What I'm Seeing Now

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They Went From, "We Need An Electrician," To "Thanks! U ROCK!"

While sitting in the car, listening to the radio and waiting for my next client to arrive I received an email.

It said, "Jay, not sure if you remember us, but you inspected our home about one year ago.  I hope all is well.  Do you have an electrician you could refer to us?  The electrical outlets in the kitchen are all out :(   Lulu Belle"

Well, that could be any of many things.  So I probed a bit.  This began a string of emails.

"All of them?  How long has this been so?"

"A couple of days ago one side of the kitchen went out.  So we moved all the appliances to the side that worked and now, today, that side is out."

"Lulu, this sounds like your GFI outlets have tripped.  Your kitchen should have two of the outlets with the push buttons.  Push in both of the red (or stuck-out) buttons hard, or until they snap.  Then try the outlets for power."

"They work!"

"You must have overloaded one side while using the appliances one day.  By moving them to the other side you probably overloaded it too.  The next time just look to see if one of the buttons has popped out and push it in."

"Thanks Jay!  I called around to electricians and you probably just saved us $300!  U ROCK!"

Another day of doing good and doing right!  Just then my client arrived and I was off to save Lil' Nell from SNIDELY FLIPLASH!

My recommendation:   when you have a problem, don't be embarrassed to call your home inspector for advice!  The solution to your problem may be easier than you think!


 

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 51 commentsJay Markanich • May 10 2012 03:01AM

Comments

I like the image of you as Dudley Do- Right. Somehow it seems to fit. That would have been an expensive service call just tp push in a button on the tripped gfi.

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) about 7 years ago

Morning Jay our motto at our office is "Doing Real Estate Right" just like you helping a former client however if they were ever a client they are not a former client now they are a friend.  Enjoy the day

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

Awesome!  I love when it is that easy to fix a problem or issue!!  Makes us all feel proud of ourselves and we look so good!!  Great job!  Gotcha yourself some brownie points!!

Posted by Lisa Rees, Coldwell Banker Reilly & Sons Real Estate Agent (Coldwell Banker Reilly & Sons) about 7 years ago

And they would have been charged Anne!  You know that.  And the electrician might have made it look difficult, so they would call again!  Who knows?

James - that's a great motto!  We are here to help anyway we can.

Thank you Lisa.  I like it when clients call and I can help!  Of course!  Do you remember Dudley?

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

Awesome!  I always say, you guys are not expensive, "You're priceless"!

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 -) about 7 years ago

Thank you Ken, but I am just a well-mannered fellow (necessarily - a Scout is courteous and kind) and willing to help!

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

HONEY, Get the manual! 

Huh??? What manual???

Every single mechanical, plumbing, electrical, etc. thing in a home came with a manual.

EXCEPT THE HOUSE.

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

Dudley Do Right?  Absolutely!

Posted by Lisa Rees, Coldwell Banker Reilly & Sons Real Estate Agent (Coldwell Banker Reilly & Sons) about 7 years ago

I did give them a manual Lenn!  And I pointed her to 5C.40 GFCI Outlets.  Agreed, we have come out with a newer version than the one they have, but that section has not changed!

Good Lisa!  You look very young and I thought he might be a bit before your cartoon time!

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

Who could forget Dudley Do Right. I bet very often the homeowner never thinlks to make theeir first call to their home inspector. Really who better to call.  

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

I agree Jim.  If for no other reason home inspectors have lots of resources.

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

I recently had this with a home buyer client.  All of the outlets in the bathroom were out and they could not figure out why.  I told them the bathrooms were likely on the same GFI.  They could not find the GFI.  I told them to check near the hot water heater.  Bingo!  They thought I was brilliant!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) about 7 years ago

Kathryn - that's the way, aha, aha, I like it, aha, aha...!

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

Sometimes its the little things like that . . . and they can be so easily overlooked. Same the money for the big jobs!!

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) about 7 years ago

Yeah, I agree Donald.  There is probably a lot of those little jobs getting taken care of for big bucks!

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

Jay,

Thanks for the reminder that home inspectors are there for much more than inspecting. We all need reminding that doing small things for people make big impressions.

Posted by Donna Bosze, Ask Me Why I'm Different! (Realty Executives Top Producers) about 7 years ago

Sold a home in the nighborhood and then get a knock on my door...buyer says...upstairs electricty is out. Can you help? Yes, and we check all outlets and find the one that tripped...Same ending as your post Jay...good one

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 7 years ago

Jay, you da man! I bet those people are telling everyone about you! Expect to be extra busy because of your Dudley Do Right way of working!

Posted by Peg Barcelo, The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC (Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369) about 7 years ago

Great story Jay!  I love hearing stories like this.  :)                                                                                                                 

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) about 7 years ago

AS a 'retired' builder I have had that call sooooo many times. (Yes, I told every customer about GFIs and where they are located, garage, kitchen, bathroom, exterior) Of course, they are not polite in most cases, because of the shoddy construction that causes electrical problems within 6 days, 1 month, 5 years...whatever.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) about 7 years ago

The first time our GFCI tripped I had fun finding it.  Turns out the reset is on the front porch outside outlet.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) about 7 years ago

Thanks Jay, Great story. It's hard to beleive people are really that dumb. Most GFI's give a loud "pop" when they trip.

Posted by Wayne Jackson, North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake (Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109) about 7 years ago

Great story Jay! It's the little things, I'm sure they'll tell some of their friends the story too.

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty) about 7 years ago

Even without this story, we all know U ROCK but you did indeed save this lady a lot of money! Great story and the kind we all love to hear! Have a super day Jay!!!

