What I'm Seeing Now

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I Just Want To Apologize

Before we began an inspection the other day, the Realtor, whom I had not seen in some time, said, "Jay, I just want to apologize.  The last time we had an inspection you had some things to say about Chinese Drywall.  As I listened I thought you were crazy, that nobody would do that, and that you were a China bigot.  I was so upset with you that I could not recommend you to anyone for an inspection. Then lately I have been hearing the news and Chinese Drywall is a big problem!  You were right, and maybe even a little polite about it.  I am sorry and I am glad to refer you again."

I was shocked!  Those Chinese Drywall comments were made about a year and a half ago.  Then he said something that really buoyed me, "I will never doubt you again!"  Kinda made my day!

Well, I'm not a bigot, but if I am bigoted about anything*, it is about schmuck work.  It doesn't matter to me who produces something that is dangerous or bad.  It needs to be brought to the fore.

I realize that the consumer product markets have been exposed to and gone through some bad products.  That includes various building products:

Louisiana Pacific siding, bad FRT plywood, polybutylene plumbing, UFFI formaldehyde, aluminum wiring, asbestos, EIFS... just to name a few.  There have been many.  And we have gotten past them, or are getting through them.

Why?  Because there has been a recourse and a way to address the problems.  There has always been redress.

But this product is different.  There is no recourse.  At least to date.

And if your house has this stuff it is ruined.  Not only your house, but everything in it.  Everything that has copper or silver components - AC coils, electrical devices and all electrical wiring, fixtures, smoke detectors, security systems, plumbing, accessories - corrodes or is otherwise destroyed by the toxic air.  Even insulation, carpeting, furniture and clothing which cannot get rid of the sulfur smell needs removal.

And where can you go for recourse?  The consumer has always been able to go to the source.  But the source in this case is China.  What can the consumer do?  Take China to court?  Good luck with that...

In addition to problems with components and materials, there are immediate, and for some people severe, health problems.  They go away when removed from contact or breathing the sulfurous air, but for some health problems have lingered. **

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only real recourse for homeowners affected by this drywall is to TAKE CARE OF IT THEMSELVES BY REMOVING IT AND ANYTHING DAMAGED BY IT.  They will have to test for it (there are testing services springing up) and if found, get rid of it.  All of it and everything affected by it.

That is easy for me to say - I am not affected.  I think a homeowner is looking at tens of thousands of dollars.  But what else can they do?  Wait for the government?  It isn't the government's responsibility.  File an insurance claim?  It isn't the insurance company's responsibility.  Go after the builder?  It isn't the builder's fault either. 

The fault belongs to the manufacturer.  Period.  And I don't think any homeowner will get very far with China.

My recommendation:  This might not seem like a problem that affects a large percentage of homes.  But it is a very, very big deal for anyone that has found this drywall in their home.  They can live in the home, they can't sell it and they can't rent it out.  Their only recourse is to remove it.  That, for most of us, would be a big deal.

* My kids accuse me of being a rock and roll bigot.  I think rock and roll died about 1980, but that is just me...

** In addition to respiratory and eye problems, victims report insomnia and urinary infections. The long-term medical effects are unknown.

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 25 commentsJay Markanich • May 18 2010 06:55AM

Comments

Good for you....the OLDER I get, the more CANDID I become with clients and would-be clients!  My "seasoned" wisdom is what they asked for....some people just can't "handle the truth"....The Chinese have been putting LEAD in our kids' toys so why wouldn't their drywall be defective and dangerous?

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

Wallace - see the CPSC recalls and they are doing far more than that!  And, in my opinion, intentionally so.  There are whole countries that have banned the importation of Chinese products.  They are on to something!

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

Rock 'n roll is alive and well...just ask my mini memory....and it would be great to have testing for this component....haven't heard of much of it here...who used or sold it....but for sure, when we do, it will spread like wild fire and some enterprising shark attorney will promise a zillion dollar settlement and years later....the promise will be stuck in court...

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 10 years ago

Problems with cars, problems with houses, problems with oil leak, problems with the way we are doing business...

At the end we all pay the price.

