What I'm Seeing Now

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A Tale Of Two Furnaces - Great Expectations

It was the best of furnaces.  It was the worst of furnaces.

Now, if I was to truly wax Dickens, this would be a REALLY wordy post (Dickens was paid by the word).

When one is buying new, and buying a $1.5 mil house NEW, one has great expectations.  My clients carefully poured over the sales literature of many builders to see what they were getting for their money.  Then they selected a builder, and for two reasons - house design and stuff.  When the ad says, "Starting in the mid $700's," it means, "You get the normal, builder grade everything, until you upgrade.  We make lots more money when you upgrade, so please do!"  That's the stuff.

UPGRADE SHOULD MEAN UPGRADE!

The sales information for this house said this about the HVAC systems:  "All homes are standard with a Carrier gas furnace on Zone1 and a Carrier heat pump on Zone 2. All HVAC joints are sealed with mastic.  A/C Units: 13 Seer".

Now that is basic.  That screams BUILDER GRADE and minimum code.  Which is fine - unless you are paying $1.5 mil for a "custom" home!

My clients thought they might be in this house a while so they wanted especially to upgrade the HVAC systems.  They are thinking efficiency and savings long term.  That is only smart.  So they did.

How do you rank the energy efficiency of most everything?

By consulting the EnergyGuide chart, which is supposed to be put on every appliance.

It says various things:  model number, model size, energy rank as the appliance compares to all similar units, estimated annual costs, etc.

It is a useful guide.

So my antennas went up when I saw this.

 

 

 

 

Checking energy efficiencies of appliances is not something I typically do on a home inspection.  But in this case I had to find out because the sticker had been INTENTIONALLY removed.

Now, if you are providing an UPGRADED good or service for your client, wouldn't you be proud and anxious to show that client just what they are getting for their trust in your ability to provide that good or service?

This furnace is truly an upgrade!  The standard gas furnace was upgraded to a high-efficiency condensing gas furnace.  By comparison to a standard furnace, these are excellent!  I like them a lot.

But this is a $1.5 mil house!  I wanted to see what the "upgrade" gets them.

So I got the model information for this unit.  I suggested that they, and I, go home and research where this particular model number stacks up against other high-efficiency condensing gas units offered by this manufacturer.  The whole line!

I know what you're thinking!  You are probably right!

THIS UNIT COMES IN NEXT TO LAST IN A LINE UP OF 16 MODELS!

On a scale of 1-7, with 7 as the highest, this manufacturer ranks this unit as 4 of 7 in efficiency and 5 of 7 in noise level.  This is the same ranking the last in the line up comes in.  Four is the lowest number for anything.

We both arrived at the same conclusion.  My client is not impressed.  I don't know what he can do, but he is not impressed.

Is this kind of research the job of the home inspector?  On a pre-drywall inspection, with this kind of house, why not?  I did not throw a wrench into the works - the builder did.

My recommendation:   on new construction it might be wise to investigate what your clients get for their money when they "upgrade" in any way.  While if we were going to do something for ourselves, we might not buy the top of the line, we probably would NOT buy the lowest of the line either.  We would likely buy upper middle or more toward the top.

Doing to and for others the same way we would do to and for ourselves never puts us in a bad light and creates only good feelings.  I would call it brotherly love.

 

 

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 86 commentsJay Markanich • February 10 2011 06:04AM

Comments

Jay, I don't like seeing this on high end properties either. In order to get the work, many contractors bid cheap - this usually involves 13 seer products...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Interesting Jay...and great advice to new home purchasers.  Ask questions and verify everything.

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) over 9 years ago

Michael - well, that meets the minimum legal obligations.  On this house 14 or 15 might be more appropriate, and higher up the scale of product offerings.

Laura - I think that will pay off in the long run, in lots of ways!  And it makes you look really circumspect.

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

Mmmmm.   Seems to me that, if a home inspector is going to "grade" the systems in a property, that home inspector should have been present and provided technical advice when the upgrades were considered.

