Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

head_left_image

Holmes Inspections: Reality Check

There's a show on HGTV called Holmes Inspection, which exposes problems with houses that were allegedly missed by other home inspectors.  Here's the basic formula: John and Jane buy a house, have it inspected, no major problems.  Time passes, problems show up, Mike Holmes gets called in.  Mike inspects the house, agrees there's a problem, tears everything open to show what was done wrong or could have been done better, and then says he'll "make it right".  In the end, the original home inspector gets blamed for missing defects with the house.

I've had countless clients ask me about the show, and I've heard a lot of discussion about the show from other home inspectors, so I finally took the time to watch an episode to see what all the talk was about.

exploratory hole in kitchen floor

Holmes Inspection makes for great TV.  I watched an episode titled Frigid Floor, wherein the homeowners complained about a cold floor at the addition of their house.  There were a couple of other miscellaneous issues, but the big one was the cold floor.  Mike Holmes doesn't know exactly what the problem is, so he has his crew come in and cut out a huge section of the kitchen floor to get at the crawl space below.  There is no final diagnosis of what the problem is, but his crew spares no expense in making it right.

They tear out all of the cabinets, countertops, flooring, and subfloor to get at the crawl space.  They spend three days hand digging the crawl space to make it several feet deeper, install rigid foam on the floor, pour self-leveling concrete on the floor, then have the walls insulated with spray foam (I loved that part).  While they're at it, they also beef up the floor structure.  They add access to the crawl space from inside the basement by cutting an opening through the foundation wall, and they add a heat register and a light.   They definitely 'make it right'.

The original contractor who did the addition gets thrown under the bus; Mike says that this is how the job should have been done to start with.  While Mike's work was far superior to that of the original contractor, I think it's unfair to put down the original contractor.  The work was done for the previous owner, permits were pulled, and the work was inspected and approved.  We have no idea of what was agreed upon between the original contractor and the previous owners.  Maybe the original contractor gave the previous owners a bid to do exactly what Mike Holmes did, and the owners opted to save $10k by only doing the bare minimum.

If the previous owners got three different bids for the job, there's a slim chance that the contractor who gave them a bid on a beautiful crawl space would actually get the job.

The original home inspector gets thrown under the bus as well.  Mike concludes the show by saying that if the original home inspector actually knew something about construction,  he would have warned the buyers that there was no crawl space.   That comment really bugged me.  The home did have a crawl space, it just didn't have any access, and it was too small for most people to actually crawl in to; that doesn't mean it's not a crawl space.  I'd love to know what Mike would have said to the buyers if he had done the original home inspection.   Here are a few potential warnings:

  • This home has no accessible crawl space.  So what?
  • This home has no accessible crawl space, but it should.  I can't inspect what I can't see.  Before you buy this house, you should have the sellers make the crawl space accessible and have it inspected.  The home inspection was performed in warm weather, and there were no signs of any problems.  The work was done with permits and inspected, so what would actually happen if the buyers demanded the crawl space be made accessible for the inspection?  Do you think the sellers would agree to that?  My experience tells me absolutely not.
  • This home has no accessible crawl space.  I know that permits were pulled for the addition and inspected by the city, but I don't care.  If I can't see it, it's probably not right.  Don't buy this house.  Ha!  Now I'm just being silly... I think.

Just for the sake of argument, let's say the inspection was done during the winter, the floor was cold, and the crawl space was barely accessible.  What would the recommendation have been?  Gut the kitchen and make it right?  That suggestion would go over like a lead balloon.  Personally, I would have told the buyers that the floor was cold, and to fix it would probably be cost prohibitive.  This is what you're getting, take it or leave it.

