Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fraudulent Home Inspectors

Yes, unlicensed home inspectors are functioning and defrauding the unsuspecting public in North Carolina and in the Triad! The last experience I had with one the client was thrilled with their home inspection and their inspector. Unbeknownst to them his inspection and report came nowhere near meeting required North Carolina standards. His report is in front of me as I write this post. These folk were defrauded, up front, to the tune of $250.00. Unfortunately, that may not be all. What did this inspector fail to point out? How much may it cost for repairs?

Who will protect you or your clients from unlicensed, deceptive, fraudulent Home Inspectors?

You will find, as I have experienced, that there is not very much protection. The first line of defense is information and it will begin in this post. Yes, there are people posing as home inspectors with an intent to defraud and deceive the public for their personal gain. There are more than one but I have personal experience with one and he has been deceiving unsuspecting home buyers and real estate agents in my service area FOR OVER TEN YEARS. He has been arrested, in the past, through the efforts of local home inspectors and real estate agents. He has been prosecuted and it is very possible he may continue, as in the past, to ignore the law, book and perform home inspections with you or your clients.

I can assure you that the only person who will stop him is YOU. You must refuse to deal with someone who's full intent appears to be to defraud you and your clients. In the past the unlicensed home inspector I have experience with has functioned under the name "A Buyers Home Inspector" and his name is John Salstrom. In his most recent episode, of which I am personally aware, a Realtor's client advised that they had booked their own home inspector. John Salstrom is who showed up. Following the inspection the Realtor called me to inquire about this person, I advise that he was not a licensed home inspector, requested a copy of the report and turned him in to the licensure board again!

John was prosecuted again by Forsyth County for this infraction. John plead guilty on January 7, 2011 to one count of inspecting a house without a license and received a prayer for judgment and was fined court cost. He has been fined and paid before! Yes, he may be on the loose again now or in the future inspecting homes without a license. I have learned from my involvement in this process over ten years that there isn't much the counties or state can or will do about such a person other than smack their hand, fine them and turn them loose again on an unsuspecting public. You are on you own.

Here is a page out of the 2009-2010 AT&T Real Yellow Pages where you will note John's add circled in red right along side of real home inspectors. Note that it is the most expensive, obvious and eye catching of the adds. Isn't that interesting. He uses "A" at the beginning of his company name to place the add near the top to catch your attention.

Here is the add blown up so you can read it:

Looks for real, doesn't it? Don't be deceived, John is not a licensed home inspector in the State of North Carolina and hasn't been for over TEN YEARS! Here is as much of his record as I am aware of. I don't doubt that there is much, much more I am not aware off.

You will find the public record of John Salstrom's experience with the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure board posted on their website at:

Here is what it says:
Complaints filed: April 27, 1999, November 5, 1999, and September 19, 2000 (Greensboro and Winston-Salem)
License Revoked.

I am aware that John was previously arrested, prosecuted and fined in Forsyth County in 2001 for conducting a home inspection without a license.

So there is no doubt about this claim. Please allow me to document that a guilty plea was entered by John Salstrom for Inspecting a House without a License in District Criminal Court, Forsyth County. The charge against Salstrom, “Obtain Property False Pretense”, is for his charging a fee for doing a home inspection without an active license with the Home Inspectors Licensure Board of North Carolina.

Below is a notification letter dated January 10, 2011 from the District Attorney (21st District) received by the NC Dept of Insurance Criminal Investigator in this case.  Also below is copy of a February 2, 2004 cease and desist letter from the 18th District, Guilford County District Attorney that notes a prior conviction on or about July 19, 2001.

Mr. Salstrom had multiple complaints filed against him when he was licensed that were addressed through consent agreements. On September 29, 2000 he surrendered his license. Still, after 10 years he continues to mislead the public.

Who will protect you?

You can only protect yourself!
Every licensed Home Inspector in the State of North Carolina has an identification card with his license number and expiration date. So that you know what one looks like, here is mine. Demand proof that you or your clients inspector is a properly licensed North Carolina Home Inspector! If he or she (yes there are female inspectors!) can't provide proof, protect yourself and your clients, call someone else! Have doubts, call the Licensure Board in Raleigh at (919) 662-4480.

 Are you displeased with the way this issue is being handled in your county? Make your District Attorney aware! Is your local Realtor's association keeping you informed on this issue? This has been going on for over 10 years. Were you aware? Why not?

1 comment:

  1. Chris, I couldn't agree more with your exposure of John Salstrom posing as a "licensed" home inspector. There is a lot that can be said about his fraudulent history and I think you covered it well with your column. P.T. Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute." and it couldn't be more true than when buyers seek out the "cheapest" inspector. That has always been John's modem operandi.

    It is a shame that the district attorneys are all but disinterested in prosecuting Mr. Salstrom for his ongoing public fraud. O well, pro-active protection of the public has never been a "cause celeb" unless we're talking about counting calories for children or watts in our lamps.
    Good work!


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