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  1. #1
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    Arrow AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    An Arizona television station reports how a homebuyer has spent over $60,000 making electrical, plumbing and structural repairs after buying a house that was inspected by a home inspector. (According to the article the homebuyer sued the inspector and won.)

    This led the station to conduct an undercover operation of home inspectors. They obtained a house in Chandler, had it thoroughly inspected by a prominant local home inspector and wired the house with hidden cameras. Their inspector reported the following items: open grounds on a circuit, no anti-tip device on the range, no high loop or air gap on the dishwasher discharge pipe, stair handrail openings greater than 4" and a porch cover that was not securely attached to the house.

    They then hired three local inspectors to inspect the house and graded them based on whether they found the items found by the first inspector and on how they reported their findings.

    None of the three inspectors found the porch cover defect. All three inspectors identified the open ground and the missing anti-tip device. One inspector did not identify the stair handrail opening size problem or the missing high loop on the dishwasher drain. The same inspector identified the open ground but failed to recommend an electrician repair it. According to the reporter, that inspector "did not pass our test". They also said that inspector "did not respond to our repeated requests for comment".

    Always do your best when you do an inspection. You never know who is watching.

    Hiring a home inspector? Why their mistakes can cost you

    11/02 11:20 pm

    When you hire a home inspector, a lot rests on what they find – or more importantly what they don’t find. And, why their mistakes could cost you a lot of money.

    Justin Lutick said he regrets buying his home in Fountain Hills, AZ.

    “First the air conditioning doesn’t work. Then I see a hole in the wall. Then a couple of days later I get a flood,” Lutick told ABC15.

    Lutick has only one way to describe his home.

    “As a money pit, like the movie,” he said. “It just doesn’t stop.”

    So, why did he buy the home in the first place?

    “Because I felt confident, I paid a home inspector,” he said.

    Lutick said his home inspector missed every major issue.

    “I noticed it all within the course of a week,” he said.

    He said the inspector missed electrical, plumbing and structural problems.

    Three years later, Lutick said he has spent a total of $60,000 on the house, just to fix the problems the home inspector overlooked.

    “This experience has probably been one of the worst experiences and biggest impacts on my life, because he didn't do his job,” he said.

    Lutick’s story is an example of what can happen when a home inspector doesn’t do his job correctly.

    . . .


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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    60,000 on electrical, plumbing and structural repairs ?????

    Sounds more like "I had all this other stuff upgraded while I had these few minor misses fixed"

    It also sounds more like "I did not even bother looking at anything in the home because I hired someone else and no matter what underlying problems I found later with anything, including updating, I could put on the inspector."

    Also, if the guy won then....He one. He did not pay for anything because the inspector wound up paying for it all.

    And what is the about "And then I found a hole in the wall"

    His own walk thru and he did not see a hole in the wall?

    What it sounds like to me is the inspector may have missed a few not so in your face items and wound up paying for this guy to do his home over.

    Seriously..........$60,000.00. I want to see the real concerns and what really got done to this home

    I am not saying that the inspector missed nothing by any means. What I am saying is it sounds like a hyped up and bloated exageration in repairs/upgrades.


    Who knows....Maybe the inspector was a blind man and or slept thru the inspection. I guess it does happen.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Definitely some sort of scam or a whole lot more to it. If you rip all the electrical out of an average house and put it back in it doesn't come to $60K. Sounds very fishy.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Same news story that we have seen repeated over the years just with a new set of cast members.

    I like the last part when the plaintiff said he did not get what he wanted in the way of a settlement or award. Looks like somebody else thought that $60K was little excessive as well.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    I am not saying that the inspector missed nothing by any means. What I am saying is it sounds like a hyped up and bloated exageration in repairs/upgrades.
    You're kidding aren't you? You're telling me the media blows things out od proportion????

    Speaking of media, I've got to throw this story at you guys!

    Had a commercial building, zoned for retail sales. Real estate agent sells the building knowing that what the buyer wants to use it for is not allowed in retail sales zoning. OKay I've set the tone..............

    The buyer, Salvation Army purchased the building for "warehousing" for the Angel Tree program. I say...Sorry, I can't give you a Certificate of Occupancy for warehousing in a retail zoning district!