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) about 7 years ago

I never though of calling my inspector like this. But that deal was 10 years ago. I guess I'll call you next time. :)

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) about 7 years ago

We are Donna!  Thanks.  I am hoping my clients' minds change into the realization that their home inspector is a resource.

Richie - things seem simple when we know the answer.  People, generally, can really get befuddled.

Peg - Thanks!  I have been helpful and extra busy for a few decades!  But I did not do anything almost every other home inspector would have done!

I'm glad Christiansen Team!  I bet every home inspector on AR could tell similar stories.  And should!

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

Than - I think they just overloaded it one day while cooking or something.  But still, you're right, there is a lot of information overload.

Bliz - there is no rhyme or reason for the placement of the controlling outlet!  It is weird.  Only one time could I not find the GFI after I tripped it during a home inspection.  Turns out it was behind the drywall in a "finished" basement.  My X-ray vision just didn't pick it up...

Wayne - the blender might have been on, or the TV or the kids screaming.  Who knows?  But still, they did not know.

Amanda - and now that they know, and understand, they will be a resource to others.

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

Thank you Barbara-Jo.  I feel like a sinking rock some days, for sure.    ;>)

Time to repent Sandy!  Home inspectors are great resources!

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

Actually they called you for a referral and you ended up giving them advice. It was nice you knew what to suggest to them but I'm still shaking my head on this one.  They couldn't figure that out?!? 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) about 7 years ago

But, Carla, I am glad they called!  This was not the first time.  A few months ago they had a leak and called me and I diagnosed it over the phone and they could fix it!

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

Jay, I too get these calls---always fun to help and save people lots of money for an expensive service call.  Even if they have us out to diagnose a problem it could end up costing them less even when they have to call someone in to actually make the repair.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

Jay -- you are one of the Dudley Do Rights of the Home inspection team here on AR.  Glad they caught you while you were not overly involved with another client.

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

I like it too Charlie.  Hopefully we inspectors get used more and more as resources and not simply a report generator.

Steven - had they I would have just gotten to them later!

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

I just recently had the same situation in a neighbors house Jay. I am handy around the engine compartment and house and when a new neighbor said he was looking for an electrician for the same problem, I went in the house and sure enough the GFI tripped. I popped it back in and wala the toaster started working! Good posting Jay, I always enjoy reading your blogs as I learn something everytime I read them.

Posted by Robert Amato (Bob Amato of Empire Home Mortgage Inc) about 7 years ago

Bob - I once fixed my neighbor's clogged sink by pushing the tripped button on the bottom of the disposal.  Everyone cheered.  As I walked out I said it would be $180 and I will mail the bill...

Hopefully someone thought I was serious!

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

Jay, I had the same-thing happen to me, I ran up and down the stairs thinking it was the breaker until my wife got home and pushed the red button. Thanks for your tips, good one to remember. 

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com) about 7 years ago

How long did you sulk after that one Adrian!?

Great story!

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

Good job Jay. A fix with no duct tape needed.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) about 7 years ago

Jay; feel free to use any of this.  http://activerain.com/blogs/kcole

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 -) about 7 years ago

Jay - Years ago a similar situation happened to me after my kitchen wsa upgraded and I didn't even realize,,nor was I informed by the electrician....what could happen with an overload. Then the lights went out over my island and we thought...hmm,....we have an electrical issue.  Yes, it was only an overload and just required a button push when we figured it out. 

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I love a happy ending :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

Helloe Blondestar!! I've locked myself in the car and can't get out!!   Yes you saved the former client...but that is scary that a former client does not understand what a GFI breaker is...they have been in our homes for over a generation now.  The scary part is that is not the only person who does not know what a GFI (or GFCI as some areas call it) really is.

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) about 7 years ago

Rob - personally I was disappointed not to see duct tape used anywhere, but it was what it was.

Ken - thanks!  What's that swarming?  Ants?  Termites?

Interesting Barbara.  The lights should not go out when the GFI trips!  It should control only itself and what other GFI outlets are downstream!

Me too Reubs.  Then Snidely Fliplash had me tied to the railroad tracks and Lil' Nell had to save me.

Wait, that was the other way around.

 

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

Thank you Erica.  I wish most people would think to use their home inspector as such a resource.

Mike - people are people!  I'm certain most people don't know all the places GFIs are required now.  The new AFCIs are the next frontier.

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

Termites, use the video or still if you want.  I'll send the link, just let me know.

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 -) about 7 years ago

Suppose their eyes glazed over when and if they DID refer to the manual??? 

Folks who can understand a manual often overestimate the ability of others to do the same. 

 

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

Good morning "Dudley",

You always "do right" by your clients.  I did have a small giggle (at their expense) though, that they moved the appliances to the other side and those went out too...oh dear....

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

Jay - Nice post! I alway encourage my clients to call me first before calling a contractor. It feels good knowing that you can make life easier for people.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

When I have the need Ken.  It might be a post about what to add to the barbeque or how to dress up a ritual sacrifice.   Ok, kidding.

The manual pretty much tells them what I said over the phone Lenn!

They did move the stuff to the other side Lisa!  The husband did check the panel box first.  But they couldn't figure it out!  Can you imagine an electrician making it look difficult and expensive!

Eric - people call from time to time.  It's often difficult to diagnose stuff over the phone though!

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

Jay... I have another character for you... Jay Markanich - Rockstar!

What do you think.  I know you have just made another raving fan!

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 7 years ago

Thank you Chris!  But unlike some phone calls, this one was easy to diagnose over the phone!

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

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