What I Don’t See Won’t Hurt Me

The battle cry of “A true Deplorable” (based on the opinions of just about everyone in America)

Seems every day somebody is complaining about their contractor. Since I am one, I always seem to be the guy they like to complain about the “other guy” to! On the true list of deplorable’ s, not the Hillary or Donald Trump versions, but the true, “personae non gratae” type deplorable that everyone in America despises; contractors and handymen are right up there with used car salesmen, telemarketers, and snake oil salesmen. Distrusted, hated, despised, and generally not welcome to your office holiday party. Since I’m often thrown into that category, I’ve been growing a real complex as of late.

But why? Why do so many people complain about so many contractors, when so many of you hire that guy in the first place? Why do so many Realtors and their clients whine and complain about shoddy work, past due completions, and overall performance of almost every contractor/handyman they hire, to complete a job, when both of you discussed in detail, negotiated for price and quality, and then agreed with contractual obligations to perform by both parties? Why am I even writing about this in the first place?

Why? Unfortunately in my field of expertise, foundation repair, I tend to be called to clean up their ugly messes, often! Even though I am usually tossed into the same basket of…..well, Deplorable’s.

Well you might now be asking; “So, what’s this got to do with a foundation repair contractor?” It’s all in those same pesky little details you pay close attention to every time you list or sell a client’s property.

As a Realtor you are expected by your clients to be experts with contracts, proof of performance, guarantees of service and completion/closing schedules, warranties (where stated), and most importantly, your knowledge of the service and the market you are offering your service to. Many of you write and speak often about hiring a professional to list and sell your clients property. You command, (and rightly so), and receive hefty fees to perform the services you provide.

But when it comes to hiring one of the most important professionals to repair a property in need, many Realtors and their clients rely on the cheapest handyman they can find to handle their foundation woes. Amazingly, most Realtors do not pay attention to one of the most important aspects of a residential property; its foundation. That’s where the “What you don’t see won’t hurt me”, comes in….. There are of course many Realtors who live in areas of the U.S. where foundation problems are of major concern. You of course know more than most, but in general most Realtors know little, if any, about what actually holds up the house they just sold.

I’m not writing this blog to chastise or belittle anyone, so please don’t be offended. My purpose is to educate and to inform. If you follow along, you will see why.

My company repairs foundations. Lots of them! Actually, hundreds every year, and well over 10,000 since our inception in 2006. The conditions we find under almost every single residential foundation we are called to rectify, by other supposed ‘repairmen’, never ceases to amaze me. Now there’s a true meaning of the term ‘deplorable’. In the real estate world, the mere mention of foundation problems sends most buyers running for the door. Even knowing you had or might have a foundation problem is a hushed secret between most agents and their sellers. Everybody knows about that property; “it has foundation problems?” “Oh, we’re not interested.” Move on…

So, when your client needs a foundation inspection and/or repair, hiring just any handyman to take a look may not be in you or your clients’ best interest. And, just so you know, foundation problems are far more prevalent than most people think. In fact, one in four homes in America will experience substantial foundation problems that require a knowledgeable and experienced professional to repair the problem before it causes serious structural damage to other parts of the home. Doesn’t matter where in America the property is located, if it’s built upon, or in, the soil, it is going to move. Located in an area with soil types that cause problems? It’s going to move a lot…

Truth is, each year more money is spent on foundation repair in the U.S. alone, than hurricane Sandy and Katrina combined! That’s a lot of money. But sadly, also each year, millions of dollars are wasted on shoddy repairs, rip-offs and inaccurate diagnosis, that left unchecked, cost the unwary homeowner tens of millions of dollars more. In Southern California, and other high turnover markets, unfortunately this is usually found by the buyer long after that “contractor” cashed the check.

Going back to my original statement that it seems like everyday somebody is complaining about their contractor, will have a whole new meaning after you see what we see almost every day.

What you see won’t hurt me…

Want proof? Every single image you are about to see here was taken by our field technicians on properties shortly after escrow closed. Every one! These are only the tip of the iceberg here in Southern California. I spent six months traveling across America to meet with other foundation professionals like myself. I also spent the past ten years looking for and inspecting investment properties across five Western states. What I witnessed can be described as shocking. Almost everywhere I went, I found foundation problem that had been repaired by either untrained or unprofessional “contractors”. Not knowing who actually did most of the work, I write the term “contractor” with a bit of apprehension, as I really don’t know who actually completed the work. But we can assume most “repairs” were completed by somebody who was paid.

Three million dollar hillside home that just closed escrow!

All fixed! That will be $1500…

Almost done… Can you grab me another beer?

Another carpet repair

At least the floor doesn’t squeak anymore!

Attempting to stop the leaning

Do you think we have a problem?

Failed crawlspace support

Guaranteed… until the check clears!

I had my gardener fix my sinking floors

I learned this playing Jenga

Yup! That should hold just fine!

The floor is falling! The floor is falling!

The gardener fixed this one too

The solution is to not keep adding more timbers!

This guy actually cut a stress member out, then used to to support the beam!

Those damn rocks again!

We wanted wood floors…

Will my house tip over?

Inspected right after the close of escrow… and right after the Seismic repair was completed

It should hold…

Don’t worry… it’s only a little crack

Jenga #2

Just keep on bracing until it stops moving

Just pile a little dirt, rocks, and some wood… that will fix it!

My carpet installers patched up the crack

No comment…

Poor crawlspace support

Quality repairs done in an afternoon!

Rocks are not your foundations’ friend!