By now introducing doubt in the efficacy of the system already installed, the home inspection may have gone beyond the scope of a home inspection, which would mean proper installation and functionality (does it work).

If the unit can't be replaced by a higher quality unit, an after the fact comparison of the unit installed with one that COULD HAVE BEEN INSTALLED doesn't seem to serve any purpose.

Unless the unit installed is different from that included in the features for which the buyer paid, what's the purpose?? 

What can the buyer now do??  There are no contingencies in new home inspections. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Lenn - at this point we can't inspect the functionality of anything, just the installation or locations for installation.  To me this ranks with using drywall screws when a better product is available.  As it turns out (this was last week) they were expecting a higher quality product and would not have found out had that sticker not been removed.  I know I would not have given that sticker a second thought had it been whole.  Now is the time to replace it, and apparently it will be.

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

After having sold many new homes, I agree with Lenn, the buyers need to know what they are getting when they write a contract.  By getting a high efficiency gas condensing furnace that was their upgrade....creating doubt when nothing can be done seems counter-productive.

Posted by Navona Hart, Selling the Best Properties in Central Virginia (Real Living Cornerstone) over 9 years ago

Perhaps, Navona, but when I find any deficiencies on a pre-drywall inspection, of which I found many on this house (see my previous three posts), it creates doubt.

And tearing off an Energy Guide sticker creates doubt too.

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

I think that the main point where trust was breached...in addition to using the wrong screws...is when they removed the label from the furnace.  To what end?  There is no need to do it and it just raises doubts in the buyer's mind.  The builder should think about this.  That action caused doubt that will not go away for the rest of the construction process.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 9 years ago

Jay, in these parts if a buyer wants upgrades we specify it clearly down to the item if at all possible.  Should that have happened, we would have (and have had) discussions with the builder and got the problem resolved.  On a few occassions, the builder felt (or acted) as they had paid for the upgrade and got took as well.

 

Posted by Tim and Pam Cash, Real Estate Professionals - Clarksville TN (Crye-Leike (Sango)) over 9 years ago

Jay, removing the sticker was dirty business... that doesn't sit well with me at all. Not one bit... It seems to me to be like a Realtor not disclosing something, but hey, that is just me.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 9 years ago

Then you can clearly say, "My work here is done".

If it can still be replaced with a higher grade, good for the buyers and good for you.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 9 years ago

  How creative...they could have done a better job graphically at making it LOOK like the real sticker...but that would have been tooo efficient.

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

Jay,

Great work! Amazing what some contractors and sellers will do.

Posted by John Durham, MS, MS, ASP, ARS (Durham Executive Group - RE/MAX/Results) over 9 years ago

Jay, top of the line doesn't necessarily mean better efficiency. I wonder if the sticker was removed on purpose.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 9 years ago

Hi Jay, 13 is the norm here. From 50k to 500k it's like the contractors got a special on the units. No matter what it is it's a 13 seer.

Clint McKie

Desert Sun Inspections and Energy Audits

Carlsbad, New Mexico

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay, great catch.  The numbers can be confusing.  Your client is lucky to have you there to explain.  A little ammo for the discussion from the Federal Register:

PART 305—RULE CONCERNING DISCLOSURES REGARDING ENERGY CONSUMPTION AND WATER USE OF CERTAIN HOME APPLIANCES AND OTHER PRODUCTS REQUIRED UNDER THE ENERGY POLICY AND CONSERVATION ACT (“APPLIANCE LABELING RULE”)

305.4 Prohibited acts.

(a) It shall be unlawful and subject to the enforcement penalties of section 333 of the Act, as adjusted for inflation pursuant to §1.98 of this chapter, for each unit of any new covered product to which the part applies:

(2) For any manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or private labeler knowingly to remove or render illegible any marking or label required to be provided with such product by this part.

