What I'm Seeing Now


I Am Not Your General Contractor!

Well, at least not for free.

I get interesting phone calls. This one was from a seller. “Your home inspection cost me a lot of money. I cannot sell my house until I fix the problems you said on your report. I have a contractor here now. You need to stop by immediately and tell him what to do. I am the house on Virginia Avenue.”

“Ma’am, I remember the house well, and all the problems. But, I am not nearby, have an appointment now and another after that. I can’t drop all that simply to stop by your house. But, please understand, what repairs you do or don’t do on your house are not my purview. My clients were the buyers. I don’t return to the houses I inspect to make sure any repairs are done correctly, unless you want to pay me.”

“Well, they aren’t buying the house, because of you! So I am your client now. And you have cost me so much money already I certainly will not pay you! My Realtor tells me she cannot sell the house until I have done everything on your list. You need to at least be available by phone when my contractor has questions. There is a lot to do!” (Wow…)

“If he is a professional contractor and knows what he is doing, he should not need to call me. I am not your general contractor.”

The problems, in part, were: bathroom remodel which leaked from the toilet and sink drain into the furnace room below; severe mold issues in the furnace room beneath that bathroom (which the seller tried to “hide” with storage); new carpeting and newly painted basement walls, but painted only in certain spots; not well-concealed stains under that new paint; serious moisture issues – 80+% - in those basement walls (which could mean many things, all behind drywall); a remodeled basement bathroom with mold in the walls behind the shower (which the seller ALSO tried to “hide” with storage). There were other things, but this is what the contractor was working to correct for now.

My recommendation: When storage is artfully placed in areas where it typically would not be, there might be intention to hide something. When parts, but not all, of basement walls are freshly painted, there might be intention to hide something. When sellers are upset when things are moved and problems found, they know they are caught, and they are INTENDING to hide something. Head’s up!

And don’t try to sell undisclosed problems to someone else… but you already knew that!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 44 commentsJay Markanich • October 08 2009 09:19PM


Jay - I suppose it occasionally comes with the territory, but that doesn't make it more palatable.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 11 years ago

Well I am glad you caught all of that stuff so the seller has to fix it.  If they are that unscroupolous  they deserve every thing they get.

Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com (Real Estate One) almost 11 years ago


Dealing with idiots...  LOL  Our society breeds this sense of irresponsibility, and it's only getting worse.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 11 years ago

Jay, it sounds like a good one to stay away from:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 11 years ago

Hey Jay,

You have been meeting some real winners lately. I think home inspections is the only real estate profession that gets blamed for a sale gone bust because we do a thorough job.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) almost 11 years ago

John - I have never had a seller call me before to have me supervise repairs...  on my time.

Russ - given the contractor she chose and what he intends to do, I am not sure much of it will actually be "fixed."

Mike - we have a society that wants everything to be somebody else's fault and problem.  It is getting worse.  We are screwed...

Charlie - my client did!  I did another inspection for him on a different a few days later.

Eric - wait til you see my post this weekend!  It will be entitled, "Move In Condition..."  What a riot!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago


I hate that one. Especially when the homeowner is doing it himself and wants me to verbally approve some plan he has that I might not know that much about myself, other than that his house has it wrong and he needs someone with half a wit in the problem area to fix it.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 11 years ago

Steve - this is the homeowner who tried to hide stuff to begin with!  Busted...  and I caused them expense!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

In my area, the lenders bully the buyer for a copy of the inspection and refuse to loan until repairs are made.  The inspectors visit to ensure proper repairs is an expected expense and service.

Posted by Debbie White (Southeast Alaska Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Jay - It sounds like you handled this one perfectly!  I can't believe that she said that stuff to you.  Ridiculous!

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Dont you love people who feel it is a must to avoid accountability and result to anger at the first sign of challenges. We have all dealt with them. 

Posted by Jeff Cole, Homes For Sale 360-316-1177 (Realogics Sotheby's International Realty) almost 11 years ago

LOL! So the Sellers wanted you to be at their beck and call and did not want to pay to hire you....Loved the blame game for being responsible for Buyers walking out of the deal. Why did she hide the problems in the first place? Maybe the problems would not have existed if she had taken the action to fix the problems and not conceal them.


Posted by Rajeev Narula, My Services Are All About You! (iPRO REALTY LTD.,Brokerage) almost 11 years ago

Your posts is amazing.  You cost HER a lot of money?!? WTF!!  What an illogical thing to say, but the old adage "consider the source" makes sense. 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 11 years ago

She should not want you as her general contractor.

Now you could not legally be that contractor here.

