What I'm Seeing Now

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"I Never Heard Other Inspectors Say To Replace Old Smoke Detectors."

An agent called me recently to complain about my report and among other things she said, "I have never heard other inspectors say to replace old smoke detectors." 

It was actually more than that.  She actually said she had been on many, many home inspections and had never heard a home inspector say such a thing before, and was trying to slight me by making it appear that I do not know what I'm talking about.

Slighting me doesn't work on me.

That softball could have been hit a long way by suggesting she change home inspectors, but I held my tongue.

Instead I asked her if she read the link on my report before calling?  (Click here)  "No."  That was a blog I wrote many years ago on AR and it fully explains why.  But why read it when other inspectors don't say such things?

That was not the real reason she called.  Getting to the nub of the call, she was REALLY complaining that my report does not tell her what things to ask of the sellers, on behalf of her clients.  Her "other inspector" makes a list for her.  My report is, in her words, "hard to follow," because there is no such list!  In other words, like not wanting to take the time to read or think about my blog, she similarly does not want to take the time to read and think about the report as regards her clients.

A home inspection report is NOT a punch-out list!  But that is another story altogether.

But let's revisit the smoke detector replacement suggestion.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has specific criteria as regards smoke detectors - their maintenance and replacement.  They say every 10 years, max.  Some manufacturers recommend that their detectors be replaced in seven years.  It is a Best Practice.

But why?

Because components fail.  You can push the test button on an old detector and it might sound. 

BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN IT DETECTS SMOKE OR FIRE!

And the Consumer Products Safety Commission, in conjunction with the NFPA, and after much testing, further says in this 2012 article that the failure of any component almost always means the complete failure of the detector.

When do components fail?  About 10 years.  After 10 years failure rates increase dramatically.

The home above was built in 1987.  The smoke detectors sure looked original!  And one was so yellow they painted it to make it look new!  That is another huge no-no!  This is a major safety issue!  Why argue with the home inspector about what is an obvious safety issue? 

My recommendation:  the home inspector's job is to observe and report.  The home inspection report is NOT a punch-out list.  It is a snapshot of the house on the day examined.  It includes many particular things!   And when my client's safety comes into play, I am even more particular.  Safety issues always appear as BOLD items on my report.  They are bold for a reason.  Smoke detectors are a huge safety issue when older.  It is both circumspect and prudent to replace them!  And if your home inspector has never said such a thing before, consider finding and recommending one who is more informed...

 

 

 

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 64 commentsJay Markanich • June 17 2013 02:05AM

Comments

Penny wise pound foolish. Smoke detector replacements do not cost that much. Jay, now you know agents don't read.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) about 5 years ago

I agree Pamela.  And this is not my first dance with a realtor who doesn't want to read the report!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

LOL...she does sound lazy and not very knowledgeable.  I didn't realize that about smoke detectors, so thanks for the heads up.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 5 years ago

Interesting post Jay I never knew or thought about replacing mine but I will talk to the boss when she gets up about it.  Thanks :)

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay-such a small repair that makes such a big difference. I would have asked her if her commision was more important than a life..

Posted by Scott Fogleman, New Home Team (New Home Team 804-573-9592) about 5 years ago

Jay, I had a fantastic response, albeit long winded. I hit a button somehow and poof, I ended up elsewhere with my fantastic and brilliant comment flying around in the cosmos. Trust me on that one, LOL> 

So... in the interest of time I will say ... HOGWASH.

If smoke detectors lasted forever... it would mean there would be hardly any need for smoke detector makers! Like never flat tires... or lightbulbs that never burn out. HA!

But that wasn't the only point you were trying to make. I agree with you all the way around.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 5 years ago

Jay, you hit the nail on the head...i had one that was from 1971 recently in a home and they thought because they kept replacing the batteries that was fine...NOT!  There are strict laws here & all smokes must be less than 10 years old & the Fire Marshall pulls down each one to be sure...no closing without their ok...I like it!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Too many agents would not know what to pick out of a report...guess you just met one.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 5 years ago

I paint mine every 10 years whether they need it or not! :-)

I had an agent tell me she only wanted the "Summary" page, that she didn't need all the details. I politely told her the report was not for her but for my client and that there was a link on the report that pulled up a summary... geeze!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 5 years ago

Did they pay attention or even attend the home inspection?  I've read a number of your inspection reports and know where to look to find the critical issues.  It's pretty well spelled out where the red flags are.  

