Home buying frustrations

Home buying use to be a fun and exhilarating experience.  Looking for that just right home you and your family.  The perfect yard, size of home or garage.  Well, in the last few years, the process has went from exhilarating to frustrating.  So many buyers, so few homes, quick decisions on to put in an offer or not.  The joys of taking the time to look, decide are over.  Quick decisions, paying over asking and not getting a home inspection have become the new process.

In the last 24 years of being in the home inspection business, we have not seen anything like this.  Skyrocketing home values, lack of inventory, and most importantly lack of home inspections.

Let’s face it, most want a home inspection.  In most cases, for less then $500 an home inspection can let you know that your investment purchasing a home is safe and fruitful.  Upfront cost issues are general found and can be negotiated on and general maintenance can be budgeted accordingly.  It gives you a full understanding on the condition the home is in.  Well, with the way the market is now, getting a home inspection is slime to none.   The market has changed so much that by putting a home inspection contingency in your offer to purchase you most likely will not win the bid.  Realtors seem to like what is going on in the industry, more profit on increased pricing and no home inspections to deal with.  Although, with this new trend, it puts sellers at risk for legal litigation and puts buyer in a position of buying the unknown and taking the risk of spending thousands more in repairs.

We always encourage having an inspection, even if you purchase the home without a home inspection, get one after you move it.  This will let you know if there is anything significant to address right away.  Plus, give you an understanding of repairs that can be done down the road.

Please if you have any questions or are looking at a home and see something questionable, give us a call.



(blog post are strictly the opinion of the author and not meant to be any legal or home purchasing advise)

End of year, start of new….

Well folks, we are coming to the end of 2022.   From a home inspection view, it was ugly.  The word on the street was a vast majority where buying homes without home inspections.  We find this absurd, not only because it’s our business, but for other reasons like legal, financial equity, cost of repairs and health.  We feel first time home buyers are the ones most affected, most of the time they do not have the resources for any major repairs, flippers make a home look pretty but hide major defects (as we have found many times), and at the price range of they home they are purchasing, their tends to be issues.

Talking with many Realtors and clients that did have the ability for a home inspection this past year showed that many had to “skip” the inspection contingency to win a bid for a home.   What drove this?   How long will this continue?   Let’s take a look at some issues:

  1. Legal:  For all those involved.  The seller, seller’s agent, buyer and buyer’s agent.  A known hidden issue with the house could cause a lawsuit.  We heard of one example that a large chimney in a home was failing and he buyers (no home inspection), after purchase realized this $60,000 issue.   Now what do they do? Home inspections reduce this.
  2. Equity:  The cost of house has risen drastically in the past year to two.  Add a major repair needed and a slight drop in pricing and your home could be worth less then when you bought it.
  3. Repairs:  As stated above, a major unknown repair comes up after purchase, do you have the appropriate funds?  What if there is a Mold issues, are you talking your health into account when purchasing a home without an inspection.

It is very risky not getting a home inspected.  And again we understand with the way this market is, you may need to do drastic things to acquire a home.  You will need to personally way the risk.  The continuation of 20 plus offers on a home, bidding over asking, and no inspection is not sustainable and not good for the market. Although, sellers may be happy getting more for their home, they are just spending more on another home or new construction.  There are no winners, besides the Realtors making more money on the sale.

The good news, is 2023 appears to be slowly coming back to “normal”.   It appears, homes prices are leveling off, homes are sitting on the market slightly longer, people are not being as aggressive in purchasing a home.  This is opening up the home inspection contingency again on offer to purchases.  This will give more buyers a peace of mind when purchasing a home.


Well, that was my thought for today.  Please have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

Flipper homes

What is a flipper home?

Distressed homes are sometimes bought up by an investor(s) at a low price to then be “fixed up” to resell and make a profit.  These investors figure in the cost of the purchase, cost of repairs and time to know what a realized gain could be.   This can be very profitable.  The homes generally look very nice to an untrained eye, first time home buyer, or any buyer or Realtor in general.  I admit, they dress up the properties pretty well.  However, from an inspectors point of view, some are far from nice.