    WWHHOOAAA!!!! WHAT???? Are yo saying that you are not going to allow the Angel Tree Program in your city?????

    WOW talk about a cluster..........Here come the TV stations, and of course there "selective" editing of the real reason behind everything gets cut out!!

    We worked it out by having them put in their administrative offices with the accessory use of warehousing but you talk about receiving hate emails!!!!! WOW!!!

    The media never blows things out of proportion!!


  6. #6
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    The Romper Room children are having a good time trying deflect blame and fault on others. Arizona ASHI President Proves Licensing Solves Nothing

    Most of us are looking at the amount of the claim from the plaintiff, the folks on the above thread have so much built up hatred toward others that they can't see the real issue at hand.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 11-03-2009 at 09:28 AM. Reason: Spellin
    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Boy have you got that right Scott.
    The home inspector enquire at it's best.
    They won't allow a post that discloses the ASHI inspectors name was not spelled correctly.

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 11-03-2009 at 09:46 AM.
    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    The Romper Room children are having a good time trying deflect blame and fault on others. Arizona ASHI President Proves Licensing Solves Nothing

    Most of us are looking at the amount of the claim from the plaintiff, the folks on the above thread have so much built up hatred toward others that they can't see the real issue at hand.
    Personally I do not hog for that crap at all. Does anyone have a clue how much good it could have done to privately pull the losing inspection company aside and saying

    "Hey, this is what we did and this is how you came out. Honestly Mr Al pro, you should really tighten things up a bit. This story could have gone public and total screwed your chances of getting any more work around here."

    Who the hell does anyone think they are passing judgment on a man in public when to keep a long lived inspector in tact and cleaned up would have done much more good.

    As far as stating out loud that the porch roof not being attached properly is just a minor thing.....Really ????? He should have gotten a spanking for that himself for stating such a stupid statement. Who is he to put the safety of one item over another. That porch roof not being attached properly could cause it to collapse (maybe) and kill some one.

    Just the fact that the guy made a public statement to the media using names of companies and such is a hated very big deal to me.

    I was accused of missing every major and minor item in a home inspection. To the point that I might as well never have shown up.

    This fool called me a year after the fact when trying to bail his home going over all the findings of the other inspector and asking me what I was going to do about it. One thing the man did not realize that when I said to hold a minute I was opening up his report that I did. Item by item he complained to me about and what I was going to do about it was in the report....and then some.

    I confronted him with it in a nice manner and explained it was all in the report. This fool put a bad review on me that stuck on the INTERNET for a year before I could get it killed. Who knows how much money that cost me. It could have and maybe was Thousands.

    These crappy little reality deals the media pulls off could and does some times destroy people.

    $60.000 my buttttttttttt\. I guaranty you there was so much updating going along with fixes that it amounted to 10s of thousands alone.

    Lets stretch it out insanely........

    5000 for all new electric.....5000 for the plumbing repair if any needed at the time. Lets throw 10,000 on there for some structural issues. Are we near 60,000 yet.

    This guy bought an s hole and it had to have been obvious just walking around the home and proceeded to put 60,000 into it.....Or did he?????

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 11-04-2009 at 11:34 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    The facts according to minutes, reports and consent Order signed by the HI (a WIN franchisee) Case M06-077

    (Bolded/underlined areas appeared as Italics originally for emphasis by the Arizona Board of Technical Registration, from top of page 6 of 19 of:
    http://www.btr.state.az.us/UserFiles...Sept%2009).pdf

    Quote Originally Posted by AZ BTR
    On or about April 4, 2005, Respondent performed a home inspection and prepared a report that failed to meet the Standards of Professional Practice for Arizona Home Inspectors by failing to adequately address the following areas: statement that the inspection is performed in accordance with the Arizona Standards of Professional Practice for Home Inspectors; report type and condition of columns; condition of flashings and trim; report adverse impact of vegetation on structure; condition of patio latice, rear patio grading; patio structural connections; roof drainage system;roof covering type and structure; damaged wood posts and roof; report on dishwasher drain hose; distribution piping supports; functional drainage; heating and cooling safety controls; type and condition of HVAC system; and condition and operation of exterior doors.

