Was this a bad Inspection??


A cautionary tale

Karen Brady, Special To The Star</SPAN>| Sep 18, 2013 | Last Updated: Sep 18, 2013 - 8:08 UTC

Whether it’s helping unskilled handymen or families having trouble prioritizing their renovation needs, HGTV personality Bryan Baeumler isn’t beyond employing a little tough love to bring families back on track. But in the case of the Jamiesons of Windsor, he says the tough talk is better reserved for the professionals who helped them buy a home.
Baeumler, host of DIY Disaster and Leave it to Bryan, says the south Windsor home was marketed to the Jamiesons as newly renovated, and they fell in love with the layout. But he maintains there were obvious warning signs that the home had serious issues - ones that have left the Jamiesons virtually homeless.
Baeumler visited the family last month to assess the damage. The home has to be gutted to the studs and rebuilt, he says.
“Everything in the house that had been renovated looked very amateur, says Baeumler. “That right there is a pretty good indicator that the flnishes aren’t flnished well, there’s more than likely something signiflcant going on underneath the surface.”
Cindy Jamieson believes she trusted the wrong people.
The family of flve thought they were purchasing their ‘forever’ home on Acorn Crescent last year. They picked their realtor for his 25 years of experience, and hired a home inspector based on his recommendation, Jamieson says.
“So we assumed he knew what he was doing.”
Jamieson says the inspector told them they were getting an “awesome” home, except for two minor repairs, and the agent suggested they go ahead with the purchase.
But just months after moving in, Jamieson found black mould growing in her basement bathroom. She also started to smell methane gas.
The next thing she knew, the whole ceiling had collapsed in her downstairs bathroom with “water like Niagara Falls coming through the ceiling.”
The Jamiesons had an environmental assessment done on the home and were told it wasn’t safe to live there, due to the mould now encircling the home’s lower level.
“The methane gas was coming from not properly ventilating the downstairs bathroom so everything was being backed up into our home,” says Jamieson.
The family ended up living in a rented trailer in their backyard. In August, they moved into the Holiday Inn.
The Baeumler Family Foundation, an organization meant to assist families in need of home security, helped secure the Holiday Inn sponsorship for the family. It is also helping to coordinate with suppliers willing to donate labour and materials to help with the mould removal and re-building of the home.
According to Jamieson, who made an inquiry to city hall, the previous owners had done major renovations to the house without a permit - turning a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home into a fourbedroom, two-bathroom home. “It’s so obvious that no permits were pulled,” says Baeumler. “I hope that when people are selling their home that they’re aware that the real value in a home is in having building permits and having things done properly.”
Jamieson believes her realtor and home inspector should have known better. She tried to contact both when she learned of the problems, but says neither one called her back.
“We went to them for help,” says. the mother of three “We trusted their professionalism when it comes to the jobs that they are doing for us.”
Baeumler says there are a lot of great inspectors out there, but he believes it was a conflict of interest for the agent to recommend the inspector.
In some provinces realtors are not permitted to give out the name of just one inspector for that very reason, according the Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s website.
But Jamieson also blames herself.
She was scared to question the inspector’s assessment because she didn’t feel knowledgeable enough, she admits.
There is no provincial regulation of home inspectors except in B.C. and Alberta, meaning almost anyone can call themselves a ‘certified’ home inspector in Ontario.
“It’s a very difficult thing to navigate as a home buyer,” says Paul Mailloux from Mailloux Home Inspections in Windsor. “You can go on the Internet and there is varying levels of requirements to be certified by these Internet sites. (For) some of them it’s a matter of just sending them money.”
Find out what training and experience are required of a home inspector to call himself ‘certifi ed’, he advises. “Compared to real estate, compared to the lenders, compared to the lawyers, we are a relatively new industry so we still are evolving and we are still learning.” Mailloux, a 15-year industry veteran, belongs to the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors. “It took me four years to get to their top level - it required a certain amount of training every year,” says Mailloux. “I wouldn’t be fooled by a five-minute phone call where you call and you find the person is certified and he’s got a good price.”
Adds Baeumler: “I think it’s a flawed industry. It’s certainly not where it needs to be.”
The Ontario government seems to be in agreement. In August, it began a consultation process aimed at creating minimum qualifications for home inspectors. The Ministry of Consumer Services has promised to issue a report in November. Once released, it will be available online for public comment and review, says a ministry spokesperson.
Mailloux says technology is making his job easier - computer programs allow for more detailed reporting to the homeowner, and digital cameras provide visual examples from the walk-through. “A picture is worth 1,000 words, so I can show people pictures of the roof and the attic, and places like that. It’s much better than sitting at a table and trying to explain what I saw.”
Mailloux says customers should be aware that because he can’t see behind the walls, a standard inspection is not a guarantee that a home is problem-free. But he believes an inspector should stand behind his work if something obvious is overlooked.
He has even paid to repair things he’s missed, he says.
Baeumler takes it one step further, saying if you’re going to bother getting a pre-purchase home inspection, tools like infrared cameras that can spot problems behind drywall, or a moisture meter for identifying leaks, should be included. “If you are going to make such a massive investment into a home, spend some extra money to have some extra inspections done.”
According to the CMHC, a prepurchase inspection usually takes around three hours and costs about $500. The buyer should receive a written report including all the details of the inspection, and the inspector should be willing to answer any questions the buyer asks. CMHC also encourages buyers to accompany the inspector on the home tour.
If she had to do it all again, Cindy Jamieson vows, 'I would ask way more questions and if I really wasn’t sure about something… get a second opinion.”
The Jamiesons still need donations of clothing and gift cards and have set up a trust account at TD Canada Trust in the Devonshire Mall. Visit any TD branch and make out the donation in the name of Cynthia and Michael Jamieson.

