What I'm Seeing Now

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"DAMMIT!! That's Not Your Job."

I wasn't there long.  And it began easy enough.

Some clients that I had done a new construction inspection for had been having enough communication problems with their builder that they asked me to go back to check just a few things from my report that were to be fixed.  They weren't confident that it had been done.

The supervisor met me at the door and was very friendly.

The more I did though, the more adversarial he became.

One problem was very erratic air flow from the HVAC ducts on every level, ranging from 25 cubic feet per minute to over 700cfm.

I turned on the systems and began checking every one.  He got more upset with each one.

"Are you going to check every one?"  Yes.
"That's not your job!  Why are you checking every one?" 
Because the buyer is paying me to do so.

It went on like this.

There were three basement circuits.  Two were fine, and one registered <100 volts, too low and unacceptable.

We went back through the routine.  Remembering the problem area, I began checking each wall receptacle. 

"Are you going to check every one?"  Yes.  "That's not your job!"  It is if the buyer asks me to do so.  He only got more upset.

This sort of thing went on.  With more and more things I heard, "That's not your job!"  I stopped answering him.

Then the new tact.  "Because of you I have had people in here from every trade in the book.  We have crawled all over this house!  There is nothing wrong now!  Making me call all those people isn't right.  That's not your job!"

I stood right in front of him and looked him in the face.  "If you did your job buyers wouldn't need to call someone like me.  Fifteen years ago I never did these inspections.  If you had communicated with the clients they would not have me back today.  So, yes, I am very much doing my job.  You should take the hint."  He couldn't look me in the face.

"THIS HOUSE IS PERFECT!  YOU CAN'T FIND ANYTHING WRONG NOW CAN YOU?"  He was nearly yelling, but walking away from me.  Very famous last words...

Nothing?  "NO!"  Nothing at all?  "NO!"  Not one thing?  "NO!"  Not even a safety issue?  "NO!!"  You want to bet?"  "YES, A$$HOLE, I WILL BET MONEY!!  GO AHEAD, YOU FIND SOMETHING!  THIS HOUSE IS TOTALLY SAFE!  THEY COULD MOVE IN RIGHT NOW!"

I merely pointed at the smoke detector over my head.  Not on the report, because they weren't done, the covers need to be removed before the detectors work and things are safe.  I said, "I counted 8 of these.  How many did you count?  You'll need a ladder."  Now I could have lent him my ladder, but that's not my job! 

As I walked out the door, I heard a very exasperated, and fairly high pitched, "DAMMIT!!"

My recommendation:  on new construction, things go much more smoothly, and confidently, when the builder is communicative with the buyer about things.  Regular communication is best.  If that isn't happening, you might want to call the marketing department to inform them that it is making the buyers nervous.  And mention that because of that lack of communication the inspector might be out more than once, because, after all, THAT IS HIS 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 30 commentsJay Markanich • June 29 2011 06:18AM

Comments

Love it just love it

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay-Just because the house is new we shouldn't expected to be flawless, I have found that good builders are more than willing to take care of these deficiencies. Thanks.

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com) over 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay. I have put my hands on the screen of my laptop and I can feel your pain bro...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 7 years ago

James - it got pretty fun toward the end.  He felt personally accused I think, which is not the case.

Adrian - I do a lot of these and have for many years.  It is amazing how many things we can come up with on these and pre-drywall inspections.  The word is out, and buyers are calling!

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

Thanks for the healing touch Michael!  Can you get a little down and to the left?

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

Hi Jay.  That is really funny.  I'm sure it gave you great satisfaction as you left.

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

Doing his job, Debbie, is not my job.  But he had noticed not one of those detectors!

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

Great post, often get asked by buyers why they might need an inspection of new construction and this explains it very well.

Posted by Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) over 7 years ago

I do many of these N&T, and they are always beneficial.  It is amazing sometimes the very unprofessional things I come up with.

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

We all have a job to do, sometimes it may not be pleasant from our perspective, but it could be a lot more tolerable with a better demeanor. As Michael said, I feel he's your pain.

