Sometimes the listing agent will show up toward the end of a home inspection to "see if there are any questions [the] can answer."
Can I translate that into people speak? "Are there any problems I should know about now. I want to gird my loins."
Sometimes the translation is: "I am ready to argue with you about anything."
May I say, and I know who my major audience is here, I don't like it when the "other" agent shows up at a home inspection and I certainly don't like arguments. There is no place for this sort of thing. Buyers should have unfettered access to a house for an inspection (without homeowners or listing agents present) and should be able to stay as long as they need to have their questions answered.
THAT IS MY OPINION, OF COURSE.
Take this chimney for instance.
It is a disaster. The chimney cap and metal assembly are broken, coming apart and literally stuck up there with a couple of drywall screws!
Water and debris have been getting in for some time.
The flat metal top is rusting through, and water is getting behind everything. That algae up there isn't drinking malted milk. You can see that water is coming from inside the siding.
So much water has been getting in that the roof sheathing is rotting. See the dramatic sag in the roof to the right of the chimney?
Inside the house, the fireplace was in similar condition. Damaged, coming apart, rusting and UNSAFE.
This fireplace was one of many safety issues with this house, but a biggie! The buyers really wanted a fireplace in their next home. They were hoping to have one!
We are beginning to leave the house, I am packed up, bag and ladder in hand, and in sashays the listing agent. Her practiced line is out of her mouth practically before she steps over the thresh hold. The "any questions" line. She intentionally faced with her back to me, dismissing me like a mother cat ignoring her kittens by swishing them away with her tail.
The buyers, mistakenly, mentioned how much they were looking forward to having a fireplace and this one is very unsafe.
This horrific and nuclear defamation of the house was more than she could bear! And she launched with a couple of out-of-context sentences, not the least bit cogent, and silly really, ending with, "Well, they (the sellers) never use it, so it comes as is."
The buyers had no come back. I think they were shocked by her diatribe.
Perhaps out of line, I put my bag down, walked in front of the agent, bent down so my eyes were level with hers, smiled and softly and calmly said, "This fireplace is not the only issue with this house. There are many! But it was something that disappointed MY CLIENTS because they were really looking forward to a fireplace. This one is unsafe and could only be used if completely rebuilt, along with all the associated damage it has caused. The sellers may not use it, but that is irrelevant. They are selling it to someone else, clearly advertising that the house has a fireplace! That's a bit like selling a car to someone, advertising air conditioning, and finding out after the deal that it doesn't work, saying hey, no problem, the seller doesn't use it! I find that a bit silly. DON'T YOU AGREE?"
I learned to use those last three words when studying debate in school. When you DO make a clear and cogent point, in contrast to your debate opponent, using the phrase "don't you agree?" really cements your case.
HOW COULD SHE ARGUE WITH THAT?
With that I picked up my stuff, and walking toward the door said to my clients, "Thanks guys! I will email you the report tonight."
Walking out the door I thought I heard music. Yes, I'm sure I did. I heard "Under My Thumb," by the Rolling Stones, and the lines:
" It's down to me, oh yeah,
The way she talks when she's spoken to.
Down to me, the change has come,
She's under my thumb
Yeah, it feels alright... "
My recommendation: stand your ground! "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Wow, that should be a proverb!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560