What I'm Seeing Now

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I Speak Chinese

It must be true.  I speak Chinese.

Why do I say that?  Because when I speak perfect English, and even write it down for all to see, people don't seem to understand me. 

My conclusion is that I speak Chinese.

This has happened twice in two weeks.  Seldom am I called by a client to return to a house after a home inspection to review how well repairs are made.  But when I am it is always an adventure!  Often the repairs have been done poorly or not at all. 

I returned this morning to a house Cindy Jones had referred me to inspect last month.

Both fireplaces had creosote that needed to be cleaned out.

Both fireplaces and flues had cracking and the fireplaces mortar joint deterioration.

Both fireplaces needed professional attention.

My report reflected all that clearly.  Or so I thought!

The Chinese in the report, when translated into English, was evident in the receipt provided by the "professional" chimney sweep.  He removed the caulking found on the chimney cap and sealed the cracks up there with mortar.

HE ALSO REPORTED BOTH FIREPLACES TO HAVE BEEN INSPECTED AND FREE FROM ANY ISSUES.

This is one photo of one spot in one of the fireplaces.

In addition, there was cracking and creosote still present in both flues, and never swept out.

My conclusion is that I speak Chinese.

Another problem in the house was a green fuzz "all over the roof sheathing, particularly in the rear of the house."   That is a portion of my report.

A mold remediation company was called and, we were told, spent two hours in the attic space.  They found mold in a couple of spots on the roof trusses, which were sanded and sprayed with chemicals.

The contractor overseeing the work said they saw nothing else.  He even called me that day and I explained to him where the fuzz was located.  This morning he said they saw nothing else that day, just those few areas.

While we were there I took him to my ladder, gave him my flashlight, explained how to shine the flashlight on the sheathing to see the green fuzz.

He climbed up, looked around and said nothing.

Coming into the kitchen he informed everyone there that he saw nothing on the roof trusses or hurricane straps.

Exasperated, I looked at Cindy and said, "What is it about the word sheathing that is so hard to understand!?"  To that the contractor said, "I know what sheathing is!", but said he only looked at the trusses and hurricane straps and did not look at the sheathing while up there.

My conclusion is that I speak Chinese.

While not the best picture, a green tinge on the sheathing is visible in the photo above, and is present all over the rear roof.  I even wiped my hand in it! *

The mold remediation company mentioned nothing about it.  Hence the buyers' continued concerns.  What is the stuff anyway?

So, in the interest of fairness and better understanding, I have decided to modernize my Chinese.

I am going from the Traditional to the newer Simplified Chinese.

It is described here.

That should clear things up!

再见 - that means GOODBYE! 

 

Since then I have had a sore throat, runny nose, headache, a touch of whiplash, I've fallen and can't get up and my hand has melted.  Just another day on the job...

 

 

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 29 commentsJay Markanich • June 22 2011 03:03PM

Comments

What an enjoyable post to read!  Must suggest and look forward to reading more!  Go get em or in pig latin: "ogay etgay emway", which maybe you should you use to write you next report 

Posted by Laura Sargent (Carolina One Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Many vendors and contractors do not believe anyone will check their work. The pre-closing inspection is a little late. Good call by the buyer or realtor. 

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 7 years ago

Thank you Laura!  My Pig Latin was pretty good when I was a kid!  Maybe people would be more able to understand me with that language also!?

Anne - you can contact Cindy Jones about that!  It was her call, and/or the buyers!  It is interesting that I had two of these inside of two weeks and both had the same problems - fireplace and flues with problems and "cleaning" had been done.  Well, in neither case was it!  Interesting...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I know the feeling! I did a reinspect a few months back. Lets just say;

I must speak Chinese.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

This is a weird trend Jim.  How can a contractor not understand what I am asking him to do and then say he looked at something different?

Another funny thing - this house is 31 years old so the liklihood that there are hurricane straps is really minimal.  And you couldn't see them anyway from the second rung of a ladder while peering into the attic.  What was he looking at and CALLING hurricane straps?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay - You must be speaking the wrong dialect of Chinese.  Perhaps you were speaking Cantonese and the repair people only understood Mandarin or another dialect.

Posted by FN LN over 7 years ago

Jay,

Enjoyed your courteous rant. Maybe the next business tool you invest in should be a stack of Day-Glow Post-a-Notes preprinted with "FIX THIS" and placed on the infraction.

Posted by Brad Rachielles, REALTOR, CDPE, Upland, CA (CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453) over 7 years ago

Oh cool, a bi-lingual home inspector! Add that to your arsenal of skills Jay.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 7 years ago

That has to be it Marc.  Certainly my Spanish wouldn't impress them... that would be too easy to translate.

