Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dealing with deal chippers

On Monday, I was visiting with the Realtors at Century 21 Realty in Columbus, NE. Valid questions were asked. Among them (paraphrased):

We had a case where a deal was broken by an inspector due to a roofing issue. The inspector said that the proper order for installing a roof should go sheathing, then drip edge, then tar paper/felt, and then shingles—point being, the drip edge should go under the tar paper.

I agree with his assessment.

The roofer of the house (which was a new house) in question had installed the roof with the drip edge over the tar paper—the order went sheathing, tar paper, drip edge, shingles. The inspector said that this was the wrong way to install the roof, but the roofer (accurately) said that all of the roofers in the area install it in this order because the wind would rip the tar paper off of the roof if the drip edge wasn't installed over the lower edge of the paper.

I understand what they are saying—we live in a windy state.

What would you do in that situation? (Translation: this is where you talk fast. Carefully.)

I would note the installation as being wrong because it is wrong. I would explain why it is wrong and what the risks are. And I would try to help the client keep those risks in context.

What is that context?

It doesn't matter if you're buying a new house or an old house, a cute house or an ugly house. What all houses have in common is that they are not perfect. If flaws are all that matter to a client, then I would point out to the client that I'm going to find something wrong with the next house, too. The same goes for the house after that, because anyone who presents any house as being perfect is wrong.

I've inspected half-million dollar homes and found the same problems I see in 100-year-old homes. In the end, the client is the one who has to make the decision, and I realize its my job as an inspector to not act like every problem is the end of the world. My job is to inspect and communicate—not just inspect—because an inspector who can't communicate won't be employed for long.

What follows was not part of our conversation, but is a question for anyone who prefers to use contractors and tradesmen for their inspections: