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  • DIY / Flippers

    I was reading JC's "Cheap Cheap Cheap" Thread and it got me thinking about how we as licensed plumbers can help curb / control these issues...

    Most of you know from my postings that I live in Hackville USA...lol

    I do a few inspections a week for home buyers through one of the larger real estate agents in my town... If I'm representing the buyer I have a better chance of making a difference and getting the repairs made.

    It has come at a cost for me... I'm the tuff plumber who does not sugar coat anything nor will I lie for a scumbag real estate agent.

    1. Real estate agents that will lie cheat or steal for that sale, If the agent is concerned about a house they will stear a customer away from detailed inspections.

    2. " General Home Inspectors are also a part of this. Their lack of expertise or specialization is counted on by real estate agents and do a consumer a real disservice by providing a very false sense of security.

    3. " Flippers" I could write for hours on the stupidity so I will refrain.

    These 3 folks are the fan that stoked the feeding frenzy housing bubble that is now well into the bursting process across the country.

    I guess where I'm going is that when I'm inspecting a home and a homeowner tells me that they "redid the kitchen" or "redid the bathroom" I ask who were the licensed contractors that did the work, When I get that blank stare I normally run out of ink in my inspection reports... It does not pay to be a flipper if I'm the inspector.

    How do we as the protectors of the public health break this cycle of stupidity?

    Are you the plumber that plays ball with the real estate agents for the sake of that dollar and a call-back?

    Where do we go from here?

    Bill

  • #2
    Re: DIY / Flippers

    It's been fueled by HD, Lowes, tv programming that makes large projects look like a walk in the park, and...the overwhelming amount of freely available information on the internet.

    Trouble is that most sources mislead homeowners, handymen and DIY's into thinking it really is simple.

    As professionals we see it constantly.

    I did a water heater recently, the neighbor came over and openly mentioned he'd done his own water heater with some help from online forums and had offered to help my customer do his as well.
    He was oblivious to the fact that it was illegal, nor was he aware of the dangers. (conveniently)
    After he left, my customer explained the guy is an obnoxious know-it-all and had to finally ask him to stop offering, he wasn't about to do his own gas work, period.

    I get labeled a bad guy for bringing this topic to light, so be it.

    I get to be the bad guy.
    I tell my ten year old to clean his room, I'm also the bad guy.

    I am completely baffled at why any plumber would freely give away his trade for a pat on the back.

    Bill, as you stated, to "curb the mess" I bring it up as often as I can, some don't like this.

    I have a client right now that has slowly had to rip their new home apart to replace and repair some rediculous work.

    I showed pics on this forum of a shower where the previous homeowner added a bath to increase the value of that home for the selling price.
    The P-trap was a removable trap, the flange was hand tightened on the shower base and it came loose under the base...ruining walls in the two floors below.

    No vents, vertical offsets on the lav drain with no venting whatsoever, the upstairs bath reeks.

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    • #3
      Re: DIY / Flippers

      2. " General Home Inspectors are also a part of this. Their lack of expertise or specialization is counted on by real estate agents and do a consumer a real disservice by providing a very false sense of security.

      These people are the absolute worst! If you dont have the brains to fix it, then you cant inspect it. I cant tell you how many of these morons I have had to correct.

      Me: "Dude, its not a broiler, its a boiler"
      Inspector: turns and walks away.
      Me: "You cant even ****in pronounce it and youre trying to tell me theres something wrong with it?"

      I had one inspector on a new house look at the main beam in the basement which kinda looked like 8 2x6's stacked on their faces and say, "You cant use 2x6's like that for a beam". I said "Walk over here to the other side and look at that marking that says "Engineered Lumber" He took my word for it and walked upstairs.

      My second not so favorite people are my scam artist hackjob competitors that like to tell everyone they have cracked heat exchangers. I have pulled clamshell heat exchangers out and filled them up with water just to prove they werent cracked. On a few of them, the sellers still had to pay for a new furnace. As soon as the buyers heard "new furnace" they werent backing down.

