Holmes Inspection TV Program

How does this series work? How do the homeowners and Holmes meet? Who pays for all the repairs? Ostensibly, home inspectors hired by the homeowners have been remiss. If so, are they ever held liable for any of the repairs?

People email the show and ask for help. On that show, the people have typically been screwed more than once by contractors and/or other inspectors leaving them with little money and a house in poor condition.
On most of these shows, the show pays for the repairs. I assume that’s their compensations for being on the show. OTOH, I think the people on This Old House are paying out of pocket. Essentially hiring Silva Bros to do the job.
As for the first inspectors, I assume if the homeowners want to hold them responsible (in court or otherwise), that’s on them. I doubt the show is involved in that.
One thing I did notice when I used to watch it is that on all his various shows, I only saw him name the other contractor once. Not that I’d expect him to, I was surprised to see him do it even that time.


There was one episode years back where Mike went to court to testify as an expert witness against the previous contractor. It was an outright fraud case. They also interviewed the police detective who had done most of the investigating. It was always a fun show to watch.

A lot of times a shady contractor won’t get an inspection done. They might say an inspection isn’t needed or that the homeowner can arrange for an inspection on their own if they want. The inexperienced homeowner trusts the shady contractor and they don’t get it done.

Watching that show made me realize that most homeowners should get an independent home inspector to look over any major remodeling job. Even homeowners experienced in home repair aren’t going to know all the safety and code compliance requirements that need to be done properly. Even if the contractor is honest, there is often a large crew and all it takes is one person being a little lazy one day to create a safety or code compliance issue.

Because the show is a television series, costs for the homeowners, who are likely to be strapped for cash due to the previous contractors’ mistakes and/or frauds, are kept to a minimum (10% to 20% of the cost of repair). Some contractors hired on the show have even donated time, materials, and labor to help homeowners in need. The remainder of the work is funded by the TV production company, but in some cases, Mike Holmes personally contributes funds towards the repairs.

And even if nothing was done with malicious intent, sometimes you just need another set of eyes on the project. Plus, every inspector is going to have their own things that they tend to look for. How many times on the various Holmes show did Mike point out deck stairs attached to the bottom or back of the rim joist instead of the front. Often times you could even see them pulling away from the deck. Or he’d pull out his flir camera and in 5 minutes diagnosed the climate control problem they’ve been fighting with for years. And on the flip side, he might inspect a house, notice a bunch of problems, but miss some that other inspectors would pick up.
This is one of the few reasons I don’t mind that most jurisdictions require permits for a lot of jobs. It’s an independent and uninterested third party giving everything a final check before it’s closed up forever.

i enjoyed the show alot too. But a criticism I’ve heard from honest Contractors, about some of these shows from and Mike Holmes in particular in that he over does it. He would often rip everything out and start from scratch, as in " do it right". Moisture in the basement?, lets dig up your entire foundation and wrap it this new type of membrane. Leaky roof with some rot in one beam? Don’t just replace those beams, a whole new roof system.
A simple 300,000 dollar house and he does like 200,000 dollars worth of repairs.

Also i think there some product placement money with some of the new innovative products they use.

I understand and somewhat agree with your take on this. When Mike Holmes does a job for his show, it’s done correctly. His solution is no doubt the best, “Money is no object!” way of correcting a shoddy build. It just isn’t practical for most people that have to actually foot the bill for their own home’s reconstruction.

I suppose the best way to see this method is that it helps to educate the viewer about why the original work was faulty, what the homeowners need to look for when evaluating a builder’s methods and how the project should have been correctly done from the start.

But,…yeah, there’s prominent product placement going on here.

First off, I really liked Holmes on Homes, but it always bugged me that he wasn’t just fixing the problem…he was fixing ALL the problems. If you call a contractor to come fix your roof and they find one or two electrical boxes without covers up in the attic, that would be out of the scope of what they were hired to take care of. If they want to mention it to you, that’s fine, but Mike would call in an electrician to inspect ALL the wiring. As the electrician is showing Mike the problems they found, Mike would spot another issue. Maybe some improperly done insulation…which would result in him tearing out drywall to see the rest of it and so on and so forth.
I get it, it’s a TV show and it was fun to watch and he’s not going to bring an entire production crew to a house that just needs a new roof (and I assume a lot of the problems were identified before they even chose the house). But, if he was my contractor…I’d likely pick one of the other’s I got estimates from. Fixing part of the roof shouldn’t involve remodeling the interior because of an open electrical box.

As his projects got bigger and bigger, I recall one episode where they tore the entire house down and started from scratch.

