What I'm Seeing Now

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"We've Never Used The Whirlpool Tub, So You Don't Need To Check It."

"We've Never Used The Whirlpool Tub, So You Don't Need To Check It."

That's what the note said.  These sellers had left a note for the buyers with information about this and that.  Buried in the list was the mention about the whirlpool tub.

Do you think I:

1.  Believed the note and didn't check the tub at all
2.  Ran straight upstairs to check the tub first
3.  Checked the tub during the normal course of the inspection
4.  Laid my hands on it and divined that it had no problems

As much as I enjoy #4, I really am partial to checking whirlpool tubs, so I filled it and tested it during the normal course of the inspection.

For certain I am not going to fall for a seller's suggestion that something does not need to be checked.  I would be surprised if any home inspector would either.  But I am not one to suspect people to be devious.

And to think a seller would try to fool the inspector, or think he would just go along with the note, is embarrassing.  It would embarrass me to leave such a note, so I usually think the best of people when they say such things.  But what did I find?

First of all, in the bathroom with the tub, both cabinets had been replaced.  There was no access panel to the inside cavity to examine the motor and whirlpool parts. 

I suspect that the original cabinets had a panel inside one of them allowing such access.

Access is important for many reasons, but it is not the subject of this post.

After running the whirlpool for a while, and draining the water, what do you think we found?

The camera located a spot on the ceiling, directly under the whirlpool tub.

I had filled the tub with hot and cold water, to test both service lines, but the final temperature was very cool.  I did that with reason.

For the purpose of the thermal image evaluation, I use a palette that has cooler colors demonstrated by lavender, blue and purple and warmer colors demonstrated by orange and yellow.

That purple spot is cooler than the surrounding ceiling by 7 degrees Fahrenheit.  That would indicate moisture.

Also, the moisture meter registered 100% moisture at that spot, but less than 10% all around that spot.

Looking carefully at the location, AND PREVIOUSLY NOT SEEN BEFORE, was a slight, downward bulge in the drywall. 

Examining that small area under a directional light revealed a slight shininess.  That means it had been painted before with KILZ or another stain-blocking primer.  An inexperienced painter, like a homeowner, does not know that primers are shiny and need to be painted at least twice because they will "bleed" through a single coat of paint.

Looking then at the entire ceiling, I found a small area near the corner where a recent coat of paint had not previously covered a previous one.

MY CONCLUSION?  THIS LEAKING WAS KNOWN, AND HAD BEEN SEALED AND PAINTED BY SOMEBODY.

Was it the homeowner?  These were the original owners of the house, and had proudly said so to the buyers.  I like that because often I suggest to the buyers that they ask "history" questions for things we might want to know.  Original owners will know the answers to such questions.

This was a history question that probably really shocked this seller!

My recommendation:  sometimes sellers try to divert attention toward or away from something.  While I inherently trust people to be honest, I believe in the doctrine of "trust, but verify."  And I try to do exactly that.  So should you!

 

 

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 115 commentsJay Markanich • October 19 2011 05:30AM

Comments

Jay: Moisture will not hide from that infrared camera. I have never met an inspector who didn't check the whirlpool tub. Your fancy camera makes a big difference.

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 6 years ago

Jay,  When a seller says you don't need to check something, that is the time to check it thoroughly! Buyer beware, they are probably trying to hide something.  Thanks for the informative post.

Posted by Carlotta Remong (Berkshire Hathaway HS N.E. Prime Properties) over 6 years ago

Anne - with a moisture meter it is difficult, at best, to determine where to search for any suspected moisture.  But until looking at the space with the camera, we didn't know there had ever been a problem.  After that, the detective work was easy.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Carlotta - you're welcome!  I will check anyway, but when someone is trying to divert my attention, it does turn on my radar.  Necessarily.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I would choose number 5....add bubble bath and see if the bubbles would go clear up to Wisconsin...!

