What I'm Seeing Now


The Bank, And Realtor, Didn't Know The Roof Was In Poor Condition

As I pulled into the driveway I could see from the street that the roof was really bad and was told later that the bank, and Realtor, didn't know the roof was in poor condition.

Really?  This house is a bank REO.  The buyer's agent met me at the house, along with the buyers.  The buyers had no idea the house was in such rough shape.  And the roof is not the only thing visibly wrong from the outside.

My clients flew half way across the country to be shown what is pictured on the photo on the left below as they got out of their car.  I watched their eyes change demeanor just after the pleasant howdie dos.  They said they had no idea the roof was in bad shape.  The realtor claimed ignorance as well.

Entering the house a short while later it was obvious just how bad this roof really is.

Even standing on the deck we could see what is evident by just looking up.

SOMEBODY knew the roof was bad!

That tarp has been there a while.

So has the "repair" to the siding and flashing in the other photo.

My clients were very disappointed. 

I was disgusted.  I got the idea the house condition was known - certainly by the bank but also by the agent.

To bring them here in hopes that they would just roll over, buy the house and inherit what was obviously a big mess was unprofessional at best.  All over the house.  Maybe a few photos sent to the buyers prior to their coming would have informed them better as to the house's condition and saved them a trip out!

My recommendation:  a quick walk around a house can often times reveal what is not pictured in the staged photos that try to sell a house.  And letting far-away clients know in advance what they will be running in to is basic, professional and polite.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 45 commentsJay Markanich • January 02 2014 01:55AM


From top left picture, I see several shingles are falling off. From bottom picture I see some Tarps (looks fresh) work, etc. However, this could be happened due to a major storms, etc after the listing with nice pictures. 

When a client is coming out-of-town to see the the property, No matter what, your recommendation is great and we as a real estate agent or better as a REALTOR should visit the property and even schedlude a pre-review for ourseleves without clients and notify them of major problems like this (sending some new pictures help too). 

Posted by Bahman Davani, CM at Texas Five Star Realty, Plano, TX (214) 457-7055, Homes for Sale in Plano, Frisco, Prosper, Allen TX (Texas Five Star Realty, Plano Texas) about 7 years ago

I wonder what the listing had to say about the roof.  Also I wonder if there was anything in the contract?  Sad to say the least.

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

Let me be sure I understand...the clients presumably had no idea of the condition of the roof, despite having a real estate agent?  Wow, whenever I have out of town clients, I practically bury them with photos, just to be sure they understand not only the layout, the look of the house from various approaches, but the apparent physical condition (of course emphasizing I am not a home inspector)...this is just baffling to me unless I am missing something.  

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) about 7 years ago

Yes, that is sad.  Sounds like a big waste of time and money.

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

Bahman - this REO has been vacant for over a year.  Nothing is fresh.  Yes, they could have been notified prior to coming out!  That was my disgust.

REO James.  The bank pretended it knows nothing about the house.

Susan - this is the same house as here:


It is also the house of the last Billy Jays product offering!

And no on-line photo was indicative of any problem.

Huge in my opinion Debbie.  This is not the first post about this house.

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

I think in situations like this with clients coming from out of town it makes sense for their agent to preview a home in advance and provide feedback before they come to town.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 7 years ago

There's no mention of a buyer's agent.

Are these buyers represented by an agent or are they a DIY buyer?  Big difference. 

However, we don't know if the buyers were represented or doing all of this on their own. 


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, Jay. I hate seeing roofs in that condition. It makes it extremely challenging for the transaction to go forward and generally, the inspector takes the rap for the deal going south.

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

Jay, the bright blue tarp was a big hint. I guess the bank and the agent never looked up.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 7 years ago

The agent didn't see the tarp? Or are they the REO agent?  This is the value of having an agent who will send you a video and their own photos of a home before you make the trip from out of town to buy.

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

I would speculate the tarp recently materialized out of nowhere. The wind must have blow it up there. You have to marvel at how it laid down so perfectly. Because....because we know the bank wouldn't try such a blatant deception. 

