What I'm Seeing Now

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HA! Builder Tricks Foiled Again!

Pretty familiar call.  It's 4:40 or so and I'm on my way to my last appointment.  "Jay, our builder called just now and tomorrow is the final walk through on my new condo.  The sales lady says she is sorry but if I want a home inspection we need to have it before the walk through at 10am!  My Realtor said to call you."

I laughed, as I always do, because this is so consistent.  This aspect of new construction inspection is not a trend, it is the NEW NORMAL.   But, fortunately, I had a cancellation the next morning and was available!

"Do they want any paperwork from me that I have to email to them tonight?"

"She didn't mention any.  It's Mumbo Jumbo Builders (not their real name)."

"HA!  Okay, we'll see you tomorrow.  I'll get there a little early."

When we arrived I suggested the buyer and Realtor go in to get the key.  I knew what would happen.

They came out with wide eyes.  "She says you need to provide all kinds of stuff before they will allow you to enter the condo!  You better talk to her!"  The suspense thickens!  Was as the inspection canned?  Holy envelope Batman!

I ALREADY HAD MY ENVELOPE IN HAND.  IT CONTAINS COPIES OF EVERYTHING THIS BUILDER'S "CORPORATE POLICY" REQUIRES.

When I went in I simply handed her my envelope.  I said, "Just last week I had an inspection with you all over at ________ development and Lulu Belle (not her real name) also "forgot" to call to schedule the inspection until the last minute and "forgot" until the last minute to mention that the inspector needed certain paperwork.  Wondering then if it was a trend I now realize it is simply a trick Mumbo Jumbo employs to try to prevent buyers from having a timely home inspection.  That's not right.  Here is everything you need."  The buyer and agent heard me say all this.  When I glanced at the Realtor he only smiled. 

Lulu Belle 2 was FREAKED OUT!  She was so flustered her sentences were clumsy.  She needed a teleprompter.  She would not look at me!  I gave her my cutest smile, grabbed my papers and left, without a word.

"Jay, that is really weird that you had all that stuff!"  The agent was massaging my shoulder!  He was really impressed!  Builder tricks foiled again!

"I was taught that lesson a couple of years ago and have carried that stuff ever since.  Yeah, it is a little weird..."

We had the normal fun on a typical, new construction inspection with the normal fun stuff to see.  The supervisor was very glad to see me again also!  We are real buds...

I should say this:  On a home inspection I am not an alarmist.  But I am not a sugar coater either.  Things are as they are.  I merely point them out.  A home inspection, on new construction, flips, or regular, are not gotcha moments!  They are merely a home inspector's opportunity to observe and report.  And that is what I do. 

I also might, just might, make fun of something later in a blog post however.

My recommendation:  remember Robert Baden-Powell's famous motto:  Be Prepared!  To paraphrase a famous statement, you can't always have what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you just might find, you have what you need.  So stuff an envelope!

There is nothing, NOTHING, better than a HA! moment!  And leave'm with your cutest smile!!

 

 

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 61 commentsJay Markanich • July 09 2011 06:53AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay. I reckon that we have to be like boy scouts - always prepared...

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

Mawnin' Michael.  Of course we have to be prepared.  If you are prepared, you don't fear.

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

Good for you Jay. Such a good boy scout and always prepared.  It's the smart and professional thing to do and it save you time.

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

Debbie - well, it's silly to have to carry this stuff around.  Do you?  Do you know anyone who does?  But in this case it makes things happen.  Too bad it has gotten to this point.  I understand the need to make sure an inspector is qualified, but to pull this last minute stuff, and take it to the extremes they do ($2mil policy?) is too much.

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

All I want to know is, why wasn't all of this arranged and cleared weeks or months before???  A buyer's agent, during the CONTRACT period, should make the property inquiries about what the builder's policies with respect to home inspections and make proper compliances early in the process. 

This isn't rocket science.  The only unknown weeks before closing is the actual date on which the property will be ready for the pre-settlement walk-through.  HOWEVER, the settlement date is known and it doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to understand that it will be PRIOR TO THE CLOSING. 

If all of that fails, do the final walk-through after settlement and get the repairs under the post-settlement inspection. 

I haven't experienced builders attempting to thwart home inspections.  With the exception of course is the builder/seller's representative when asked about the home inspection process and we hear "Oh, you don't need a home inspection, the county does that for you."

I suspect that what you're running into is not so much builders attempting to avoid home inspections as much as buyer's agents who don't know how to sell new homes.

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

Lenn - it's funny that I remembered your comments on my last blog on this subject and mentioned them to the agent.  He admitted he had not done anything contractual not realizing that the inspection would become an issue.  So perhaps he has learned with this one.  Fortunately we were able to cover the inspection thing.  But you know this builder!  Let's just say they didn't see a Who!  These last minute calls are a problem and, in my opinion, certainly an attempt to curtail an inspection.

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

I think Lenn makes a very good point, but reading your story it sounds like this company is attempting to stop the inspection.