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

You put bubble bath in one of those, Sally, and you would get bubbles that far away!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, That one could get sticky couldn't it?  It's probably a gray area, but our Ohio disclosures cover the last five years.  If the sellers hadn't run the tub in whirlpool mode in over five years, they could technically try to weasel their way out of disclosing a known problem, although that still wouldn't be the path they should be claiming.  But someone trying to hide something like that isn't a huge surprise unfortunately.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

There's no disclosure period in VA, Bliz.  There is a disclaimer used instead.  That doesn't mean you can't disclose, but nobody does.

However, the use of your word "technically" is interesting.  When I see that used, almost always it indicates that people are skirting and are probably on the wrong side of the equation.

But, technically, they did try to sway the examination away from what they knew is a problem, even if they had not used that tub in 13 years! The word "never" is the key.

The bottom line is they got caught!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

"I suggest to the buyers that they as "history" questions for things we might want to know.  Original owners will know the answers to such questions."

The time has long passed when anything an owner/seller would say or write would be of interest.  The house is what the house is.  What a seller says is just that, what a seller is saying and has no value.

What a seller says has no value.  It's what they don't say that I want to know.

Buyers, their buyer's agents and the seller's agents make take a tremendous risk when they accept seller's disclosures or advice about property condition.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Lenn - just yesterday I found a large drywall patch right under a hall bathroom.  I suggested they ask about the history of that. I say things like that because I am a home inspector and do not speculate.

But, after all is said, you are absolutely right.  They could say we don't know, and that is that!

In this case, though, these are the original owners.  They might "say" they don't know, but that just further complicates the thing.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

P.s. Lenn - I noticed in the quote you selected that I spelled the work "ask" forgetting the K!  Correction made!  Thanks!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, I love solid home inspectors! Just had an inspection this week which revealed the fireplace had been leaking and some attempts, fairly solid looking at first glance have now become a major issue....I counsel my sellers to tell me what they have and have not used, to help manage expectations, but I do not counsel them to avoid owning up to what they know about...

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) over 6 years ago

Good morning, Jay. Whirlpool tubs are always a major concern. The first thing I do (when in my inspector role) is to fill the tub and run it as long as I possibly can. You never know...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) over 6 years ago

It is amazing that anyone would try to cover something like that, or anything for that matter! I think that the note just brought more attention to the tub and the entire thing back fired on them. Hopefully they fess up and make the repairs instead of losing the deal. I have a home inspection scheduled for one of my listings today. The sellers didn't leave any notes and I hope that it goes well!! We will be sure to check this jacuzzi tub!! Thanks for the heads up!

Posted by Diane Grady (Endless Summer Realty) over 6 years ago

Jay,

"We've Never Used The Whirlpool Tub, So You Don't Need To Check It."

and when you're done not inspecting everything we have a bridge we'd like to sell you!!!!

Posted by David O'Doherty, Clayton NC Homes, Raleigh, NC (Raleigh Realty Inc) over 6 years ago

Love your tools.  And I'm sure you would have checked the tub with or without the comment!  Very funny.

Posted by Stanton Homes, Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina (Stanton Homes - New Home Builder) over 6 years ago

That's good counsel Carol.  Some things cannot be hidden.

Michael - intersestingly, on this one, as it drained I said the amount of water is a good acid test for the drain lines!  And it was!

You're welcome Diane.  That note did for me.  Unfortunately, these sellers felt beat up on the price and may have been trying to minimize any further costs to them.

Thanks David!  How much is it?

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

You are like the Superman of home inspectors. .with your super vision!

Keep them coming. . 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 6 years ago

Yes, I would have, Penny, but might not have found this issue.  There was swelling, if you were looking for it, but no stains to make things evident.  It might not have been found without the camera.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Aw, shucks, Fernando.  Thanks.

Is that obnoxious enough?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, I was going to say number 4 also. Reading your posts is like reading a Sherlock Holmes novel-there great! Those thermal cameras are awesome, sure would be fun to play with. Have a great day!