      **** like this really pisses me off. Its my hackjob scam artist yet still licensed competitors that turn people into DIY'ers.

      Andy

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      • #4
        Re: DIY / Flippers

        I have a friend in R.E.

        I grabbed an occasional job from her, or would give a home a look through for her buyers.

        When she called me once to ask me to replace a tub drain, gave me the rate I should charge and told me her home inspector told her thats what they should pay, I stopped doing anything for her.

        Her claim was that a home inspector knows a lot more than a plumber does about plumbing.

        We didn't speak for a while, she finally agree's she was wrong, it took a while for her to catch the fact the home inspectors constantly miss important details.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: DIY / Flippers

          I don't believe you will see too many flippers right now as the market is too soft. It seems the money right now is in rentals as people are on the move and it is tough to get financing. I'm certain the market will reclaim a bunch of the current loss but it will take a while. Rather than flipping right now the safe money would be to pick up some of the bargains currently available and hold them as rentals for 5-10 years then sell them.

          As far as home inspectors go they are for the most part over-priced and under-qualified. Their only strong point is their hold-harmless contract with the buyer which absolves them from all of their mistakes.

          Mark
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: DIY / Flippers

            Realtors, used to purchase our home. She was an, older wise ,class lady.
            I hate the other 99.9 percent. I,m known as a deal KILLER , They'd never use Me!
            I come into the act to remodel the Home ,down the road. I find all kind of problems ,that home inspectors miss. Here's 1 example. 2 1/2 mill. home 1 i/2 years old. See the mira drain
            shield ,sticks up 2" above the concrete Found. wall. BASSAKWARDS,TITS,AND FABRIC IN.
            Have laborer dig down some below downspout. Dead ended in dirt!,no drainage. New homeowner had the original Eng. drainage plans. This A$$hole builder got soo burned,on this and other stuff I found,He must of lost his A$$. And the best part was 2 lesbo LAWYERS
            had split the sheets,and sold this mess. You can imagine the anger they dumped on this Builder!
            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: DIY / Flippers

              I agree.

              Right now I'm getting a very large amount of existing homeowners looking to improve what they own while the market is down.

              I think this is why I'm seeing so much hacked work, amazing whats hidden behind walls & under floors.

              Flippers seem to have flopped, new construction has shifted to large multi residential construction as opposed to single homes...a sign of the times.

              As for home inspectors, geesh, wish I could charge $175 for an hour and not be accountable for my work.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: DIY / Flippers

                If I was still working as a GC I think I would pick up an bunch of fixers to keep the crews busy and turn them into rental units. After you fix them you refi them and head to the next fixer. After it's all over and the market turns you start selling them off. We did a lot of that with multi-family buildings in the 80s when the market was soft.

                Mark
                "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: DIY / Flippers

                  I have (*had) a client who is a property manager. She loves to hire unlicensed hacks and only calls me when she has an emergency or her 'handyman' can't figure it out. She recently called me out to a house that is a multi-residential building which she and the owner rent out to tourists like a private hotel. The call was for no hot water to the kitchen faucet. Her 'handyman' was there first and couldn't figure it out.

                  They recently needed a repipe on another section of the building. I couldn't handle the job and referred them to a larger company. The company I referred gave a bid of $4000 to do the repipe to code with a permit, the owner refused. I got out there for this call after the repipe was done by someone else, and saw the hand-written invoice for the work. Pex pipe ran right over the finished sheetrock, no permit, no license # on the invoice...and it was only $500! The kitchen faucet has cold water coming out both sides, and the toilet is tied with hot water with a tee going through the wall to the dishwasher! The whole house is very old and 'remodel' plumbed like crap without permits. I finally decided to tell her off, and drop her as a client. I was more than a little insulted at her and the owner going with the cheapest 'contractors' as they are obviously cheap, unlicensed hacks, and yet wanting me to come and fix the problems they leave behind! I told her that I refused to work on this building as I know that the city inspector would require the entire building be replumbed to code, and it was obvious that no permits were pulled and unlicensed hacks originally did the illegal repipe work. I flat out told her that I was not willing to put my license and integrity on the line for her, when she obviously has been hiring criminals to do work in the very same building, just because she is stupid cheap.