Posted by Jim Hale, Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website (ACTIONAGENTS.NET) almost 11 years ago

I had an irrate seller, not my listing, email me with hate-filled venom and contact my broker after my buyer decided not to buy his house when the seller would not accept our lower priced offer than a price he desired.  My buyer discounted his offer price based on the EIFS exterior (fake stucco) that he wanted to have removed and replaced with brick.

Low offer was MY fault according to the seller since I disclosed to my buyer that EIFS has potential problems in our humid southern climate and our area has had numerous EIFS failures with subsequent rot and mold issues.  An EIFS inspection showed no current problems, but my buyer was trying to overt future headaches with the replacement plans.

To my knowledge, I brought this seller the only offer he's had in over two years of trying to sell his house...and I am the bad guy!?!  Poor seller has now reduced his house to the price range of our offer of a year and a half ago, but.... you guessed it, he is chasing the market and he is still priced too high for today.  Some folks are so stubborn.

Posted by Teresa Cox King, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama (RE/MAX of Orange Beach) almost 11 years ago

Debbie - I have done that on occasion, but I cannot insure that repairs are correct in some cases.  Usually the agents put into the addendum that the seller provide a receipt by a professional contractor.

Jason - agreed, and it is pretty funny when you think of it.  And thanks for the thumb's up!

Jeff - unfortunately I think that is what our society is becoming.  Everything is someone else's fault.

Rajeev - it was funny and you could not have said it better!

Carla - and she doesn't know it, but people all over the country are laughing at her...  (;>)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Jim - nor here really.  I could if I had not been the inspector!  Not sure I would want to work for that lady though.

Teresa - EIFS is a problem everywhere, even when installed correctly.  Replacing that with brick would have been some expensive job!  The stubborn sellers are here too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Jay- you hear something new everyday.  What a lot of nerve that "seller" has. How dare she assume that she is now your client!  I'm just finished dealing with some seller who weren't going to address the major issues, until my buyers asked for a significant price drop.  They changed their tune in a hurry!

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) almost 11 years ago


How often do you do the house inspections upfront before a home goes on the market?   While it's not common practice yet, it is the way to avoid deals falling apart after a house inspection. 

Linda Metallo, Re/max Impact, Lockport, Il.

Posted by Linda Metallo DiBenardo (RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois) almost 11 years ago

So, you're saying that sellers may not be truthful? HA HA HA.

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) almost 11 years ago

Jay: When I am hired to do a home staging consultation, if I notice the home has "condition issues", I always suggest the seller hire their own building inspector before they put the home on the market. That way, they are not blind sided when the buyers' inspector discovers a bunch of expensive problems. Making that report available to potential buyers with a list of repairs made shows buyers the home has been well cared for.

I am occassionally asked by sellers to hide problems in the home with staging furniture or rugs. I always say no and refuse the job. I'm not interested in working with unethical people.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) almost 11 years ago

Jay -

What a nut.


That is all.

Posted by Coleen DeGroff, Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL (Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish Realtors) almost 11 years ago

Gotta luv 'em for trying!? 

Desperate people will try all kinds of things to get out of a problem.

Their listing agent is not responsible for the damages, but should have been savvy enough to do an educated walk-through on the home and seen enough signs to suggest an inspection by the sellers to see what they were getting into.  Further, if the listing agent did know of the problems, that's where things can start to get REALLY interesting.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) almost 11 years ago

I love to hear stories about home inspectors.  They are even better than Realtor stories.  

Posted by Aaron Hoffman, FSBO Marketer and Strategist (Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage) almost 11 years ago

Hey, Jay, why don't you repair the issues yourself for FREE while you are there?  Seriously, it is amazing to learn how nutso some folks can be!

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) almost 11 years ago

you were way more polite than I would have been.

Posted by Alan May, There's no place like home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) almost 11 years ago

I always recommend to the buyers a final walkthrough with the inspector that they pay for. What repairs are done is up to the two Realtors to make sure of. I would add, if the seller doesn't think it is a problem you specified, then they should go get a licensed and bonded contractor who will guarantee that it is not. I find that shuts up sellers.  

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) almost 11 years ago

I have never had the personal experience with this type of story personally - but it's another in a long line  of stories that I've heard. 

My first week as a loan officer my trainer told us two things. 

  • Only do your job
  • Understand everyone's job

Eight years later I still follow those very first lessons.  They keep me out of trouble. 

Thanks for the great story.

Posted by Shellie Alicia Carter (REAL. | Realtyka, LLC) almost 11 years ago

I am not sure why sellers seem to think inspectors 'owe' them something after an inspection is done, like free advice on what to fix. Why is it that since they receive a copy somehow they also feel entitled to receive your time, advice and professional opinion?