Posted by Michael S. Bolton, MN Appraiser (Michael S. Bolton,Inc.) over 6 years ago

Love the note...As an inspector and buyer accompanying the inspector, I would run upstairs and check the whirlpool FIRST and thoroughly. I like your light detecting moisture. Haven't seen my inspector use that. Will have to check into that. Never ceases to amaze me what sellers do to cover things up. Problem was not addressed and fixed and THEN painted with KILZ. KILZ was used to cover it up. I appreciate the post - have a great day!

Posted by K.C. McLaughlin, Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC (RE/MAX United) over 6 years ago

What a dope to think they could hid something from you

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 6 years ago

Michael - #4 is my favorite, but for some reason buyers don't believe me.  So I test just for the show.

K.C. - check my website.  There is a tab along the top navigation to click on.  It will teach you about thermal imaging.  I also have a photo gallery and many thermal image blogs along the left navigation.  Just scroll down.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Diversion is just that James.  It is one of the most important techniques in war too.  Read Sun Tzu.  He was all about positioning!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Great detective work again, Jay.   It's too bad for them that they are the original ownwers because now they can't shift the blame to someone else.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

Often, Debbie, the sellers can simply say that they didn't know the history of the problem, or that there ever was a problem.  Not this time, as you say.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I cannot imagine any inspector would belie be the note.  And, note or not, we know you would inspect the whirlpool thoroughly in the normal course of inspection. 

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) over 6 years ago

Christine - most likely!   It's important - there is a lot that can go wrong with those things!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

A note would sound an alarm...guess I am an untrusting one! Great explanation.  I did have a two year old house that had a leak around tub seal that could not be repeated by a plumber.  Said something about the seal drying out since it had never en used...

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) over 6 years ago

It did turn on all the radar sites Gary.  Seals can dry out, but it takes a long time.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, they had to know by leaving a note it was like putting up a neon sign to check the whirlpool tub. Nice tip on how to cover up KILZ. LOL

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago
Jay. Your camera is an invaluable tool. A tub that has been used for a long time can spew up a whole lot of gunk when the jets are turned on. Every inspector needs to test the tub.
Posted by Valerie Zinger, Home Organizer (House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada) over 6 years ago

Jay,

It wasn't all that long ago that this type of investigation wasn't available. Any home inspector that can't do an infrared today is behind the times.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

The buyers were fortunate that they hired you to inspect the home. Thank for the post.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 6 years ago

Jay,

 

This is a potentially serious probl;em and should be investigated rather than ignored.

 

Brian

Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 6 years ago

Just another public service Michael.  I have posted that tip before!

Valerie - interestingly, no gunk in this one.  What does that tell you?

dge - grow up and go away.

Richard - a very small percentage of inspectors use these cameras.  There is still a lot of resistance, probably mostly due to the price of them.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Another good job Mr. Inspector.  I love the thermal image camera.

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) over 6 years ago

Gita - it is my good fortune to work for them!

It will be Brian.  It's covered by the VA contract, so they cannot skirt it now.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks Ken.  You know my feelings about it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay - I wish I had you in South Florida - we would have a fun time at inspections - your a trip.

Posted by Broker Nick, Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service (South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc.) over 6 years ago

I had an inspection that revealed that the jetted tub had a leak from the drain pipe. The sellers said they didn't think it should be a problem since they never used the tub. Huh? Anyway, these sellers appear to have been not only not being truthful, but deceitful as well.

Posted by Dawn Crawley, Find Pinehurst Homes (Dawn Crawley Realty) over 6 years ago

Coming to you would be a trip Nick.  But one I wouldn't mind.  It would be expensive for your buyers however!

Dawn - perhaps and probably.  Well, they are right, if you don't use the tub the leak is not a problem.  Good thinking...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

You probably remember my fun little whirl pool tub install from a week or two back. It also gets mentioned any time there is no access to the motor. That is required!

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

I learn something from your blog everytime I read it!  Thanks!

