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Beware The Repair Receipt From A "Licensed Professional "

The longer I am in business the more I realize that we should all beware the repair receipt from a "licensed professional."

A couple of weeks ago I was to do a re-inspection of some work done to correct some serious problems I had identified during the initial inspection.  There were a few posts about that house.

The realtor canceled the re-inspection, saying that they had receipts from professional companies that had repaired everything.

But I got a call from an underwriter to please go back to the house to check a number of things he wanted investigated that were on the initial inspection report.  It seems he could not find any licenses or certifications for this "company" that was hired to do the repairs.  He sent me their invoice/receipt.

I could see why he was concerned.  This company's name is very slightly different than another in the area.  The other company is bonafide, has a good reputation and all the necessary licenses and certifications to do what they do.  Their name begins with "US Air..." 

The company name on the invoice begins with "USAir..." with the rest of the name exactly matching the bonafide company.  And the license number they have on the invoice does not appear on any local jurisdiction's or association's listing.  I will bet it is only one digit different than the other real company.

These are two views inside and under the heat pump.

It is the return-air area just before the unit, and basement return vent.

One problem the underwriter wanted me to reinspect was the cleaning of a previously-filthy heat pump and ducts.

The invoice says, "Full service deep clean at the furnace mold control." 

WELL, IT DOESN'T LOOK REAL CLEAN TO ME!

Further, "Deep clean at the main tannel [sic] with sanitize the air duct system, we clean blower, rator [sic], air supply vent."  And they charged a LOT of money for that!  I have no idea what that means.  But I have seen ducts sprayed with anti-microbials and they didn't look like this!

Well, looking at the photos (two of many) the answer to that one is NOPE!

One of the problems in the first inspection was that both bathrooms vented into the attic space.  That contributed tons of moisture to an attic without any external venting, and the moist condition encouraged many types of mold.

Connecting the two uninsulated tubes together to more uninsulated tubing and to each other and the roof with aluminum tape is not exactly a professional way to solve that problem!

IN FACT IT IS TOTALLY INCORRECT!

Further from the invoice, "Connect exhaust lines to the roof."  For that beautiful work they charged almost $2000!

Previously there was a lot of mold in the roof sheathing, rafters and fire wall.

This concerned the buyers as the wife and children are extremely susceptible to mold infections.

Notice the black spray paint in the bath vent photo?

The special, black spray paint was all over, haphazard and infantile.

But not toward the edges, for some reason.  I guess the mold over there did not need the spray paint!

Mold was visible everywhere.

From the invoice, "Also we do treatment of mold in attic.  We check insulation no mold."  And again, they charged LOTS of money for this.

What?  Having never seen this wondrous spray paint before, I called a mold-expert friend of mine.  I asked if there was some new form of anti-microbial black spray paint for attics.  "No."  And I asked if you can't see mold on upside-down insulation is it infested?  "Yes.  Ideally it is removed and replaced.  But a foil vapor retarder facing up in an attic without ventilation is not good anyway."  I had said that on my previous inspection.  He also said, "Painting anything after a mold treatment is counter to every mold code.  Spray painting would be considered painting.  It is wrong."

Like the underwriter and myself, my friend could not find this company listed anywhere for mold identification or remediation.  He said the county attorney is VERY aggressive with this kind of thing.  He seemed as angry as I was, and I wanted to go pound sand.

I did something I have never done before.  I contacted the listing agent and seller!  They had done what they thought was right in this case.  The seller even paid for a 2 year warranty for the buyers!  In speaking with the seller I told her what my friend had said and she said she would pursue this.

I HOPE SO!

This isn't all that the underwriter wanted me to check!  There is more!  But I will leave it at this.

My recommendation:  follow-up inspections to check the work of "licensed professionals" is a VERY, VERY good idea!  Gee, you mean not every company is as professional as the other company?  And all work is not of the same caliber?

 

 

 

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 22 commentsJay Markanich • September 06 2013 06:00AM

Comments

Wow Jay, what a story! Did they really think it was done? Evidently, because they paid them...I wonder where they found them?
Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Evelyn - this work was done over a month ago, but neither the seller or listing agent had checked it.  Not sure why on that one...

I won't comment on where they found them.  You might sense the crux of the problem here!

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

Jay, it looks like a homeowner special to me! Claiming that the work was done by a licensed contractor makes it even worse!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 7 years ago

That was a "company" alright Tom.  The homeowner is a young lady with two small children.

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

Hi Jay,

Unreal. This is why "Trust but verify inspections" are so important.

There are still a lot of companies that are fly by night and only take cash. One way to help stop this is to pay by check and made out to the company not to an individual.

I hope they can find these people who ripped them off.

Have a good day in the Bristow area.

Best, Clnt McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 7 years ago

Clint - this was paid with a credit card, which can be disputed.  The seller did not know anything until my inspection.  She had not even seen the invoice!

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

Good morning Jay,

All I can say is "WOW."

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 7 years ago

Not the eye opener for me that perhaps it is for others Raymond.  I see this trash all the time.

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

Wow that's bad.  As a seller I would be calling an attorney, 7 on your side or anyone else I could find.  As a buyer I'd be asking for a hefty credit to hire reliable companies to come and do the work the RIGHT way.  Wonder if the owner of this company is related to our friend Flipper?

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 7 years ago

'Tis Cindy.  I don't know how it's going to end up, but imagine if that underwriter did not require a follow-up inspection!  This "company" claims to be licensed in MD, DC and VA.  No where does their number match up.

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

Jay, I don't do a lot of reinspections but I agree that they are a good idea.  I had a similar scenario as yours a few years back, even blogged about it, where I called for a proper insulation baffle to be installed in the attic.  Right on the kitchen countertop was the signed receipt for the work done, by a reputible company, and they never even went into the attic past my own tracks.  Why would any ligitimate company do that?

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

I don't know Charlie, except that perhaps they do not think anyone will follow them!  I am sure I read that blog, but I will check again.

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

Jay, I see this quite often. Shoddy businesses doing shoddy work. You can spell shoddy however your want...

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

I do too Michael.  But this is much more than shoddy work, from the phony name to the work not done to dramatically overcharging.  I was very angry.

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

Jay,  It never ceases to amaze me what some folks will do.  In Florida, if they do this to a person over 65, they get twice the fine.  Unbelievable!

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Good Elyse!  This seller is a young mother, with two children, and the desperate need to sell the house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago
Jay-There will always be those who take short cuts and play fast and loose with the rules. Buyers are wise to get competent inspectors and reinspect agreed to repairs.
Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) about 7 years ago

I did not read all the comments so I'll ask.  What do you think will happen now? 

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

Have not had an underwriter that "on the ball"....amazing that the Buyers....and their agent were not !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 7 years ago

Unfortunately you are so correct Wayne.  The Golden Rule is a very tarnished one, and gold does not tarnish!

James - I hope the sellers pursue this.  The buyers are not interested in waiting for all this to be rectified and I think are moving on.

S&D - the underwriter was doing his job.  And so did I.  The buyers did not know what to do or to look for.  They were wise to have me back.  I am very straight with people and don't sugarcoat bad news.

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

Jay, You are the best. What I want to know is why the seller did not do his homework before hiring these people? If I did not know the contractor or something about them, I would have had you check behind them before I paid them.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) about 7 years ago

Apparently a good friend/neighbor referred this company Tom.  Nuff said.

And always check behind contractors!

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

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