  1. Source out your own home inspector and find out what training was required to be ‘certified’.
  2. If the ‘fit and finish’ of a renovation looks questionable, be cautious about what might be lurking behind the walls.
  3. Be wary of emotionally attaching yourself to a home before you determine if it is a sound investment.
  4. Ask your inspector if they use infrared cameras or moisture meters during the home inspection.
  5. Ask if permits were issued for any renovation work. Work with your real estate agent to check municipal permit records.

Very good Roy and that is going to be interesting when licensing comes in if they follow the same as Alberta.
I hope that the price goes up to $ 600+ and tick reports on paper are a thing of the past.
Pictures also will be provided through the report not just added on a CD.
I am a bit concerned about the introduction of infrared but will provide whatever is needed when it becomes the norm.

If the issues weren’t visible then I would not completely blame the home inspector. He should have noticed that major renovations were done and suggested finding permits for the work or at least discussing with the seller what companies were hired and see the invoices.; however the fact that neither the realtor or home inspector are comp g forward to protect their reputation and offer extended service to their clients puts a heavier blame on them anyways.


…It’s not inferring one is better than the other, but that one should be in use!

Good point Jeffrey.
This is an example where you can’t have one without the other.
I believe that soon we will be able to purchase good IR camera’s at about $1000.00 to $1200.00 and then every Home Inspector will have one. It will be accepted not to hire anyone without the proper training for this field along with moisture intrusion training.

Also where was the lawyer representing purchasers. If the house was renovated then lawyer should have said, … 'wait a minute the house is renovated, but when I checked title there were no permits taken out…"

I also find it interesting that the type of report and use of pictures is somehow the answer?

Again, we’re not there to discover fraud / cover-up…not hired nor paid to do that…if in fact that’s what took place.

You cannot smell Methane gas, its odourless.

I also wonder why a law suit has not been started ???

Exactly my point.

This is the house I re-inspected and did a mould inspection with Bryan earlier this summer. The house was crap, a 5 year old could have figured it out.

Bad Inspector
Bad Realtor
Bad Sellers

All unethical and made a family of 5 homeless to make a sale.

I’m still working with this family and in contact regularly with the Baeumlers. My inspection included my thermal camera. Bryan dug it a lot and it proved to be pretty helpful during our investigation.

I did a home inspection, mould inspection, mould & air sampling, follow-up reports all for free. Also donated money and kids clothes to this family.

They are getting a damn-near new house and they more than deserve it. They are good people, and its morons like the original inspector who leave a bad taste in the publics mouth about home inspectors.

Thanks Stephan it is sad to see things like this happen and unfortunate that the agent and the Home Inspector do not have their names shown … Roy

Glad to see you are keeping up the good work.

Inspector was the local AmeriSpec guy. He has had a lot of complaints and I’ve done a lot of re-inspections for his disgruntled clients. Apparently his famous line is “sue me” before he hangs up on them.

Bad business in my opinion.