What I'm Seeing Now

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My Clients Are Listening To Me!

My clients are listening to me!  This is good news, because I tell every client at every inspection that if they have any question at all, at any time, they may call me.  And I mean it.

Just this week, here are a couple of the MANY calls from clients:

1.  "Jay, you said to listen to my house and take care of things myself for a while so I know what they sound like.  So I did.

You said we should change or clean our furnace filter every month, if the furnace is used every day.

This week the furnace sounded funny, like it was straining.  I checked the filter, and my (worthless, ever-mangier, no good, lazy*) husband has not changed it in a good while!  It just didn't sound right."

* Inside joke, mock adjectives mine, they are reading this...

WELL, SHE WAS LISTENING!

2.  When I returned to a house that had been struck by lightning to examine the work pre-drywall, they had not completed the insulation.  When they got to the insulation, I told my clients what to look for.  In these thermal images, cool spots are blue and purple.

They called me to say, "They didn't seal along the floor like you said and I think air is getting in.  They jammed insulation into the corners and didn't put anything in between the floors on that outside part of the wall.  None of the receptacle boxes were foamed, like they said they would.  And they haven't stapled the insulation anywhere."

So, they asked me by with the thermal camera to have a peek.  Here are a couple of the many images I took.  And guess what, the "insulators" didn't do much of what I had told my clients they should look for to insure a good job.  The camera doesn't lie, and pointed out where real attention was needed.  My clients made their case!

WELL, THEY WERE LISTENING!

3.  "Jay, for a couple of weeks, every few hours I thought I heard water running.  I couldn't figure it out.  Then once as I was walking by the bathroom I heard it in there.  Do you know what it could be?"

I explained that I thought it might be the toilet stopper, that it was old and not sealing well.  And that she could replace it herself.  I walked her through how to turn off the toilet and recommended she remove the old stopper to take with her to the hardware store.  She did, and found one exactly like it.

Having removed the old one, she knew how to install it!  Calling me back, she has reported that the running water sound has stopped!  Problem solved.

WELL, SHE WAS LISTENING!

My recommendation:  when you first move into a house, pay attention!  It will speak to you.  Learn how things sound when they are operating properly, so when they are not, you will know!  And feel free to call your home inspector.  Cheerful service after the inspection is a part of the home inspection service!

 

 

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 43 commentsJay Markanich • February 18 2012 03:14AM

Comments

Can you hear me now? 

Posted by Erv Fleishman, Luxury Prop Specialist Realty Associates (Realty Associates) almost 7 years ago

Home maintenance is a never ending experience. 

Sadly, when we can't rely on the folks contracted and paid to do a job, i.e., the insulation, most home owners will just pay and pay and pay.

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay. I listen to my house as it creaks and groans every day. Why just the other day I was listening to sounds of water dripping in the pans that were scattered all over the den. I think it was telling me to get the roof fixed...

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

Erv?  Is that you?  Wow, how you been man?!

Lenn - I told them exactly what to look for and they didn't see it!  Hence the call.  And while I was trying to save them money by not coming back to inspect the insulation, I did get a thermal job out of the experience.  And THAT truly did save them money, in the long run!

Michael - be sure to put towels around each pan so they don't splatter.  Then your floors won't be telling you stuff too!

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

Jay, you teach House Whispering? Or is that a book being put out by Billy Jays?

Yes indeed, the house speaks.... and when we don't listen it is a problem.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 7 years ago

Andrea - isn't that a TV show?  And I see a lot of houses where the people aren't listening!

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

Good advice and a tough lesson to learn. I'm with Andrea #5 - you're the House Whisperer :)

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) almost 7 years ago

Thank you Wayne and Jean, but we inspectors just look around, really carefully!

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

This reminds of the days I worked around and ran machinery. When something sounded "off" it was almost certainly a problem. We become tuned into the normal sounds around us. When something don't sound right, like you say, pay attention!

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

That really is good maintenance too Jim.  You can even tell when something needs to be oiled!

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

Jay - So glad your clients are listening.  Maybe you should introduce them to your wife.  Kidding.

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

You joke Debbie, but what goes on at home is what inspired this post, along with what goes on at work!

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2364875/i-speak-chinese

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

Morning Sir Jay~ don't you just love it when a plan comes together..  I think for the most part people listen and somewhere down the line the memory slips.

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

James - so long as they remember to call!  That's the best thing.  Especially with questions.

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

Good morning Jay,

Listening is key to a marriage...oops, sorry - wrong topic.  No wait, we are married to our homes and we better be ready and willing to listen to them!

Great post, again!

 

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) almost 7 years ago

I don't know if you can get a great compliment. When they ask you questions, they are owing you a high level of trust.

Great post, thank you for sharing it with us.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) almost 7 years ago

It is always great to learn about people that actually listened. Funny how inanimate objects communicate with us.

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) almost 7 years ago

Jay, Great stuff, one step at a time and we can change the world ; ) I really make me feel good when the clients will call and ask me questions later. I like being a good resource for them.