Posted by Kimberley Kelly, SFR, HAFA, GREEN, I do Real Estate like I played polo-to WIN! (HK Lane, Christie's International Affiliate, 760-285-3578) over 6 years ago

Jay, I love your blogs!  I also can't believe that the sellers wouldn't know that their not would send up a big red flag.

Posted by Kim Dove, Realtor - Jacksonville FL (Watson Realty Corp) over 6 years ago

I wonder if the sellers left the note about the whirlpool tub as a diversion. Could they have hoped that it would raise a red flag and cause extra attention to be paid to the whirlpool tub to the point where that attention diverted the inspector’s attention for another serious issue?

Posted by John Juarez, ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN (The Medford Real Estate Team) over 6 years ago

"No need to check the Whirlpool" is code for:  "Check the whirlpool first" or code for "if you check nothing else, be sure to check the whirlpool."

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) over 6 years ago

You did exactly what I would have expectd from my home owner.  If you didn't test it and a leak was found after closing, then the buyer is going to look at you.

Posted by Jim O'Donnell (Raleigh Cary Realty) over 6 years ago

Love your camera.  It looks like something you would see on CSI.

Posted by Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO, Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan) over 6 years ago

That's a great tool you have there!   I agree with the commenters who said "don't check the whirlpool" would equate in my mind to "Definitely check the whirlpool".  Good thing you had the tools to help pinpoint the problem.

ps - the fact they actually wrote the note leads me to believe they knew about the problem.  If they had never used the whirlpool and didn't know there was a problem, they wouldn't have said anything. 

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay. Still love the pics from the infrared. I have checked and no one in our area uses one so maybe I should put one on my Christmas list. lol

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 6 years ago

Clever camouflage (the note)  on the part of the seller is not going to get by you....

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 6 years ago

No surprise they tried to hide something.  I've had sellers claim something was "fine" before and found out about leaks or damage they tried to hide.  I just had a tenant tell me, before moving out, they didn't use a hot tub.  Turns out they used it and burned out the motor (among other damage).

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Reminds me of when I was at a home inpsection for a bank foreclosure.  The home inspector turned on the water in the upstairs master bathroom.  I was in the kitchen talking to the buyer and all of a sudden, there's a pool of water forming on the ceiling.  And that was before the jets were turned on!

Posted by Tamara Inzunza, Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living (RE/MAX Executives) over 6 years ago

What are sellers thinking?  I know, they are thinking that you are not the seasoned professional inspector that you are!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 6 years ago

I'm with Lenn. Really, no need to ask the seller because you're probably not going to get the truth. Better to hire a reputable inspector such as yourself and have them uncover the problems. An inspector is an unbiased adviser who can illuminate the problems.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay - This kind of seller behavior does not surprise me in the least!  This kind of crap goes on here in Los Angeles & Ventura counties every single day - sellers flat out lying about true property conditions.  Fortunately for many buyers, there are a lot of home inspectors out here just like you. 

A good home inspector will find stuff like this all the time.  Needless to say, when they do and buyers and their agents make these discoveries known, so many sellers dig themselves even bigger graves when they continue to lie and deny any knowledge. 

If the sellers would just come clean and stop lying, many buyers would probably proceed.  However, it's when sellers continue to lie that buyers get very suspicious and start wondering what else they have lied about that wasn't discovered.  I have seen so many of my own borrowers walk away from transactions like this simply because they no longer trust the seller or their listing agent.

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) over 6 years ago

I can understand when a seller says that something is wrong.  When they say that something is ok what is their motovation?

Posted by Loren Green, Phoenix Home Inspector & Designer (Greens Home Design L.L.C.) over 6 years ago

First thought.  Heavy laughter.  To think that anyone would actually pay attention to the note is ridiculous.  After reading the rest, it sounds like the seller may have been lying on any required disclosures if they are the norm there.

