Real-estate agent and home inspector face off over home purchase

Ed Witzke noted a lot of crappy stuff about the house on Rutledge Street in Victoria in his inspection. But what he observed about the washroom was particularly striking.

“A big fat fellow like myself only gets 1/2 bum on toilet seat,” the Vancouver-based home inspector wrote in his report to his client.

To illustrate his point that it was difficult to sit on the main-floor toilet because it was too close to a wall, Witzke even drew an image of an individual on the throne. A large portion of the person’s bottom was hanging off the seat.

As well, Witzke reported to Rajan Reddy, the prospective Victoria home buyer who hired him, that the “acoustics in [the] bathroom is very poor—you can hear all body noises.”

The purchase didn’t go through, and Reddy’s realtor, Gord Hoshal, felt that Witzke was full of crap.

On July 7 of this year, Hoshal filed a complaint against Witzke—a UBC-trained architect with more than four decades of experience as a home inspector—with the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C., accusing him of being unprofessional.

But Reddy is pleased with the service rendered by Witzke.

“He showed me all that crap and, basically, I feel that if Ed [Witzke] okayed the house, the sale would have gone through and I would have ended up with a piece of crap,” Reddy told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview from Victoria.

In his report to Reddy, Witzke stated that the property is “all bulldozer ready”.

Reddy says he’ll hire Witzke the next time he looks at a property.

“It had a suite downstairs, and there was a beam missing,” he said of the house he hired Witzke to inspect. “It looked like there was some water damage downstairs. The plumbing was in bad shape.”

Reddy said that Hoshal has been his realtor for some time. “He sold me my first house 10 years ago,” the Victoria resident noted.

Hoshal declined to talk about his complaint when reached by the Straight.

But in his complaint addressed to ASTTBC registrar John Shortreid, Hoshal said about Witzke: “After going on his website I found many things stated that lead me to believe he is somewhat jaded for whatever reason towards my profession and indeed a troubled soul, but that is no excuse for his lack of professionalism.”

Hoshal has it right about Witzke’s feelings toward realtors.

According to Witzke, many realtors want to control the home-inspection process so that sales go through swiftly and they can get their commissions. He claimed that realtors usually recommend to buyers inspectors they’ve had “luck” with in previous transactions.

“The more thorough the report is, the more they may have to reveal to the next prospective party buying the place, or the more they now have to work because they have to go back to the other realtor and back to the owner and say, ”˜Look, these things were discovered,’” Witzke told the Straight in a phone interview.

He noted that many realtors prefer a “checklist inspector”—one who doesn’t look closely at a property except to make sure that it has a roof, doors, and windows.

“For, I don’t know, $350 or whatever, the client gets a three-ring binder, a nice glossy three-ring binder saying that everything is okay, and once they move in, then I get the phone calls saying, ”˜Guess what? This whole inspection process seems to be a fraud,’” Witzke said.

In response to Hoshal’s complaint, Witzke wrote Shortreid on August 13. He noted that the case isn’t about a client who wasn’t happy with his services. According to the home inspector, it’s about “a realtor who lost a sale”.

As ASTTBC registrar, Shortreid acts as the prosecutor of complaints filed with the regulatory body.

In a phone interview with the Straight, Shortreid explained that a practice review panel makes recommendations to a member who’s facing a complaint. He said that if those recommendations are accepted by the member, the matter is deemed closed and is not subject to a disciplinary hearing.

Shortreid wasn’t able to say when the complaint against Witzke will be resolved.

Witzke has been through this before. According to him, Hoshal’s complaint is the fourth filed by a realtor against him. He said that except for one that has been resolved in his favour, the complaints are still pending decision.



glen p robbins

Sep 15, 2010 at 12:46pm

A Robbins government would put Civilian Oversight over all realtors and other professional organizations in British Columbia.

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Bob Hetzel

Sep 15, 2010 at 4:51pm

I agree with the home inspector-the client got honest, good advice and the real estate agent is pissed off over a lost sale.

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Free to vote.

Sep 15, 2010 at 6:43pm

If a Home Inspector misses something or misleads his client the homeowner, it is the Home Inspector that gets sued not the Realtor.

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Daniel Rogers

Sep 15, 2010 at 8:02pm

Hmmm..client is happy with inspector. Inspector saved client from purchasing a money pit. Inspector works for the client and did a successful job. It seems to me an investigation should be brought against the real estate agent for trying to bambozzle the buyer just for a commission check. It all seems bass akwards to me.

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glen p robbins

Sep 15, 2010 at 8:44pm

It is ironic that the BC Real Estate Council is supporting the HST when our information out this week will show that the Referendum will produce a reduction in 2 billion in home sales over the next year until the vote.

Our data will show that Delaney's overall theory is accurate.

The real estate agents should spend more attention to the fools running their politics and less time shaking people down on bad sales.

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Jay W.

Sep 15, 2010 at 9:00pm

I used a home inspector with the house I am in now- he may have missed one thing, really did his job. Made the seller kind of mad- as they were trying to do a quick flip and ended up selling for less than they wanted

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Sep 15, 2010 at 9:18pm

LOVE this home inspector:)

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Sean Wiens

Sep 16, 2010 at 9:21am

Ed is a fellow 'independent inspector' ( and while I may use different language to identify a defect than Ed, the base point is that he and the rest of the independent inspectors put the buyer first in the process and do everything possible to ensure the client is informed on ALL of the defects large and small whether they represent a financial or a safety liability. I personally do not 'pass or fail' a home. I put the cards on the table, put them into perspective, and then let the client decide what they are comfortable with and answer any questions they may have to help in that decision.

Sean Wiens
SENWI House Inspections

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