My conclusion

I'm not trying to be too critical of the show, but the repairs performed on this house were completely over-the-top and unrealistic.  Don't get me wrong, it's a very cool concept for a show - take a problem with a house that is cost prohibitive to repair and fix it any way you want with time and money being no object.   It would have been nice to do it this way from the start, sure... but I can't imagine any sane person spending their own money gutting a kitchen just to make the floor warmer.  This is a fun show to watch as long as you remember that it's just TV.  I think the main messages are good: hire an excellent home inspector and don't skimp out on your remodel project.  You'll save money in the long run by spending a little more up front.

I think I'll start watching this show.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

Comment balloon 52 commentsReuben Saltzman • March 13 2012 03:28AM

Comments

I have not watched the show. I enjoyed reading your post and learned from it.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 6 years ago

Reuben, thank you for your thoughts on Holmes' show...i enjoy it but am amazed at what they do to correct issues and always does seem extreme...i agree most homeowners opt for the cheaper version...great to hear a home inpsectors perspective here..

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Gita - it's worth watching, and it's easy to do online.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Ginny - it has to be fun for those guys to do the repairs.  I think any contractor would love the opportunity to design a home repair with time and money being absolutely no object.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Maybe they should have just bought a rug for that cold floor :)  Have watched the show occasionally, and like any "reality" tv show, it needs to be taken with an extremely big grain of salt.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Liz & Bill - that would have made for a very short episode.  Ha!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

LOL, I was thinking the same thing as BLiz...or it also would have been less expensive to get a radiante heat floor.

I agree...the issue usually comes down to cost/benefit.  We usually give our customers options on what they could do.  (I mean there are certain right/wrongs on installation, but there are many issues of what you could/should do vs. what you want to spend).  I have this issues w/ a customer from yesterday w/ a very whacked basement.  I've never seen tile quite like this where it is bulging (like a floating floor might).  Of course the better thing to do is to rip it all up and level the floor, but it's a basement and there's no way they want to spend that money.  Instead, we will probably rip up some sections, fill w/ cement and put carpet on top given their budget and desired use for the room and (including wanting to make it a bit warmer and more comfortable to stand/sit on.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

My conclusions exactly about the Holmes show.  And pretty much what I tell my clients.  He does great work, but as a contractor, as you say, an estimate to do what he ended up doing would have been so costly no homeowner would have paid for it.

Another thing that bothers me is that he is not a home inspector.  He is a contractor.  But he knows ALL about home inspectors.

Keep in mind, the show is highly, highly edited.  Home inspectors don't have that luxury.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I have watched the show many, many times. The segments were done in Toronto so I relate to what the topics are. For you to have wathced the show only once and make opnions is quite unfair.

I have seen travesties where people have been told not to have inpsections by their realtors, where the construction was done by the home owner and no permits were taken out, where the home inspector missed termites which were clearly visible on the wood door frame before entering the house which also had termites throughout the beams in the basement, where a front porch was covered over to enlarge the kitchen and the foundations below were crumbling away, where an home was turned into open concept but no supporting beams were in place so the second floor was caving, where the electricity was running alongside the furnace ducts which is a no no, and on and on and on.

In fact, I find this show really beneficial as a realtor. It has taught me many things to be a better realtor to my buyers and make sure my sellers give full disclosure because I know the questions to ask. Buyers have become very sue happy and I do not want to find myself in that position.

I always have a home inspection clause in all my offers with buyers. If they choose to forgo the inpection they cross the clause out and initial it. That way I am protected, because I advised them to have one. I always make sure the inspector is a member of the Ontario Home Inspectors Association, not just a friend of the buyer who knows a little about construction.

 

Posted by Diane Plant, Broker, TorontoHomeSearch: Forest Hill Real Estate (Forest Hill Real Estate Inc, Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Reuben,

Just like many of the other "Reality shows" this one smacks of being somewhat staged.  I had a buyer, buy a home a couple of months ago and we had an addition that did not have crawlspace access.  The home inspector said in the home inspection that the crawlspace under the kitchen addition did not have access.  He warned of potential problems and said the sellers should make access and then reinspect. So we requested the seller create an access point along with other repairs.  He cut through the cinder block foundation wall and we inspected the space.  The buyer was satisfied and we closed. 