                  She respected that and asked me to send her a bill for looking at it, I told her: no, I don't want to even get involved with this criminal activity which she has unwittingly got herself into. I think she was afraid I would report the whole situation to the city inspection department. Which I will next time I catch her or her 'handymen' breaking the law.
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                  • #10
                    Re: DIY / Flippers

                    Here is another angle I heard the other day that disgusted me...

                    New Homeowner asks me via AMERICAN HOME SHIELD to look at a problem under home, She has a big problem ( The CI is in the dirt and rotten). I let her know that she will need to have about 10' of CI replaced as a minimum.

                    I also let the homeowner know that since she has only been in the house for a week I doubt that the home warranty would cover the repair (pre existing damage).

                    Home owner proceeds to tell me that they knew about the damage before they signed the papers but that her real estate agent told her that the Home Warranty would fix the damage....

                    Any angle to make the sale... Sad but true
                    Last edited by OkieBill; 08-23-2008, 03:54 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DIY / Flippers

                      Originally posted by OkieBill View Post
                      Here is another angle I heard the other day that disgusted me...

                      New Homeowner asks me via AMERICAN HOME SHIELD to look at a problem under home, She has a big problem ( The CI is in the dirt and rotten). I let her know that she will need to have about 10' of CI replaced as a minimum.

                      I also let the homeowner know that since she has only been in the house for a week I doubt that the home warranty would cover the repair (pre existing damage).

                      Home owner proceeds to tell me that they knew about the damage before they signed the papers but that her real estate agent told her that the Home Warranty would fix the damage....

                      Any angle to make the sale... Sad but true
                      Real Estate agents get paid a commission on the AHS home warranty sale. That agent (and likely countless others) should be sued for making false claims.
                      Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: DIY / Flippers

                        We are a part of a system that is fueled by greed that is only going to get worse IMO do to declining home sales that will make each sale all the more important.

                        Agents, Inspectors, Home Warranty's...

                        So I guess the only real solution is to get in their pockets, Fines, Fee's ect...

                        Supply houses are another area that was mentioned earlier on...

                        My supply house is not beyond talking joe homeowner through a job site unseen and sell him the materials to try...
                        I have a lumber yard that sells the worst non code approved crap to customers they also sell the worst Water Heaters.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: DIY / Flippers

                          I think the key here is to get the PHCC, which used to be the plumbers organization that lobbied for and protected licensed plumbers to do the job they were originally formed to do. They are our main lobbying body. Unfortunatly in the last 30 years or so they have been bought out by the manufacturers and undoubtly the major box stores as well. So, on the one hand they have likley seen their membership drop at the same time revenues are up. Leaning on the State plumbing boards is also a good step in the war. Many of these guys are also heavly influenced by vendors and outside interest to the detriment of the trade.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Re: DIY / Flippers

                            Remember, problems need to be addressed at the top.


                            If you buy a house for the intention of "flipping", you should be held legally responsible for any manipulation or alteration of the home that deems itself a cover-up or fraudulent.

                            Unless that becomes a governing rule, this nonsense will continue to slip through the cracks, allowing the onslaught of victims to continue.


                            But, always remember that a incoming homebuyer should be educated enough to understand that when you see a house all dolled up, everything recently replaced or painted, it's a red flag just like a used car that looks too new.
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                            • #15
                              Re: DIY / Flippers

                              Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                              Real Estate agents get paid a commission on the AHS home warranty sale. That agent (and likely countless others) should be sued for making false claims.
                              I agree but it's sounds like all hearsay, unless you have something in writing from the agent stating that the warranty will cover it, and I seriously doubt they would be dumb enough to do that.
                              ---------------
                              Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                              ---------------
                              “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
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