Here’s some of the dark side of the real estate industry
Unethical Behavior! – Gallery 6
It never ceases to amaze me how people will lie, cheat, and steal in the real estate business:
Photo #1: Disconnected flue pipe
I had the displeasure of inspecting this real estate agent’s personal house for a buyer. Instead of her being appreciative of me finding this extremely dangerous situation that could have killed her and her family in their sleep from carbon monoxid poisoning, she filed a bogus complaint to the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General’s Office against me!!! I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to clear my name, but in the end, once they saw the inspection report and the true condition of her house, the bogus complaints were dropped. She is no longer in business.
Photo #2: Excessive moisture in attic
This photo is from the same agent’s house. Due to the flue pipe being disconnected, it dumped a whole bunch of moisture in the attic which led to the heavy mold growth. The poor attic ventilation didn’t help matters.
Photo #3: This inspection made it onto Mike McKnight Investigates Channel 6 news stories in the Spring of ’10.
The investment company decided to open up the place and brighten the kitchen by removing the load bearing wall that was between the living room and kitchen. The original wall extended from the right all the way to where the kitchen floor meets the hallway floor. Notice the nice sag in the ceiling over this opening. What you can’t see in this photo is that 7 rafters load bear in the attic onto this area.
There were numerous other issues found during the inspection. My client chose not to proceed with the purchase. The investment company insisted that I had not found any “material” defects and refused to give her the earnest deposit back. Thank you Mike McNight for helping my client!!!
Photo #4: Home inspector failed to do his job
My client hired me after attending my workshop presentation. The unethical real estate agent had hired his pet inspector without my client’s knowledge or approval and told my client when to show up for the walk-thru. The inspector informed my client that the house was in great condition. He pointed out some minor GFCI outlets that were missing and some other small things. After my client’s inspection deadline had passed, he attended one of my workshop presentations. He explained his situation and insisted that I still come in and inspect the home because something didn’t feel right.
What you’re looking at are 2 cracked rafters that connected the garage to the house. The other inspector never saw them. When I walked the attic, there was loose blown Cellulose insulation installed. I was the first to make footprints in the attic. The other inspector never walked the attic and it was one that you couldn’t see everything just from the hatch. There were many more issues I found that the other inspector did not, such as: the grading on the front sloped towards the foundation & the street perpendicular to this house had a drainage ditch that T’d directly in front of this property. The sleuce pipe was half clogged, which during a heavy rain could overflow and pump water right up to this home’s foundation. When I arrived at the inspection, the furnace’s blower was in the “On” position. I turned it to “auto”. By the end of the inspection, there was a heavy musty smell in the basement. When I returned 2 days later to retrieve the radon test, the musty smell was so strong that it made your stomach turn. By the way, the basement had recently been painted. The front porch was not adequately supported and had settled. See photo below for the other major problem the other inspector missed:
Photo #5: Sixteen of the 20 truss rafters were breached with loose gusset plates
At the walk-thru, I confronted the agent. I asked him if the inspector he uses is a good inspector. He stated he was one of the best. I asked him if he normally inspects attics. He stated yes, of course. I asked him if he inspected this attic. He again stated, yes, of course. Then I showed my client and agent my findings. The rest of the walk-thru didn’t go to well for the agent.
I followed up with my client. The agent tried to weisel out by cutting the client a check for the first inspection!
Photo #6: Inspector missed about $15,000 in problems (Photos #6-9)
He missed the fact that the driveway, sidewalk, and front steps sloped towards the foundation.
Photo #7: Continued from #6
He missed the fact that the patio sloped towards the foundation.
Photo #8: Continued from #6
He didn’t have the training, knowledge, or equipment to conduct a hydro test on the furnace to find out that there was a breach between the faceplate and the heat exchanger…which is a potential for carbon monoxide gas to leak through and mix with the supply air of the home.
Photo #9: Continued from #6
He missed the fact that a tree had fell on the house prior and broke 3 rafters in the attic. He missed this because he never went in the attic. I know because I was the first to make footprints in the loose blown Cellulose insulation and the first to clear out some pretty thick cobwebs.
He also vaguely documented that the exterior wood siding, windows, fascia, soffits, and trim may have “possible” rot. I documented over 30 areas in the siding where I could put my hand through. It was DEFINITE ROT!
Photo #10: Brick foundation bowing inward missed by inspector
What made matters worse was the driveway on the other side of this wall was tight to the foundation with no expansion joints AND it sloped towards the foundation.
Photo #11: Brick foundation – Part 2
You’re looking down the same wall as above. Notice the wall bowing inward. The inspector hired to pre-inspect this house missed this big one along with the fact that the chimney wasn’t lined! According to my client, the real estate agent involved on the listing side was trying to push my client into not hiring me and to rely on his inspector’s report.
Photo #11: Cracked heat exchanger! DO NOT USE!!!
In over 13 years of being in business, I’ve personally found over 600 cracked heat exchangers. That’s a whole lot of families that I prevented from being potentially exposed to carbon monoxide. When I find a cracked heat exchanger on a furnace, I have an obligation to any current and future occupant of that home to ensure that they are not put in danger of potential carbon monoxide poisoning. We will condemn those furnaces, turn the gas off to them, and slap one of the above stickers on them. It is then up to the homeowner to contact a licensed HVAC Contractor to have them either replace the heat exchanger or the entire furnace.
I have lost count how many times that I’ve had pictures of the cracks in my reports in addition to leaving my “Cracked Heat Exchanger” sticker behind where a licensed HVAC Contractor goes out and claims there’s nothing wrong with the furnace! Unethical or incompetent…either way, it’s putting people’s lives at risk if they turn those furnaces back on.
Additional Unethical Instances I’ve Surfaced (Sorry, no photos for these.)
Instance #1: There’s 1 agent in Omaha that specializes in Foreclosure properties. That agent has a deal worked out with the banks involved where the carpet is replaced and the interior walls are painted. On one of them that I inspected, I just happened to poke my head around the back side of the basement finished wall. I could see all the way down about 3/4 of the wall. It was black from the floor up to about 5′ high as far as I could see. It was so heavily covered with mold that it looked like someone had taken a black permanent marker to the back side. The bad thing was, from the other side, it looked like a new wall. There was no smell during the inspection. Before this had been freshly painted, there had to have been stains/mold on the front side of the drywall. Somebody covered it up!
Instance #2: One of my clients put an offer in on a new home. It had sat on the market for well over a year. On the day he puts the offer in, his Buyer’s agent informs him that there’s another offer and tries talking him into writing the offer for more money. Long story short, my client backed the agent into a corner and caught him in a lie. There was no 2nd offer.
Instance #3: One of the Listing Agents spilled the beans about the Seller’s financial situation to the Buyer’s Agent. Finding this information out, the Buyer extremely low-balled the listing price, and the offer was accepted.
Instance #4: My clients didn’t speak English. During the inspection, I surfaced a cracked heat exchanger on the furnace, the water heater was actively backdrafting carbon monoxide, and there were some areas of rotted siding that you could put your hand through. Just prior to close, the Listing Agent lies to my clients telling them that everything has been fixed. They hired me to confirm this. I show up to find the original furnace with the crack still there, the water heater still backdrafting CO gas, and the siding just as rotted as it was 2 weeks prior. When I confronted the Listing Agent, he stated he didn’t have to fix anything because they didn’t put it in writing. Truth was they had put it in writing. This agent was so bad that he was willing to chance killing the Buyers to make the sale! He’s still in business and taking people’s money hand over fist.