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

Hi Jay,

Let the deal end up where it may after the inspection. The tarp a red flag for the roof looks like the owners were at least trying to protect the home to a degree.

I really don't like tarps either. This means there could be issues everywhere.

Enjoythe start of the New Year 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 7 years ago

Hey Jay, interesting, thanks for sharing this information.

Have a Big day,


Posted by Randy Shamburger, FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional Mortgage Expert (Movement Mortgage) about 7 years ago

I've heard of agents showing a house in the dark and acting all surprised when they see something like this. The seller not disclosing it is where the trouble starts too. Too bad for your client. Happy New Year.

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 7 years ago

I believe that the Code of Ethics requires that we price a home according to its true value so not factoring in a bad roof would be a part of that. Not disclosing it is a lack of common courtesy that should be afforded everyone in our industry.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 7 years ago

Here's the scenario I am getting:

The listing agent did not include photos of the roof damage or mention it in his or her marketing remarks.

The buyer's agent saw the listing online and forwarded it to his or her out-of-state clients.

The out-of-state clients thought it looked so interesting that they booked a flight and came to North Virginia to make a purchase.

I would say that as soon as the out-out-state clients expressed an interest in the property, the buyer's agent should have advised them to sit tight for a day.

Then the buyer's agent should have made a personal visit to the property, taken lots of photos, then forwarded the photos to the clients with a description of whatever the personal visit revealed.

If the out-of-state clients had contacted the listing agent directly, then the listing agent should have provided disclosure information about the property's condition, and send them the not-so-pretty photos that were not posted as part of the marketing of the property.....

Posted by Cheryl Johnson about 7 years ago

Jay - If there were an agent involved, shame on them! If the buyers and sellers were not represented, shame on them! 


Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) about 7 years ago

Good morning Jay,

I like Joe Pryor's comment except for who will be coming up with the dollar value of the repair; here there are too many agents that have no idea and become insulted at what they call a low ball offer.

As for me it would have been a ride to view and take pictures to send them with my opinion.

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

Disclose, Disclose - This is just too obvious!  Something should have been in the remarks/MLS stating those repairs needed.  In a few cities here in Michigan, they require a Roof Letters Per the City.

Posted by Graziella Bruner, Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County (NCS Premier Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I agree with Tom.  If one chooses to buy cross-country (or even across the street) without representation, one chooses to get bamboozled.  The good news is that they're only out the cost of the trip.

Posted by Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about. about 7 years ago

There is another possible scenario that no one has mentioned:  It's very possible that the listing agent or the buyer's agent did in fact advise the clients that the roof was in poor condition.

And the clients felt so eager to purchase a property at what was probably a below-market price that they said "no problem, we can handle some repairs."

Then when they actually arrived and saw the property in person, they had a change of heart. 

And instead of admitting to Jay, the inspector, that they changed their minds, they choose to say "the agent didn't tell me...."


Posted by Cheryl Johnson about 7 years ago

Is there something wrong with telling the truth?  Is this Realtor a total novice with coke bottle glasses?  

It really disgusts me when people aren't truthful, it gives the rest of us a bad name and those poor people who spent the money and time to come see this disaster.  They deserve a refund!

Posted by Sara Homan, Realtor, Homes, Farms & 55+ (Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty 352-209-4044) about 7 years ago

Jay, I think Cheryl, #21 comment makes a good point. First, I'm guessing they had a buyer's agent or they would not have flown in to see that particular property. The agent had to show them the property disclosure before they left, don't you think? Maybe they were so excited about the location or some other feature, they overlooked the roof damage? 

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

I was ready to post, "It's hard to judge the condition of the roof from the ground." But looking at the photos, goodness!! Poor buyers need better representation.

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) about 7 years ago

Happy New Year Jay!

The tarp on the roof would have been the first indication. I know it's not there for decorative purposes!

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 7 years ago

Happy New Year Jay.  A big blue tarp is an obvious red flag that something is terribly wrong.