 

 

Posted by Dale Ganfield over 9 years ago

Hi Jay, when a buyer is purchasing a luxury home, they should expect better HVAC systems. I can't believe the sticker was removed!

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 9 years ago

Jay,

That is a shame in a luxury home.
I find it very common that tract builders gloss over specifications, but in a home such as you describe?  Too bad.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 9 years ago

It is sad to see this.  I recommend to my clients getting the upgrade information before had so you can research what you are buying.

Posted by Keith Lawrence, ABR, SFR (Christie's International) over 9 years ago

Jay,

It always amazes me when people elect to not have a Home Inspection on a new build. The assumption is that the builder has done everything correctly and to the specifications. However, that would be the case (maybe) if the builder actually built it! There are so many sub-contractors and workers involved in almost every build that it is difficult to keep it all on track.

As usual, the Home Inspector will be the "bad guy" when they find something out of the norm (damaged label).

Posted by Hank Richter (HomePro Inspections of RI) over 9 years ago

One more example of why it's a good idea to have a home inspection EVEN for new construction homes.  Good find, Jay!

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Jay

Two things I see right away.

1.  You are giving the builder way to much credit to think to remove only the part of the label that has the information on it that is important.

2.  The label looks like it was installed across two panel on the furnace cover.  If I am looking at the picture correctly, the label would have had to be removed during installation for access.

What does upgrade mean?  From 13 seer to 14 seer is an upgrade.  A cheap almost not worth it upgrade. But an upgrade.

I agree with you on builders cheaping out, but sometimes it is not their direct fault.  They rely on the HVAC contractor to do the right thing, and find out they dont.

At 1.5 mil that home should have had at a minimum 16.5 seer American Standard with Electrostatic Air Cleaners and 95+ 2 speed furnaces.  That should have been standard equipment.

No biggy, they will take these units out, replace them, and put these on the next house.  No loss, just some labor.

Lee

Posted by Lee Floyd (Race City Inspections Inc) over 9 years ago

Jay, Running late and too late to get the Called Shot :)  A screaming shame to see the shortcut taken on an upgrade.  For $1.5 million than shouldn't even be a question to have to think about!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 9 years ago

Now that is interesting.  If they had the sticker there they were better off leaving it there.  It leaves people to wonder not only about the furnace but the whole house mechanics at that point.

Posted by Stanley Stepak, Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake, (Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH) over 9 years ago

Jay...

I loved your title and energy efficviency is the biggest money saver in the long run!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 9 years ago

Jay, 

Every day I feel like a detective.  Thanks for sharing the codes.  I wouldn't have guessed a four was so low.  Although, not surprised that the builder really didn't provide an UPGRADE.   Funny, how they tried to hide the data by taking the sticker, which is fact makes one more suspicious than if they'd left it on.

I sold a $1.7 Million dollar home a few years back that was 25 years old.  The first thing my buyers changed out were all three HVAC systems.  They had previoulsy been in the trucking business and were very into preventative maintenance.  

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, Interesting about the sticker. By trying to hide something it was actually revealed. You served your clients well. Great job!

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist, Probate Real Estate (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 9 years ago

Jay,

I came across a situation in which a brand new furnace was actually 6 years old when it was installed.

Naturally, it looked new, it was right out of the box. But, it had been sitting in the box for 6 years. The builder got a deal.

It had a 10 year warranty. When the homeowner went to enforce the warranty, that's when they found out, that the warranty had expired several years earlier.

So, it's best to check all these things out carefully as you say.

Brian

Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 9 years ago

Jay,

I work with a custom builder that won't offer upgrade options on equipment because he already installs the best equipment possible for the price range.  Sometimes he loses customers to lower biders if the clients don't take the time to go through the plans and contract one item at a time.

All change orders are in writing with the model numbers included.  There is no overhead and profit added to the change order either.  That way there is never an argument about change orders.