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

Jay, For reasons like this and more, we always recommend a home inspection on new construction.  The buyers don't always take that advice, but it's not because they haven't been advised.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 7 years ago

I love it when people who have no clue what our job is, or how we do it, start telling us how long it should take and what we are allowed to view and say.

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

C'mon, Jay, tell me the truth, the more exasperated the builder gets, don't you just relish your job just a little bit more ;-)

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

Jim - I was obviously HIS pain!  I would have been done much quicker had he not been there!

Bliz - it is unfortunate that we should have to do such inspections, but I am GLAD we do!

Mason - you will get used to this as you get more experienced as a home inspector.  There are many out there who are FAR more knowledgeable about your job than you are.  That's ok - just do it to the best you are able.

Chris - I don't relish having to go back to check on stuff that was supposed to be done.  In this case he was very good about getting it done right!  But, it was VERY fun to be able to walk out with a smile on my face!

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

Jay: Sounds like you kept your cool. You are a very patient man.

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

It's interesting, Anne, how many people know everything, especially what I should and should not be doing!  It is not something that gets me upset.  People don't know what they don't know.

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

Great post Jay. Loved it. The thing is thats the way this guy communicates. He'll yell at his crews, chew out the foremen and subs and even the poor apprentice who should have removed all the plastic etc. from the detectors.

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

People think I make these stories up Robert.  I don't!  He was so full of bluster, you are probably right.  But wrong about one thing - apprentices?  You don't pick up apprentices at 7-11...

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

Jay - You and I understand the real problem and it's twofold.  People have lost their pride in "workmanship" and builders fail to follow up on work done by subcontractors.  You'll have a "job" until you decide to retire.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 7 years ago

Likely John!  Although builders are really trying to make it more difficult for me.  I call "professionalism" the biggest problem with new construction today, and most of that problem because of "7-11 construction."

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

Jay, too bad this fellow doesn't speak fluent Chinese!  And you need a new constuction inspection more than ever today.

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

Yes Pat, agreed!  See today's post!

Did you see/like my little history post the other day about the drummer boy?  I thought you would, being nearby.

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

Jay,

Great post. I have been working on a project for many months now. I have been working with the builder on several issues I have found. Now when I find something they call me and we discuss the issue and come to an understanding of what should be done and why.

My big problem is that I will inspect by the common code that is supposedly been adopted by the area I am inspecting in and the AHJ has their own interpretation of the code. The AHJ has the final say. But I make sure the builder knows why I make my recommendation.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Don - once a builder called me to ask what should be done about an issue I identified.  I simply asked him why he was calling me!  My job is to observe and report.  The local jurisdictional authority determines if what they have done is satisfactory, but even the code is a floor, not a great standard in some instances.

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

Hi Jay, I see this shoddy workmanship on flipped homes. One in particular advertises "better than new"... well, that's what the Buyer is expecting. I see the same super not eager to see me. I figure we're both working for the same client and should both have the same goal, a top quality workmanship better than new home. Instead it turns iinto a weird I've covered up lots of defects you find em' game. very frustrating. jay

Posted by Jay Lloyd, Allpro Home Inspection (Cape Coral Florida) over 7 years ago

Well, Jay, look at my post today about front porch columns!  Talk about shoddy!

It does seem to be a game sometimes, I agree!  I find that the builders are trying to make it harder and harder to do an inspection with their requirements I have to meet before I can get on site.

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

Just the other day my home inspector (you noticed I said "my") was almost in a fist fight with a builder. The builder was steaming mad about what came up in the inspection. You guys have a dangerous job!

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA (Safe Haven Realty) over 7 years ago

Cynthia - if the inspector is correct, what could possibly be the issue for the builder?  Sounds like the arrogant builder never does ANYTHING wrong...

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

Oh boy, if I had someone following me around bitching at everything I was doing, I'd tell 'em that someone needs to leave.  Either they leave me alone or I'm leaving.  

I had a similar situation about five years ago, and I decided after that that I wouldn't let some A-hole follow me around questioning everything I do again.  And I haven't.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

That was their demand to allow me back on site Reuben.  He quieted down when he realized I wouldn't play.  Then at the end he hit me, so I "hit" back!

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

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