Let me first off say, not all flippers are created equal.  There are a few out there that do a good job and actually have a conscience and tend to repair the home in a proper fashion.  However, many are not like this.   The issue being these distraught homes are generally older, have some major issues and are in poor condition.  Over the years, inspecting these flip homes we have found some mind blowing things.  Some of the worst homes having over 30 defects in a report.  On average there are 3-5 defects on a home.  Granted not all defects are catastrophic, but none the less they are issues to be resolved.

Some flippers will hide the major problems and but to make sure the home looks “pretty”.   This is a bad situation in the current market where people are buying homes without home inspections.  These homes are generally priced as starter homes for buyers.  They “look” so nice on the surface and are very appealing.  We call this putting lipstick on a pig.  Because they look so nice and this market is driving buyers not to get a home inspection, this could lead to a buyer having to deal with some major issues and may not have the money to make the repairs.

What we find inspecting these homes is the paint, flooring, kitchen, baths are all updated.  What they do not repair are structural issues, like foundation, floor systems or the roof.  From there usually the windows are deteriorated or rotted as well.   Lets take a look at a few issues we’ve come across:

  • Foundations:  Flippers love to hide foundation issues.  The are expensive to repair so it’s easier to hide it.  They will drywall the walls as to hide the problems.  One home we inspected had the lower portion of drywall replaced all the way around the foundation.  This give indication there had been seepage and a mold issue.  The basement windows were tilted inward indicating deflection on the wall (bowing).  The outside had additional dirt spread around the home and a new patio indicating the ground sank by the home as the walls buckled inward.   This will cost 1000’s to fix.  A new home buyer will most likely not have the money for the repairs and is stuck with foundation in distress.  Be careful, as a newly finished basement area (new carpet, paint, etc) can be a first indication there are foundation issues.
  • Mold issues in the attic:  A lot of times flippers will not correct any issues in the attic.  From adding some insulation, improve venting or not repairing an improperly vented bath fan.  This will cause the attic to condensate and most likely cause mildew issues, hence could cause health issues.
  • Electrical:  This is hit or miss, but most will not touch any issues within  the electrical panel or if the panel is an old unsafe panel,  they will leave it.  Ungrounded outlets is a biggie, find this most of the time.  Most have learned to be GFCI outlets in the proper locations, but the real bad flippers do not even do this.
  • Roofing, Chimney and Leaks:  Most will not improve any roofing issues.  This is to expensive for them.  They will hide leaks re-plastering and or new paint.  Most leaks are detected in the attic and again, most don’t even address anything in the attic.  Chimney are never repaired, usually in poor condition.  Especially brick chimneys.

They all have there ways to cleverly conceal issues within the home to make a profit. To an untrained eye this could be catastrophic. We have came across a few bad ones, and they buyers were able to get out of their contracts, saving them $1000’s and years of heartache.    You wan to buy a home to be happy and fix it up they way you want.  But, buying a home with major structural defects could break the bank and more off, cause even further issues to the home.  We can not stress enough for a home inspection.  The cost is pennies compared to major repairs on these poor condition homes.


Real Estate market has turned upside down……

With rising prices in every aspect of our lives, it is wise to spend your money efficiently. The old saying “buying a home will be the biggest investment in your life” is true. Home prices have risen drastically in the past 2 years. With this the amount of buyers as also increased, also to add an influx of people infiltrating other states putting a huge strain on local markets. With an increase of people looking for homes and a limited amount of home for sale, this is causing quit a problem to get into a home. So, what are people doing to gain the edge to purchase a home, some are finding ways to pay cash and removing the appraisal contingency. We are finding most are removing the home inspection contingency. This is fine if you HAVE the cash, for future repairs, but this getting into starter homes, with limited cash or are stretching due to the high cost of the house, this can be a big problem. You are stuck with any and all issues. We are also finding that Realtors are adding fuel to the fire by requesting removal of home inspections on offers. This is just going bad to worst real fast. We feel this is unethical in the Real Estate profession. Our jobs as home inspectors were created from the Real Estate profession years ago due to the fact they were getting sued by home owners. Looks like we are going down the same patch as before. Less home inspections and properties in poor condition that are setting up legal issues. Do we not learn from the past?

