Do Inspectors Become Jaded?

Home Inspector with Clayton Inspection Service, Inc.

I was in my BNI group this morning, and commented on a couple things I saw on yesterday's inspection. Really not all that big of a deal - in my mind. However, the group thought otherwise, and were shocked that people didn't know things about their house, and let some things go too long.

Here is part of what I found. Under a bathroom sink I found two small leaks. One was dripping where the waste pipe goes into the wall from the trap, and the other was just below the sink. We are talking, small drips, and easily fixed.

Inside the cabinet under the sink were a stack of towels. When I grabbed them to move them (to check for moisture damage in the bottom of the cabinet), I noticed they were damp. When I lifted them out, I noticed the bottom towel was moldy. This had been leaking a long time.

The bottom of the cabinet was not damaged, in fact it didn't really show any sign of moisture. The mold seem to all be on the towel.

I kind of view this as "business as usual" in a home that's about 20 years old. I still call it out as an "Attention" item, but it is really not all that big.

But based on the response by my BNI group, this is NOT business as usual. 

We DO see strange stuff when we are in people's houses.


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  1. Edward Wadsworth 12/03/2008 10:46 AM
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Cynthia McMahon
Keller Williams Realty Mid-Willamette - Corvallis, OR

From the buyer's agent perspective, I appreciate inspectors that find all the issues, big and small -- from the signs of prior standing water under the house to the missing switchplate. I also appreciate inspectors that don't get crazy about making an issue out of every small item. If a buyer wants a brand-new condition home, then they need to buy a brand new home. Part of what I do with inspections is to remind buyers that nothing is perfect, review the report carefully with them, and advise them to decide what matters the most to them, if they want to negotiate repairs. Or, if they are uncomfortable with a certain result, to hire a professional that specializes in a particular area of the home, such as a roofing contractor, to further investigate an issue. Sure, it's never pleasant to find stuff like water leaks, but not every drip is going to rock the home's foundation either.

Dec 03, 2008 09:59 AM #1
Maggie Baumbach
Search Homes for Sale in Maryland at - Reisterstown, MD

I agree that no home is perfect. Even new construction will have some issues. You just never can tell what will be a concern to the buyer and it is surprising to me just what sellers are sometimes unwilling to do. We had a full price offer on a 100+ year old house last December and the hot water heater was 15 years old. There was something that was not installed properly and there was some rust that came out of the faucet when turning on the hot water after it had been standing for a while. The buyer wanted the water heater replaced, but they were too nice to require that, so they required that a plumber re-do the thing that was not to code and that they certify that it was still "good".  So the seller paid over $200 for the plumber. Well at settlement the buyer was not happy because they still had concerns that the thing would leak and cause water issues while they were at work. So the agents ended up paying for a new water heater and everybody was happy. It is too bad that the seller paid $200+ on a repair that did not really do a darned thing to make the buyer happy. Communication about what the real wishes might have helped but it was my feeling the seller thought the water heater worked fine for them for 15 years so why would it need replacing?

Dec 03, 2008 10:28 AM #2
Jacques Mountain
Dream Home Inspections/203K Consultant - Fayetteville, GA
Inspector/203K Consultant

In a normal home inspection, small leaks are something we see everday.

I would have noted and maybe added a photo.

But it is still business as usual to me!!

Dec 03, 2008 04:06 PM #3
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Well, Maggie, sounds like the client and his agent didn't clearly communicate with each other up front.  Sometimes you need to slap a client upside the head (figuratively) to make sure stuff doesn't jump out at the last minute on the closing table.

Not jaded, Jack.  We just realize how easily it's fixed but also have to communicate to the client the larger problems it can cause if it's NOT fixed.

Kinda like the missing switchplate.  25 cents and a minute with a screw driver or a kid sticking their fingers into it.

Dec 04, 2008 12:10 AM #4
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