What I'm Seeing Now


Would You Want To Do This Inspection?

Honestly put, I have never in all my nearly thirty years doing home inspections had a communication like this.  I read it and thought, "Would you want to do this inspection?"

I had a one bedroom condo scheduled for a few days.  The day before the inspection I received an email with "just a few questions if you don't mind."

  • Are you going to make me sign something?  If so, my lawyer wants to review it, particularly the liability clause.  He says I should reserve the right to alter your contract as needed.
  • My lawyer advises me to look for a home inspector who gives clients one year minimum to see if he missed anything, and someone who covers costs for mistakes.
  • Regarding disputes, do you use arbitration or courts to settle them?
  • Do you assess attorney fees in disputes if the client fails to prove his case?
  • In your inspection do you also cover building code issues that may arise?
  • If there are disputes of findings with the seller, do you step up at no cost to clients?
  • If the condo association refuses to cover a problem with the unit, do you, at no cost to me, agree to appear before them to defend your findings and persuade them to step up to their responsibilities and pay to repair the problems?
  • Do you also provide cost estimates and explain options for repairs, and pay for any differences if your estimate is wrong?

Now understand, I have never had a dispute such as this person imagines, never been to court, never appeared before a condo board to defend my findings or go to bat for a client who wants that board to pay for whatever and never had anyone think they have the "right" to alter my agreement.  If you don't like my agreement we don't have a deal!

THOSE BULLETS ARE TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL.  I cleaned up the grammar a bit, is all.

I am self employed.  As such, I don't look to others do provide anything for me.  Never have I gone into an inspection thinking in advance about liability clauses, disputes, arbitration or court, a time period to cover my mistakes, or any of that other stuff! 

This is a person all about entitlement, what others are "responsible" for as regards this person, what this person "deserves," and how much of other people's time this person should be able to call upon at any time, FOR FREE!  It's a me, me, me, me world!

Of course I said, among other things, that never had such disputes arisen and that I had never been to court, and politely refused to do the inspection.  And I wished the person the very best luck with the purchase!  Also, of course, I was thinking how fun it is going to be for that condo to have this person living there! 

I received an immediate email back saying that another inspector was selected instead who was "highly recommended" by a friend IN ANOTHER STATE! 

Living right the slot was filled by another purchaser, a larger house for more money, so my day was not disrupted.  The Realtor who referred me also called to apologize and I told her she should be glad a friend referred the other inspector!

What thinkest thou?


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 96 commentsJay Markanich • July 28 2011 07:09AM


Good morning, Jay. I would highly recommend some schlep that I really didn't like. Let THEM deal with THOSE clients. I have... 

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) over 9 years ago

Me thinks I would suggest that her lawyer find her an inspector....!  This is trouble just waiting for an excuse to happen.

Posted by Juan Bassett, GRI (Long & Foster) over 9 years ago

This is a prime example of my belief there are too many lawyers in the world!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay,

I think I would have to pass on this one. No way would I let someone try to change the wording to meet what they wanted in the "inspection agreement". It's a simple straight forward document.

When the client's want to "dictate" what they will and will not have us do as far as the wording of the "contracts" It's time to say "see ya later".

Have a nice day Jay.

Clint McKie  

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

Fortunately, Michael, I did not have to recommend anyone.  I probably would not have anyway!

I agree Juan!  How often do you get stuff like this?  Me, never before.

Gary - that's what I say to my lawyer son...

Clint - I wonder how many times in the past this person was able to alter contracts when a car, or funiture, or another property was purchased?  I am betting never.

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

Jay - I am wondering just what planet this condo owner found the attorney!  I am glad you ran from this one as it was an invitation to disaster.  Congratulations on the feature and thanks for sharing this amazing story.

Posted by Barbara Hensley, Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas (RE/MAX Properties) over 9 years ago


Pretty simple..."my standard home inspection is $400. My home inspection with your lawyer's changes is $1,600." I just love lawyers who feel they have to make inane changes to justify their cost.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Jay, I would have to say RUN- Far and fast from this client.  Seems that you'd be DESTINED for problems since it seems they are looking for them BEFORE you even meet them or see their house!

Posted by Faith LaRosse, Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties (Springer Realty Group) over 9 years ago

Jay, it is hard to comprehend that a sane person would have sent that email or even discussed her home inspection with an attorney.  I would have run away from that inspection as fast as I could go!  Wonder what her attorney charged her for his advise!