Things you can do to help yourself:

  1. We highly recommend you have an inspection contingency in your offer to purchase.  We know you may “loose out” on the house of your dreams, but we feel very strongly that if a listing agent is stating “your offer looks good, you just need to remove the inspection contingency”, don’t you feel they are hiding something?
  2. Some buying agents are putting higher dollar amounts on the inspection contingency.  What this means is you are not going to nickle and dime the seller for minor issues.   You are mainly concerned about Roof, Structure/Foundation and Mechanical.  Things like GFCI issues you will fix yourself.  We feel this is what an inspection is mainly about anyway.  Get good info  about the house, some suggest for improvement and repairs and make sure the “big ticket” items are good.
  3. If you end up purchasing the home without an inspection, we recommend a “post-inspection”.  Have an inspector come through the house and submit a report.  This we you can have peace of mind on any issues at hand, repair any immediate issues and prepare for future repairs/improvements.

We hope this helps.  These are unprecedented times, keep your heads up, think smart and give us a call if you have any questions, even if your looking at a house with a Realtor and you feel suspicious about something.  Get an answer before you make the biggest mistake of your life!



Buying a home without an inspection!

This is a very tough market these days to find a home that meets your needs much less purchase it. I’m hearing about bidding wars, paying over asking and even excluding a home inspection. I know it gets frustrating loosing out on so many homes, frustration must set in, and the fact that you NEED a home.

I do get it. But, the fact that you are investing a large amount of money into something you will have for years to come should concern you. Sellers currently have the upper hand and can obviously pick the “best” offer. I have even heard of selling agents discouraging home inspections on buyers offers. This is a dangerous and slippery slope. On that note I’ve also heard that some Realtors are being sued. With that said, not having a home inspection on your new purchase is highly ill advised. I recommend you read a previous blog: “What is a home inspection?

On the surface the home may look wonderful, but to an untrained eye there could be thousands of dollars worth of issues.

I’ll give you an example:
A couple purchased a 35 year old home (actually one side of a “twindo”-a 2 unit condo) and in order to purchase the property, they waived the home inspection.  After the purchase they contacted MK to have us look at the property for “piece of mind”. (which I highly recommend if you are in the category of waiving your home inspection in the first place).

Some of my findings:

  1. The roof was completely worn, missing shingles and leaking in various spots.
  2. An upper window was leaking around the frame into an attic space.
  3. Most of the windows where moldy and half the wood frames where rotted.
  4. There were faulty outlets and unsafe wiring in the electrical panel.
  5. Where the deck met the home, flashing was missing, causing water to leak into the box sill area (area on top of your foundation wall where the floor joist sit)
  6. Leakage where the outside wall sat on top of the foundation wall due to grading and improper flashing.
  7. Sump pump did not work.
  8. Leaking toilets.
  9. Rodent feces in attic space, kitchen and even in the dishwasher.
  10. Loose siding and the fireplace did not function.

There was much more that was less concerning, but you get the picture.  Just a few of these items could be upwards of thousands of dollars on a home that you had to already pay over asking.   No one can tell you what to do, and some circumstances dictate your choices.  But, waiving a home inspection is something I would highly NOT recommend.

I hear some Realtors are putting in a clause that the buyer will be responsible for up to a certain amount that the inspector deems defective.  At least this way you can still have the inspection, know the issues at hand and worst case, if something “major” is revealed, you have a way out.

Yes we may be bias about having a home inspected, but I assure you, it is in your best interest.

Best wishes.


MK & Associates has always been grateful to buyers and sellers. We have always entered homes with respect, courtesy, and thoughtfulness. Especially during this time, we want to assure you that we are following recommendations to minimize risk to our inspectors, buyers, homeowners and Realtors. This time of increased awareness is a opportunity to make healthy changes moving forward; therefore inspectors will no longer shake hands. They will maintain distance of personal space whenever possible. They will wear gloves and masks during inspections. we hope these reassurances decrease concern regarding real estate transactions and assist with maintaining a healthy global economy.