Posted by Larry Story, Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate (Total Care Realty) over 6 years ago

Reuben, this is an entertaining show. He does give the impression he is the only person who knows anything about construction. Its his way or the highway. He does know his stuff at any expense.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

Reuben, you sound like me when Property Virgins show buyers look at 3 homes with unrealistic criteria and then buy one of the 3 and get their keys all in 30 minutes. TV (and the internet) have done a number on the public's expectations, eh?!

Mike Holmes sets a great standard in a perfect world. Mike is one of my TV hero's, but I agree we don't always know the whole story. I think he knows his trade & craft well and sets an example of when to do it yourself and when to call in the experts. He also shows us we can't do it alone, we need trusted advisers and we need to allow them to do what they do without micromanaging them. Reuben, I hope it's fair to say, I understood your point and at times (pending the episode), agree it's over the top solutions. Bu, Mike Holmes does send some great messages and at the end of the day, we should all strive to be experts in our careers, to Make It Right. Good post, seemed to generate good feedback!

Posted by Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D, & Host of Postcards From Success Podcast (Big Block Realty 858.232.8722) over 6 years ago

Debbie - absolutely!  A radiant floor would have been an ongoing expense, but the cost could never come close to the amount of money spent for the repairs in that episode.

Jay - wouldn't you just love to tear open walls and floors to get to the bottom of things some times?  

Diane - How many episodes do you think I would need to watch before making an opinion?  Did you read my whole post?  Did I say anything that was inaccurate or unfair?   Are the other episodes of the show substantially different from this one?

Larry - good stuff!  

Michael - that's the same impression I got.  Fun show though.

Thomas - I agree.  I think that more than anything, Mike is making buyers realize there are huge differences between home inspectors, and I appreciate people knowing this.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

I watch the show just to see new contruction ideas. But as far as him burying every other person who ever looked at the house goes, I can't stand him. Pompous, ego the size of Niagara Falls. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 6 years ago

I have watched teh show several times. To me it is more entertainment than a realistic picture of inspections and inspectors!

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) over 6 years ago

I have watched quite a few of his shows. Most times the defects are on the surface- obvious to the naked eye. The homeowners usually have fallen prey to some home improvement gone wrong senario. My question is the owners usually are out of money after being scammed, so who pays for Holmes making it right ???

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 6 years ago

This is one of those cable shows I fall back on when there's nothing on network TV that interests me. My husband and I always get a chuckle at the shows where "crash and trash" is the method of choice for removing existing fixtures, cabinets, etc. - pure entertainment, not at all necessary!  I can understand why home inspectors wouldn't appreciate the put-downs, since they're limited to a visual inspection.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 6 years ago

I have wathced the show quite a bit and it's hard to figure out what the real deal is with all the editing.  I just like seeing how he does things from a construction standpoint.

If big Mike was your home inspector, I don't think you'd ever buy a home, lol.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 6 years ago

Not too much time to watch shows, but for your posts Reuben...I am in. Keep em coming

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 6 years ago

I have seen a few of the shows... and it is typically fixing a crappy job from a contractor that did not finish it or some truly substandard work.  and yup, every repair is OVER THE TOP... You do get what you pay for!!!

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) over 6 years ago

Scott S - I agree, there's some cool stuff on the show.  In the episode I watched, the insulation contractor applied some kind of fire barrier to the spray foam insulation; I'ver never seen that done in a house.

Gary - agreed.

Michael P - the show pays, of course :)

Margaret - I'll have to keep watching to see if this episode was just an anomoly.  From what I've heard about the show though, this was par for the course.

Justin - no kidding!

Robert - over the top is right.  If the previous owners wanted a cheap remodel, they got what they paid for.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Richie - thanks!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

It is just like any of the other HGTV "reality" shows...great entertainment but they do not illustrate real life, real transactions, real solutions, etc.  Great illustration of the bigger picture!!!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 6 years ago

You bring up some great points! Nice to hear things from an inspector's point of view.