I can’t remember where but he was on a talk radio show and he caused a stir by saying all the big hardware stores and he used names are the biggest thieves industry in the fact they make money by convincing people who have no business in doing any construction what so ever that they “Can do it themselves” and selling them stuff to do it and selling the more stuff when it gets messed up and they’re trying to fix it

and then they convince them to “hire their contracted crews” at an inflated price to fix the mess that was getting worse and worse because of a commercial/salesperson that showed "any one can do it "

Mike spent a lot of time talking about how homeowners shouldn’t even think about attempting a lot of projects on their own. I know it’s a TV show and he can’t be heard saying things like ‘replacing a light switch is super easy, here’s how to do it’. But any time he was, for example, walking around in an attic he spend half the time explaining how no homeowner should ever go in their attic and that they should be calling someone to do anything that needs to get done up there (we’re talking about unfinished attics).
Maybe he was overly concerned about liability issues or maybe he was just really concerned for the safety of others (he is Canadian, after all).

And I always joke that Home Depot should change their slogan from “you can do it, we can help” to “you can do it…by yourself”

He also always makes a point about making sure your contractor pulls a permit. And if they don’t, give you some song and dance, run away from them. Good advice i think.

Mike went on a rant about House Inspectors. Stirred up a lot of people in that industry.

Eventually Holmes Inspection became a show. Mike would look at recently purchased homes. Read the Inspection Report and then point out problems that got overlooked. His team fixed what Mike found wrong.

It is true that buyers put a lot of faith in Home Inspection. I asked for one two years ago for a house my mom bought. Cost $350. I was also aware that the inspector only looks for obvious problems. They can’t disturb the house. Certainly can’t look behind drywall.

Anyway Holmes Inspection ran 4 seasons and it was entertaining tv. A bunch of houses got fixed and that always a good thing.

No, they can’t tear open walls or anything. Sure, they may find things that are glaringly obvious that the random homeowner or home buyer might not catch (but need to be addressed) but ISTM, they mostly seem to point out stuff that’s not so much an issue as it is minor things that the buyer could use as leverage to get a few bucks knocked off the price. All my home inspector pointed out is where the gas/water/electrical shut off are, the inside of the gas water heater seemed a little ‘sooty’ and should be cleaned and the soffits have a little bit of surface mildew and should be painted.
What I should have done is asked for a check at closing to cover the cost of having the water heater cleaned and the soffits painted. I didn’t, life goes on.

But, in the end, the reason the vast majority of people get inspections is because the bank requires it. And they just need to make sure their investment isn’t going to collapse or burn down in the near future and have someone to sue if it does.
How many people would actually get an inspection done of the bank didn’t require them to before giving you the loan?

I loved the original Holmes on Homes! But as someone else pointed out, it suffered from mission creep and I lost interest when it went from fixing a thing to yeah, basically gutting entire houses.

I haven’t watched his inspection show. Where are either of those streaming? I could use some feel good TV!

And yeah, my home inspector sucked too.

I think a lot of home buyers get their home inspected from someone recommended by their realtor. That’s probably not a good idea. The realtor is going to be biased towards getting the deal closed and may not recommend an inspector who finds lots of issues that might risk the deal.

I didn’t watch much of the Holmes Inspection program. Did he give advice on how to find a good inspector?

If they would have been a bit more honest from the outset (like This Old House) or found a way to keep the job as narrow as the supposed reason they were there, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. We all learned that what would start out as an electrical job would end up with two or three trades there (and sometimes the homeowner’s moving out for a week), because you can’t possible just take care of the problematic vent stack without having an electrician and drywaller with you. OTOH, if the house was presented as having plumbing an electrical problems, it would have been fine.

But even then, his show made me really happy everything about my house has been fine and a bit nervous about buying another one someday. I can’t imagine buying a house only to find out all the electrical has to be redone or the basement slab has to be opened up because of a drainage issue or the insulation is filling the house with poison (urea? was that it?).

I asked one of the guys who was working on building my new house, many years ago. He thought Holmes on Homes (older show) was fake because he said “the problems are so obvious, contractors can’t be that stupid.” I think he was being optimistic. Plus, unlike people like him who had to be good because the house builder had to worry about warranties and liability, a lot of Holmes fixes were renovations by shoddy contractors. Some were obviously financially incompetent - they took the money and applied it to previous jobs and living expenses, then needed another new sucker to pay for the materials so they could even get started… some were likely duct tape masters, making it work was more important than doing it right. It was scary how many did not understand load-bearing and structural integrity.

I suspect (I’m sure) Holmes had a scout team that checked out a prospective subject before he showed up, and told him exactly what he was likely to find. I’m sure he wasn’t the first guy to poke into the attic for the show, or whatever. Some items started to get predictable - areas of no insulation, especially the ceiling of the garage under a room. I’m betting the advance team did things like tone out the wiring to see what was connected to what, so they could flag bizarre wiring modifications for Holmes to “find”. I think he went to home inspections when fixing bad contractor work got too repetitive.

But I liked what it showed me about construction and common rookie mistakes. What he didn’t really show but I’ve learned over the years, is that knowing how to do something does not make it easy. Some things are still tricky to do right.

They sure had a lot of botched basement Renos.

Unfinished basements attract a lot of DIY and shady contractors offering to do it cheap.

Mike did at least a dozen shows fixing horrible basement Renos. He always tore out all the walls and gutted it back to the foundation. He usually redesigned the layout before framing the new partition walls and drywall.