What I'm Seeing Now

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"Everything Works Fine"

No photos of disaster or creative ignorance.  No single problem to report.  But I AM tired of this.

I arrived at the inspection of a short sale to the smiling owners (mostly undressed in a very hot, extremely filthy and cluttered house, sitting in the living room, watching TV) who immediately said, "We told the buyers that you really don't need to be here.  Everything works fine."

In English I said, "Thank you.  I am here for the buyers.  They want me to check everything anyway."

They began speaking rapid Spanish to each other, not realizing I understood every word.  "He's going to find out what's broken."  "What if he tries the oven?" "Go cover up the..."  "What if he tries..."  You get the picture.

The lady quickly said, "Oh, I'm sorry.  I forgot.  The washer broke yesterday, but I used the dryer this morning and it works fine."  Then, the tip off -- "You don't really need to test it."

You should know that everything in this 24 year old townhouse was original and VERY poorly maintained.

"Well, yes I do.  That's the only way to inspect it."

The roaches were so legion I passed straight through the kitchen, out a sliding glass door which did not roll on the track and put my bag and computer on the rear, very dilapidated, deck.  I hoped they wouldn't acquire any insectification out there...

Coming in I looked at the stacked washer/dryer closet.  The door was so broken it had not been closed in some time.  But I looked inside the appliances anyway.  The washer was obviously not broken "yesterday."  The dryer was used for long-term storage and did not come on.  The breaker box was not nearby.  It was in a locked, rear shed.  The seller said he "could not find the key."  So I picked the lock (No damage.  I have a kit in my bag).  Finding the W/D breaker, I couldn't help but notice that it was terribly scorched, and almost certainly not "yesterday."  No way had she used that dryer "this morning." 

It turns out that the washer/dryer was the least of the problems in this place!  NOTHING worked, except one burner on the stove and the fridge was somewhat cool.

THERE ISN'T MUCH WORSE THAN STARTING AN INSPECTION BY BEING LIED TO BY THE SELLERS.

I returned to the living room, and in very polite, very formal, very adult Spanish, I explained that I thought the washer/dryer had not worked in some time and that I would be quickly going through and doing a report on the entire house, but would be telling the buyers not to trust anything that they were told.  The shock and awe on their faces was cllllllaaaassic.  Oh, that I had a photo of that!

Did they really think I would just accept what they had to say, turn around and leave?!

Thank goodness some people still choose to pay for a home inspector!!

My recommendation:  Do your due diligence.  Do have a home inspection.  Do inspect carefully!  And don't trust everything you are told...

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 12 commentsJay Markanich • August 07 2009 07:26AM

Comments

Jay, You just love lying in the weeds with the Spanish:) What a great asset being able to speak another language. Did your clients still want to purchase the property after your inspection?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 9 years ago

James - once they knew what I would report, the lady stated that she immediately needed to go to work and for me to leave.  The buyers and I hung around out in front of the house for 45 minutes.  The seller never left.  Judging from how she was dressed, and smelled, I doubt she was on her way to work.  By the time I was done explaining to the young, first-time, not-much-money buyers, they were done with the house and we didn't need to go inside anyway.

I think the buyers will fly from this coop.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

P.s. James - I LOVE lying in the weeds.  It's better than lying through my teeth...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, I understand exactly what you're saying ... minus the rapid fire Spanish part, LOL. As you can see from my profile picture, it's pretty obvious that just wouldn't work out. I run into this here all the time, it always amuses me. I'm as curious as James, did they still buy the house?
Sue

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) about 9 years ago

Sue - NOPE...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Good for you ... that's one for the good guys.

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) about 9 years ago

I'll never forget ringing the bell to show a condo and seeing about 15 hispanics panic and hit the back door. Once inside found the unit to be filthy and it was easy to see people had been sleeping on floors throughout. The big surprise was finding a new electric flat top range covered with garbage. Cooking was done on a hotplate sitting in the middle of the dining room with the propane tank sitting near. The carpet around the hotplate was covered with grease or cooking oil about 1/2 inch thick. We left wondering if the building would burn down before the unit was sold.

Posted by John Rakoci, North Myrtle Beach Coastal Carolinas (Eagle Realty) about 9 years ago

Unfortunately, John, that is my world too.  Often times these are squatters who have no business or right to be in the building.  But they are there, taking advantage and destroying in their wake.  They have come here looking to take whatever they can take.  And our "laws" seem to give and give.  I see such damaged houses many times a week.  Such as these are NOT the back bone of our economy, as has been said.

Buildings do burn here, often with many people inside and unable to escape.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, there are lots of sad stories like this out there in this market for sure.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 9 years ago

For sure, Shadow, but deception makes them worse.  Sadder still would have been the story had my clients bought this house.  They literally believed, because they were told, that what they saw was "cosmetic."  They were told they likely did not need a home inspection.  That's sad too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay,

Sometimes at those houses where the sellers are just too helpful, I get nervous. They may try to distract an inspector or have areas that cannot be accessed. I always think those are the places I am most likely to hear back on.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 9 years ago

I agree with you Steve.  Whenever a seller is present and tries to divert us from a room or a wall I make a beeline for it.  If ever there are belongings, like boxes, piled against a wall, and the seller is present, I will ask them to please move the boxes so I can evaluate the wall.  If we can't move things, I simply note it on the report, with the caveat to the buyer verbally and on the report!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

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