Posted by Ron & Carol Young (The Ron Young Team - Keller Williams Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Reuben- welcome to the world of Reality shows.  I love watching some of the shows on the home channel but you have to watch it knowing that ratings are key.  Like some of the home staging shows, I've had clients wanting to know if I'm going to come in and do a lot of painting and updates "all for $500!".  Congrats on the Feature. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 6 years ago

Reuben, the words Holmes and Home Inspection should not be used in the same sentence me thinks.  Sure there are plenty of inadequate home inspectors out there but percentage-wise there are even more inadequate TV shows :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

I get a big laugh everytime I see HGTV and Holmes.

The common theme I see with Holmes is Make It Expensive!.  I've only seen a few shows, yet there are so many things not done right.  I always laugh just thinking about how many times I've seen face nails at exposed flashing.  

A few of us overlay the HGTV/Holmes concept on other industries...  The Holmes auto repair...  bring in your KIA for an oil change, and Holmes "Makes It Right" so you get a BMW when he's done.  :)  The owner is so happy with a $100,000 oil change. 

Posted by Jim Mushinsky (Centsable Inspection) over 6 years ago

To answer your comment to me, yes!  Just this morning!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hi Reuben..... you're right! We all should be so lucky as to have repairs where money is no object. I like your idea, that we don't know what the original intent was, nor the budget nor what else they could have done. Great post!

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 6 years ago

I find it interesting that they never include a price tag on the repairs that they make. I have seen it a couple of times, and I always think that the owners would never be able to afford to make the Holmes-style repairs. I bet it is at no cost to them, and paid by the advertisers.

Posted by Bill Dandridge, GREEN, ABR, GRI, EcoBroker (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU) over 6 years ago

I do watch Holmes' show. It is very entertaining and educational. Your are right, if a permit was pulled, one has to take into account the expenses that was involved. You know the saying..."you get what you paid for."

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) over 6 years ago

Reuben,

 

I have always thought the same thing. Major overkill on everything. I don't know how anyone could afford him?

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) over 6 years ago

I saw one of those Holmes shows once where he redid the basement, including a new 6' wide staircase leading to the basement and there was no handrail. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hi Reuben.   I have a client that watched that show and it frightened her so much it was hard to get her into a "new" home.    Enjoyed your point of view.

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Love the show, but like all the HGTV (and others) "reality" shows - they aren't real.  I love the real estate agent finding homes and managing a transaction in thirty minutes too.  Plus verbally talking to the seller's agent to close the deal.  Don't know about you, but in Hawaii, if it's not in writing it's not a deal.

A home inspector can't inspect what he can't see, and our inspector will write in the report what he can't inspect.  That particular show was way over the top but others highlighting incorrect wiring and plumbing are good things to know about, but get a qualified inspector - they are the knowledgeable one on all those things. We insist on a home inspection preferably by one of three we know to be well qualified.

Posted by Kate Braden over 6 years ago

I love the show because it brings attention to Home Inspectors. I'll agree some is negative but there are some obvious misses in his show.  I would love to know how many people on the show hired the $99 special guy. 

I also wrote about Mike Homes here. http://actvra.in/x9P

 

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) over 6 years ago

Hi Reruben,  COunt me as one who really likes the show.  I get it that the show is trying to attract a fan base and sell some commercials.  The premise is that people need to be proactive in working with contractors and shines a bright light on the importance of the inspection process.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 6 years ago

From my understanding of the background of the show, it is based in Canada, where Mike Holmes is pretty big. There also seems to be a lot of Home Inspectors in Canada as the profession is not as well regulated as it is in the US. 

In a lot of the episodes you'll see home inspectors write things such as no issues at all when there is proof of some problem showing. 