Posted by Loren Green, Phoenix Home Inspector & Designer (Greens Home Design L.L.C.) over 9 years ago

It makes me wonder what the rest of the construction is like. Great job. The buyers definitely made the right choice in selecting you as the home inspector.

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) over 9 years ago

Jay - I guess the question is: What did the buyer expect from the inspection?  Were they asking for an examination of equipment to determine if it met their contract stipulations?  If not, I'd be careful criticizing equipment if it is "standard" for the builder to use. 

I do understand your point, but the key for the buyer is to spell out all in detail all construction specifications; if they do not, they're at the mercy of the builder who can use whatever he pleases.

Good to know that the builder may be willing to upgrade; at that price range, it should be expected.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

Jay, like you say---if the sticker had not been removed you might have not been any the wiser.  But it is like anything that jumps out at you---once it does how are you not going to whack it?  That said, I think "generally speaking" the inspector is there to see if the thing "functions as designed."  Due diligence as to whether the consumer is getting what they paid for is the consumer's responsibility.  Of course in new construction those lines get blurred a little.

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

Well, I' ll be darn! Sticker removed, I would not think of questioning the "Upgrade". Trust comes so easy! I guess it should be earned and then some! Thank you! Another great blog!

Posted by Lydie Ouellet Dickinson, Realtor (Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA) over 9 years ago

Great information...it is sad that EVERYTHING is an upgrade when you're building your house!

Posted by Winter Baserva, Realtor -Homes For Sale, Atlanta, GA (Seasons Realty Group of PalmerHouse Properties) over 9 years ago

Great job...I'm glad there are pros out there like you looking our for our clients...

Posted by Cory Barbee, Broker (760) 563-4022 over 9 years ago

More importantly, FEDREAL LAW prohibits removal of this sticker by anyone except the consumer!

Posted by Larry Costa, Realtor, MA Real Estate (Century 21 Classic Gold, Carver MA) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay -- I have seen some builders purchase contracts be so vague when it comes to specific items that the consumer has no idea what their money is buying them. For such a large purchase, this is totally unacceptable.  I was once in these shoes as a potential buyer of small, custom home builder and when we couldn't get any specifics, we ended it.  We went and knocked on other neighbors doors by the same builder and asked them: What did you think? Did you get what you paid for?  It was amazing how forthcoming these neighbors were with their dissatisfaction with the materials and product selections.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 9 years ago

Jay you were very observant.  Buyers and their agents need to be very proactive when buying new construction and making upgrades.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 9 years ago

Jay, great information. However, researching the quality and scope of an "upgrade" should have fallen to the buyers representative, I would have thought. I'm glad you were watching out for your customer. Not sure you should have ahd to. Love the post!

Posted by Chris and Berna Sloan, Tooele UT (Group 1 Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Jay, thanks for the informative blog. I will certainly be on the lookout for labels (or lack thereof) on new equipment. It doesn't hurt to ask about efficiency information prior to making an offer. In this economy, sellers may cut corners.

Posted by Millie C. Legenhausen, CRS, GRI, CIPS, MBA, Realtor (Calcagni Real Estate, Hamden, Connecticut) over 9 years ago

I think thats quite the tale. The worst of furnaces, the least of furnaces, why it's enough to scare the dickens out of you!.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 9 years ago

Jay-

The best of the best always go above and beyond what is expected of them.  Clearly, you fit this criteria.  Their agent (if they have one) should also be involved in this "energy efficiency upgrade research" and suggest to the client to purchase the property without the furnace/heat pump and ask the developer for an appropriate discount as a result, then they should just go out and purchase an upgraded system of their own choosing.

There are still so many businesses out there trying to scam unsuspecting buyers instead of just providing an honest product/service at an honest price.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

Great sleuthing. I am sure your clients were really pleased that you took the extra effort to make sure they were truly getting the home that they wanted and deserved.