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) over 9 years ago

You did the right thing. Definitely a client you just say "Bye Bye Now!" to and walk away. SOunds like trouble waitng to happen

Posted by Doug Maynard (ReMax North Country Realty Inc.) over 9 years ago

Richard Murphy, BrokerI agree that the requested items are over the top. I do, however, feel compelled to mention that the disclaimers in inspection reports get more and more intricate. On the surface, it appears that Home Inspectors want us to know that they are not responsible for mistakes or missed items. We find ourselves guiding inspections (sometimes) to be sure troubling issues are examined.

Posted by Richard and Jean Murphy, (207) 712-4796 (Harborview Properties) over 9 years ago

Jay: I think this client should skip the inspection and go right to the litigation. Feel sorry for the poor schlub who "got it". Nah, not really!

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 9 years ago

This is Washington Barbara!  They are everywhere.  I didn't know it was featured, but thanks.

Rich - I bet that guy charged a bunch for that "advice..."

Faith - I think the realtor was a little shocked too!  She apologized.

Sherri - around here they go for $400/hour and up.  I was polite, but did run.

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

I think so too Doug.  And I filled the slot!

Richard - the only change I have made to my contract in 30 years is the words, "Chinese Drywall," to the exclusion list, added last year at the behest of my insurance company.

Anne - for all I know it's already scheduled!  But not with me.  And this is a little condo!

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

You were smart to walk away! You have to wonder what prompted all the buyer's conditions.  Either he or someone he knew got really burned once and is now going to make everyone pay dearly.

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay,

Sometimes it is okay to just fire your client.  Not all of them are right for the job.   It is hard to do during tough economic times, but it feels right inside and you may have avoided bigger problems down the road.  In fact, just think of the idea that you did the job, now he is going to recommend you to all of HIS friends.  Wouldn't that be great!!



Posted by Laurie C. Bailey-Gates, ABR, SFR (Robert Paul Properties) over 9 years ago

Jay~ I am wondering what kind of person would consult an attorney regarding an inspection to begin with. I'm not an inspector, but I would have passed on this one as well. Something sounds fishy here and I wonder how many people he has sued in the past, because it sure sounds like he is setting up the playing field for a law suit.

Posted by Janice MacMillan, Associate Broker (ERA Joyner Realty) over 9 years ago

Valerie - I am living right!  Who knows how so much of this gets instilled.  I think it is just entitlement mentality.

Peggy - perhaps.  Or just the way of life from where they recently moved.

Laurie - I agree.  Not sure I would want this client to refer me to anybody though!  Like seeks like!

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

Janice - you can sue anybody about anything, win or lose.  Notice the question about whether I charge the losing party if they should lose in court?

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

Goodness Jay, that is enough to send a self employed person slaving away everyday trying to make a living,over the edge. Don't you just love people who know more than the professionals. This has to be a first time buyer who is just over-thinking the entire process. WOW!  What this purchaser has failed to grasp is what buying a condo really means.The only thingthat would be inspected by an inpector is the unit. The buyer is buyingfrom the walls in, the floors up, and the ceiling down and the components in the condo, the HVAC, exposed plumbing and he appliances are what an inspector checks. The Master Insurance Plan takes care of the building and issues or claims that arise. It is clear this person either has not been coached and schooled by their agent helping them.  I would have sent this email straight back to his/her buyers agent and let them handle their client. Yikes!

Posted by Peggy James, Woodbridge Virginia Area Real Estate Specialist (EXIT Realty Associates) over 9 years ago

I did forward the email and my answer to the agent Peggy.  I have known this agent for almost 20 years.  There was no coaching!  The coaching came from elsewhere.  But, I will not be involved!

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

Jay, sounds like this guy would make the rest of your life miserable. Life's too short!

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

I could be on the hook for years with condo disputes Michael!  Who would want that?

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

Inspections can be tricky subject.  Not unlike appraisals they can make or break your deal.   I don't think it is wrong to be cautious in an inspection as Richard pointed out most inspectors are not responsible for mistakes or missed items.  I do however, think the prospective client went about it the wrong way.  A simple phone call or a face to face meeting could have eliminated some of these fears.

