Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


How is your "Internal-Compensation-Engine?"

     In all areas of our lives today, there seems to be a huge lack of pride in workmanship----of doing the minimum---- just enough to get the pay check. 

     Some people though----regardless of money----seem to go beyond the minimum.  Why?  Why would anyone do more than they are asked to do or contracted to do?  

     It is because they have an "Internal-Compensation-Engine."  The reward they feel inside means more than their new boat on the trailer parked in the gravel next to the house, more than their radon emitting granite countertops, more than their complete set of "All-Clad" cookware in the cabinet drawers, and more than their riding lawnmower for the 100 sq ft lawn.

    "Accumulative" compensation of any kind can never measure up to internal compensation----the only one you can take with you.

     I can use many areas of construction to demonstrate visually these different and usually diametrically opposed concepts.  Today I will pick on----and honor----the plumbers of the world.  This first picture is a truly impressive example of "I don't give a #@%^$# what it looks like----the water goes down" type attitude.

bad drain 

Here are a couple of more examples of "I don't give a #@%^$#!"

 Crappy repairs to plumbing 

Now we get to this installation.  No one ever got "just" money to do this work----this work has "heart" in it.  Not even knowing anything about plumbing, I think one can see the difference between this plumbing installation and the ones above.

Nice plumbing installation

Charles Buell

     PS, for those of you that are new to my blog (or for some other "unexplained" reason have never noticed)sunsmileall  pictures and smiley-face inserts (emoticons) (when I use them) have messages that show up when you point at them with your cursor.

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Comment balloon 16 commentsCharles Buell • August 15 2008 07:42AM


Hmmm....hopefully not as filthy as these internal compensation thingy's. Good humor!

All the best,


Posted by Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota (Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm) almost 12 years ago

Charles, thanks for reminding us about this principle.  It's so true that there are those who want to do things right, and those who want to slap things together.  Home inspectors are so important for helping buyers understand the physical qualities of their potential new home!

You brought up does seem as if many are only interested in surface appearances and showing off.  It's so alien to me, I've never been like that.  I'm a down to earth, practical person - sure, I like sparkly things too - heck, I collect vintage costume jewelry, for example - but I don't use things to try to impress others.  Big flashy gas-guzzling SUV?  No way!  It's funny what's important to people isn't it?

Posted by Suzanne Champion (N.J. Realty - Westerville Ohio) almost 12 years ago

Beth, nothing like a little plumbing to get the ideas flowing:)

Suzanne, closer to sad than funny:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 12 years ago

It is a good feeling to see excellence.  It could be a plumbing job, an evenly cut ditch up to the extreme of watching our Olympic athletes.  People who take pride in their work bring joy to themselves and those of us lucky enough to observe.

Posted by Bill Ladewig, Experience Is Your Advantage ( almost 12 years ago

Bill, very good point

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 12 years ago

never ceases to amaze me the shoddy workmanship in this world.

Posted by Kara Casamassina, Boomers and beyond (International Property Management Group, LLC) almost 12 years ago

They probably want to get out from under that structure!  Nice blog.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

Charlie, Bee,

I like the one with the big sag. Wonder if the drains all gurgle. Certainly it keeps a nice head of water in that area.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Hhmm, very interesting pictures. These show definite "creativity" in their workmanship or lack there of.

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) almost 12 years ago


   That work shows why some of us make recommendation on who does the repair work.

Posted by Phillip R. Smith Sr. (Home Sweet Home Inspections) almost 12 years ago

Kara, we call that job security:)

Barbara, you mean you wouldn't want to go in there?

Steve, it is not going to drain at all after a while

Sean, in relation to plumbing, "creativity" should never be a factor----time to just follow the rules:)

Phillip, I have to agree with you there----pointing out a defect is of little value unless you also tell them what to do about it.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 12 years ago


I must compliment you again for creativity. You get more mileage from photos of your own house than anyone I know.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Charles, that is absolutely amazing!  It is sometimes unbelieveable what we run into in this business!  Thanks for the great shots!

Posted by Courtney Cooper, 206-850-8841 (Ben Kinney Brokerages Leadership at our Keller Williams North Seattle Office) almost 12 years ago

Mr Smith goes to ........(just about anywhere would be just fine:)

Courtney,  good blog fodder for sure:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 12 years ago


Your point is one, I am sad to say, I tell my clients much to often. It seems to me the mentality is get in, get it done, and move on to the next one. Short cuts and shoddy workmanship just seem to be too commonplace today.

I will echo Bills sentiment; It is a good feeling to see excellence. I get excited when I see good, prideful work. A well built deck or a nice job on the boiler installation. That should be the norm, not the exception.

I think it is what motivates the induividual that plays a large part in the way they approach the job they do. Are they motivated by money. Did they get into home inspection because they want to make a lot of easy money (Like that will happen!) or because they enjoy the job and helping people buy a good solid home. Your motivation will show in your work.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 12 years ago

I like quality in everything and always try to do my best, even if sometimes it is not perfect, but unfortunately, some people simply do not care at all what they do and how they treat others.

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 2 years ago