Inspected Once, Twice, Three Times

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

In the present state of the real estate market, multiple inspections occurring on the same house has become common. For one reason or another, and I take those reasons with a grain of salt, a house doesn't make it to the closing table with a previous buyer(s). In this month alone I have inspected two properties that had previous buyers and inspections. One of these homes had two buyers and two home inspections.Worn shingles

With both these houses I was informed of the previous inspections by the listing agent. This information was said in such a way as if to say, "your inspection is just an exercise, you won't find anything wrong." On the contrary, there were things wrong. Obvious things, big issues that in my opinion should have been found previously.

On the twice inspected house I found issues with the roof. These issue could not be seen from the ground and I doubt through a pair of binoculars. Since the house was about 20 years old with an architectural style roof, most of which are manufactured to last about 30 years, there may have been some assumptions made as to the condition of the covering.

All is well ? Loose and delaminated shinglesCondition is the more relative parameter with inspecting most any component. Age while important, is often less significant. For instance, I have seen 30 year roofs that were shot after 10 years. One can not assume all is well based on age alone.

When I climbed onto this roof at the back where the pitch would allow, I saw more interesting sights. Loose and delaminated shingles. The shingles above the skylight in the photo have to be letting water into the house.

All is well indeed!

With the other house while inspecting the electric panels, note I used the plural, the listing agent informed me that the issues from the previous inspection had been repaired by a licensed electrician. She showed me the receipt.Miswired sub panel

I found the main panel had issues with the ground / neutral terminal, but worse, the sub panel was wired wrong. It had been put in by the HVAC contractor when the central A/C was installed. The electrician did not look at this panel because the home inspector had not cited a problem. This issue is a potential safety hazard.

Fortunately in both instances the next buyers had opted for their own home inspections. What's troubling is the other three buyers may be purchasing houses with issues that have went undiscovered. Especially electrical problems.

My question is, how many inspectors does it take to get it right?

Posted by

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

 ASHI Certified Inspector

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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jim, we have the same disclosure laws here too---very difficult to enforce and I am sure that sometimes "somebody" knows about the things I find :)

Jun 25, 2012 12:12 AM #19
Chuck Carstensen
RE/MAX Results - Elk River, MN
Minnesota Real Estate Expert

I think different inspectors will always find something new. Deals fall through because of financing and that leads to new buyers and often new inspections.

Jun 25, 2012 01:45 AM #20
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I've seen multiple reports on some homes with major differences.  I tend to use the same inspector who has an impeccable track record but that's no guarantee he won't miss something.  That said, buyers should get an inspection if they have any doubts about the home.

Jun 25, 2012 02:00 AM #21
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

My first thought was that the issues were not missed by the previous 2 inspectors and that this is information that the agent chose to disclose.

Jun 25, 2012 02:04 AM #22
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA

James -- it is a sad state of affairs that it took three different inspections, by three different inspectors to find most of the major problems on these homes.   When we bought our home, I was very appreciative of the thoroughness of our inspector, and how he explained which things were safety related, and which were cosmetic.

Jun 25, 2012 05:04 AM #23
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Much the same in the mortgage side of the biz.  I dont trust anyone else but ME!  I have my way of asking questions which in turn leads me down different paths for each client.  as with every industry, there are good and bad - we all approach things differently and with a different sense of pride in our work!

Jun 25, 2012 05:51 AM #24
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

How does it work out that when we find something we are often the bad guys, but here is a case when the pro don't even look. So who is really the bad guy?

Jun 25, 2012 06:01 AM #25
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


It is a good thing that they called upon you to do an inspection.  It took 3 inspections to get it right.

Jun 25, 2012 08:33 AM #26
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

JIm -- It's like anything else.  Some know what they're doing and deliver a quality product or service and some don't.  You're definitely the inspector that should be at the top of buyer's lists here in CT. Good job as usual.

Jun 25, 2012 11:49 AM #27
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Jim, The thought that 2 others missed it is not very reassuring. At least you caught it and are now the one to call first.

Jun 25, 2012 01:11 PM #28
Wayne Jackson
Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109 - Hayden, ID
North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake

James, Very interesting post. I am curious, what is wrong with the sub panel?

Jun 25, 2012 02:09 PM #30
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Michael, With the electrical the seller had repairs made based on the inspection report. The other electrical issues, some of them in the same panel, were not corrected. To be that seems like the issues were missed. The roof problems had to be missed too. What seller would let a clear issue go unresolved. 

Anonymous, "The bad ones weed themselves out over time" Do they? I'm doubtful of that. As for my criticism, I think two inspectors missing the same defects on the same roof warrants criticism. The electrical issue more so because, one it's a safety hazard and two as a home inspector in CT you are require to remove the panel cover to examine the wiring, therefore you should be able to recognize a basic error. 

