What I'm Seeing Now


Blowin' In The Wind

I'm sitting in my car, just finishing an inspection.  I am looking at the roof of the house across the street.  Suddenly a woman exits the house and comes straight for me.  Um, that can be good and that can be bad...

"Hi. I'm willing to pay you to come in and diagnose a problem we experienced with our house last night.  Do you have time now?"  You should know that the night before we had a very windy and very rainy night.

"What was the problem?"

"It was real muggy so we turned our air conditioning on.  As soon as we did we heard banging in the attic and the sound of dripping water.  My husband thinks that since it was the first time we turned on the system it was having to remove a lot of condensation and that is the dripping we heard."

I am looking at the roof pictured to the right.  I know exactly what they were hearing.  The wind had blown off part of the ridge vent, which they heard clapping on the roof.  The dripping was water from the rain pouring through the gap opened when the vent blew up.

I decided to milk it.

As I touched my forehead and closed my eyes, I said:  "And this morning you see some moisture in an upstairs bedroom ceiling and the banging has stopped since your turned off the AC, right?"

"YES!  WOW, HOW CAN YOU TELL ALL THAT?"  At that moment I became MEZkanich the Magnificent Mentalist!  I knew the problems did not result from turning on the AC.  She didn't...

Still touching my forehead I said, slowly and in a somewhat mysterious voice, "Your AC had nothing to do with the problem.  The wind last night blew off part of your ridge vent and that is what you heard.  That is also the source of the water evidence you see this morning."  I opened my eyes and she is looking at me like the grateful Tin Man receiving his heart from Oz!  Then I pointed at her roof and said, "Look!"  And I explained the whole thing.

She turned back to me, smiled big, shook her finger (you need to know that I get the shaken finger a lot...) and said, "You are really bad!  You knew all along!"  Then she turned and walked back to her house!

MEZkanich the Mentalist in that moment morphed back into MARkanich the Miniscule.

"But you said you would pay me if I diagnosed your problem!"  She turned, smiled again, and continued walking.  Sheesh...

My recommendation:  If you are going to offer to pay a home inspector for his advice, geezy whiz, pay him!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 16 commentsJay Markanich • May 04 2010 07:15AM


Advice to a home inspector.  Get the money and then diagnose the problem. 

Or, give the advice and tell the home owner that you're not charging them for a diagnosis that took only seconds. 

Public relations is worth something, if you live long enough.


Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 10 years ago

...back of my hand to my forehead/eyes closed....Let me guess, you have your HOME INSPECTOR name on the side of your vehicle!!!  Did you give her your card?

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 10 years ago


I'd have to agree with Lenn.  Next time tell them that your mouth doesn't open until cash is placed in your hand -- kinda like those street sources in the old mystery and gangster films.

Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago

Jay, looks like you will have to accept the "blog fodder" as payment :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 10 years ago

Jay, she could have at least offered something and given you the opiton to politely decline. It is commendable that you did not take advantage of the opportunity presented.

Posted by Teral McDowell (Referral Patners LLC) over 10 years ago

Exactly which finger was she shaking :) ??

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) over 10 years ago

Jay - I agree with Lenn, collect the money first.  Of course you could have offered to come over and provide a diagnosis at "no charge," and then leave several business cards.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 10 years ago


Being a swami has some benefits that go with the skill.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Lenn - I was playing with the lady!  I never expected, or would have accepted, payment at all!

I do Wallace!  She knew who I was because my car had been there for a couple of hours.  She was obviously waiting for me to leave so she could approach me.

Brian - you mean I don't get a piece of the action?  You know me well enough to know I was playing with her!

I'll take it Charlie.  Wow, I found out this morning I could make a comment on a blog or two.  Wow...

Teral - I think she realized that I was playing with her.  But you are right, some may have taken advantage of her.

The one that usually gets shaken at me Bill!  It's that or a smack on the shoulder.  I get smacked a lot too.

John - I intended to do the diagnosis at no charge!  Heck, I could see it from across the street!

Steve - At times I enjoy being MEZkanich the Magnificent Mentalist!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

We all get to be magnificent one time or another. I hope she was laughing at your prank.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 10 years ago

Glenn - I think after a minute she knew I not only had the right answer but that I was indeed playing with her!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

If you can't have a little fun once in a while this occupation might start to be like a real job :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 10 years ago

Oh man, that would have been priceless.  You need to take a video next time.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 10 years ago

Jim - fer sher.  And we don't want that!

Reuben - and keep the spontaneity!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

Well, to be fair, she didn't say what the payment would be. Evidently it was just a smile.  "A good deed is its own reward"....nice job Jay! :) jay

Posted by Jay Lloyd, Allpro Home Inspection (Cape Coral Florida) over 10 years ago

I know Jay.  I was having fun too.  Even if I had gone into the house I wouldn't have charged her.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 10 years ago

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