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

Her point on the other blog, same builder, was so on point and relevant.  She is absolutely correct.  But I agree also with you Jim, these guys have had two of the same behavior, two different developments and two different reps in one week.  That's a pattern.

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

Here all this time I thought it was the Boy Scouts who were prepared.....it does sound like there is plot brewing here...ewww !

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

Nope, this Boy Scout too S&D!  As a Scoutmaster I am bound...

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

Jay, there are a few lessons in this blog, be prepared, a good home inspection is well worth the "cost", consider a home inspection, not only on resale homes, but also a new home purchase...  Thanks

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Jay,

I really do not think I have ever heard of a such a thing out here.

I think if I was having something built for me and the builder acted in that way they would be receiving a very nice letter from my lawyer stating how payment would not be made till all proper inspections have been passed and also I would be contacting the better business bureau, Dept. of Licensing and the Attorney General of my State.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, it sounds like this builder needs a wake up call.  If a few qualified, live buyers walked away from the deal, they would soon change their tune.

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

Jay, I like you carry anything I'm working on with me at all times. You never know when you'll get a call about something.

Email,email,email anything and everything.........in advance.

If the builder is shady now just wait till something goes wrong or fails. The chase is on.

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton, Mass 02356 (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 9 years ago

Hi, Jay: Congratulations on another job well done. Interesting that both stories don't include real problem findings. Seems Mumbo Jumbo Builders are afraid of their own shadows...
Bruce

Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) over 9 years ago

Nice job Jay, someone needs to help the little guy from being runover all the time.

Posted by David Niles (Niles Real Estate Investments www.NilesREI.com) over 9 years ago

Here in Manhattan, any contractor or delivery person bringing furniture into a building is always required to have minimum amounts of insurance and paperwork to get into the building.  It's something that experienced contractors will always have, but often they overlook it.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Jay, way to be prepaired. Gotta love flustering them like that and just smilin'. Brilliant.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 9 years ago

good stuff!  I wish everyone was on their game like that.

Posted by Sajy Mathew, Making your real estate dreams become a reality! (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Last minute anything is usually not a good idea when purchasing a home.  I hate to have to rush something when dealing with such an important purchase.  I'm so glad that they got you to do the home inspection... you didn't get thwarted and didn't get flustered... in essence it probably didn't feel like a  last minute inspection to them as you were doing it. 

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 9 years ago

Chris - I find many problems on new construction, often more than an older, well-maintained house.  So an inspection really is essential!

Don - that might get some attention, but the builder's position here is that the house has already been inspected multiple times by the County and there has been a supervisor there "inspecting" it every day!

It's the games that bother me Charlie.  And people think they are in good hands when they do these things.  I think this realtor was suprised.  It may have been his first experience with new construction, I don't know.  It seems to me that if you have confidence in your supervisor you wouldn't mind some shmuck home inspector on site!

Don - I don't mind carrying stuff with me, if I know in advance what I am going to need or deal with!

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

Bruce - both had weird stuff, like yesterday's post.  Of the two, this was the most serious problem:

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2377731/there-must-be-continuity-for-load-transfer-danger-danger-danger-

David - my job is to observe and report.  My clients are best served when I do!

Eileen - in Manhattan they are prepared for that because they know in advance.  Some of this stuff is not only new, but is sprung on people at the last second.

Eric - and a real cute smile too!

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

Sajy - what I do is learned behavior!  I got burned about a year ago, and that won't happen again.

Judi - in the end it all worked out, but only because I had my magic envelope with me!

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

Builders are a different breed of home seller. Many builders will permit an inspection but as to any repairs that is a major question?

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 9 years ago

I don't know L&L!  I think they get done, especially when an agent is involved in the process.

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

Charlie (#13) makes a good point but most agents will naturally discourage this (walk away) so it's not likey to happen any time soon or in sufficient volume to make a change.

For Sally & David, commenters #9, Lord Baden-Powel was the founder of the Scouting movement and made the phrase "Be Prepared" the scouting motto and creed.

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

Thanks Robert.  Baden-Powell wanted a motto that shared his initials.  And the simplicity didn't hurt either!

I actually had a blog post about him a couple of years ago:     http://activerain.com/blogsview/958252/early-rising-how-would-you-like-an-extra-month-every-year-

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

What a stunt to try and pull. What are they so afraid of? Is theie craftmanship bad that they are scared to have it inspected? Glad you were prepared and it doesn't surprise me.

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

Well, Jackie, maybe this is the new normal!?

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

Jay, I recall the last post on this same subject and yes it appears to be a standard stall policy, but as you are not wanting to be burned a second time, along goes the paperwork that silences any stalls. Well done, and that agent owes you a hefty lunch..

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 9 years ago

Way to go being on the ball, expecting the possible problems.

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 Ed!  And I will let him know that!

Gretchen - thanks, and again, another fun inspection! That supervisor and I are becoming frat buddies...

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

Jay,  Once again...job well done.  It is good to know that the inspections are getting done for the purchasers.