    Voluntary Surrender - Deemed to be a Revocation, Respondent agrees to voluntarily surrender his home inspector registration no. 41145
    Administrative Penalty - Pay an administrative penalty in the amount of $500.00
    Restitution - Pay restitution to Mr. Lutick in the amount of $174.00
    Costs of Investigation - Pay costs of investigation in the amount of $500.00
    The matter was voted on by the Board on October 23, 2007
    (minutes begin on page 50 of 67, see page 53 of 67, Agenda Item 6.(A.)(6.). here:
    http://www.btr.state.az.us/UserFiles...nutes%2007.pdf

    The number is modest considering the water damage.

    Considering the average for the area at the time for type of inspection was over $230 he may have gotten what he paid for.


    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 11-03-2009 at 11:17 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    "Restitution - Pay restitution to Mr. Lutick in the amount of $174.00"

    Considering the average for the area at the time for type of inspection was over $230 he may have gotten what he paid for.
    Is the restitution amount of $174 the inspection fee? If so, how does anyone stay in business charging only $174 for a home inspection. (Even $230 sounds low to me.)

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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Yes, he didn't, and I agree, but remember that was Spring 2005 dollars and the HI was a recent WIN (World Inspection Network) franchisee.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Well, at last you can cite that to explain to agents why you keep reporting missing high-loops.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    If your state has the National Standard Plumbing code, a high loop or anti-siphon device is required.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    stair handrail openings greater than 4" ?

    IRC Code Reference?


  15. #15

    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    He's wrong of course, but I'm pretty sure you knew that. I just figured this was a good time to post this 2006 stair design guide again: http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2006%20...C%20SCREEN.pdf

    PS: Oregon says less than 5" gaps at stair guards, because our children have bigger heads?


  16. #16
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    stair handrail openings greater than 4" ?

    IRC Code Reference?
    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    He's wrong of course, but I'm pretty sure you knew that. I just figured this was a good time to post this 2006 stair design guide again: http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2006%20...C%20SCREEN.pdf

    PS: Oregon says less than 5" gaps at stair guards, because our children have bigger heads?
    Yep, 4-3/8" for along the stair.

    I wonder how that first inspector would do going in after some here on this board? Think he would be the one looking a bit left out?

    I'm betting he was glad he was the one they called first to set the stage for the others.

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  17. #17
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yep, 4-3/8" for along the stair.

    I wonder how that first inspector would do going in after some here on this board? Think he would be the one looking a bit left out?

    I'm betting he was glad he was the one they called first to set the stage for the others.

    That is like a seller telling you when you get to your inspection that the entire home was gone over by her engineer husband and you will not find anything wrong....just another challenge.

    Now if they told the other inspectors on the way in that they had a "Real Pro Inspector" (and they were not good enough to wash his feet) inspect the home already then I think the outcome would have been different.

    Yes they missed things they should not have but turn the tide and see what would have happened.


  18. #18

    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    I wouldn't have called out that NM cable/ Romex wire above the range as needing to be protected either. I wouldn't consider that small piece being exposed as being subject to damage. Would any of you write that up?


  19. #19
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Yes I knew it was 4-3/8" along the stair. Thats why I put in IRC reference. A lot of guys think its 4" on the stair.

    I did a house a while back that another inspector did the previous year. He wrote up stuff like stair handrail openings greater than 4". They were actually 4-1/4" which was perfectly acceptable. He also wrote up quite a bit of other stuff referencing IRC 2006, even though the city he was inspecting in hadnt adopted IRC 2006 yet (they were still using IRC 2003).

    Didnt walk the roof, even though it was a one story house and the roof was actually quite easy to walk (no it wasnt raining or anything on the day he did his report).


  20. #20
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Can anyone explain to me why there is a difference in acceptable spacing between stair rails and rails not over stairs? Does it have to do with the stair run?


  21. #21
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    He also wrote up quite a bit of other stuff referencing IRC 2006, even though the city he was inspecting in hadnt adopted IRC 2006 yet (they were still using IRC 2003).
    That would only be a factor if he was doing a code inspection. When I inspect a house built in the 1960s and it does not have any GFCIs I recommend upgrading the appropriate outlets to GFCI even though the code in effect when the house was built did not require GFCI protection (which did not even exist at the time).

    For a "normal" home inspection we should be inspecting for performance and safety, not code.

