What I'm Seeing Now

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A Tale Of Two Inspectors

I had two different phone calls this week, from clients. 

They could not have been more different.

The first was from a Realtor who met me on an inspection.  Her client chose me as his inspector on the recommendation of an office partner for whom I recently also did an inspection.  This Realtor recommended someone different, but her client (and my client) wanted me to do it.

They both were with me the entire inspection.  They both watched me carefully.  They both listened intently to everything I said.  At the conclusion the Realtor said,

"Wow, you are Inspector Gadget!  You look for things I have never seen an inspector look for before.  When you find something you have a gadget to evaluate it.  You have gadgets I have never seen any inspector use before.  Why haven't I heard of you before?"

I was thinking, "Geez, lady, what have you been using to do your home inspections!?"

But, instead, I said, "Thank you!  I don't know, I have been around here a long time!  Next time I think you should call me when you need an inspection!"

The second call was from a client for whom I did an inspection a couple of months ago.  She was angry.

"Since we moved in we have had to fix many things on this house!  I am very disappointed with my home inspection and with you as my home inspector!"

I can say with certainty, no inspector likes to hear this!!

So I said, "When did I do your inspection?"  I looked up her report.  "What is going on with your house?"

She began with her list.  I looked on the report.  Everything she mentioned was because some trade professional had been to the house and pointed it out to her.  "How come they can find these things and you couldn't?  They said this should have been caught on a home inspection!"

Each time she mentioned something wrong, I looked on my report.  Not only was it there, it was there in BOLD!  On my report, bold indicates something that demands immediate attention because it can be dangerous, lethal, very expensive to fix, affect habitability, and get worse as it will be ongoing.  I pointed that out to her.

"Oh..."  (At this point you should be hearing the song "Silence Is Golden, Golden...")

This is a person who, during the inspection, was not with me the entire time, did not watch carefully, did not listen hardly at all to anything I had to say.  She was bored.  And she had never read the report, obviously! 

For her I was a different inspector!

My recommendation:  Pay attention to your inspector during the inspection.  Watch what he does.  Listen carefully to what he has to say and read, read, read the report!  And take care of the serious problems BEFORE you move in!

 

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 24 commentsJay Markanich • February 10 2010 08:15AM

Comments

Very good, Jim. it's amazing how many people hire a professional and then ignore their advice!! We as realtors can urge clients to address the issues but that only goes so far, as well.

Posted by Kathy Caylor, Maryville, TN Real Estate (Realty Executives Associates) over 9 years ago

Kathy - they kind of need to know what the issues are too!

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

Great post Jay.  Many buyers willingly pay for inspections and then don't read them carefully.  When I review inspections with my clients, I ask them to initial the problem areas so there is no misunderstanding after close of escrow.

Posted by Wendy Cutrufelli, Contra Costa Realtor (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 9 years ago

That's such good information.  To see what an inspector is doing and to hear his explanation of the issues is key to a home inspection.  The final report should be used as a guide for future repairs and negotiation if major issues were discovered during the home inspection.  Definitely pay attention to your home inspector as he is inspecting your future property.

Posted by Katie McBride, The McBride Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

It's so important to listen and ask questions during the inspection.  When the inspector provides information about what needs to be done and what they should plan for down the road, it's an invaluable service. I also think Wendy's idea of initialling the report will help them remember what issues need to be addressed in the future if they are not addressed during the negotiation period.

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) over 9 years ago

Jay, I always call my clients a day or 2 after the inspection to see if they have questions about the report...even if they were with me every step of the inspection. I ask specific questions about something that is near the end of the report to see if they got that far! It seems to encourage them to finish reading the report and thankfully, I have yet to receive that "I'm not happy" phone call (knock on real wood). 

Posted by Calvin Cowles (Cowles Home Inspection Services Inc.) over 9 years ago

Jay, Preach my friend.  It seems that you client was a little more interested in the inspection a few months later.  Good that you were able to help her understand better.

Calvin,  That is a good idea.

Posted by Jim Allhiser, Salem, Oregon Home Inspector (Perfection Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Wendy - that is a fabulous idea!  Sometimes clients ask me what things they should ask the sellers to do and I back off by asking what things they heard are important to them.  It really isn't my purview!

Katie - an involved Realtor is very important, I agree!

Peggy - I think about a third of the home inspector's creds involve his/her ability to explain the house's systems and problems and another third the quality of the home inspector's report.  In my opinion the inspection process should be an educational one.  I don't like it when the buyer's are not there.

Calvin - I agree with Jim, that is a great service!  If/when I get that call the report is absolution!

Jim - they are ALL more interested in the inspection a few months later!

 

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

It amazes me that she had you do the inspection (2nd one) and didn't really review it.. Had she done so, would it have been a deal breaker?  or could she have received some concessions?  Possibly.  Keep up the good work..

Posted by Darren Revell (Keller Williams Realty Temecula Valley) over 9 years ago

I don't know Darren.  I am usually not in on that end of it.  She did have pros out to see the various problems, so she found out about them somehow!

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

This sounds like deja vu all over again :)

I have heard similar things from real estate agents after completing my inspections and those same thoughts also occur to me.

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

What do you do Jim?  I try to go with the flow.  Shows how important our reports are!

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

Jay,

I have had agents say that their inspector never popped the cover on the electric panel or never went on a simple roof. You do wonder. I just smile. On occasion, they have used this against me: "Why do you have to take the time to do that, so and so did not."

In that case I tell them it is the law, per the state standards and that I know those since I am on the board. That quiets them down, although they might be thinking daggers.

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

Jay, your story and the comments are soooo true----fortunately not very often:)

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

Steve - I have a special ratcheting screwdriver that gets into panel boxes more quickly!  Fewer complaints.  We do wonder how often agents are thinking daggers though!

Right, Charlie, it isn't very often, but it is true!

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

From the "you can't please all the people all the time" school and sometimes you shouldn't even try...so how is the tongue you bit off...

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

And you can't!  The tongue is fine.  It's all in how you take the comments...

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

I can't believe someone would call to complain about stuff like that without even taking the time to read the report first.

Not that I don't believe it, of course.  It's happened to me too.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 9 years ago

Hello Jay - Sounds to me like you're a great inspector!  I hope you have many more of the first type customer than the second.  Have a great evening.

Posted by Andy Chaudoir, Your Home Inspection Connection in Central Texas (Professional Inspection Services - Georgetown, Texas) over 9 years ago

Reuben - unfortunately, I think, people do not spend a lot of time with the report.  I have also had the complaint from agents that my report forces people to read it in order to understand what is wrong with the house!??  They want me simply to give their clients a list of what the seller should fix.  Like that is all we do...

Andy - thanks, but we all get the second type at one time or another, don't we!

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

Been there done that! I actually was corresponding with a gal I did an inspection for via email and pointing out line by line where I had told her these things in the report. I felt so bad for her because I think she was talked into buying the house anyway that I refunded her money. I figured a guy has to choose his battles. It actually scared me because it had never in hundreds and hundreds of inspections happened before. Normally the response from folks is "I wish we had known about you when we had our first home inspected"

Posted by Mike Gillingham (Eastern Iowa Inspection Services LLC) over 9 years ago

It's always someone else's fault, isn't it Mike?  And who is the most convenient person to blame when something goes wrong with the house!

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

I'm fortunate that I can count on one hand the number of calls like your second one, which probably means that the law of averages is going to catch up with me some day. LOL

Posted by Not a real person over 9 years ago

I agree Russel, I get remarkably few complaints of that sort!  But you-know-what happens - I have seen the bumper sticker...

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

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