Posted by Ilyce Glink, Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host. (Think Glink Media) over 9 years ago

Jay - I had an out of state buyer get extremely upset with me recently when he started telling me that the inspection report he was reading said he needed a new furnace in his soon to be condo in Clearwater and I informed him that we don't have furnaces down here! He did not want to believe me.

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 9 years ago

Thank you to everybody for your comments!  When I left this morning I was thinking the comments were taking a tack I had not anticipated.  I hinted to Lenn (which she caught) that all's well that ends well.  And in this case it did!  I will answer your comments later today.

All day I thought I was going to be ripped a new one.  Glad to see that did not happen!

I did not want this post to be about me or anything regarding my "wondrous" inspection, so I did not mention the outcome.  I was trying to teach a principle about understanding before hand what it means when you are expecting something.

Again, as Charlie B. said - I would NOT have noticed anything had the sticker been in place!  Removing it was the thing that set me off.  It's a good thing I noticed it.  And again, Charlie is right.  I entered the Home Inspector Bluuuurrry Zone...  Our SOP's say nothing about commenting on appliance efficiencies, and there are no SOP's as regards pre-drywall inspections that I know of.

Overall, I am a good boy, but in a lot of ways a little dickens...

 

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

Jay, I agree with you, that by ripping the sticker off, the builder definitely created mistrust in the buyers' minds.  I'm glad to see you do "pre-drywall" inspections.  Most inspectors in my area don't do them, even for new construction in rural subdivisions outside of the jurisdiction of any city inspections and city building codes, where there's a clear opportunity for just this type of hijinx.  That's a missed need that you're obviously filling - good on ya!  I wish more inspectors were willing to do them.  I recommend a professional home inspection to my clients for EVERY purchase, even custom builds.

Posted by Virginia Madden (Virginia Madden, Buyer's Choice Realty, LLC (Prattville, AL)) over 9 years ago

Kathryn - there were about 10 things regarding this property that needed to be brought to the supervisor's attention.  That'll cause some doubt!  But, c'mon, why remove the label?

Tim and Pam - that's because you work with your buyers!  These folks are flying solo because "we have bought many houses before."

Agreed Andrea.  It shouldn't have been removed.  I probably wouldn't have noticed otherwise!

This was last week, as I said Lenn.  And my clients are very happy now.  Was I out of line?  No.  Did I push the envelope?  Yes!  But it worked out.

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

S&D - just leave the little fellow alone!  It was mostly hidden anyway!

John - this was an apparent "mistake" that was fixed in the end.

Michael - the condensing gas furnaces are really efficient, but this one was the low end of the product line.  The clients had expected something better, and the house ain't cheap!

Clint - 13 SEER is the minimum code but that wasn't the problem.  They were expecting a unit a bit higher up the product scale.

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

Thanks Dale.  I explained that too them, but didn't have the link with me at the time!  My problem wasn't that they broke the rule!  It was that they seemed to be a bit nefarious!

Jackie - and removing it was their downfall!

Mike - this is the last of a special neighborhood of only five homes.  Not quite a tract home, but not quite a custom either.

Keith - would that you were there!  They don't have a realtor for this transaction...

 

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

Hank - in the end the home inspector here turned out to be a really good guy, at least from the buyer's point of view!

Margaret - I think it's essential, and not because I am in the business.

Lee - that sticker is on the side of the unit where the exterior air intake enters the unit.  Going from a standard furnace to a condensing one is an upgrade, but not so much when you put in the low end of the product line!

Bliz - which is why they bought such a house in the first place!  They counted on top quality everywhere.

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

Stan - this was one of about 10 problem things with the house.  See my last three posts for a couple of others.

Richard - that is the buyer's thinking too, which is why they went with the upgrade.

Michelle - that was a smart move on their part.  And removing the sticker was the most suspicious thing in this tale!

Thank you Kathleen.  You seem to be with the consensus here!  I thought it was the right thing to do.

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

Brian - that happened to me on an inspection with Pat Kennedy.  A "new" furnace that wasn't new at all!  One really needs to investigate everything!