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 5 years ago

THIS ISN'T ABOUT SMOKE DETECTORS FOR ME.  IT'S ABOUT HOME INSPECTION REPORTS AND AGENT RESPONSIBILITY.

The home inspection report is a guide for the buyer and their agents to make decisions about repair/replacement/credit.

The home inspection report is not a contract between the buyer and seller.  THE CONTRACT is the last word.  The CONTRACT is clear. . . . .

        "A written Addendum of requested repair or replacement items.  The Seller may, at the Seller's option,    within ___ Days after Delivery of the addendum, elect in writing to remedy the deficienties prior to Settlement.  . . . ."

Then the buyer gets to respond.  Then the seller get's to respond.   And so on until an agreement is reached with respect to repair/replacement/credit.  Or, one side or the other fails to reapond and the contract dies.

AT NO TIME IS THE HOME INSPECTOR INVOLVED IN THE REPAIR/REPLACEMENT/CREDIT NEGOTIATIONS OF THE HOME INSPECTION CONTINGENCY.

Once the home inspector has completed the inspection and delivered the Home Inspection Report, the buyer and their agent now has the responsibility to proceed.

I would suggest that, if an agent can't read a home inspection report, they should attend some CE classes about home inspections. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Much of what a home incspector says is not a demand list to the seller but a suggestion list to the buyer.

Posted by Edward Gilmartin (CRE) about 5 years ago

You sure are hard to get along with. I thought you actually showed up and did all the repairs that you report on. Am I ever going to have some free time now. 

But really, that is the laziest thing I ever heard of. Does she even talk to her clients and see what they want on a punch list?

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 5 years ago

I have found that when we have someone like a skilled worker on standby that can make misc repairs, things like this just get done. In the absence of that, these repairs seem larger than what they really are

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 5 years ago

Hi Jay,

So what was the big deal with the Realtor anyway? If the smoke detectors are old they need to be replaced end of story. If they don't want to replace the units then don't. Maybe the underwriter was a person who liked calling for this type of stuff before a closing? Like my post today.

I have had fairly new smoke detectors that you could barely hear the alarm. These were just a couple years old, but still not working properly. Do you use a smoke stick to test your detectors in the home?

If you do, then this is the best way to find out if they are working correctly. But the fact still remains about the age of the units. If they are seven years old or older, replace them.

Have a great day and stand your ground in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 5 years ago
Great information Jay.
Posted by Bill and MaryAnn Wagner, Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate (Wagner Real Estate Group) about 5 years ago

And another thing.  THAT AGENT MUST HAVE LED A VERY SHELTERED LIFE IN REAL ESTATE PRACTICE.

For more than 30 years, I've had Home Inspection Reports that identified, smoke detectors, A/C, furnaces, water heaters, etc., etc. as "BEYOND THE EXPECTED USEFUL LIFE".

That doesn't mean that the seller must replace the item if it's still operating.  It means that the buyer should budget for replacement in the relatively near future.  I see this often on roofs.  However, based on the contract and home inspection contingency, it may be impossible to get a seller to replace a roof IF IT ISN'T LEAKING.

I do have a few unique ways to get these repairs/replacements. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 5 years ago

I counsel my buyer clients that the inspection report is for their use (with my input) in determining which issues may need resolution prior to closing, particularly those items that relate to structure/safety or getting the mortgage through. It's also to be used after they move in taking care of ongoing/non-critical issues.

I read the entire document, and so do they, and then we discuss what, if anything, is critical. 

If the inspection report indicated the detectors were old and should be replaced, then we'd make sure they're updated! 

And I wouldn't expect the inspector to tell me what to ask the sellers for.  That's not his/her job!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) about 5 years ago

Isn't it about what the buyer thinks? If you do a report in a punchlist fashion, most buyers feel that is a mandatory repair instead of a suggestion, alert or whatever on a particular issue.  You finding a 25 year old smoke detector that was painted over is a reason to suggest they get a new one.  How long are they supposed to last?  Nothing lasts forever & the agent just seems dumb & even petty.  Tell the seller to get a new one for optimum safety.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 5 years ago
Jay, it amazes me that people hire an expert, in this case ,you, a home inspector and question the expert as through they know more than the expert.
Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 5 years ago

Jay, so true.  And now that we know that Ionization type detectors are pretty worthless it is a good idea to recommend replacement with photo-electric type regardless of age.  I even recommend upgrading them on a brand new house :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

You are right.  It is not the inspectors jobs to suggest what items to ask the seller to repair.  Up to the client and real estate agent to decide.