When they do walk throughs on new construction Brad, my clients put little pieces of blue tape in places needing attention!  I have a roll of blue tape with me.  Actually I just observe and report - I don't tell people what to do. 

I do speak Spanish very well Tom, but my Chinese is seriously lacking!  If it can't be translated to English, that is lacking, for sure.  Do you know what sheathing is?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

My conclusion is that there are lots of fools out there. We refer to others and, often, those who end up getting the referrals are totally unqualified to be doing what they are doing. I once had a roof with rotting and soft comp shingles blowing off all over, multi-layer, and the roofer told the people it was good for 8 to 10 years. Oh well, I did what I had to do and they can call him when more shingles are in the yard than on the roof. I hat re-inspects. 8 times out of ten nothing was done or an amateur made it worse.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 7 years ago

That wasn't the contractor you were speaking to, though it was likely one of his employees. Most of us have fence posts smarter than that.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 7 years ago

Mason - you are developing well!  I am impressed!  You are right of course.  I don't do a lot of these, only a few a year, but they are all adventures.  The world is full of air heads, methinks.

Robert - no it was him!  And, interestingly, there were about 15 fence posts he was supposed to take care of and had not.  When reminded, he said he was going to do it just that afternoon!  Amazing that it had always been scheduled thus!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay this is a truly worthy rant.  The last time I heard about a man wanting to learn chinese (for any reason other than wanting to do business with the chinese people), it was an 86 year old math scientist who wanted to "stretch" his brain...  however, I do not think he used software  to do it ;-)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 7 years ago

Chris - I just wish people understood my English!  Apparently not.  Maybe I should use my Quechua on them...  yanga shimita parlanimah.

That means, I speak Indian word.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Gosh, Jay, I hope the remediation company was not ServePro -- they tout themselves as mold remediation experts in Northern Virginia, yet seem to have a very difficult time recognizing mold and/or the standard for remediation . . .  at least that was my experience.  Guessing you're correct -- I must have been speaking Pig Latin!

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) about 7 years ago

Tish - proper mold remediation requires special training and certification.  Ask for that when you hire somebody, not a "national" name.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Hey, Jay!  I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 7 years ago

LOL on this.  I wonder if I should add the chinese to my contracts since people don't always seem to read them.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 7 years ago

Jay

What an entertaining post to communicate a pretty serious chain of events.  It certainly gives one pause, doesn't it?

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) about 7 years ago

Hi Jay,  I feel your pain.  On a recent contract I included the following language: " All furniture, furnishings and appliances are included in sale except the five items identified by the seller in the listing agreement."  Shortly before closing the seller indicated they would be removing everything on the next day !  I referred them to the contract language and responded that they weren't sure what it meant !   Maybe I should have written it in Chinese !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) about 7 years ago

Thank you Pat!  I remember returning to YOUR house for a reinspection to find that the contractor, who met me at the door, had done NOTHING on the addendum.  Hmmm....  Maybe YOU spoke Chinese on the addendum!

Debbie - surely this cannot hurt you.  I'd go with the simplified version first.

It gave my clients pause Jeff!  They were very concerned, not only about the fireplaces (not cheap to fix) but the potential for mold in the attic never even tested!

Well, Bill, you can begin with my chart up there in the post.  I hope it helps!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay:

It is amazing that homeowners don't realize that a good property inspection is very thorough.  Good inspectors don't miss the little stuff, like you they are trying to do a good job.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) about 7 years ago

That's all true Evelyn, but when a specific word is used over and over and apparently misunderstood over and over it is disconcerting!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay, 

I love that you did the follow up inspection, as folks try to skip doing the basics and pass it off as "Complete".  NOT.  You don't speak Chinese, a number of folks just try to see what they can get away with as cheaply as possible or vendors just lie to their clients. 

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) about 7 years ago

Michelle - and press their deception again and again?  Do they think people aren't listening?  I was dumbfounded and could not believe what I was hearing!  I look now and it was pretty funny, except that the mold is still up there, if it is mold!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay ~ I had to stop by (refered by Pat Kennedy) and see for myself on your new language!  You certainly seem to be speaking Chinese!

Posted by Dawn A Fabiszak, The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience! (Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado) about 7 years ago

I have always thought my English to be pretty good Dawn, but obviously my Chinese is great!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

A lot of us realtors speak Chinese also.  Funny story, until I realize how true it is,

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) about 7 years ago

Glad you enjoyed it Claude!  Sometimes I think it is the case.  Especially at home...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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