Posted by Nicholas Caron (Caron's Gateway Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Thanks Nina for the points.  Not what you're thinking.

Nicholas - none of this would have been simple, and I have done a few inspections!  This was a bit more than simple cautious!

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

Hope that buyer will look back at that list in a few years and get a clue and not go through life like that.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 9 years ago

It sounds as if someone else is pulling the strings on this one. It sounds like your customer has a family friend that is a lawyer.

Posted by Kim Dove, Realtor - Jacksonville FL (Watson Realty Corp) over 9 years ago

There's no way I would have done anything for someone who sent me an email like that. That's trouble before you even get started.

Posted by Alan Gross, Loan Consultant (PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company, Equal Housing Lender) over 9 years ago

Maureen - this may be life to that person!  I think I was supposed to get the clue!  I did...

Kim - could very well be.  Or a family member.

Alan - for sure.  Not me, not now and not ever!  I prefer simplicity.

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

WOW! That would have been some hard client to have. I would have done the same thing if I were in your shoe. See ya and good luck!

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 9 years ago

If I have an inkling that a client is like this I run hard and I run fast in the opposite direction! I just don't need the business that bad! Me thinks that you made a stellar decision there! Yikes!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Wow.  Some people!  Of course, we don't know what made them this - cautious.  I'd certainly be hesitant to work with them, though!

Posted by Jean Singleton, Specializing in Your Special Needs (Capital Realty Experts) over 9 years ago

Jay ~ I would have run away, fast and far.  This guy was a lawsuit waiting to happen.  He sure was all about him and entitlement.  I think you handled it well.

Posted by Dawn A Fabiszak, The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience! (Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado) over 9 years ago

I couldn't have gotten away from that guy fast enough.  (although I like Rich's suggestion, you couldn't pay me enough to work for that guy).

Posted by Alan May, A moving experience! (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) over 9 years ago

Actually this may be a sign of the litigation times that is gearing up to hit the industry by storm. With all these short sales and foreclosures, attorneys will be making a comeback whether they have a case or not. I think paperwork either signed or not signed may make the difference on many outcomes in lawsuits...good post Jay

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 9 years ago

This is a great example of why inspector should get their contract to a client prior to the inspection. I think this person should have the lawyer perform the inspection.

Posted by Brad Gotham (Granite Peak Inspection, Inc. ) over 9 years ago

Jay, life is WAY too short to entertain yourself with people like this :)

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

I can't tell you the number of times I recommended several inspectors the buyer could choose from only to find they picked some out of area nitwit their attorney told them to use.

On more than one such inspection the inspector never climbed up on the roof or went under the crawl space.

However, the worse customers I have ever had to deal with were the attorneys themselves. Their brains seemed to be to full of information to let common sense in. 

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) over 9 years ago

Jay, that's like walkng into a bed of nails.  I'd hate to be that person  Sounds to me like he's afraid of his own shadow and full of himself to boot.  Wake up!  We have not all been put on this world to service you and cater to your craziness.

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) over 9 years ago

This can be a crazy business, as that call illustrates.   I had one yesterday also.   Buyer wanted to know if I  could help with creative financing.   I asked for details - she's from another state, far away, has an agent, has found a house, doesn't have any money.    What I wanted to know was how in the world she found me and thought  a real estate agent in Tennessee could be of any use to her.   Of course I sent her back to "her agent."   Waste of time.

Posted by Mary Sheridan, Creative Marketing, Buyer Agency 423-943-7655 (Keller Willliams - 1033 Hamilton Place,Johnson City TN 37604) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay:

Good thing you got all those questions before the inspection! I agree there is more of that "me" attitude now - just look at the way most people drive and shop!
Thanks for sharing. 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

Several thoughts:

Sounds like a kid with a cell phone compiling internet advice and not being able to relate to the real world... or....

The buyer is setting you up for some hidden agenda...... or....

You shopuld take his contract but charge on an hourlly basis, minimum of 8 hours  and a maximum of 8 hours in any day called, PLUS travel and meal expenses...... You may never have to inspect another house.................... just kidding.

Posted by Brad Rachielles, REALTOR, CDPE, Upland, CA (CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453) over 9 years ago

Jay, I would have refused to do her inspection. Really my friend, life is way to short to become involved with people like this. Then again you know how I feel about entitlements and those who feel they are so entitled.  

