Unpleasant Surprises


Hello, readers! As you may have noticed, it’s been a while since my last blog post. I blame the busy summer season for my hiatus. However, I’m happy to be back and am eager to share this post, as it is important for Inspectors, Realtors and house hunters alike!

Sometimes, it can be difficult to come up with new subject matter. After many posts, it can seem there’s precious little fresh material to cover.

And then… some new material presents itself.

This last week we were inspecting an older home that was vacant. I walked into the guestTHIL_BuyerBeware bathroom and, of course, started turning on the switches for the lights and the exhaust fan. The lights came on, so I directed my attention to the round object in the ceiling above my head, thinking it was the exhaust fan and expecting it to start running.

Instead, the actual ceiling fan in the center of the room’s ceiling began to run. Curious! If that was the ceiling fan, then what was the object in the ceiling above my head? It looked just like a speaker that people use in a surround sound system. But, why would anyone install a speaker in the bathroom? I checked the ceilings in the rest of the house and found no other speaker-like objects.

THIL_MysteryAs you may know, I’m a girl. I’m also a Home Inspector, which makes me sort of unable to resist investigating the unknown. So, I grabbed my flashlight and shined it on the object and saw a camera lens behind the surface material. The lens part swiveled so it could be aimed at different areas, but was, at the time, aimed at the tub/toilet area.

Let’s just take a moment here to absorb the creepiness of what I just told you. Shiver, if THIL_Horrifiedyou like. I know I did. It was something that I have never come across before. It was unthinkable to me to wonder how many unsuspecting people, male and female alike, not to mention possibly children, had their privacy violated by some creeper while they used the bathroom. Or, if they were guests, had showered, unaware that they were being watched. Okay, let’s all shiver again. It’s warranted.

An interesting caveat to this story is that the home buyer was a police officer and informed me that this type of action was, in fact, a crime.

Someone asked me not long ago what was, in my opinion, the number one rule for Home Inspectors today. My reply was that with technology being what it is, the Home Inspector should assume they are on camera every moment of the inspection and conduct themselves accordingly, in both word and deed. Who knew that would be prophetic?

THIL_SurveillanceSo, the takeaway from this unfortunate incident is this: whenever you are in someone else’s home, whether showing the home, touring the home or inspecting the home, be aware that you may not be as alone as you assume. If possible, refrain from using the bathrooms and be sure to keep any unflattering comments about the home to yourself until you are safe in your car with the doors closed.

A Realtor friend of mine had her buyers win out in a bidding war even though her client’s offer was lower. The deciding factor for the sellers? Both parties had stood on the front porch after the tour discussing the situation. My friend’s buyers went on and on about how much they loved the house. Their competition had been less than gracious and said that the sellers had better accept their offer or there would be trouble! Unbeknownst to all parties, the camera on their front porch was also wired for sound and the sellers had heard every word of both conversations.

So, beware, my real estate savvy friends! The future is now and it is always watching!

Thanks again for stopping by and please feel free to comment below, or to shoot me an email with any of your home inspection related questions. Feel free to like and share you your preferred social media platform. As always, I wish you a safe and happy home!


The Art of the Unemotional Deal


Home. Few words evoke so many emotions, whether good or, let’s be honest, stomach churning. This fact may make what I am about to propose seem contradictory, but trust me, this is good advice: When it comes to buying your next home, leave emotion out of the equation.

Time after time, we have seen people go into real estate transactions with love goggles on causing them to completely ignore any and all warning signs. They see the house online, then in person and fall head over heels. They then rush headlong into their “forever home” becoming a real nightmare.

Todd Vaughn, owner of Swat Pest Control here in Lubbock once told me about an experience he had with some love struck buyers. The house was eaten up with termites. One of the worst infestations he’d ever seen. From the foundation to the interior walls there was pervasive structural damage. Todd said, “I told the buyers the results of the inspection and they asked me, “Well, should we buy it?”  What else but love could cause someone to potentially ignore tens of thousands of dollars in termite damage?

THIL_LoveHomeOne of the bad parts of home inspection is that sometimes you have to crush someones hopes and dreams. Inspections can, and sometimes do uncover problems that the buyer is unwilling or financially unable to remedy. And when that person has allowed emotion to cloud their judgement, they can easily talk themselves or their spouse into a situation that can take not only a financial toll on the relationship, but an emotional one, as well.

We recently performed an inspection on a home that was extremely well decorated. I mean, this lady must have had a PhD in Magnolia from Joanna Gaines University. The thing that struck me, though, was that this was a very common floor plan from a very popular builder, and although it was a perfectly nice house in good condition, I knew once the buyers saw it without all the decor, they were bound to be let down. Without all the decorations, it was just like many of the other homes in that neighborhood. I couldn’t help but wonder if the decoration of the home had affected the sales price.

THIL_InvestmentHere’s the thing; First and foremost your house is an investment. Be prepared to walk away if that’s what you have to do. The inspection may go smoothly or it may throw an unexpected wrench in the works. The appraisal may come back without a hitch, or it may not. One of my friends was buying a home and the process was going very well. Till a week or so before closing when the appraisal came back $11,000 below the sales price! They may have become attached to the house at that point, but they were objective enough to know that they shouldn’t pay eleven thousand dollars over market value. They stuck to their guns even to the point of sending the seller’s Realtor a termination notice. The buyer then agreed to drop the price.

When looking for a home, don’t let the current decor and finishes be what holds sway with your decision making, whether they are good or outdated. Much of the decor will leave with the seller and finishes can be changed or updated. And if the house needs minor or cosmetic work, all the better! With a little work and a modest investment, you could have much more equity in your home very quickly. And if you can’t love equity, you scare me. Seriously. We can’t be friends anymore.

THIL_WinningTo recap, let’s hit the high points: reign in the emotions, look at the facts and the numbers and remember that you are making what may be one of the largest investments you will ever make, so keep your head in the game!

Thanks for reading this installment! If you haven’t signed up to follow The Home Inspector Lady, let me encourage you to do so now. If you are reading this on a phone and don’t see the email sign up, you can find in when you click on the “About” page. And please remember to Pin, Like, Share and comment below. And as always, email any home inspection related questions or comments and experiences to thehomeinspectorlady@yahoo.com . Have a great day!