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

Lisa - start listening, to your house that is.  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, is the man still wrong?

Joe - I agree.  It is important to be there as that resource too!

I get such communications every day Doug!  Inanimate and animate!

Don - I am very firm when I ask people to call me anytime.  It is an essential part of the business.

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

Jay, it's great that you advise your clients to call you, even after the inspection.  Can you come to Columbus, Ohio?  Thanks for another great post. (I re-blogged).

Posted by Roberta Kayne, CRS, ABR, SFR, RRS, Realtor, Re/Max Affiliates (Dublin & Central Ohio Homes) almost 7 years ago

Jay - I came here via Roberta's reblog.  Great job!   You are one in a million as an inspector!    There are few up here in this area = James Quarello is one....   Thanks Goodness!    Otherwise, I mght have to drive you up for each inspection!

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Thank you Roberta.  I say that because I mean that!  And thank you for the reblog!

Dagster - and I'd do it, if I could!  I'm cheap you remember, some banana nut bread or so and I'm a sucker.

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

Jay -- it is wonderful when the clients listen to what is said.  Maybe even take a few notes -- then they know they haven't mis-remembered what they were told to check for.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 7 years ago

Steven - that is a problem on a home inspection.  I hit people with a thousand things and sometimes they don't keep it straight.  To me it is old hat, and a lot of what I say are my spiels.  But to them it is encyclopedic.

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

Jay , I wish more of my clients would listen to me when I tell them to read their homeowners manual . We give them a walk-through orientation at closing , show them how everything works & discuss maintenance with them , but they soon forget about the maintenance part . We give them a maintenance calender , which few people ever use . It is real easy to put a maintenance reminder in your electronic calender to change your HVAC filters every 30 days just like you change your oil every 3000 miles in your car . That reminds me ... I need to change my filter !

Posted by Edward D. Nikles (Ed Nikles Custom Builder , Inc. / Nikles Realty , Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Well of course he is - everyone (?) knows that...ha-ha-ha.

Have a lovely Sunday!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

Your clients are lucky to have an inspector like you.  Too many are "one and done" kind of guys.  I have a great one here in San Diego.  John Gamache - professional, factual and no drama.  He always lets buyers call hime later with questions. 

Have a great long weekend,

Mary Lawler

Posted by Mary Lawler, Your Community Connection (Realty Executives Advantage) almost 7 years ago

I think it is a confidence builder for your client to know that you remain a resource for them, next week or next year. From a pragmatic point of view; if they keep your name and telephone number in mind for future use they will also have them when a friend of acquaintance might need and inspection too. Win, win.

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

You are now the 'house whisperer'.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 7 years ago
Being available like that for your clients probably sets you far apart from your competition in your area, great job! Great advice!
Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) almost 7 years ago

For those of us without your background home care can be a tough think.  But we learn.  Thanks for a good post.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Ed - a very good practice that I understand many builders do.  But it takes two to tango!

Thanks Lisa.  Left for church early this morning and just got home!

Sounds like a good guy Mary.  I think post-inspection availability is essential.

It is a win/win Marshall.  I have had clients call me years later!  And then later still for another inspection!

Lyn - uh, oh!  Does that mean I wear a special hat?

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

Sylvie - I don't know, but I hope it does!  Nobody wants to be generic.

Gene - I give all my clients a complete maintenance schedule after the inspection!

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

Another good post, Jay.  These are all good things to "listen for."

Posted by Warren Moore, CRS, GRI (Warren Moore Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Warren - everything is speaking to us!  But paying attention is hard to do sometimes!

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

Hi Jay,

I am a fellow home inspector and I really enjoy your articles. I too enjoy helping my clients with any issues that arise after they move into their new (or used) homes. I believe that customer service continues well after the inspection report has been completed.

 

Posted by Mary Ann Chiquete (Benchmark Home Inspection) almost 7 years ago

Mary Ann - anything else is not really a service is it?  I agree with you!

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

Very gratifying to know that you are continuing to have a positive impact on your clients' lives long after the inspection. Good for you! and lucky the clients that you are helping.

Posted by Susan Ani (Baird & Warner) almost 7 years ago

Jay, you are so good at what you do! I think you should consider a move to Dallas!

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay, very clever post!  Yes, if we have lived in  a house very long we get used to the "normal" sounds and should be listening for the abnormal.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Susan.  I think that's the way it should be.  And, years later, who they gonna call for another inspection?

Sharon - I am a Redskin fan.  Enemy territory...

But thanks!

Bob - you can only understand abnormal if you understand normal!

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

Great Advice Jay- finally some home owners are listening! I bet mechanics feel the same way. Many people take their car to the mechanic after it is too late--(mechanic will ask "do you get your car serviced, change the oil, breaks, etc...typical answer: NO)

Posted by Jairo Arreola, VA Home Loan Specialist - SF Bay Area - South Bay (Lotus Group Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jairo - that's me!  Actually I am pretty good about my oil, and I do my own tire pressure.  But the other service calls?  Ummm...

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

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