Thank you,
MK and Staff

Preparing for a home inspection

Ready to sell your home?   Here are some helpful tips that you may want to remedy before a home inspection.  This can help reduce items being noted or “tagged” in your buyers inspection report.  The less items noted, makes the home look well maintained and should be less of an issue for buyers to try and ask for any repairs.

First off, have readily accessible areas cleared, like access to attic, electrical, furnace, crawl space, etc.   Below are commonly found items on home inspections that I perform that could easily be fixed and reduce any writes ups on the report:

  • Simply install light switch and outlet covers and cover open junction boxes in the basement!  They are cheap and easy to do.
  • You may wish to upgrade certain outlets to GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, garage, exterior locations.  (you may need to contact an electrician)
  • Handrails and Guardrails:
    • Install a handrail at any set of stairs over 2 risers.  (Most FHA loans require handrails)
    • mk associates inc
    • Spacing between spindles now days need to be less then 4″ for safety.  Suggest filling in open stairways with spindles or rails.
    • MK Associates IncMK Associates Inc


  • When changing your water heater, be sure to include a drip leg at gas connection.  The drip tube from the TPR safety valve and it should be within 6″ of the floor.  A water shut off valve on the supply line is also a good idea.
  •    MK Associates Inc


  • This isn’t a necessity, but is a great idea to reduce pest getting into your furnace or blocking the vents.  Screens or these PVC covers for your furnace vents.   With that said check your dryer vent also, making sure the pest cover is free and clear to close properly.
  •  MK Associates Inc


  • Vent your bath fan to the exterior of the home.  Bath vents should not be blowing into the attic or soffit.  Vent them through the soffit, gable end, or roof and provide the proper vent cap for the type of application you choose.
  • Touch up any peeling paint.  Again, FHA type loans can be picky about this and may cause more delays in the sale of your home.


I will add more inspection tips soon.

What exactly is a home inspection?

I have been inspecting properties for over 20 years now.  I am somewhat surprised about how many of my clients are unsure what a home inspection really is or what it is for.  Some questions I receive are:

  1. What do I do with the inspection?
  2. What happens after the inspection?
  3. Do the sellers fix all the issues you find?
  4. Does the bank require a copy of the report?

Let me go through the process of what a home inspection is about, not so much the technical aspect of a home inspection, but more the purpose.  We all know you should get a home inspection, but why?

Let me start off by saying it is definitely the best idea to get an inspection on a home you are purchasing.  It can help reduce risk when purchasing a home.  Don’t let anyone talk you out of it.  The following will summarize from start to finish the purpose of a home inspection.

  • The best advice I can give is do your research when looking for an inspector.  DO NOT BASE YOUR SOLE DECISION ON PRICE!  Take price into consideration, but many sub-par or struggling inspectors under cut pricing to get business.   Saving $25 dollars is nothing if the inspector is under qualified and does not report on a major structural issue that cost thousands to repair.   What are their qualifications?  How long have they inspected?  In Wisconsin, inspectors need to be licensed.  Check reviews.   Some Realtors will give out names, check them against your own web search.  Also, this day and age, reports should be digital with pictures.
  • The purpose of an inspection is for you, the client.  You are purchasing a home and you want (or should want) to know what type of condition the home is in.  Has it been maintained?  Does it need extensive work?   Everyone has a budget and you need to take into account the cost of the home along with any upgrades or repairs that may be needed.  Some of you may not know much about homes, so this can be a learning lesson on what to look out for, where shut off valves/switches are located, and general maintenance.   We at MK include a lot of info in our reports, some comments just being helpful reminders to clean gutters or apply window well covers, some marginal items may included sticky doors, caulking that is needed, minor reports or conditions.  Then there may be some items labeled defective which may include, safety issues, major damage to the home.   If your inspector isn’t notifying you of these items you may not be getting your moneys worth.
  • Upon completion of the inspection, make sure all your questions are answered.  There are no dumb questions, so don’t feel ashamed asking anything.  Your paying for a service.   Make sure your satisfied.  We at MK write down most of the information that we mention or point out so you will have something to reference to as needed  (pictures included).   It’s a lot of information to process.   So, once complete, you will receive a copy of the report (as will your Realtor).  You then can discuss on how to proceed about any major issues that have been brought to your attention.  You made an offer on a home that you like, if the inspection revealed some major issue, you and your Realtor will need to negotiate with the sellers.   To answer one of the questions, the sellers do not necessarily have to fix anything.  But, in most cases, larger or safety issues are generally negotiated on and repaired.   You want to feel comfortable with what you are purchasing.
  • At the time of this writing, in the Green Bay area, lenders and insurers rarely ask for a copy of the inspection.   Again, the inspection is for you, evaluation of the property and to report on any issues that should be corrected.  If needed, bring in the right professionals recommend to evaluate any significant issues noted in the report.

