You’ve got to be bad to be good!

Another slant on ‘deal killer’. It’s not the inspector, it’s the facts, the condition of the building was other than expected. “Deal killer” really describes only one view. This well written article takes the right view, service to the client.

I find the whole discussion about inspectors being “deal killers” interesting.  I have come to embrace the notion that not all deal killers are created equal.  What one person considers a “deal killer” is another person’s “ass saver.”

PoppyThe key is coming to an understanding of what is important as well as what the difference is.

Once one figures out what is important, then it is easy to understand why one might even want an inspector that is known as a deal killer on one’s team.

If all a person is interested in is “closing the deal,” then one is likely to have a very narrow and negative connotation of “deal killer.”  If one is solely focused on seeing that their client is “taken care of” to to highest possible standard, the term “deal killer” can merely mean that the inspector is on the same page as the agent in seeing the client taken care of.

Obviously this does not account for the fact that some inspectors and some agents do nothing to help themselves out with how they are perceived.  These few agents and inspectors should not reflect badly on the rest of the barrel that are actually trying to provide good service to their clients.

I am pretty sure that I have never had a client think of me as a “deal killer” but probably frequently as an “ass saver.”  Most, while perhaps disappointed that the house did not work out, are generally grateful for being saved from something they were not willing to take on.

Agents on the other hand fall into two camps.  The first camp of agents are the few that most likely think I killed the deal—for a host of reasons.  Although, quantifying what exactly I should have “left out” in order for the deal to have not gone South would have been very difficult.  And, figuring out what should be “left out” is no place any inspector should ever have to go.  Of course these agents will sometimes argue that it is the “way” the information was conveyed that is the problem, not the information itself.  I find, with rare exception, that this miight be a smoke screen for them merely being bummed that they are back to square one finding a home for the client.  There is sometimes simply no “euphemistic” way to say there are two many rats in the attic, that the crawl space would make a better swimming pool or that the foundation has a 6” crack in it behind the furnace where nobody looked (that accounts for the living room being a bowling alley).

The second camp of agents are those that know that I have protected both the buyer and the agent from problems that neither the buyer or the agent would have wanted “left out” of the report.  Because these agents recommend me because I am a “deal killer” I have already passed the test of “how” I impart the information to the client.  These agents have already shifted gears and are on to exploring other options for the client even before they get the report back.  It is all merely part of the “process”—-otherwise why bother with inspections at all?

You have to be bad to be good.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

TUB FOBIA! ? A Disconcerting Experience! QUESTION; What’s Your Take On It?

I just had a disconcerting experience. I had a new client asking me the usual questions about the inspection she wanted done next week.

When she asked me about the whirlpool bathtub, I had to tell her it would not be part of my inspection.

I explained the the motor would be damaged if it was run without water in the tub. Filling the tub would take too long to be done in the course of the inspection.  So this is not done.

Some water is run to test the faucets, shower head, etc..  Access to the motor and system piping is checked and inspected for leaks and general condition.

She was satisfied with that answer but wanted to know what she could do to go further.

As an inspector is a generalist, the answer is to engage a specialist. In this case a specialist for a whirlpool tub is a plumber, so I suggested she talk to a plumber. That was ok, but she wanted to know if it was ok for a plumber to be there during the inspection.  For me it was fine but I suggested she let her agent know about it  and have owed and cleared with th sellers.

And that’s where the call ended.


THEN I got the call from the agent ” WHAT THE ____ DID YOU TELL MY CLIENT??  SHE’S GONNA NIX THE DEAL!

She, the agent, went on to tell me that the plumber was an alarmist who went on a rant, first about that brand, said it could not be replaced now. He then went on to tell her horror stories about diseases transmitted by these tubs and worked “flesh eating disease” into the rant.

Turns out this buyer is very nervous and phobic in general and this alarmist rant really set her off. I was able to explain to the agent what my involvement had been and I was able to give her the names of several plumbers to get a broader opinion on this ” issue”, if in fact there is one.

The agent wants to salvage the deal, naturally and wants a plumbers price to seal off the “whirlpool” jets, effectively converting it to a normal tub. And will pay for it if is affordable and will close the deal.


I’ve since spoken to a plumber about this. He says there are lots of stories going around but few facts. The cleaning maintenance is very easy to do. Basically you run the tub through a full program cycle using only hot water and baking soda. You’d do this every few months depending on frequency off use.

That doesn’t sound too complicated or difficult door anyone to do. So I wouldn’t recommend the ‘sealing of the jets’ option, but that’s not my call or decision.


My question to you is:

Have you heard of disease problems associated with these tubs?

1 – Have you heard of disease problems associated with these tubs?


2 – What would your response be in this situation as an inspector?…an an agent? … Or as a buyer / seller?

Your thought?


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Yesterday was an inspection day for me.

Yesterday was an inspection day for me.

It was a triplex, one down and 2 up, with a basement garage.

 Unfortunately there were over a dozen significant issues, ranging from foundation cracks, oil tank replacement, deck structure, aluminum wiring, mold and to leaking skylights.

But nobody’s panicking. It’s a seventy two year old building and fundamentally it is a sound building.

 Some of the items are deferred maintenance. (Repairs not done or left for the new owners.) Ideally this should be reflected in the asking price. This is where the agent’s knowledge of the area and comparables is essential.

 Other things are just the way the buildings were made then. Codes and practices have changed and improved since and while implementing the new standard is recommended, thinking of them as faults, or defects, is wrong.

 A common good example of this is a bathroom that does not have an exhaust fan. They just weren’t built with them back then.  It is desirable to have them for several reasons but their absence is not a fault like it would be on new construction.

 What is left after these considerations are aging systems (old oil tank), ineffective repairs (leaking skylights) or installation errors (weak deck framing).

 Buyers do need to know to know about the maintenance that is required as they are going to have to pay for it or spend time doing it.  So my report will show this.

 They will also get recommendations to bring things up to current expectations and standards so they know what is lacking and why it matters.

These things don’t have to be done at once but should all be planed for, as the safety, utility and future value of the property will be affected. (Safety features should be the first and immediate upgrades.)

 The remainnder, the actual defects or problems are never as numerous and simply need to be fairly priced for remediation.

As an inspector it is my service to reveal these issues or potential costs so nobody is surprised later.

With this knowledge willing sellers, buyers and agents can now arrive at the right price and complete the sale.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post