INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Multiple home owners say the inspection reports they received from a licensed Indiana home inspector did not meet state standards.
Kristina and Robert Snellenberger reached out to CBS4 Problem Solvers in the midst of their home buying experience. It can be an exhausting, nerve-wracking process to buy a house, but the Snellebergers were committed to a home they found in Stilesville, to the west of Indianapolis.
"It’s supposed to be a happy time. This is supposed to be exciting for everybody," Robert Snellenberger said.
Instead, the family ended up on "a roller coaster," saying their home inspection process turned into a huge headache.
The Snellenbergers searched online and found a company called Home Time Inspections. The owner, Anthony Maxie, told them he could come out to do the inspection right away, which is why they hired him.
The couple paid $369 for the inspection. They said Maxie showed up late, spent less than an hour in the home, and promised to send them the report that night. Instead, they say it took days to receive a report, and it did not include extra testing they paid for in addition to the general inspection.
Robert Snellenberger said the report itself was not sufficient, and the couple had to hire people to fill in the gaps in Maxie's work.
"The lender came back and said there was some stuff missing that we still needed to get taken care of," Snellenberger said. "(Maxie) disappeared. He would not return phone calls, text messages, or emails."
First-time home buyer Anthony Kamp told CBS4 Problem Solvers he had a very similar experience last August. Kamp said after he hired Maxie to inspect a home for him, it took a while to get the inspection report, and he never received extra testing. His report, listed under the company name UAdvantage Home Inspections, cost almost $700.
"I found him through Google and he said he was veteran-friendly," Kamp, a veteran himself, said.
CBS4 Problem Solvers took the two reports to Chris Chirafisi, the training manager at American Home Inspectors Training. Chirafisi said Maxie took an in-person course from the company in 2013, the same year he received an Indiana home inspector license.
Chirafisi sent CBS4 a long list of reasons he said the reports did not appear to meet Indiana's state standards for home inspections.
"It really does nothing good for the industry, so yes, it is concerning," Chirafisi said.
CBS4 Problem Solvers also found that many of the claims made on the Home Time Inspections website did not appear to check out. The website uses seals from the "Certified Master Inspector" program and "INTERNachi," the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. A spokesperson for both said Maxie is not in their databases.
The company also makes a claim that is is a "multiple state licensed firm" and lists its coverage areas as Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Maxie is only currently licensed in Indiana. In Florida, his license is expired, and in Kentucky an official said he is not licensed. Ohio does not currently require licenses for home inspectors, but it is being considered by the legislature there.
The Home Time Inspections site also linked to a Thumbtack page, which boasted hundreds of positive reviews. There, Maxie claimed to have an engineering degree from Purdue University and over 30 professional certifications.
A Purdue University spokesperson told CBS4 he could not find an Anthony Maxie in the school's records.
CBS4 Problem Solvers attempted to reach Maxie to verify the claims on the website and learn more about the customers' experiences from his perspective.
After multiple unreturned calls and emails to Home Time Inspections, Maxie did pick up a cell phone customers provided for him.
"Actually I'm pretty busy, and we farm those out. We hire somebody to go get those that have lab results and do all that for us. Somebody else did do it," Maxie said in a brief phone call.
When CBS4 pointed out that Maxie's name is on both reports, the call abruptly ended. We could not reach him again by phone or email. The next day, Maxie returned a text message, saying in part "Sorry I don't think I would be available or make a great story as much as I like to help you out. Good luck with your project. ... I should be back sometime next month."
After CBS4 made contact, the Thumbtack page disappeared.
In addition, court records revealed that Maxie has pleaded guilty to three felonies and a misdemeanor in the last two years. He was recently assigned to home detention in Jackson County. In neighboring Scott County, a probation officer just filed a petition to revoke probation, saying Maxie has failed to report, pay fees, or attend a drug and alcohol treatment program as directed. That petition will go before a judge in August.
"I would never have hired him knowing there was a criminal history, at all," Kristina Snellenberger said.
The state of Indiana does have a Home Inspectors Licensing Board, but it does not check up on inspectors or look over their work regularly. Instead, a spokesperson said it relies on the Attorney General's Office to investigate and present cases where a license could be revoked.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General said he could not find any complaints filed against Maxie or the two companies listed on the reports.
For the buyers who talked to CBS4 Problem Solvers, it's been a frustrating experience. They all said it did teach them a lesson, though: get references and do your research before you hire someone to inspect a home for you.
"(Being a) first time home buyer, I was very naïve to it. You learn things as you go along," Kamp said.
Maxie's Indiana license expires October 1st. If he applies to renew it, he will have to fill out paperwork in which it asks if you have been convicted of any felonies or misdemeanors since you last renewed your license.