Well, I hope this helps on understanding more about the process and purpose of an inspection.  In summary, get a qualified, experienced, digital reporting inspector.  It’s all for your protection and to help reduce risk in the purchase of your new home.


Should I get a home inspection on a newly constructed home?

The short answer is, yes.

All homes, weather 100 years old to a new construction will have issues.  Some small, some obvious and then some not so obvious or even major.  With new construction you typically get a 1 year builder warranty.  This should cover issues like mechanical failures and workmanship type flaws.  For example sticky doors or cracked plaster.

Most people think because it’s new, it’s perfect.  Which is not true.  New building products can have issues, a builder or project manager that does not do a good job overseeing the project, trying to cut corners and/or a lack of quality control can raise some issues.  Yes the home is supposed to be inspected by a UDC Inspector (Code enforcement inspector usually works for the municipality the home is being built in).  His or her job is to ensure the home is “build to code”.  Codes are the bare minimum standards in which a home can be built.   Let’s state that again, codes are the bare minimum standards.  Most people think codes are a high standard that builders need to abide by.   So, when a home is inspected by a UDC municipality inspector he is checking for code compliance and not necessarily for quality.  For example, a framed 2×6 wall requires a certain amount of fasteners and plywood positioned and secured a certain way, but he is not checking to see if the wall is level, bowed or even out of square.

On new construction homes, we generally will help come up with a “punch list”.  Which is a list for the builder to finish or repair before you move in.   Most of the time it’s aesthetic items, like chipped paint, scuffs on doors and floors, adjusting cabinet doors, etc.   However, we have found leakage from plumbing pipes and vent piping.  Insulation blown out from wind at the edges of attics, Improper bonding wires for electrical and foundations walls severely cracked or deflected.

A new construction home we recently inspected had a foundation wall leaning inward 1.5 inches that a UDC inspector did not flag.  Code just states the wall must have reinforcement top and bottom and must be 8″ thick on a 16″ footing, but does not have a “measurement” for plumb.   This is unacceptable in the terms of a foundation standard (not code) and must be evaluated and most likely repaired.  Foundations leaning in 1.5-2 inches are usually excavated, straightened and braced.  You can see how the cost can rise dramatically.   And just when you thought your new construction was in perfect condition.

You should have faith in your builder, a good relationship and some trust, if not, even more reason to have a newly built home inspected.  Here is an example of another home we inspected which was poorly managed by the builder.  The builder was not aware (he may not have known, but we did find out he was not onsite very often –so, what else went on?) that the workers where flushing paper toweling down the toilets.  Four days after the clients moved in, they had sewage back up into the basement from the floor drain and shower drain.  The paper toweling clogged up on the palmer valve (This protects sewage from the street side backing up into the basement) and created blockage.  With the new water saving toilets, there was not enough water to push them through.  To make matters worse, the concrete guys did not leave an access in the concrete floor to access for the valve cover to clean it out.  The builder was not overseeing his workers properly.  This is a builder that builds a few homes yearly in the area.  Buyer beware!

In summary, you never know.  By having your home inspected by an outside third party company, it will give you an independent proper evaluation of your newly constructed home.