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) over 9 years ago

I feel really bad for this guy's future neighbors.  You were right to take the stance you took.  Leave it to a lawyer to muddy the waters of professionalism and trust.

Posted by John Davison, Raleigh-Cary-Triangle NC (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

No way Jay.  I don't think I'd want to sell them a house either.  Imagine their review of the condo documents and financials - I hope they have their CPA lined up too. 

Posted by Yvette Chisholm, Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500 (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Jay, you were smart to dodge this bullet.  There are many people out there with litigious minds and we need to steer clear of them.  When prospective clients start in with stories of all the people who have done them wrong, I think of the common denominator and RUN!!!  I've wasted too much time on paranoid people with this same sense of entitlement, only to find that NO ONE can make them happy and that I could be their next victim.  Won't go there again!


Posted by Pam Barnes, Real Estate Agent Phoenix Arizona (HomeSmart ) over 9 years ago

Jay, you did the right thing, for sure.  That was trouble looking for a place to happen.  You were already being blamed before you even got the job!

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

Sounds like this one runs up a regular bill at her attorneys. If she does this to you, she does this to others. My feeling is that this lawyer wants to make a lot more money in the future. And I like having a lawyer on my side, he helps me stay out of trouble. But I'd never have someone else change my contract for me, a contract that I had my lawyer draw up (I presume you did or it's a standard inspector's contract).

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 9 years ago

Jay, did you check with your attorney before posting this? Just joking! Great post. Thanks again for sharing your stories.

Posted by John Marion (RE/MAX Town & Country) over 9 years ago

Sounds like you dodged a bullet!

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 9 years ago

Jay - Life is much too short for such nonsense.  I had a similar experience with a customer who wanted me to build an $800,000 home.  After spending a couple of months working out the details, the customer sent me her lawyer's 12 page contract.  Mine is 2 pages and you take it or leave it.  I didn't give her the opportunity to decline.

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

When the first communication I get from a prospect mentions lawyers and damages.....I run. Period

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 9 years ago

I would definitely have told them they would need to find another inspector!

Posted by Amy Hunter (Hearth & Home Videos) over 9 years ago

Hah... absolutely not! Sounds like a set up if you ask me. Making sure you agree to all of the above ahead of time? That's crazy! I would have to pass on that!

Posted by Tricia DeSouza, Selling Scottsdale Luxury (HomeSmart) over 9 years ago

If it were me, I would pass. It already looks like this guy and his attorney are looking for ways to take action, whether warranted or not. And we all know that even foolish lawsuits get settled everyday since companies and individuals don't want to get tied up in legal issues. Settling is sometimes cheaper.

Let this guy go and find a different sucker to work with. He may find that no one will work with him under the terms that he is demanding (or his attorney is).

Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Jay, sounds to me like an attorney trying to drum up Future business.  No way I would have touched that inspection with someone else's 10' pole.  Your too nice, I would still be laughing about that request.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 9 years ago

You did the right thing here.  I wonder if their agent is going to get hit by a suit for failing to "properly disclose the HOA dues".  

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 9 years ago

Jay, lucky we have the good sense to stay clear of people like this.

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

Run like the wind!

Posted by Dawn Brenengen, Sales and Management (Dawn Brenengen - Trailwood Realty) over 9 years ago

I wouldn't want anything to do with that person. It almost seems like they were just looking for an opportunity to sue somebody.

Posted by Raine Carraway over 9 years ago

Sounds like a high maintenance client. I would have drop that person in a heart beat to avoid headache.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) over 9 years ago

Thanks Mike!  It didn't take long to make that decision.

Thanks also Rosalie!  Some decisions are easier to make than others.  Not so much stellar as wise!

That's what I said to her too Jean.  Very cautious, with so many negative things so prominent in her thinking.

Dawn - we get so many people moving here to escape the taxes and burdens they have in their states, and then they get here and vote the same way they did there!  Including the entitlement thinking!

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

Alan - met too, although I did it really politely!  I liked Rich's thinking too!

Richie - things come in waves and I hope this one is not a tsunami.

Brad - I have never done that because I don't want a minor thing here or there to become an issue.  I have never had anyone balk at signing it at the inspection though, including lawyers.

Charlie - for sure on that!  That one was going to be a problem for a long time to come, beginning on move-in day.

