Hated by some realtors but adored by many home buyers, Ed Witzke has been described as the most famous home inspector west of the Rockies.
After 45 years of going into crawlspaces and attics, Witzke is finished. He’s not going to climb any more ladders to see whether or not a roof is sound. He closed his shop and took down his website at the end of December.
“I’m doing what I’m doing in protest of the shoddy buildings that are out there,” Witzke told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview about why he decided to retire.
For years, he has fought for inspections to be done independently of realtors. A UBC–trained architect, he’s railed against realtors bringing in their own inspectors to evaluate homes they’re selling. Realtors have filed complaints against him. In return, he has fired off complaints against interfering realtors.
“What got me over and over again is where I saw so much horror out there, so much cover-up,” Witzke said. “It was like a crime scene. It was like going from one crime scene to another. People have been cheated and lied to.”
Witzke recalled going to a Surrey neighbourhood at 6 a.m. to look at a house. His clients, a couple, were interested in the property, but they were worried it may have been used to grow marijuana.
A neighbour asked him what he was doing there so early. Witzke replied that he wanted to know what kind of house he was inspecting. He asked if it was a grow-op. The neighbour said that actually it had once been a brothel.
“The couple showed up at 9 a.m.,” Witzke went on. “They said, ‘Was it a grow-op?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not. This was not a grow-op.’ And they said, ‘Good, good, good.’ I said, ‘It was something else.’ They said, ‘What was it?’ I said, ‘It was a brothel.’ And they said, ‘That’s worse than a grow-op.’ But do you think the realtor would disclose that? When the realtor got wind of it, he went ballistic.”