She's Pretty As a Picture...Just Don't look Under The Hood

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Buying a car can be a lot like buying a home. When a car is to be sold, it is prepared for showing. The interior is detailed, the body is waxed and the tires and rims cleaned and shined. What often doesn't get done is any mechanical work. So what you have is a good looking ride that may not go anywhere. Homes are sometimes sold in the same way, especially homes that have been bought to be sold.

Nice carNot long a go I was asked to do a home inspection on a home here in Connecticut that was described as "gorgeous" by the prospective buyer. The information was it was being sold by the "guy who fixed it up".

My radar went up.

After asking some pointed question I was able to learn the home hasn't sold for quite sometime. Oh yeah, and it has already had three home inspections.

I was seeing red, as in flags.

When I arrived at the home it was indeed a pretty little house. The curb appeal was definitely there. The interior had been completely done over, new kitchen, brand new full bath and the original bath all new. Everything painted, refinished floors, all the eye candy was shiny. Sounds a lot like the car I was talking about at the beginning of this piece.

To me this is all for distraction, and the seller who was there, was working hard to distract.

She's pretty as a pictureAfter going through the house, some of what I found was;

  • The attic insulation had not been replaced; it was very old and missing in some places.     
  • The water pressure was horrible, turn on two fixtures and the pressure dropped considerably.
  • Hot water was a very inconstant temperature
  • Issues with the new kitchen
  • The boiler was as old as the house (over 60 years)
  • Termite damage
  • Electrical issues
  • An under ground oil tank

After three previous inspections I would think some of this stuff might have gotten fixed. I mean, what no one else found these problems?

The lesson to be learned here is;

Don't be taken by a pretty face, the personality might be ugly.

 

 

 

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
2010 - 2011 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Rainer
299,304
Steven Pahl
Keller Williams Tampa Properties - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423

I'm glad Mike #39 corrected the problems, even if it was for himself.  To many home have defects hidden by owners and covered with cosemetics.  Which leads me to the question, "If you are doing this in the home you are selling, what is the owner of the next home you will buy doing at this moment, and will you be upset after the fact?"  I feel a blog post coming on.

Feb 19, 2011 02:51 PM #45
Rainer
212,055
Tim Peterson
Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes - Madison, WI
Realtor Safety Training Classes
Great analogy about used car sales.. Makes you wonder why they had 3 previous inspections and did not fix the big problems
Feb 19, 2011 07:15 PM #46
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Kimberly, Thanks, your suggestion was taken.

Nor, The big difference being, the ugly on the outside is apparent and no one is trying to hide anything.

Clint, Thanks

Ellie, I think there are too many issues and so everyone who has looked at the home has walked away. The seller needs to wake up and address some of the problems.

Diane, Thanks. A pretty face will never over come an ugly personality.

Feb 19, 2011 11:43 PM #47
Rainmaker
180,222
Karen Steed
Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton - Tallapoosa, GA
Associate Broker Haralson Realty
Hi James Love the post. You really can't judge a book by it's cover. I use a similar analogy when I work with sellers. I remind them that if they were trying to sell their car, they would clean out the junk in the trunk, vacuum out the interior, and wash and wax the exterior. They should put as much effort into selling their home.
Feb 19, 2011 11:52 PM #48
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Dave, As you might be able to guess it is not. I am fairly certain that oil tank has led the way to each of the three previous buyers walking from the deal. If I'm not mistaken FHA will not finance a home an UOT.

Steve, Fore sure. How many times do we see this?

Robert, Yep, the gleam doesn't blind us.

Charlie, You sound like a man speaking from experience :)

Brenda, I find it hard to understand. The seller was clearly an intelligent person, but denial is a strong beast.

Charles, Oh for sure! That's one reason I look these type of homes over very carefully.

Jay, And, most importantly, we understand what we're looking at.

Feb 19, 2011 11:53 PM #49
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Fernando, First, if you feel an inspector is over stating problems, it could be for any number of reasons. I have listened to agents gripe many times about an inspector and then describe the issue to me. At least half the time I would say the inspector was doing his job, but the deal fell apart so you know who gets the blame. Make no mistake, I know there are bad inspectors just as there are bad agents.

As far as language in a report, the word horrible was not, nor would it ever be used by me to describe something in a report. To me that word would be biased. I often stop when writing a report in order to word the information as evenly as possible.

Here is how I described the water pressure problem;

When two fixtures were operated a significant reduction in water flow would occur. This was especially noticeable at the bathroom near the kitchen. The flow at the other bathroom was some what better, but still a noticeable reduction in flow was noted as soon as a second faucet was opened.

Language is always open to interpretation and is therefore influenced by each persons bias. I used the word "significant" to describe the flow reduction. You and I would no doubt have different opinions on exactly what determines significant.

Lastly as to your example, Why any inspector would make a comment about carpet stains is beyond my comprehension. And then to go further and guess as to what caused the stain is to me mind boggling. I can understand why you were irked.