That is a smart guy Loren, who sounds like he understands The Golden Rule.

Sarah - you can get a hint by reading my last three posts, which all go together.

John - the "standard" furnace was never installed.  The "upgrade" was already decided on and I think they took the sticker off because it was a lesser-efficient unit.  I certainly did not criticize anything, but did point out the unit's position in the product line up.

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

Charlie - had they not done that I probably wouldn't have noticed!  But you are right, it's hard not to think about a pink elephant when someone mentions one.  I may have gotten a bit blurry, but in the end it turns out that my client is very happy with the end result!

Thanks Lydie!  A sticker, a sticker, my kingdom for a sticker!

Winter - that is pretty much what the "prices beginning in..." means on the sign out front!  All the rest is upgrade!

Thanks Cory.  There are a lot of great home inspectors out there.

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

For sure Larry.  Kind of like the old mattress stickers!  I think the cops are around the corner because I ripped the one off my mattress!

You are right.  It should not be removed!  They make that evident.

Chris O. - it really pays to be circumspect in the beginning of the process.

Jennifer - and at the beginning of the process is the most important time!

Chris S. - these folks acted as their own representatives!  That may be a part of the problem here!

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

Millie - every appliance is supposed to have one!

Robert - and I surely made a dickens of myself during this process...

Anthony - the scammers and predators will always be out there.  All of us need advocates at one time or another.

Ilyce - in the end they were very pleased with the results!

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

That's what happens when you change climates Barbara-Jo!  People bring their past with them.

Virginia - I think they are essential.  There are no classes that I know of teaching how to do them.  You just got to get out there and do them!  On the job training!

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

I agree, if that sticker hadn't  been removed, I wouldn't have given it a second thought.

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

How nice it is that you had such consciensious buyers who did their homework. I can't imagine a "basic" furnace in a $1.5 million house! Of course, we once bought a higher end house with basic oven, stove and dishwasher, figuring we'd upgrade when we wanted. We moved before that happened.

Gretchen

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Thanks for the great post.  Good infomation to know

Posted by Brenda, Ron, Lee Cunningham & Tara Keator, Realtors, Homes for Sale - Phoenix Metro (West USA Realty) over 9 years ago

Reuben - when you put an obvious elephant in the room, it is hard to miss.  The sticker was on the outside of the unit, right as you walk up, and the water heater was not installed yet, so as I was looking at the PVC connection I noticed the missing sticker!

Gretchen - sometimes it pays to buy the basic thing and then upgrade yourself later - kitchen appliances, carpeting and such.  But not furnaces!  When you upgrade you really make the builder's day!

Brenda and Ron - I am happy you enjoyed it and extend the invitation to stop by again!

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

Yes, this is quite sad.  You were right to be suspicious when the label was ripped off...just like the customer was. Congrats on the feature.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

Grathiath Debbie.  And in the end my voodoo worked and my clients are very, very happy.

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

Great post Jay !  I once listed a home, much smaller of course and certainly not in the 1 mill price range, that was heated by 2 gas firplaces. Although they did a more than adequate job of heating the home, no one would buy the property because there was no conventional type furnace in basement. HVAC is definitely one area where it pays to not only do your due diligence but also as you stated buy the best that you can afford.

Posted by Tim Woodcock (ReMax Centre City Realty Inc.) over 9 years ago

One can never let our guard down . . . it's always Buyer-Beware! And it's such a shame. You're the hero in my eyes.

Posted by Kristina Heili, Comprehensive Real Estate Services (Keller Williams Premier Realty) over 9 years ago

Tim - some gas fireplaces are very efficient (I have an efficient one), but it's interesting that people are freaked because there is no furnace!

Kristina - wow, thank you!  I think all buyers need to beware!

