Real-estate agent and home inspector face off over home purchase
By Carlito Pablo, September 15, 2010
Ed Witzke noted a lot of crappy stuff about the house on Rutledge Street in Victoria in his inspection. But what he observed about the washroom was particularly striking.
“A big fat fellow like myself only gets 1/2 bum on toilet seat,” the Vancouver-based home inspector wrote in his report to his client.
To illustrate his point that it was difficult to sit on the main-floor toilet because it was too close to a wall, Witzke even drew an image of an individual on the throne. A large portion of the person’s bottom was hanging off the seat.
As well, Witzke reported to Rajan Reddy, the prospective Victoria home buyer who hired him, that the “acoustics in [the] bathroom is very poor—you can hear all body noises.”
The purchase didn’t go through, and Reddy’s realtor, Gord Hoshal, felt that Witzke was full of crap.
On July 7 of this year, Hoshal filed a complaint against Witzke—a UBC-trained architect with more than four decades of experience as a home inspector—with the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C., accusing him of being unprofessional.
But Reddy is pleased with the service rendered by Witzke.
“He showed me all that crap and, basically, I feel that if Ed [Witzke] okayed the house, the sale would have gone through and I would have ended up with a piece of crap,” Reddy told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview from Victoria.
In his report to Reddy, Witzke stated that the property is “all bulldozer ready”.
Reddy says he’ll hire Witzke the next time he looks at a property.
“It had a suite downstairs, and there was a beam missing,” he said of the house he hired Witzke to inspect. “It looked like there was some water damage downstairs. The plumbing was in bad shape.”
Reddy said that Hoshal has been his realtor for some time. “He sold me my first house 10 years ago,” the Victoria resident noted.
Hoshal declined to talk about his complaint when reached by the Straight.
But in his complaint addressed to ASTTBC registrar John Shortreid, Hoshal said about Witzke: “After going on his website I found many things stated that lead me to believe he is somewhat jaded for whatever reason towards my profession and indeed a troubled soul, but that is no excuse for his lack of professionalism.”
Hoshal has it right about Witzke’s feelings toward realtors.
According to Witzke, many realtors want to control the home-inspection process so that sales go through swiftly and they can get their commissions. He claimed that realtors usually recommend to buyers inspectors they’ve had “luck” with in previous transactions.
“The more thorough the report is, the more they may have to reveal to the next prospective party buying the place, or the more they now have to work because they have to go back to the other realtor and back to the owner and say, ‘Look, these things were discovered,’” Witzke told the Straight in a phone interview.
He noted that many realtors prefer a “checklist inspector”—one who doesn’t look closely at a property except to make sure that it has a roof, doors, and windows.
“For, I don’t know, $350 or whatever, the client gets a three-ring binder, a nice glossy three-ring binder saying that everything is okay, and once they move in, then I get the phone calls saying, ‘Guess what? This whole inspection process seems to be a fraud,’” Witzke said.
In response to Hoshal’s complaint, Witzke wrote Shortreid on August 13. He noted that the case isn’t about a client who wasn’t happy with his services. According to the home inspector, it’s about “a realtor who lost a sale”.
As ASTTBC registrar, Shortreid acts as the prosecutor of complaints filed with the regulatory body.
In a phone interview with the Straight, Shortreid explained that a practice review panel makes recommendations to a member who’s facing a complaint. He said that if those recommendations are accepted by the member, the matter is deemed closed and is not subject to a disciplinary hearing.
Shortreid wasn’t able to say when the complaint against Witzke will be resolved.
Witzke has been through this before. According to him, Hoshal’s complaint is the fourth filed by a realtor against him. He said that except for one that has been resolved in his favour, the complaints are still pending decision.
[(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5-wdm6CP3c)). Even the licensing legislation stated that ’ licensee must not have a conflict of interest in relation to a home inspection that results in a material gain to the licensee’ This would seem to ban the acceptance of Realtor referrals and the CPBC site states in response to a question regarding accepting Realtor Referrals:
“Consumers pay for a service and this service should not be compromised or influenced by another person with an interest in the property. Realtors should provide potential home buyers with the website or telephone number of Consumer Protection BC or one of the acceptable associations or authorities that have contact information for licensees or members.” Yet this is largely being ignored in the industry and not policed/enforced in any way.
Who would you rather have working for you. An independent inspector is your best chance at an impartial and thorough understanding of the dwelling you are thinking of making your home. Your best chance of being truly informed when you are making, probably the biggest purchasing decision of your life.
SENWI House Inspections Agree Disagree
Ted Gilmour Thu, 2010-09-16 09:30
I’m a Vancouver inspector who is also blackballed by agents. It’s so easy for agents to steer their home buying customers to their favourite inspectors or to deflect them away from inspectors who may threaten the sale.
When approx 99% of all the North American Inspectors are dependent on agent referrals, I think the public would be happy to have one inspector who is dependent on satisfied client referrals, not necessarily satisfied agents.
So far in the glaring light of public opinion the agent appears to be the snake oil salesman. Inspectors like Ed quietly do their job for their client, it’s unfortunate that here again this agent cannot rest until he see this obstacle to his, as usual- unchallenged livelihood brought before an ASTTBC inquisition on fabricated allegations.
Agents routinely try to control inspectors either by direct interference or by their referral preferences. Inspection time and cost determine inspectors attractiveness as well as a skilfully vague reporting system. I used to see/hear agents claim “THEIR” inspector can do the job and produce a report in under 2hrs and for only $200. They used to promote getting the inspection over with as soon as possible to clear the way to completing the sale as a good thing. They may promote the inspection as a simple formality to dispense with.
As has been already stated; the client was happy with Ed’s work. Isn’t that what it’s all about.
Past Customer Thu, 2010-09-16 11:07
I’ve used Ed before. He is very good. However, he is very emotional (passionate about his job), and he will easily scare off those inexperienced with homes and construction. You just have to be able to isolate the facts and make an informed decision. He is quite full of drama. I remember him making remarks (opnions/slander/stereotypes) about certain trades, etc – I agree that is unprofessional. However, his work is very good. At the end of the day he said my house was crap because it was built by a certain type of people. However, I still bought it, and have had no problems for over 15 years. It has since then doubled in value. Agree Disagree