems like this during escrow.

By the way do use an outside blog other than AR?

Jul 28, 2008 04:18 AM #12
Rainmaker
283,365
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

Sounds like you could just stand outside and condemn the place.  Why bother going in and making yourself sick?

Jul 28, 2008 01:35 PM #13
Rainmaker
296,658
Doris Freeman
RE/MAX REALTY SOURCE - Jackson, TN
Broker/Agent, Realtor, Madison-Gibson-Crockett

I wouldn't be the one to recommend the property be condemned, but I won't cut and run when the going gets tough either, I'd take it and do what I could, and LOADS of Pictures, especially for the areas you can't get to, it sounds like they just want confirmation of a decision they have already made.

Have A Great Day

Jul 28, 2008 01:48 PM #14
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Robert, I donned the proper protective equipment and entered the home with much trepidation. The bank official kinda blew things up just a bit. There was a terrible mess in the home. Racoons had destroyed the kitchen, there was a cat in one of the upstairs closets, manure everywhere AND the folks that had lived there till three weeks before had used the garage as a garbage disposal. Not pleasant but manageable.

James, A/R is the only place that I blog.

Gene, Thanks for the thought. I did consider it but someone had to do it and I brought all the super gear so it is done and I do not think I am any worse for the wear, worse for the wear, worse for the wear....LOL

Blessings to all

 

Jul 28, 2008 01:51 PM #15
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Thanks Doris, You hit the nail on the head and that is what I did,

Blessings

Jul 28, 2008 01:52 PM #16
Rainer
34,260
Tony Stiles
The BrickKicker Inspection Services - Omaha, NE

I have walked off of one inspection thus far.  It was a forclosed property in a not so great part of town.  I found a homeless guy hanging out in the basement.  I felt it was time to leave. 

Aug 04, 2008 06:44 AM #17
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

I might have made the same choice Tony. One never knows what to do till it is time. Be Safe

Blessings

Aug 04, 2008 10:18 AM #18
Rainer
20,334
Rick Harrington
Patch Independent Home Inspections, LLC - Columbus, OH
Specialist--Infrared Residential

If the property was this bad maybe deferring to the local inspector or health department may have been a less inexpensive alternative for the bank.

 

 

Aug 04, 2008 03:03 PM #19
Rainmaker
48,597
Brenda Tressler
Crye-Leike Realtors - Clarksville, TN

If you feel that strongly I would turn it down. Every time I go against my gut feeling I find that I made a bad decision. Plus nothing is worth your safety! Best of luck!

Aug 04, 2008 03:27 PM #20
Rainer
50,649
LS Rogers Realty
LS Rogers Realty - Richardson, TX

Very interested in knowing how everything turned out. Was it as bad as you were told? Were you able to conduct a thorough inspection? Did you agree it was condemned?

Aug 04, 2008 04:20 PM #21
Rainer
17,097
Michael Reel
Integrity Home Inspections LLC - Parkersburg, WV

Rick, Brenda and Trunda, Thanks for stopping by. Yes I did go ahead and do the inspection. I tried to get the bank to go with the local health inspector but they were determined that a home inspection needed performed to view more than just the filth and un-sanitary conditions. Those "Pillsbury doughboy" suits are marvelous and the PPE was certainly necessary. I have seen considerably worse structural and foundational issues in homes that were much cleaner, however, the living conditions were deplorable. The folks had actually used the kitchen door to the garage as the lid for the garbage disposal and trash receptacle as well. The heap was actually crawling with maggots and rotted food. The charcoal cannister mask was a real blessing as I could not have endured the process without it. Given the right equipment, we as humans can be pretty resourceful and should be in order to protect ourselves while helping others. Actually I did not feel that the dwelling needed to be condemned so much as it needed a "fire hose" style cleaning, and while a monumental task, it could be accomplished. Value for dollars spent to re-hab??? Then there comes the clincher, it depends upon how much is owed against the property VS. what the clean-out will cost and whether anyone would go in there to remove the debris before floor rot begins. If they do not move soon the clean-up will have to be done with a bulldozer.

Blessings

Aug 04, 2008 10:13 PM #22
Rainer
83,856
Andrew Haslett
Van Warren Home Inspections, NAHI CRI - Fort Knox, KY
Heartland of Kentuckynulls, Best Home Inspector

Well Michael, it has been nearly a year since that inspection: have you gotten any more like this? Or, just the usual from this client?

Jun 04, 2009 03:50 PM #23
Anonymous
Michael D. Reel

I would like to say that the lender has used me again but that is not the case. No, I've been fortunate to not have had any more like that one. It was a challenge at best but I did what I felt right and was able to sleep at night. It turns out that there were some underlying resons that this particular lender was interested in a "Condemned" declaration. There was some involvement with owner/lender that could have been perceived as being underhanded. I did my job and the have heard nothing back.

Thanks for asking and Blessings to you

Jun 04, 2009 10:52 PM #24
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