Posted by Kathleen Vetrano, Helping YOU Achieve YOUR Dreams (RE/MAX Gateway) over 9 years ago

Nice job at being prepared. Since I can't see you in your picture, I can only ask, "which of the two pets you have there is representative of "your cutest smile?"

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 9 years ago

That was a great story and I'm glad the good guys won one! ;-)

Posted by Sarasota & Manatee Counties FL, QuickFreeMLS.com - Listings In Paradise (SaraMana Properties - QuickFreeMLS.com) over 9 years ago

That's the idea Kathleen.  In my opinion the buyer is the process.  And should always be.

Sandy - that gorilla came up when I googled "cute smile."  So that is probably it!

This is the photo that I used as my avatar for a couple of years Sandy.  I have switched it around from time to time.  Not as cute as that gorilla though...  That purple avatar is a thermal image of my ghost friend who shows up at my inspections here and there.  I have named him Mosby.

SaraMana - well, for now!  They might think up something else who knows!  Like requiring $5mil in general liability, knowing that nobody carries that much.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago
That is good to be prepared and sad the Builder feels a need to play tricks to pass an inspection.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 9 years ago

Up early Cheryl!  I don't pass or fail the builder, but maybe they think I do!  In that case, watch out!

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

Wow, it's hard to believe this keeps happening with consistency in your area.  I'm starting to think that I should start carrying around my insurance paperwork, just in case :)

I've never run across anything this shady in my area.  Unbelievable.

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

Jay, hard to pull one over on one who is prepared. Interesting how some builders are trying to circumvent an outside inspection.

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

Be Prepared!  You must have been a Boy Scout.  Job well done!

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) over 9 years ago

Who knows Reubs!  You might consider it!  Never know when you can make someone's eyes pop!

Michael - I don't understand it either.  It is weird, to say the least.  I was only prepared because a few years ago I got burned. 

Kathy - I have been involved with the Scouts for 49 years, one way or another.  The second time now as Scoutmaster.  We are easy to spot!

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

If you've ever sold a new construction home you can really appreciate this post, and I do.  Job well done!

Posted by Lynne Ruffin, Web Styles (Lynne RUFFIN) over 9 years ago

Jay, it's good you follow the Scout motto.

I'd say that builder better learn to follow another saying "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you."  That rabbi really knew what he was talking about, like he is God or something.

Again, glad you are prepared!

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

Success is what happens when planning meet preparation. I think it's pretty dirty of them to put you against the wall like that but as long as you have the answer I guess it worked out ok.

Posted by Nathan Tutas, Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Lynne - not all areas have much new construction, but we do around here.  I do a lot of these.  Thanks!

Jeremy - I think about the Golden Rule all the time, as you maybe have read, and refer to my post often.  That is something that would certainly make life easier and lessen our loads.  As intended...

Nathan - I was prepared because I have been burned.  Obviously they think they are protecting their interests by keeping out some jerk inspector who just spoils the whole thing, but in this case it is a very good think the house got inspected!

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

Jay - Great story and a great result for your client.  I just wish I could have been there to see Lulu Belle's expression. And as I commented before, I know firsthand that some builders deliberately try to thwart inspections.

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

And I am not sure the rationale for doing so John.  I guess they think they are protecting their interests.

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

Jay, yes it would make it all easier as intended.

I just don't understand what builders have to hide!  If I was them, I'd hire you at the end of every stage to inspect it before the municipality inspection so I'd have it done right.  As a builder, don't they want a good product they can put their name on?  Apparently they're only thinking of the dollar!

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

Jeremy - I think their bonuses depend on how cheaply they can put out a product.  So if they can save $10 or $20K on every row of townhouses or whatever that adds up.  Everyone seems so intent on making life difficult - from those who want us to do business to those who want to control us in the gubment.  There is a better way, with an easier yoke and lighter load!

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

Yes there is!  That's my favorite verse, as I so often just long to have that lighter load and long for a easier yoke.  I have it already, but not yet fully.  :)

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

The most frequent admonition is "ask."  See the last one here:    http://activerain.com/blogsview/2298753/three-great-life-lessons

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

Excellent!  I just bookmarked that post as a reminder.

 

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

Thanks.  Those were some good lessons.

I hope Ann doesn't find out.  She might kick my butt.

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

Yeah, and she can probably still run fast enough to catch you.  :D

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

I haven't seen her in over 40 years, but she still scares me.

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

Thanks Jay, I didn't know that about Baden-Powel's initials and the 'Be Prepared' motto.

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

Get his book, "Scouting For Boys," circa 1908, and the history of all that is there.  He actually developed all that during the Boer Wars in Africa when he saw how unprepared the British troops were for the experience.

I collect antique books, so I have a copy!

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

Jay, I bet she does!  Make sure she doesn't slip by on a "go" route!

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

Jay - I always enjoy reading your posts. You turn the most annoying circumstances into fun.

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

Marte - an oldie but a goodie.  Glad you found it!

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

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