Posted by Adam Tarr, PC -GRI, ABR, CDPE, RSPS, ePro - Designated Broker (MavRealty) over 6 years ago

Ee-gad, jay!  It reminds me a little of when a 7 year old shows off a new magic trick... "ok... look over here... wait, no... close your eyes... you aren't seeing this part...."  Thank goodness for home inspectors like you!  Love the thermal imaging, btw.

Posted by Jennifer Prestwich, Your Castle RE Colorado (Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster) over 6 years ago

I got a smile out of your post. 

Whirlpool tubs and hot tubs are like dishwashers, in that their pump parts are lubricated and kept moving smoothly by having water run through them.  Being shut off for a year or two doesn't make them run better or last longer. In some cases, it causes problems.  And claiming that an appliance has "never" been used is almost always an exaggeration.

Posted by Eric Kodner, Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island (Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes) over 6 years ago

The sellers probably were honest about the first part, they don't use the whirlpool any more.  They just spent to much time and money to cover up the leak, they aren't going to use it again!

Posted by Stephanie Williams, Realtor Murrells Inlet (Seaside Properties) over 6 years ago

I'm sure that note was a funny addition to your normal day. Like, "yeah right." I like your blogs because I also like mysteries and you always seem to have one. Congrats, well done.

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 6 years ago

Excellent info!  Sometimes people forget, but, the note makes it suspicious.  Kristine :)

Posted by Kim & Kristine Halverson, Realtors (www.LiveWorkSiliconBeach.com, Santa Monica Real Estate :) ) over 6 years ago

Any note from the seller can raise additional red flag and give their position away. You did an excellent job as an inspector on locating some important findings...!

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Wow! Leaving a note....and they thing that would work? And their agent let them do that? Shocking!

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 6 years ago

Wow and they thought they would trick you on that one!!?? If they had said the same thing to me I would have immediately done the same thing! Good job saving that buyer from buying a mess!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Any secrets that a house may have come out when Jay walks in the door....

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 6 years ago

Jay,

That is where IR is just the bomb ; ) Like Jim stated also I find whirlpools with no access is an issue also. If a note is left I think it would just peak the curiosity further.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

My actions, right after I saw such a note, would be to test the tub. Are you kidding me? Seller pointed you right to the tub. And that problem you discovered will be hard (and expensive) to fix.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES TUCSON ELITE) over 6 years ago

Jay, 

Priceless!  What is almost comical is that they don't realize asking you NOT to inspect it makes you want to inspect it more.... it almost shines a flashlight on the tub and makes you wonder why they don't use it?  

Glad you have that awesome thermal scan gun.  I won't hire an inspector without one.... the devil is in the details.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

I've had in the past where sellers followed me around an inspection. It was a treat. I had to stop the inspection and come back the next day.

Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic (www.mrbrownsellsgr.com) over 6 years ago

I'm embarassed for the sellers.  I couldn't imagine ever thinking a note like that would influence an inspector.  They knew exactly what the problem was and they were doing their best to "get away" with something shady.  Kudos to you for being so thorough and having that really neat camera.

Posted by Tracy McPeek over 6 years ago

I love this post!  You have a sense of perspective, professionalism and yet a sense of humor.  I am sitting her chuckling because I have a girlfriend up in Michigan with issues that the seller, her neighbor, didn't disclose until a good home inspector came in and found a truck load of problems. 

My girlfriends statement was:  "He lied!" - I told her to get over it and work on the issues that anybody who fails to produce a disclosure from the get go is hiding something and I had warned her of that.  Nothing major but illegal electrical work, a generation piggybacked onto a garage outlet that would cause a fire, leaks in the roof (the home inspector used your thermo thingy), leaks in the piping (no soft water unit), the the best part was the well which came back with bacteria and then the County reversed their decision and she emailed me and asked me what to do and I told her to get an outside professional in their now or so help you sue!  Oh, I forgot to mention that I told her to make sure that she had the septic system, drained, cleaned and checked.  Guess what?  the tank wall fell and they had to do an abatement and the seller had to install two new septic tanks.

Someone hands me a note, I'll hand them a red flag!  Way to go!!!