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

My husband retired from custom home building a few years ago and reduced my work load a lot. It used to be my job to type those bids - which included brand, model number, etc. for everything from the faucets to the furnace. Our subcontractors bid with those specifications and had to supply what was in the contract.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 9 years ago

I have learned similiar lessons buying a car.  Be very specific and get everything in writing.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Great post! We have to always be aware and guard our clients! Great detective work!

Posted by Susie Johannes, SFR (Keller Williams Arizona Living Realty) over 9 years ago

Marte - that is the smart way of doing business.  Their contract apparently included the wording that they sent me, which I posted.  No model number, etc...

Gene - again, that is the smart way of doing business!  It doesn't matter if it's a TV, car or house.

Susie - it was just noticing what was only partially there!  The sticker shouldn't have been removed, and all probably would have been well.

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

Jay - Great information! Most people probably think when they pay for an 'upgrade' they are getting their money's worth. But just like 'upgrades' on some electronics, it doesn't always turn out the way you thought it would.

I plan to tweet/fb your post via the SentriLock accounts this weekend!

-Laura Kreuter

Posted by SentriLock Blogger (SentriLock, LLC) over 9 years ago

Thanks Laura for the compliment and the tweet.  I had a few parakeets growing up and I liked it when they tweeted too.

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

Wow, unbelieveable.  Way to look out for your clients.

Posted by Diana Mehnert (Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette) over 9 years ago

Mr Jay,

Personally, I wouldn't have given the furnace another look, torn sticker or not. Frankly, right now, I am too upset about Barbara Duncan making me wear this stupid strawberry shortcake outfit to give a darn about furnaces. This outfit just does not make me feel manly.

Nutsy

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

Thank you Diana!  We try, we really try...

Nutsy - and you don't look manly, actually with or without that outfit.  I simply could not ask you to fly me and the boys to visit Mr. Q while wearing that, so we decided to go canoeing.

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

I was just showing some 800K plus foreclosures where the builder pulled out & didn't finish so the houses were is disarray, half finished etc.  There were many furnaces, radiant heat pumps, stuff so complicated I had no idea what it was. It was just sitting there not being used & I can assure you these were 'upgraded'. I guess you should do your due diligence with the builder so you find out exactly what you get.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 9 years ago

Jay, it seems this is more of a case of "love thy brother's money" instead of brotherly love.

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) over 9 years ago

Lyn - around here those houses would have been broken into and all that stuff stolen!  That's a tragic waste of what was to be a nice house.

Jeremy - the love of money does rule the world!  There's nothing wrong with or with having money - it's the covet aspect that causes problems!  And certainly that coveting exceeds the desire to love one another!

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

I agree, Jay.  Too many times the love for money is the strongest factor in decision making.

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) over 9 years ago

Nothing precludes a home inspector from providing any type of information relative to the home in the scope of inspection work. Standards of practice are minimums like building codes. As you state the customer desired and paid for a home that went above and beyond those minimum standards. So the inspection should go above and beyond the minimums as well. In my opinion the home inspection should always exceeded the minimum, but that's just me.

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

Jay,

I think you are being a bit hard on my assistant as far as his normally manly looks.

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

Great post! Not many agents would go into so much detail on a new build, and that is what makes you a great agent! Good looking out for your clients!

Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) over 9 years ago

Jeremy - methinks thou art correct!

Jim - for sure!  And there is no SOP for a pre-drywall inspection, that I know of.  But am I bound to stay within the SOP?  Nope!  Thanks for your support.

Steve - he never looks manly!  At best he looks squirrely.  But in that outfit he is frightening!  One is more inclined to read a book because of its cover, not in spite of it!

Sylvie - thank you very much.  But I am an agent in a home inspector's clothing!

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

Jay, too bad for your clients.  I hope they can get it resolved with the builder.  Thanks for the heads up!

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 9 years ago

It already has been DeeDee!  Let's just say they are very happy.

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

Nice catch Jay. Removing the sticker hints at hiding something.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 9 years ago

Wayne - it is not supposed to be removed under any circumstances, but this smacked of hiding things!

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

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