Posted by Edward & Celia Maddox, EXPERIENCE & INTEGRITY - WE TAKE THE HIGH ROAD (The Celtic Connection Realty) about 5 years ago

I suggest replacing batteries and testing smoke detectors upon move in. People have been known to take batteries with them. I also suggest replacement of any smoke detectors over 10 years old in my report. It is crazy how people pick the weirdest things to get mad over. Sounds like this buyer is luck to had you do the inspection than the other guy.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) about 5 years ago

She sounds like one of those people who want everything done for her. Honestly, it's common sense to replace smoke detectors if they look that old! Now she just needs to take the time and get new ones, along with taking some time to read your report so she understands what the issues are. Not just passing the information along.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 5 years ago

I have been seeing that on reports for awhile now.  Remind your customer that the inspectors job is to point out all they see that is or might be a problem.  Certainly, old smoke detectors fall into that category.  However, it should not be a deal breaker. 

Posted by Dee Toohey, Broker, ABR, AHWD, CIPS, FMS, ePro (Innovative Realty Solutions Group) about 5 years ago

Jay,

I have always recommended that the "Smoke Detectors" be replaced by the new home owners. I have no knowledge of any problems that the present owner may of had or how old the units are by my testing them with smoke. It is a good safety practice and I have never had an agent complain.

Posted by Steven Wessler, CMI, CCMI (SpyGlass Inspection Services) about 5 years ago

Jay, I recommend replacement of old smoke detectors all the time. Like  Charlie there I also recommend they install Photoelectric ones. Even on a new home I recommend that they at least supplement them with photoelectric ones. 

Funny I just did a new home this weekend which my client will be using as a punch list ; )

I think Kat (#18) put it perfect.

 

 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Great report and I would have to agree with most of the post.  Looks like the agent could have suggested giving the new smoke detectors as a closing gift.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  In some City's you can get new Smoke Detectors from your Fire Department, especially if it's a new move in.

Posted by Graziella Bruner, Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County (NCS Premier Real Estate) about 5 years ago

That is a great recommendation. Many times I replace smoke detectors in the rental units.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay, I have had two listing recently come on the market. Both houses were built in the early '90s. During a cursory walk-through of the property, I told both homeowners to replace their smoke detectors which were all original to the houses. They gladly did it because they didn't want something as minor as a smoke detector to become an area on contention. As we can see with this agent, sometimes the smallest of things can become a problem.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 5 years ago
Agents are not home inspectors. I've heard this for years - good for you Jay!
Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) about 5 years ago

Jay, I just found out a few months ago that the lifespan of a smoke detector is only about 10 years.  I think it is a great you point this out in your report.  

Posted by Gary Frimann, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) about 5 years ago

They are so inexpensive, why would anyone even think of making an issue out of questionable smoke detector. Geez, ask your local FD to stop by and inspect them. They usually like these type of in home fire inspections just for training purposes, and many times they have a supply of smoke detectors that they give away, and will even install for you. And if you rely on a volunteer FD in your area, make a donation to your local FD. You should be making donations anyway.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 5 years ago

Jay,

My in-laws just asked me the other week and then listened to my advice about replacing their over 10 year old smoke detectors!

Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) about 5 years ago

Hi Jay,  I always date when I replace them...i do it every 6 years just to be safe...Just installed two carbon monoxide detectors (with a ten year expiration time) and will replace them in six years also.

Posted by Ronald DiLalla, No. Orange Cty Real Estate (Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824) about 5 years ago

I agree that your job is to indentify this potentially lethal hazard. I sure wouldn't want you to omit such an important safety issue for the sake of convenience when lives are at stake!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) about 5 years ago

Interesting that you check the age of the smoke detectors.  I don't think that I have ever had an inpsector check and see the age.  I was the listing agent for a property where the buyer was all upset because the smoke detectors were 9 years old and they had a 10 year warranty.  I didn't even know that they had warranties!  

Posted by Ann Wilkins, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA (Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty) about 5 years ago

I go to every inspection so I know exactly what's in that report without reading it.  The inspector I usually work with also puts together a summary sheet at the front of the inspection as well.