 

Posted by Barb Van Stensel over 6 years ago

"No officer, you don't need to check my vehicle.  I don't smuggle in drugs from Mexico."

Posted by Laurie Jarrett, REALTOR - New Braunfels, San Marcos, Texas Real Es (Keller Williams Realty Heritage-New Braunfels) over 6 years ago

We need Jay and his colleagues around the country because an inspection is the only way to learn what is going on with the house.  Sellers don't know or won't say.

Posted by Marge Piwowarski, Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC (Phoenix AZ Horse Property) over 6 years ago

Jim - of course I remember!  The access is on the report and all that, but not more than mentioned here.  Yes, required!

Thanks Kimberley.  Stop by any time!

Kim - the note mentioned a lot of things.  They were hoping this was buried enough to be overlooked possibly.

Juan - I think the buried nature of the tub comment was the issue.  I did find other things though!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

For sure Charita.  That, and a bunch of other things in the house!

Jim - that sort of thing gets avoided by simply being thorough!

It is Bob.  And on the ghost shows.  They are used for medical purposes and equine veterinary care too.

Kat - the note was chatty and informational.  The tub comment was, as I said, buried!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Randy - do it!  Santa is a really good guy!

Maureen - I had the camera so that would not have escaped even without the note!

Bryan - like saying so will absolve them of responsibility!

Tamara - how fun!  That has happened to me before as well.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Kathryn - there were other things in play here, which I won't mention, but I don't think they understood what a home inspection entails.

Tammie - probably, but I have to suggest people try to get to the bottom of some things we can't know.

Donne - that day will probably never arrive, although I am with you!  I wish things were easier, not more difficult.

Loren - don't know!  I think they hoped the comment was buried in the list.  I would have checked the tub anyway and had the camera ready!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

There's no disclosure in VA, Adam, but I wonder if they knew what the inspection entails.

Jennifer - thermal imaging is a very important tool and definitive with what it can record.  And a lot of fun!

That's right Eric.  Everything needs to run.  And everything mechanical needs lubrication!

That is true Stephanie - I don't know when the sealing and painting was done.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks Sandy.  Just trying to tell the story!

Kristine - the note had a lot of info, not just the tub mention.  They were hoping it was buried I think.

Thanks Eileen.  Like most inspectors, I really try to be thorough.

Mike - the note had lots of info, and also said what things had been done to the house.  It was long, and I think they hoped the tub comment was buried.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Rosalie - it takes less time to lay my hands on it and divine its condition, but buyers don't seem to trust that.

Thanks Richie - but I am only as good as my tools.  And experience.

That's always an issue Don, but not the point here.  Sure would have made things easier to see and diagnose the leak though.

I don't know the extent of it Jon.  But surely that ceiling needs to come down to get to things!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks Michelle.  Don't eat that fruit...  don't eat that fruit.

Robert - I simply ask them to leave and let the buyers have unfettered access.  If they won't, the realtor contacts the other realtor and we set up another time.

Tracy - the camera does make things more visible.  It is a terrific tool.

Wow, Barb, that's a lot going on with one house!  Good luck to her.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Laurie - that's about the size of it!  And the officer says...?

Marge - hence the springing up of an entire industry!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Sherlock, I mean Jay:

What a great story.  You are an inspection sleuth who tracks down the cause of that moisture.  Good job.  

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 6 years ago

Grathiath Evelyn.  It wasn't exactly hard.  Fill it, run it, check underneath it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay - another good explanation of some of the things that sellers may try to cover over.  Once again your thermal imaging camera helps find and clarify the extent of the issue.  I would say that thing has paid for itself multiple times over.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 6 years ago

As I have said in the past, Steven, that camera is the sharpest arrow in my quiver.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, I was banking on #3.  I can't imagine an inspector would ignore something because a client said it was OK. It's like telling the auto inspector, "Don't check the brakes.  It stopped when I got here."  Really?  Good for you!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 6 years ago

Jay -- Their saying something would make me all the more suspicious.  I love your analysis, especially with the thermal image. Outstanding work!