Posted by Joshua Zargari, MJ Decorators Workshop (MJ Decorators Workshop LI staging and home decorating) over 10 years ago

S&D - RandR is alive and well, on the oldies stations!  You are probably right about the big settlements.  One was just settled in court in VA and the 6 homeowners were awarded $2.6 million.  Good luck getting that check...

Joshua - I love the smell of a little fatalism in the morning!

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

Hi Jay, when I first started to hear about Chinese drywall, I just shook my head and thought, "what a shock" NOT. Sounds like building materials terrorism. And I thought lead in toys and everything else from there was bad enough.

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 10 years ago

Chinese drywall is one hot potato.  Selling agents and buyers need to run like hell from a home with this product.

Posted by Glen Fisher (National Property Inspections of Southern New Jersey, LLC) over 10 years ago

Wow, that's some great information!  Thank you for sharing it.  I will have to ensure that first, I don't have this stuff and then any of my potential clients!

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) over 10 years ago

Jackie - if you look at the CPSC recalls, the Chinese have garnered a huge percentage of them, like way over 90%.  There is a reason for that.  These are not incompetent people, so that can't be the reason for so much dangerous stuff...

Glen - good advice!  Have you found any up there?

Brenda - this is my 6th blog on Chinese Drywall.  You should check the others!

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

Jay this is a problem that has shown up in my county.  My heart goes out to those folks who have to deal with this horrible problem.

Posted by Diane Williams over 10 years ago

Diane - it isn't something they can just slough off, that is for sure.

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

Jay,

I had a lady, the other day, buying a 15 year old manufactured home and she asked if it had that darn Chinese drywall.

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

That's what happens when people hear things on the news, but not the context and don't try to find out the entire story Steve.  When has that been different?  Has it been found in WA yet?

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

Jay -

I do find the builders to be at least partially responsible - "Buy American" isn't a new term.  What did they save - 50 cents a board?

Posted by Brant Jessel (Remax Traditions) over 10 years ago

Brant - the problems, which had never been experienced before, did not come to a head for years.  And this was a product investigated for 60 days (by the gubment) before it was allowed on shore.  It was purchased not to save money but to satisfy demand.  Our manufacturers were working 24/7 and could not keep up with the demand.  Would you hold the builders responsible for using PB, when it was deemed okay?  Or lead paint which was used and approved for over 100 years?  Manufacturers of bad products have always been held responsible for their products, until this...

BUT!  I agree - BUY AMERICAN!

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

Great post Jay, and the pictures are very telling.  By the way, your right, R and R died about 1980.  Maybe even just a little before that.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 10 years ago

Jack - I actually say to them 1978, but they like round numbers...  some of the pictures of the damage caused by this stuff are amazing!

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

I have said before, the US does have leverage here... if the government had guts.  They could withhold the settlement from payments due to China...  Of course, I don't see this administration having that kind of guts. 

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 10 years ago

Lane - the American consumer is 1/5 the Chinese economy.  That to me seems like a lot of leverage!  You are right about the lack of guts, or desire...

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

This is insidious.  The drywall is poisonous and there was no protection for the American consumer.  Then, to add another nail in the coffin of the American economy, there is no justice.  Redress for the Louisiana Pacific siding, bad FRT plywood, polybutylene plumbing, UFFI formaldehyde, aluminum wiring, asbestos, EIFS, etc. matters were settled by expensive litigation.  Sadly, there is no redress for this poisonous product. 

No one in government even makes a showing of protecting the American consumer. 

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

They don't want to "offend" China, Lenn!

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

Jay,

Great post as always, and thanks. How long has it taken to see the effects in your photos?

all the best...

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

Bill - they begin showing up after two years or so.  Maybe sooner in extremely humid climates.  One story I read had someone losing their AC on a new house after only three years use.  It was corroded, obviously, but the HVAC company did not know why (Chinese drywall had not hit the news).  They replaced everything with new, but it failed again in a couple of years.  At that point the homeowners knew they had Chinese drywall.

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

Rock 'n' roll is still alive, but you have to seek it out on your own now because the recording companies are too busy throwing rap and hip hop at us. LOL

Posted by Not a real person over 10 years ago

For sure Russel, which music I personally detest.  But even the rock and roll is not very good.

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

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