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) about 5 years ago

I haven't seen it on a report yet but am sure it will be coming. Have replaced the ones I have just because. Hate issues and if there is one it always happens in the middle of the night. Safety first.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) about 5 years ago

Jay it sounds like that agent want's her inspectors to do her job for her.  I guess maybe she is just too busy to actually read your report and consult with her clients and come up with what should or should not be asked for. 

Posted by Jim Patton, Realtor - Stanislaus & Merced county Realtor. (Century 21 M&M - 209-404-0816) about 5 years ago

Begging to differ, Debbie, I think she is omniscient.  And glad you learned something!

James - then likely they need changing!

Scott - I treated her very politely.  She, on the other hand, tried to hang up three times, succeeding in the end in the middle of my sentence.

Andrea - you are speaking with way too much common sense.  Things don't last forever?  Say it ain't so!

Ginny - that is a forethinking fire code!  Most people don't know to replace them.  That fire code is probably informing lots of folks!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

S&D - I kept saying to her that it is up to the clients and I would not know what is important to them or what is not important.  She stuck to her guns - my report was insufficient!

Do you paint them Dolphin colors Fred?  Hey, why not!

The people paid careful attention Cindy.  This agent spend the whole time in the kitchen, on the phone, arguing on call after call.  Then she called to argue with me - over much more than is in this report.  I think that is her way.

Lenn - you are speaking too much like a knowledgeable, sensible broker!  This lady, the assistant broker in her office, could learn a lot.  My report is my report!  It is not hard to follow!  And I am in no position, as you describe, to be able to guide the buyers into what to do from here with any addendums.

That's right Edward.  It is a snapshot of the house at that moment.  And as complete a snapshot as I can provide.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

I must be a pioneer Scott, because it's the pioneers who take the arrows!  Talk with the client, you say?

Richie - that is thinking ahead, which requires proactivity and forethought.  In this case there is a void in that regard...

Clint - I don't.  In Virginia we disclaim smoke detectors because we cannot test all their components.  I use my finger though to see if they sing!

Thanks Bill.  Stop by again!

Lenn - again, you demonstrate too much common sense.  I often identify things as being beyond their normal economic life span, but that doesn't say replacement.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Attention to detail makes a huge difference. Your job is to investigate and report and not to give use what we ask for other that the inspection.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) about 5 years ago

Kat - methinks you to be more the norm!  But I have to believe that your counsel is the wisest as regards the transaction - the clients count!

Lyn - my summary page says "concerns and recommendations" for every category.  Nothing is in stone.  Everything is in play.  But not my purview!

Judi - she wanted me to know that I am not her regular boy.  "Her" boy never said such things to her!  Well, guess what?  I am not going to be her replacement boy again...

Interesting that a photo-electric is now considered the upgrade Charlie!  There was a time when it was the "inferior" type!

E&C - when the client is the focus the client should be the deciding party!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

This wasn't the only thing she wanted to bring up Rob.  Just the one I found the most ridiculous.  I think this is her "way."

Thanks Suzanne.  Bummer that the home inspector would actually be informative!

Right Dee, it surely isn't.  And I am not sure why it should be argued about.

Steven - seems like a good practice to me!  But not to this lady...

Don't you love being the punch-list guy Don!?

 

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

That's an idea Graziella!  But, unfortunately, not one likely to be thought of by this lady.

Harry - for sure you should there too! 

Tammie - you are a very complete realtor!  That's a great recommendation!

You sure Carol?  And thanks!

Gary - it's circumspect to replace them.  And why not?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jeff - they will give them away!  And because they are important, and cheap!

Brian - they did not shoot the messenger?  Well, probably because they want to come to the party later this month.  Will you be sending reminders?  Gold leafed?

Ronald - that's quite a good practice!  And that would make anyone feel better.

Richard - for sure I try to be inconvenient!

Ann - I'm not sure why that's upsetting, but it's good information!  At least they know what they're in for!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Marc - I know agents who do that.  Some come, but do not participate.  This lady likes to make fun afterward!

Safety first for me too Bill.  Especially when it comes to my clients!

She might think she is way above those report things, Jim!