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

Gregory - I guess they can pick whom they will, but an attorney recommendation may be rife with his own issues!

Leah - some people think we are there to service them!  That is a very teenage propensity that some don't grow out of too.

That's a weird story too Mary.  You still don't know how they found you either, do you?

I agree Bruce!  I am very glad those cards were shown when they were!

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

Brad - and by the time this client is done with me I won't have time to inspect another house!

Sue - wasn't too hard to decide that.  These entitlement mentalities probably begin in elementary school lessons!

John - I really do feel kind of bad for that condo!  They are in for some fun!

Yvette - the Realtor is walking on eggshells right now, I am sure.

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

Pam - things in the future pretty much follow how things have gone in the past with these kinds of people.  I didn't want to be in the future!

Jeremy - and I never did get a copy of my agreement to her!  Silly of me...

Hella - you may be right!  I bet this lawyer really likes that client!  Think of all the business that will come in!

John - I do inspections for lots of law firms!  And honestly I don't have a lawyer!

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

Doug - not all of us is that fast!  Glad I saw it coming in time.

John - that is way too many pages for a contract!  Imagine all that is buried in there!  Good for you for dropping her!

Karen - I don't remember this happening before!  Maybe it has and I didn't notice, but I don't think so.

Dale - why would anyone think to alter another's contract?  Try buying furniture or a car like that!

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

Amy - done did that!  And I have a great T-shirt too...

Tricia - boy am I glad I found all that out BEFORE the inspection!

John - and that will not be my problem, for sure!  It might be that business was being drummed up before it began!

Jack - I was very soft spoken and very polite.  No point in sticking anything into that nest!

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

Steven - hopefully the HOA book is on the counter when they walk in!

Chris - that was more than just good sense - it was very wise.

Dawn - I confess to never seeing running wind, but I did run as quietly and sweetly as I could!

Raine - this kind of person always has the second shoe someone else is just waiting to drop!

Agreed Loreena.  These people are more frightening than the ones you see on TV with handcuffs on!

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

How great to be forewarned and be able to steer clear of likely trouble!


Posted by Lisa Poponea (Premiere Plus Realty Co. Naples, FL) over 9 years ago

Lisa - I was very grateful to be taken care of like that.  I mean that too!

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

Oh my goodness! I have one word for you regarding this client- RUN!

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 9 years ago

Kristi - yeah, that pretty much sums it up!

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

Jay,......run Jay run as fast.....and as far..... as you can.  This is a litigation just waiting to happen regardless of how careful you are. Heaven help the other guy.

Posted by Ray Waisler, NMLS #6621 - Specializing in Jumbo FHA & VA (Finance of America) over 9 years ago

I feel good for me and bad for that other guy, Ray!  You hit that nail just where it should be hit.

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

Jay, you did the right thing! and think about it: as a self employed person, you have the luxury to fire a client. And universe sent you a better client right away. 

Posted by Anna Tolstoy (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Jay, The buyer should hire his lawyer to do the inspection. If the lawyer is as sharp as he believes himself to be... how could he go wrong?

Posted by Mike Dennis, Associate Broker GRI, ePRO, CIAS, CDPE Sierra Vist (Keller Williams Realty Southern Arizona (Sierra Vista)) over 9 years ago

I read all 80 comments and only have a couple things to add.

You should suggest the lawyer screen and hire the home inspector. (Somebody above had a great idea there.)

If you feel really crazy, send them your alternate rate sheet, for clients who have an attorney on retainer.

1.) Providing cost estimates for repairs - $600 per hour with 3 hour minimum charge.

2.) Meeting with condo associations - $700 per hour with 2 hour minimum and all travel expenses paid.

3.) Meetings with sellers about disputed findings - $600 per hour with a 3 hour minimum, $800 per hour if there are any attourneys present.

4.) Investigative time to research building codes for revisions - to be billed on an ongoing basis as the need arises, as determined by the home inspector. Minimum rate of $800 per hour.

5.) Court testimony - $1,000 per hour, or any fraction there of. Entire transcript to be furnished for my companie's records free of charge.

6.) Additional supplies and retainer fee - For my company to put a lawyer on retainer and for the additional paper and copy machine toner that will be used.

OR maybe you just want to run away (without turning your back on them!)