Other things Mike has done is start the The Holmes Foundation trying to get kids interested in the building trade and helping those impoverished by the a botched renovation. 

He also has Holmes Homes. people work with a Mike Holmes approved builder for their custom home. The home is supposed to exceed industry stadards. 

I also did see one episode where Damon went well over the top redoing a bar. Mike was like pretty easy to do when spendin my money. 

Posted by Nic Winder over 6 years ago

Reuben.

Mike also has a home inspection company. I have hired them and they do a very thorough job.

You are quite right about the corrective repairs. They might otherwise have been cost prohibitive, but not if the TV program is paying.

Brian

Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 6 years ago

It's all about making a good tv show and riling people up -- not about being practical.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 6 years ago

Inspections, like most things in life, are up to some interpretation which means different folks will get different results. It's not even always right or wrong, but a matter of degrees.

Gretchen

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I work with many contractors and if money is no object, they will have a field day just to make it everything absolutely right.  Can't blame them.  Good ones can do amazing stuff.  Too bad money is an object!

Posted by Frank Iglesias, Atlanta, GA Real Estate Investor (Working With Houses, LLC - Atlanta Real Estate Investments) over 6 years ago

Reuben:

I have watched bits and pieces of the show.  Since I have no frame of reference for most of the jobs he did, I didn't realize that he was going way over the top.  Have to watch again, now that I have little more info.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 6 years ago

Hi Rueben - One of my friends was once featured on a home renovation show filmed out of Toronto (not one of the Mike Homes shows).  I was told that the show paid for the labour and my friend paid for the materials.  That can result in a substantial cost savings.  However, of course, you don't have access to your home for a period of time because the film crew is also there.

Posted by FN LN over 6 years ago

It's about time someone wrote about this, and you couldn't have done it better.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Rueben, it's reality TV, which means it has very little resemblance to what really happens.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 6 years ago

Rueben, too funny I had a client who asked me about my experience in past were similar to home owners that Holmes inspected. I think the show has some good points to learn but the approach is way beyond common person's budget.

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) over 6 years ago

Exactly!  Even the "reality" shows rarely reflect what is really real.  What's real is often uninteresting. No one would watch the show if it did not have some drama.

Posted by Kathryn Acciari, RSPS, SRS, REALTOR(R) Sturbridge-Shrewsbury MA (Cameron Real Estate Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Reuben, I've been watching that show for years and before that, the original "Holmes On Homes". You called it right. The basic format has never changed when it changed or 'grew' into "Holmes Inspection".

They just put an 'inspector didn't...' chapter at the start of the show and then toss him under the bus at the end, same as they always did with the former contractors or renovaters. So you called it right, even if you haven't seen lots of shows.

I have. And I watch because it is interesting. It is entertaining, it's good teleyision and great theater, but don't mistake it for reality.

Unfortunately, a great many people who don't know construction or building technology, do take it for real, and along with all the other 'reality' home reno shows, they take away the impression that major sections of a home can be renovated fairly fast and there is very little discussion of costs, time and disruptions.

All pros make what they do look easy.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 6 years ago

Many inspectors I know do not like the show because they feel Holmes does not portray home inspectors in a good light. Like you I get asked about the show and Holmes quite frequently. I watched one episode early on and it ticked me off.

The issue was asbestos on heating pipes. The homeowner, a woman, played it up about her kids and she is so concerned, blah, blah, blah....

The pipes were inside a finished ceiling in the finished basement. The ends of some of the pipes were visible from inside the mechanical room. Holmes comes in, unacceptable, yada, yada, yada. He did say the home inspector mentioned the asbestos in the report, BUT he didn't make the now homeowner aware of the seriousness of the issue. 

WHAT!?

Holmes and crew come in, rip apart the basement, remove the asbestos, do a few other repairs that had nothing to do with the home inspection and every things great at the end. 

No one is better than Mike Holmes, just ask him. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone.  Thanks for the additional information about Holmes Inspections, to everyone who has watched the show with a little more regularity than me ;). 

