Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 57 seconds

An Old Home

I recently had the wonderful experience of providing my powers of observation and interpreted a few home inspections. No I am not a certified inspector but I know my way around a home. This all stemmed from the NARI home tour and a family that was anxious to find a home in Boise’s North End, a historic area that is loaded with charm. They had recently sold a home and were currently renting in the North End. They were pretty sure they found the street they wanted to live on and it was just a matter of keeping an eye on the MLS. I discovered through a dear Realtor friend Donna Jacobson, that the technology exists to help perspective buyers keep an eye on such a narrow search parameter.

The evaluation

We first met at a stucco home. As I walked through, I noticed that it that had all the signs of being renovated in an unloving way and major attempts to put “makeup on a pig”. The home did not meet my “Has to have good bones” requirement nor did it have the space they needed as a family. I believe that my observations confirmed their suspicions.

The next call I received was an excited call about a potential keeper with plenty of room that they had “locked up” with a tentative offer with contingencies. Upon arrival I noticed a corner lot with a great turn of the century set of neighboring homes. This one had charm and elegance. There was a real home inspector on site too. I performed my walk through and had time to listen to the couple and ask lots of questions. I was able to point out a bunch of stuff that could be fixed and should be fixed. I mainly looked at what could be done to adapt the home to be more livable for them, add energy efficiency and maintain the charm.

The Report

An Inspector

Then I received a complimentary copy of the home inspection. Initially I was pleasantly surprised. The inspector was sensitive to the fact that the home was built in a different era and much of the deterioration and or quirks of the home were expected from a home of this age. Sure there were buckets of stuff on the list that needed attention but all in all the structure was sound. I was not as kind, but I get the sentiment. My take is that it has been poorly maintained for years and it shows. I added to my report, and essentially reiterated that there are a bunch of “must fix prior to occupying” and another list of things that could be done once they settle in.

After reading the inspection again I noticed a disturbing twist. The inspector was dabbling in making subjective statements about the cost to repair the home and minimizing the severity of things that he had not completely evaluated. The inspection is suppose to be an objective evaluation of the condition at that moment in time and a list of things that should and must be repaired. Incensed by the cavalier inspection report I wrote a scathing letter to the perspective buyers discrediting the inspection. I also included an itemized opinion of probable cost to assist my client’s in making a proper offer on the home.

The bottom line

Money Pit

At Levco Builders we try to be as up front and factual as possible. We have found that sugar coating things backfires quickly. Who wants to see the world through rose colored glasses when they are the financially responsible party. As it turns out this family has very little experience living in an older home and it could potentially ruin them financially. Remember the movie The Money Pit? When it comes time to evaluate a home for purchase get an objective second opinion and a third if that is what it takes. These are no times to be making foolish decisions with your hard earned cash. It is a buyer’s market and don’t you forget it.

You have to pay to play

To be clear, this is a professional service provided by a licensed contractor. I charge for this service. $350 as a minimum with a report. Additional time beyond a visit and a report is more expensive.

We can also provide rapid response for structural engineering evaluations if required. at $350 minimum with report. Again for unusual circumstances, additional tests, or more detailed reports are charged accordingly.

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261