Is Your "Check Engine" Light On?

By
Home Inspector with H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties)

For a number of years now, I have always wondered about what the exact reasoning that manufacturers of automobiles have behind their use of this "Check Engine' light. They have always had the technology to make it much better, and much more useful than it is. How? When that light comes on, don't you just have a feeling of dread come over you? Like... "I wonder what the heck is wrong now?", because you know the next step involves going to a repair shop, dealer, or local parts store... just so they can TELL you what the light means this time. Why don't the manufacturers just put the code there on the dash, instead of that stupid, (almost meaningless) check engine light? Then you could look up the code, whether it be something as simple as "Change oil filter" or something as complicated as a Knock sensor that needs replaced... at least you would know. It's almost like they don't trust us with that knowledge or something.

Anyway, on the analogy part of this.

When you get a home inspection, the real purpose is to let the customer know what issues there are with the property... and then to make suggestions about the course of action needed to correct or follow up.

If all your inspection report does is list the defects, then it's kind of like that old "check Engine" light... it just doesn't give you enough information.

Your inspector should be qualifiying the information into categories related to urgency and safety, and then making recommendations about the best course(s) of action to repair, replace, maintain, or otherwise address the isssues noted in the report. If further evaluation by some other expert is required, then it should be clearly stated what expert, and what should be performed, and why. Every effort should be made by the home inspector to quantify, clarify, and pinpoint any defects called out.

Not enough information, clarity, and/or not pointing out proper courses of action is the cause for misinterpretation, over-reactions by clients, and broken deals. Make sure your home inspector is not giving you a "Check Engine" light.

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Rainer
2,963
alisa bracksmayer
camelot funding - Long Beach, NY

fyi i think the reason the light only says check engine is so that you have to pay a mechanic to plug in the machine that tells you what the problem actually is. that way the mechanic buys the machine (cha ching to the manufacturer) and the machanic charges the customer(cha ching again)

Jun 30, 2008 02:45 AM #1
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Cha-Ching is right! People pay good money for home inspections too, and unlike the automobile industry, I think most of us who are inspectors are far more interested in giving quality information that is actually usable.

Jun 30, 2008 02:52 AM #2
Rainmaker
37,431
Cameron Bagherpour
Cary & Raleigh, NC - Cary, NC
Raleigh North Carolina

Great post & analogy.  Information is useless unless you know what to do with it.

Jun 30, 2008 02:56 AM #3
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Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor

Kevin, love your analogy. Good, entertaining post with a good message.

Jun 30, 2008 02:57 AM #4
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Cameron & Steve,  thanks for stopping by and your great comments. I guess this is why I love Active Rain.

Jun 30, 2008 04:48 AM #5
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Kevin, you should feature yourself on this one:)  It is sort of a crime that we as inspectors have all this information and then don't use it----what is up with that?  I have a guess is that it is related to time----gotta get on to my 4th inspection of the day!

Jun 30, 2008 10:35 AM #6
Ambassador
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TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Good post Kevin... I do tell my clients what is good about the property when I am on site. I strive to keep my reports to functional and what needs to be further reviewed...

Jun 30, 2008 08:25 PM #7
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

I guess I have read quite a few other inspectors reports over the years, and the one thing that seems to be missing on (not all) a lot of them is the "dispensation" part... where they tell the client what the next step should be. Put yourself in the shoes of the newbie, first-time home buyer, and then ask yourself "What do I need to do about this?" and then answer that question for them.

Jun 30, 2008 11:56 PM #8
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Michael,

 I think telling the client what is GOOD about the property isa very important step, which is left out by most inspectors.

Jul 25, 2008 12:19 AM #9
Rainer
654,274
Baker Home Inspection and Commercial Properties Inspections
Baker Residential and Commercial Properties Inspections - Springfield, VT
Home and Commercial Properties Inspections Vermont

Hey there and evening to you Kevin
Kevin, sure hope everything is going well for ya!

Sep 05, 2011 11:25 AM #10
Rainer
654,274
Baker Home Inspection and Commercial Properties Inspections
Baker Residential and Commercial Properties Inspections - Springfield, VT
Home and Commercial Properties Inspections Vermont

Hey there and evening to you Kevin
Kevin, sure hope everything is going well for ya!

Sep 05, 2011 11:27 AM #11
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Rainmaker
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Kevin Corsa

H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector
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