One more piece of information about this house you may find interesting. The wife of the man who is selling this home is a real estate agent. She has been in the business a long time. She is the one listing the house. Makes it all a little more disturbing, wouldn't you agree?

Feb 20, 2011 12:17 AM #50
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Chuck, You would think.

Michael, I sure you do! Thanks.

Margaret, As I just stated to Fernando, the seller and listing agent are married. I think they should know all about up front disclsure. The whole thing stinks.

A1, Yes agreed, some buyer will over look the ugly, but not usually.

Michael, Or hire a good mechanic to check for them.

J. P., Some flippers understand they need to fix the mechanicals, others, as we know, just chose to ignore these issues.

Feb 20, 2011 12:25 AM #51
Rainmaker
657,948
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

Ha! The listing agent and owner are married?? That puts a whole new spin on it, doesn't it! Please don't tell me we know them...

Feb 20, 2011 12:31 AM #52
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Irene, Fore sure, thanks. I'm just glad I was able to give them the true picture of the home.

Nick, So that's where the devil resides :)

Cindy, The disclosure laws are the same here in CT. As I have already said the guys wife is the listing agent. Seems to me there is something stinky about this sale.

Coaching Guy, Thanks

Dana, Indeed, what did happened to disclosure?

Angelique, Thanks

Wayne, LOL. And even then a pig is still a pig.

Feb 20, 2011 12:39 AM #53
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Lyn, The oil tank is the biggie with this property.

Christine, Sellers disclosures are required in CT. They are also required to be amended if defects unbeknown to the seller come to light from a home inspection.

DeAndrea, These buyers were looking for move in ready, too bad the house is anything but.

Tammie, Four buyers, four inspections and no sale. Someone needs a serious reality check.

Donald, An inspection should always be done on any home, but I'm preaching to the choir.

Deborah, I hope the post helps your clients gain an understanding.

Evelyn, The previous inspection reports are not available to the buyer here in CT. I happen to disagree with your opinion about providing previous inspections to the next buyer. I think that is a bad law.

Feb 20, 2011 12:53 AM #54
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Pete, Sounds like standard operating procedure for any smart agent.

Kathy, Good for your clients.

Brenda & Ron, I would have to say from my experience flippers usually ignore the mechanicals and focus on the cosmetics. That's what wows the buyers.

Dennis & Terry, You never know whats lurking under all the paint.

Mike, Sounds like you learned a valuable lesson.

Barbara, I hate to say it, but that is fairly common with flipped properties.

Feb 20, 2011 01:06 AM #55
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Marte, Wow, nice guy. Dump his problem onto his children.

Jeff, With inspections the defects are going to be found, but your right he is playing with fire.

Tim, This home is cosmetics being used to distract from the real issues. I agree with your take on the difference in new construction as opposed to a used property.

Dee Dee, good for your clients.

Diana, It just makes good sense.

Steven, Inspector find owners attempts at cover up all the time. Makes me look closer and harder.

Tim, Makes every one wonder.

Wayne, I'm certain you know the agent. I believe Pat worked at the same company with her at one time.

Feb 20, 2011 01:16 AM #56
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Karen, But once again don't forget the engine.

Feb 20, 2011 01:19 AM #57
Rainmaker
657,948
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

Ughh, that's what I was afraid of...

Feb 20, 2011 02:44 AM #58
Rainmaker
508,351
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

Great analogy! It's amazing that 3 inspections were already done on the property, so they definitely knew what some of the material issues were. You can't just wait thinking another buyer is going to be willing to fix those items. Great post!

Feb 20, 2011 03:45 AM #59
Rainmaker
233,697
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Three inspections and it hasn't sold yet?  Yeah, that's a huge red flag.  Do you know if your clients decided to move forward with the purchase?

Feb 20, 2011 01:25 PM #60
Rainer
159,034
Suzi Sandore
RealtyONEGroup - San Diego, CA
North County San Diego Homes

James, great post. So now there's a 4th inspection, the listing agent (wife) is not making the inspection reports revealing these material facts available to prospective buyers, and the seller was trying to "distract". Wow! These people are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Do they think there is a buyer out there "in love" or naive enough to overlook all of these issues?

Feb 20, 2011 04:33 PM #61
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Wayne, I guess you have an idea who the agent is.

Slyvie, I think they're hoping someone won't notice and buy the pretty house.

Reuben, Yes I do, they walked, too many issues. Buyer number four and still no sale.

Suzi, I think they're hoping the right sucker buyer will come along.

Feb 21, 2011 09:11 AM #62
Rainmaker
90,882
Dana Voelzke
loanDepot (203) 733-9408 - Bethel, CT
Loan Officer/ First time home buyer specialist

Hi James,

This is a great post. Unfortunately some buyers who do not have the benefit of your good advice, Lipstick on the pig works, a little too well sometimes. Stainless steel refrigerators work too. Not sure if you take requests (or if I missed please point it out)... the first time buyer's guide to home buying?

Feb 21, 2011 09:25 PM #63
Rainmaker
690,134
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Dana, Which is why a home inspection is so important.

Feb 22, 2011 01:14 AM #64
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James Quarello

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