Posted by Christianne O'Malley, Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno! (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) almost 11 years ago

I don't know how many times I've heard on a listing appointment that they don't think they should have to paint the eaves or siding because they are moving from this house.  When I hear those types of statements I wrap up my presentation rather quickly and exit stage right! People just don't have the responsibility any more.  Have they just been renting too long to understand that there is more to owning a home than making payments?  But, then again with the current situation and our new government, they are starting to think they don't have to do that any more either, huh?

Posted by Tony Hager, Broker (United Realty Texas) almost 11 years ago

Linda J - which was that, the carrot or the stick?

Linda M - I have tried to crack that market for years around here, with very few takers.  I even created a separate inspection report just for that market!

Greg - that's what I'm saying!

Michelle - that is a practice which will pay great dividends in the long run!

Coleen - yeah, a peanut...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Mike - I think things are interesting no matter who knows what!

Irene - that could be another service I offer!  Free repairs of every item noted on my inspection report!

Alan - we try.  I am a Scoutmaster and have to be...

Joe - that WOULD work!  I can see it now, a certified mold guy saying, "Gee, that's not mold at all!"  That stuff had been there so long it was hairy!

Shellie - that is terrific advice - short and sweet and to the point.  Hard to get confused!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Christianne - that is a beautiful name, by the way.  I don't know, to answer your question, but find myself spending a lot of time with them!

Tony - I think that attitude has been brewing for a couple of decades and it is the society we are creating.  Personally, I think that as a society, we are screwed...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

I guess she really need to sell that house

Posted by Gene perez (Greater Mortgage Solutions & Valley Hills Realty ) almost 11 years ago


GREAT post - I get to see this behavior after the fact (we are the ones called in to remediate all of the issues you find...)  While it may not seem as obvious, the home buyer in that situation certainly appreciates your dilligence.

Vince in Glendale, AZ

Posted by Vince Divarco, DUCTZ Air Duct Cleaning of Tucson & Green Valley (DUCTZ of Tucson) almost 11 years ago

Wow, sounds like you got an earful!  I agree that it is not up to you to solve the seller's problems! People can be so difficult!

Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) almost 11 years ago

GMS - I think everyone needs to sell their house!  But it can be done honestly.

Vince - I have been doing this over 28 years.  I KNOW my clients appreciate my services.  I read recently that home inspectors are among the most trusted people in the country.

Erica - I guess so, but I thought is was always Bush's fault...

Emily - she can talk all she wants!  She doesn't have that much power.  I could call the County!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

You know, it's as if you are to blame for the problems on the house. Never mind deferred maintenence and an acute ability by the seller to close their eyes to any thing that needs to be repaired...Just move on!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

She probably just didn't get any sex last night, so she was having a bad day -- LOL.

Posted by Not a real person almost 11 years ago

This struck me as funny. YOU cost HER a lot of money? What, did you kick a hole in her pipes for her? (no, I didn't ask if you wanted to kick in her pipes!! ) But really, you may have SAVED her a lot of money from the lawsuit she did not have to participate in for non disclosure!

Since she won't say it, I will. Thank you for finding her problem prior to some poor, unexpectant first time home buyer bought a very expensive problem to fix. Thank you for finding the problem before both parties had to spend 2 years spending money on attorneys and court costs.

Thanks for being a great home inspector!

Posted by Stephanie Reynolds, East County San Diego Homes 619-838-4408 (Integrity First Financial Group, Inc. ) almost 11 years ago


Welcome to the club. As a Broker and Appraiser, when I'm working on the dark side (appraisal) I get to hear how I "cost a sale", but Like you I'm only dealing with the facts (of the market, instead of the property). If more agents took the time to properly educate their sellers, and maybe get a pre sale inspection, they could bypass many of these problems.

Posted by Joe Daniels, Broker, Appraiser, Realtor(R), (Personal Service Realty) almost 11 years ago

Russel L - they didn't entirely close their eyes! They tried to hide things, AFTER they "fixed" them.

Russel R - wouldn't know, didn't ask...

Stephanie - thank you but that is my job, if I can do it!  Once I arrived at a house to see the chimney sinking and having already pulled 6" away from the house.  The buyers pointed it out to me when I pulled into the driveway.  The seller called me later that night accusing me of climbing on the roof and pushing the chimney away from the house so I would have something to put on the report (there was PLENTY anyway).  Sure, that's what I do all the time...

Joe - I have been doing this 28 years and have seen most everything!  And, like you, I have "cost" many sales.  Nevermind the house...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

If the tables were turned they'd be irate. As a matter of fact, if they are this sneaky they'll vet their next home through the eyes of a cynic. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) almost 11 years ago

J. Philip - on the other end, they would want the biggest, baddest-assed home inspector on their side.  That's the new Golden Rule.  I call it the Aluminum Rule...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 11 years ago

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