Posted by Fred Hookham (Keller Williams) over 9 years ago

I love Fred's response. 

As for me, this is precisely the kind of email that would have me decline the business. No how no way, and no excuse need be offered. 

And for a CONDO! 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay - As an attorney with nearly 30 years experience, it appears to me that this advice came from either a law student or an over-eager new lawyer.  Any attorney with experience knows that while you want to advice caution, you don not advise your clients to make it nearly impossible for anyone to agree to do business with them.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 9 years ago

Run - don't walk from this one!! This guy is looking for a free ride and someone else picking up the tab. Definitlet NOT worth the huge fee that you inspectors normally charge!! You'll spend more than your fee defending yourself. Not worth it.

Posted by Jeff Getman, Realty Executives (Realty Executives of Ravalli County) over 9 years ago

Jay - I agree with Susan.  This is just way over the top and would make nearly anyone on the other side freeze and likely walk away.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 9 years ago

YES.  I actually look forward to these clients.  I am very interested in the name of the lawyer and meeting with them.  Especially when a license is required.  The perspective client email clearly indicates legal advice, it appears to be in conflict with regulations from many States, I didn't review VA regulations for specific conflicts.   Are lawyers required to carry insurance in VA? 

In MA the Office of the Bar Counsel and the Board of Bar Overseers can help protect the public from unethical conduct by lawyers.  There may be a similar entity in VA.

From the plaque on a local courthouse.  LIBERTY IS OBEDIANCE OF THE LAW.

Posted by Jim Mushinsky (Centsable Inspection) over 9 years ago

Wow! I think you did the right thing here. That whole e-mail had a glowing red flag on it. Glad it all worked out in the end.

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 9 years ago

Thanks Anna, I think I did too.  And the "universe," (I read that "Father") is very good to me - I pay tithing.

Mike - that's a suggestion I did not make, but will next time!

Fred - that is definitely the way to go!  It sure is better than my puny fee for the inspection!  But remember, she wanted me for free until kingdom come.

Joe - I did an inspection yesterday on a house which had a master bedroom bigger than the house I grew up in and almost as large as the first floor of my current house!  That guy was a low key as could be!

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

Susan - you may be right.  I had no involvement with the lawyer and that would have been interesting to find out.

Jeff - I am afraid that this kind of entitlement mentality is really, really prevalent out there!

Christine - apparently some other inspector thought this was acceptable and took the job.

And you can have them Jim!  I could just see myself having to go before the HOA board 6 or 8 times in the first year, at her behest.  I surely don't have time for that action! 

Tom - maybe Google should start delivering these kinds of emails with little red flags attached!

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

Ha ha, very nice, thats a RUN away from, not walk type of customer.

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

You dodged the bullet on that one. I'd do all those things for $10,000 and not a penny less. I'd tell them to find a another inspector and maybe a lawyer who's from planet earth. 


Posted by Daniel Rogers, Virginia Beach Home Inspector (Final Analysis Home Inspections) over 9 years ago

I'm glad this one wasn't mine.  This buyer sounds just a weeeeeee bit unrealistic.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 9 years ago

David - I kind of did!  But softly and politely...

Daniel - for sure I made it clear I did not want to do the inspection and they found someone else.  I got an email later that night telling me they had selected someone else and by then I had already filled the slot.

Justin - me too!  Unrealistic to say the least.  A lawyer to review my agreement before you sign it?  Wow...

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

Jay, Life is defiantly too short for that type of nonsense! You deserved the bigger, better inspection after that e-mail. Sorry your not getting many responses to this blog though.

Posted by Curtis C. Brown (CURTIS C HOME INSPECTION SERVICES, LLC (Whatcom County, WA) over 9 years ago

The house I did instead Curtis was huge.  It's master bedroom was bigger than the house I grew up in!  And the buyer was very down to earth and a pleasure to work with.

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

I see the bullet coming....oh wait, you already dodged it.  Good job my friend!


Posted by John King, President & Broker (Bluefax Realty, LLC) over 9 years ago

I did John.  You have to be real quick!

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

Ha!  No way would I want to do that inspection.  I would have said the same thing you did.  Whatever my fee, it wouldn't have been worth the hassle.

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

No fee would be worth that Reubs.  I backed away, vewy, vewy softwy.  Like Elmer Fudd.

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

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