The ASHI chapter I belong to puts on training inspections every few months. We constructively criticize everyone who participates. The idea is train and educate. I am one of rthe senior members and often act as  an instructor. So if I seem critical, that could be why. 

Lastly, you say missing things due to distractions, how many agents, clients, etc. follow you on a roof? 

Jun 25, 2012 08:41 PM #31
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Debbie, I think the roof issue bothers me more because it was so obvious and missed twice. 

Gary, So true, not all flaws are fatal and it's important to impart that information to the buyer. 

Tim, That's important in hiring anyone. 

Richie, Subjective??? The inspections purpose is to reveal the actual condition of the house. Roof and especially electrical issues are hardly subjective. 

Kathy, That is all you can rely on. Too bad it may not always be enough.

Charlie, I agree. In fact I know of instances where the previous inspections findings were not revealed to the next buyer. 

Chuck, I agree with you to a point. Every home inspector will "find" different issues, but there are certain ones, like for instance roof and electrical issues, that 10 out 10 inspectors should find, no ifs, ands or buts about it. 

Jun 25, 2012 08:53 PM #32
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Bryan, Reports are written by different individuals, so it's no surprise that there are differences in the style. What is important is the issues are found and well reported. 

Charita, Yes that seems to be a few of the others take on the roof. I'm doubtful because it is such a huge defect. 

Steven, Thoroughness takes is time and effort. Enough said.

Robert, Well said.

Robert, We are the bad guys? I have never felt I was the bad guy for finding problems, some of them potentially hazardous. As for the "pro", he never saw the problem with the other panel because no issue was found during the inspection. He wasn't asked to look or fix it. 

Evelyn, I'm more concerned about the other buyers purchasing a house with undiscovered problems. 

Barbara, So true, there are some service providers that deliver good quality and care. And thank you, you are too kind. 

Debbie, Thank you.

Erica, I do agree that different inspectors will "find" different issues. The problems I have talked about are not those kinds of problems. 

Wayne, The grounds and neutrals were not separated. 

Jun 25, 2012 09:08 PM #33
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jim, I have to agree with you that there are certain things that just should nt be missed. I did an inspection for a Realtor who owned a home and was now selling. The Realtor said the home had been inspected recently and the infamous "you will not find anything" came up.

I guess a leaking toilet, leaking main water line, water coming up under the fountaion footing from an improper patio slab grade, wood debris in crawlspace are things that just happen ; ) I know that each of these things have been there for quite some time. There was many other more minor items.

Needless to say the Realtor was not happy (not angry with me).

The Realtor was great, was on the horn as I was inspecting lining up contractors to come and repair everything.

Jun 27, 2012 01:47 AM #34
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Don, I believe that happens more often than we may like to admit. The focus it seems in this profession is on speed and doing the basics. The examples above are due to, in my opinion, not having the knowledge to recognize problems and probably not making the effort to look at something closely. 

Jun 27, 2012 10:00 PM #35
Julie Babcock -Nook & Cranny Home Inspections
Nook & Cranny Home Inspections Tonawanda, NY - Tonawanda, NY

If you hire the right inspector, it only takes ONE inspection to get it right.  There are some "gray areas" (how much of a stink do you raise when there's wire nuts in the main panel?), but a subpanel with the neutrals and grounds not separated is black and white, as is that roofing.

Jul 02, 2012 10:33 AM #36
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Hi Julie, You and I seem to agree. No question in my mind either, these issues are as you said, are black and white. Shouldn't have been missed. 

Jul 02, 2012 09:03 PM #37
Jeff Lisse



I am with you on your outrage or concern over obvious things being missed.  From your posts, the pictures from the inspection, and from your description of the issues I am sure you are a very good inspector.


However, I do not agree with all of your conclusions.  If you had copies of the earlier inspections you could say what they missed, or how well they reported the issues.  Without the reports you are making assumptions like:  The seller would have fixed it.  and Why would the listing agent say that the deals fell apart for non-inspection related items.

Simple, sellers do not always want to fix things and pay for repairs for themselves and certainly not for a buyer.  Listing agents are not always telling the truth, I am not saying they always lie, but confirmation is a good idea.


I am not saying you are wrong about the first two inspections.  I am just saying that they may have reported the issues and the listing agent and seller are not being honest with you.

Jul 08, 2012 01:35 AM #38
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Jeff, Without the reports I am making assumptions, but with information that leads to the conclusions I made. Could I be wrong? Sure. Do I think an inspector would not call a serious safety concern like a miswired sub panel? Do I believe the sellers would ignore the bigger electrical issue in favor of repairing a few basically minor double taps? Possible, but hard to bekieve.

Jul 09, 2012 10:27 PM #39
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