What I'm Seeing Now


"I'm Calling Because I'm Not Sure This Is OK..."

These calls come in a lot - "I'm calling because I'm not sure this is OK..."

Then she followed by telling me how all three realtors in town she called told her to call me that she could trust me.  She looked me up on a couple of consumer sites (which I never check) and said that my reputation is stellar.  Then she said, "You're famous!"

Aw, shucks.

She had turned on her outdoor hoses for the spring and they were both dripping.  Her house is 29 years old.  The washer assemblies are probably dried out and don't close the valve.  She called a plumber in the phone book.

The "plumber" was unable to get the washer assembly out.  So he decided to take his torch to the bib to melt the solder and replace the bib.

Not only did he melt the plastic in and around the bib, he sprayed torch sparks over about a 3'x3' area.  You can see one black spot to the left of the bib.  These stains do not come off.

He told her it is "impossible" to fix this, and left it this way.

She had a sump pump hole in the basement and wanted a sump pump installed.

"Plumber" attached it into the washing machine drain line, with old material he had on his truck, and it drains to the common sanitary sewer.

That is incorrect, at least in this jurisdiction.  It must drain outdoors.

From there "plumber" removed the old bathroom sink cabinet, "installing" the new cabinet, sink and faucet.

Not bothering to score the walls before removing the old cabinet, he left holes and tore the paper off the drywall.

That brown paper underneath simply cannot be painted.

It must be treated first with shellac and primer.  That's how I do it anyway.

And then painted.

"Plumber" is demanding payment.

I gave her the name of the plumber who has taken care of my plumbing needs for 25 years.  He will take care of her right.  And also the name of a handy man to fix and paint the walls (including the drywall holes inside the house behind the hose bibs that are "impossible" to fix).

She is afraid the "plumber" will sue her if she does not pay him.  My suggestion was to tell him she is getting repairs done on the siding, walls and having the sump pump drained to code, and she will present him those bills for payment to her.  After that is done she will pay him for the cost of the sump pump (but not installation) and for the installation of the faucet and sink drain (but not the cabinet).  I told her to call me if he balks at that deal.  And to call the county, and the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, and a lawyer if he spits and fits. 

And I told her to have him call me, and after our conversation I will have his butt slung high.

My recommendation:  when people are taken advantage of, call a home inspector!  He will be objective and straightforward.  He has no financial interest in the outcome of the project, so his opinion is just that.  But get him to document what has happened.  Put the experience on the consumer sites on line!  And you might just make him famous too!




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 37 commentsJay Markanich • June 27 2013 04:23AM
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