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Yes I knew it was 4-3/8" along the stair. Thats why I put in IRC reference. A lot of guys think its 4" on the stair.
    I understand you put the IRC there for that reason.

    I did a house a while back that another inspector did the previous year. He wrote up stuff like stair handrail openings greater than 4". They were actually 4-1/4" which was perfectly acceptable. He also wrote up quite a bit of other stuff referencing IRC 2006, even though the city he was inspecting in hadnt adopted IRC 2006 yet (they were still using IRC 2003).
    You were not privy to the other inspectors inspection report - that other inspector may well have done what I did ... write up the entire guard rail for having openings which were in excess of 4" ... then explain to my client that the stairway guard is allowed to have openings to 4-3/8", but if the builder is not aware of that - go ahead had let the builder correct those while they are correcting the other guard rail spaces over 4", and, if the builder comes back and says that the stair guard is allowed to have 4-3/8" openings your client simply responds back to the builder with "I know, my inspector told be that, but he also told me if you were not smart enough to know that to go ahead and let you correct it, my inspector said most builders are not aware of the 4-3/8" opening size for stair guards, you are, so you much be smarter than the other builders, CONGRATULATIONS!"

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  23. #23
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    "You were not privy to the other inspectors inspection report"


    Ahhh, but I was privy to the other inspectors report. The people that owned the house gave it to my clients who later gave it to me. They were all about full disclosure and wanted to make sure that my clients got a copy of their inspection report too.

    You shouldnt assume Jerry.


  24. #24
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    Post Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    David, you are on target with the balustrade spacing. As for the news story, it would be most interesting to review all five of the reports, from the original to the report of the ASHI inspector pronouncing his judgment of the three inspectors that were secretly videotaped. It is interesting that he had the balustrade spacing incorrect.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    "You were not privy to the other inspectors inspection report"


    Ahhh, but I was privy to the other inspectors report.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ... then explain to my client that the stairway guard is allowed to have openings to 4-3/8", but if the builder is not aware of that - go ahead had let the builder correct those while they are correcting the other guard rail spaces over 4", and, if the builder comes back and says that the stair guard is allowed to have 4-3/8" openings your client simply responds back to the builder with "I know, my inspector told be that, but he also told me if you were not smart enough to know that to go ahead and let you correct it, my inspector said most builders are not aware of the 4-3/8" opening size for stair guards, you are, so you much be smarter than the other builders, CONGRATULATIONS!"
    AND what the other inspector said?

    You DID read ALL of what I wrote, right?

    And you were privy to that original conversation? Which is all "part of" "the report" "to the client", just not part of the written report.

    Are you telling us that you never verbally tell your client anything which is not in the report, verbatim?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  26. #26
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    A word of caution. Those IRC stair code layouts posted by someone do not meet the 2007 California Building Code.
    And yes, the odd difference between the stair run layout (4-3/8") and upper levels (4") are due to guard rail Baluster layouts.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  27. #27
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    A word of caution. Those IRC stair code layouts posted by someone do not meet the 2007 California Building Code.
    And yes, the odd difference between the stair run layout (4-3/8") and upper levels (4") are due to guard rail Baluster layouts.
    As always different jurisdictions use different codes and may have local adopted amendments. California is not different in that respect. Example this jurisdiction in California has ammended (see page 3 of the following link to Sebastopal CA) http://www.ci.sebastopol.ca.us/pdfs/...%20Summary.pdf

    The stairways.org reference was for unamended 2006 IRC, it was not represented to be a visual interpretation of the former UBC based California Building Code, nor the present IBC based much ammended and regionalized 2007 CBC.

    For WC Jerry and others interested in the 2007 CBC you might find this summary review and references/comparisons helpful: Some notable changes to the California Building Code (effective January 1 2008) and this visual interpretation of the 2007 CBC on stairs from the City of Petaluma (which I have attached as pdf, from the following link)
    http://cityofpetaluma.net/cdd/pdf/re...r-handrail.pdf

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 01-03-2010 at 09:16 AM.

  28. #28
    Jeff Baker's Avatar
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    Default Re: AZ TV Station Conducts Undercover Home Inspection Operation

    I would have not called out the exposed wire above the microwave. But the rest of it should have (all) been called out. Those are all easy catches for any inspection in my area..


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