I've watched a couple more episodes, and you're right; the premise of every show is very similar.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

I enjoy watching "Holmes Inspection" because I live in a state (Arizona) that is apparently filled with lousy and lazy home inspectors and city building inspectors who get paid to green tag obviously incorrect work. My neighbors and I all live in homes built in the late 1990s apparently by contractors and subs who had no idea that toilets should typically be plumbed to the cold water line and that usually, in the U.S., cold water is on the right and hot water is on the left. I have had to label all the valves beneath my sinks, including one that apparently doesn't work at all. Almost every day, plumbing company trucks and vans are parked in front of houses up and down the street.

Neither the builder nor the city has any original blueprints for these homes. The property management companies have no blueprints for these homes. Thus, trying to discern whether a pipe or wiring was correctly installed or installed to meet minimum code is nearly impossible although I did find, using expensive equipment, that a pipe from the water meter in my front yard to the entrance at the front of my home is only 9 inches deep, not 16, as was required by code at the time my home was built.

I used 4 inspectors, not one of whom seemed to want to actually do an inspection. I constantly asked them about specific things, and each gave me different information. I've had 8 plumbing companies out to repair a leaky tub/shower faucet, and not one has been capable of doing so and/or they give me the excuse that "That's normal". Really? No, it's not. If it were, in the last 35 years of living in and around Arizona, mostly in the Phoenix-metro area, this much leaking would have occurred everywhere I lived and most certainly in the other bathroom in my home. 

But suddenly it's normal. These guys can't even properly solder a joint or caulk. Worse still, I've had about 11 HVAC contractors (salesmen, I assume) here to try to find out why there is so much dust in my home, which I've owned for 3 years, compared to my former home, in which I lived for 19 years, and compared with other homes in which I've lived over the years. Each tells me something different, and they're all full of s---.

I don't really have a construction backround other than that my late father was a builder/contractor back East, and he had a difficult time finding good subs so he did a lot of work himself, and I often watched him and, as I got older, helped him. I've also, out of necessity, learned how to read instructions so that I could install landscaping irrigation lines (PVC, spaghetti drip lines, etc.) and timers, correctly caulk, do basic wiring, basic plumbing (if pipes are where they're supposed to be), priming, painting, service air handlers, evaporative coolers, hang drywall, do framing, a little bit of concrete work, bricklaying and a few other miscellaneous things.

Even without a background in construction, I know that sometimes you just have to tear into walls and into ceilings to see what's underneath because I've had to do it twice in my current house, although never to the extent that Mike Holmes does because I have nowhere else to live. It was only by opening up a wall that I could find an area plumbed illogically, but green tagged by the city inspector, for example. I have found things that the inspectors didn't find, like insulation coming out of an interior wall and concrete falling out, crumbling out, of the foundation. I've also discovered flashing exposed to the elements from beneath an exterior wall where the stucco dried before reaching the bottom edge. I think these things are serious and should have been found by any inspector.

Over the last few years, I've avoided being taken advantage of while managing to amass a small fortune that I hope one day I can eventually pay to people who know what they're doing and can and will do what they assure me they will do.

Where you and all of those who commented live and find competent inspectors and contractors is obviously in a very different world than mine. I'd love to hear from anyone who wants to take on the challenge of my "house from hell" because I clearly can't find anyone on my own. I'll be on TV if that's what it takes to have these issues corrected. I just want to live out the rest of my years in a house that's "normal" like all the other homes in which I and my family and friends have lived all these years in Arizona, among them a tiny trailer on a huge dirt lot in Bullhead City.

I would be OK with my house being torn up or even torn down and a new one built in its place, and I would even help, if there were one knowledgeable and skilled contractor or inspector anywhere in my area. Maybe someone would be willing to come out here during the "winter" months of November-February.

Posted by K.V. almost 6 years ago

Participate