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Jay - I'm sure the sellers were in for quite a "surprise."  It seems so self defeating.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 6 years ago

Jay, they would have to get up pretty early in the morning to try and pull something like that past you.  I know your clients appreciate your vigilence.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Sneaky Sneaky  ...  but very interesting!  Thanks for the very revealing post!  Interesting the lenghts some will go to!  This is the very reason we need you professional guys!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR carsonvalleyland.com (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 6 years ago

I have never run into this type of a senario.  I always advise a home inspection to verify anything that the seller has represtned. Often the seller is accurately report from their perspective, buy the buyer need someone to verify .. or tell the buyer they cannot verify what the seller has stated.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 6 years ago
Excellent job, Mr. Inspector! I really like your motto "Trust, But Verify!"
Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties) over 6 years ago

Whirlpool tubs are big germ tanks and I am sure they are as big a headache for you as they are for agents.  Great POst

Posted by Mary Macy, Top Agents Atlanta Metro (Top Agents Atlanta Metro) over 6 years ago

Mr iNSPECTOR, THANKS FOR DOING YOUR JOB. lOVE THE COLORS

Posted by Ted J. Macy (Top Agents Atlanta Metro) over 6 years ago

Jay - You have the most interesting adventures. Why the heck didn't they have the tub repaired when they replaced the cabinets? Goofy.

Trying to fool you - even goofier!

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 6 years ago

Jay - that note would have me looking twice. Nice catch - I assume this was not disclosed in the seller diclosures... Just a hunch.

Posted by Terkel Sørensen, Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales (Real Estate Places) over 6 years ago

Seems like more attention was drawn to the problem than not by the statement. Disclose, disclose.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 6 years ago

Mike - I check kitchen appliances when they are brand new too!  It doesn't matter to me - it gets checked.

Barbara - it was pretty easy to figure out.  But interesting because it was totally invisible without the camera.

Christine - and now they have a TRUE disclosure issue!

Chris - I was lucky really to have my camera that day!  Without it this might not have been found!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Lisa - this was an instructive post.  I am glad you enjoyed it too!

Joan - that's the idea - observe and report.  And that we did!

Joni - not mine.  That one belonged to one Ronald Reagan.

Mary - that is for sure.  Few people actually run them and sterilize them with some bacteriostat.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Ted - there are other palettes as well!  I choose this one because to me it is logical.

Marte - I no know!  And I'm not sure they replaced the cabinets, but they did look new and there was no motor access.  I am surmising.

Terkel - Virginia has no such disclosures.  There is a disclaimer, but disclosures are voluntary.

Cheryl - not in VA!  But it would have been better for these folks to just have had it fixed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Just one more reason why a good home inspector is vital!

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 6 years ago

I agree Barbara-Jo.  But we are not infallible!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I would have gone straight to the tub, I'd want to know right away Jay.

I really like the way you explain what you see in terms that many people can understand. Thanks for providing that service for us.

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 6 years ago

The camera is interesting technology which a lot of people don't know about Tom.  For years I have said that in a year or so all home inspections will come with IR.  And for years I have been wrong!  The mental paradigm has not shifted.  Heck, I remember when inspectors and realtors did not trust moisture meters!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

"For years I have said that in a year or so all home inspections will come with IR."

Why do you think that is?  I remember when I first heard of it.  I thought it would become common.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 6 years ago

It surely hasn't happened Maureen.  I don't know the reason(s) but suspect it/they have to do with costs, insurances, the cost of training, and liability.  It all probably boils down to money.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Wow, you sound very kind and impartial... but I don't believe YOU for a second :).  I'm not curious about whether or not the owners knew about that leak, and I don't think you are either.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

You are right, of course Reuben.  I reported two things - the leak and the lack of an access panel.  But you know on a blog I am going to be polite!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Of course :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Thí, thí theñor...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

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