Thanks Gerard.  And I try to pay a lot of attention!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay -  it's a crazy that in 2013 people are still trying to dictate what goes into our home inspection reports.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Well said Eric.  And then how we should help the clients to utilize those reports!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay -- The home inspectors I have recommended do comment on replacing smoke detectors every 10 years.  I am surprised that other inspectors don't comment on this.  Now, this may not be a "defect" or something that the seller is willing to do, but it is important for the buyer to know it is something they should take of to protect their investment.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 5 years ago

Many people are lazy and do not read. When they do not get their own way the scream and pout not caring about anything but making their transaction happen no matter what. Lousy attitude.

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) about 5 years ago

Jay

Really? Someone is all that worked up about a suggestion that the smoke detectors be replaced? Given what they cost I can;t imagine why, other than laziness, this would be issue.

As far as the repairs request that is up to the buyers, with the help of their agent, to figure out IMO.

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) about 5 years ago

California law now requires carbon monoxide detectors as well. The white plastic space ship is well worth  the $40 or less. They can save lives. 

Posted by Caroline Gerardo, C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady (Eagle Home Mortgage, LENNAR HOMES Home Loans) about 5 years ago

Jay ~ good post! One sentence will stick with me - The Home Inspection is NOT a punch-out list. Good reminder on replacement of old smoke detectors.

Posted by Jane Chaulklin-Schott, TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836 (TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766) about 5 years ago

Joan - some home inspectors take continuing education classes!  We learn things!  What a concept.  I expect those inspectors who are current are the ones who take time to learn.

Jimmy - you will find a lot of agreement with that statement!

Jeff - there were a few things she complained about, not discussed here.  I think that is her way.  Superiority and all...

Caroline - they do save lives.  I also include that recommendation on my reports, and believe it or not she complained because "there's no way the seller will install those."  So?  I shouldn't report it?

Jane - and often viewed as such!  I just this morning got an email from a client - to her agent - with her list of what she wants to have the seller addressed.  She did not ask me for my opinion and I did not offer it, but she wanted me to see what she was doing. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Interesting the focus of the comments here is on smoke detectors. The issue seems to me to be the report itself. I think Lenn had the right take on this post. 

While the agent may have been somewhat off base, I think the reason for the call was justified. She was trying to help her client. I break my reports into two very distinct documents. The entire report and summary and just the summary. I find it interesting that some inspectors are adamant about not providing a summary. I have provided one for as long as I have been inspecting and it has never caused me any problems. 

I think what buyers and their agents are looking for is relative information from the inspection and ultimately in the report. I certainly suggest replacing smoke detectors in the report. Does it make into the summary, no. Do I discuss it with the clients during the inspection, yes. My goal is provide a concise and clear list of issues. While all the information in our reports is great. I believe a good portion is simply CYA and the clients are not reading it. 

My feeling has always been complaints are an opportunity to learn. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 5 years ago

I agree as to the summary, and have had one since I designed the computer reports Jim.

It was about the report.  This agent spent the entire inspection on the phone arguing with people about this and that.  I think it's her way.

She then called me to argue about much more than smoke detectors.  She was letting me know I wasn't her boy.  There was no interest in learning.  She tried to hang up on me three times, then finally doing so while I was in the middle of a sentence.

She's now on my list, if you know what I mean...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

i worked at Honeywell back in the 70's and i know our specs said replace in 5 years, the sensors go bad.  nice job.

Posted by Michael Gendreau, Edina Realty (Edina Realty) about 5 years ago

It sounds like that agent really does not know anything about houses and needs to be lead around by the nose.  As to smoke detectors, I am a proponent of redundancy as even new equipment can fail.  And, as technology advances, I bet that the detectors are becoming more sensitive and even better able to protect.

Posted by Roger Stensland, Let's Move! (The Cascade Team Real Estate) about 5 years ago

I didn't realize that the smoke detector can make a noise and still not work. Thanks for a really important post. 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) about 5 years ago

An argumentative, blustering agent trying to call you out on a home inspection issue?  Hah!  I would have liked to have been a fly on that wall...good for you in standing your ground.  I feel bad for her clients, though. 

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) about 5 years ago

That was a policy well in advance of today's norm Michael!

Roger - redundancy never is a bad thing when it comes to safety!

You're welcome Lise.  And glad you enjoyed it!

Susan - I was very patient in trying to explain things, and trying to keep her on the phone!  She kept trying to hang up on me!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

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