Posted by Linda Blumenthal, NYS Licenced Real Estate Salesperson, CBR (Hampton Crossing - Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - 631-466-4087) about 7 years ago

It's a shame that the prospective buyers were out the airfare and travel time to see a property in decay. A situation that could have been avoided had the buyers agent reviewed the properties disclosures. Bottom line, no matter what the circumstances where surrounding this, the client's convenience should be the priority. Attention to detail is the best form of client retention and satisfaction. 

Posted by MaryEllen Kuehl, Redefining Real Estate (The Kuehl Group, Inc.) about 7 years ago

It is sad that there are enough of us who have no idea of integrity. Somebody has to be held accountable.

Posted by Jimmy Faulkner, The Best Of St. Augustine (Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage) about 7 years ago

I think there needs to be a complaint filed against the agent. They had to have known.

Really bad and total lack of class and integrity.

Posted by Brian DeYoung, The Realtor with personal investment background (also affiliated with Howard Hanna) about 7 years ago

Where have we got to with our educational system, or even with our ability to simply be observant, that ANYONE would not anticipate problems with that roof?  Have we really become THAT compartmentalized--where is that dang paradigm shift when we need it?

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

I'm a little bit lost on this one Jay.  Help me out...  

You were there at the initial showing with the Realtor and the client?  Was the Realtor representing both the seller and buyer?  

If it's the buyer's agent that was there, how were they to know the roof was bad if they had never seen it?  

I'll check back later in hopes of a more clear explanation.

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

Since it's not clear whether buyer had agent it's hard to comment accurately. But if I were to guess, I would say that sellers and agent must have known about bad roof. Doesn't look like all that damage happened in the last couple weeks.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 7 years ago

Nina - it makes great sense!  In this case it didn't happen.

Lenn - reading it over now it looks like a couple of paragraphs disappeared!  I added back some info.  Don't know what happened!  This is an REO and the buyers did have an agent.  The buyers were totally uninformed as to what they were running into though.

Michael T. - this roof long pre-exists this inspection.  I understand the house has been vacant for a year.

Mike - or just did not say anything.  That's my guess...

Cindy - this is the same house as the gutter post a couple of days ago.  I think the agent simply didn't tell the buyers everything.  It seems a couple of paragraphs disappeared!  Reading the post now it makes no sense.  I need to figure out what happened.  Did you check into this post because it was featured?  If so, it isn't featured now.  That and the missing paragraphs makes me wonder!


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

This house was vacant for a year I am told Jim.  There are many problems inside just due to the roof!  That tarp wasn't enough!  Maybe the stork brought it.

Could be it was done by a repair guy Clint, who never got back to finish it?  The house history is unsure as it's an REO.

Thanks Randy.  I like that!

I have done inspections at 2am Scott, but it was pre-drywall and I had a boatload of big flashlights!  I would never show a house to a client in the dark!  I think these buyers were just kept in the dark...  until the inspection that is.

Joe - I think the house is underpriced since it has been vacant for over a year.  But surely was not cared for before the people moved out.


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

Cheryl - when I got home tonight I saw that a couple of sentences and paragraphs have disappeared from the post, making it very hard to understand.  This is an REO and the buyer's agent claimed ignorance to all this.  You are right, a couple of photos to the buyers would have saved them a lot of time and aggravation.

See my comment to Cheryl above Tom.  Yes, the buyers were represented.  And not very well.

As it's an REO I think the price is the price Raymond.  But I am not sure exactly how REO pricing works!

Graziella - there were many, many problems with this house, not just the roof!

E.J. - they were well informed about the house by the time they left.  They had not been so informed by their agent prior to coming here.


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

When we left, Cheryl, I suggested to the buyers that they call me prior to coming to look over a house and send them photos and give a phone consultation.  The agent heard me say it!

Sara - I think a little less-than-proper information was given the buyers prior to their coming!

Tom - this is the same property that I posted about a few days ago - the one with the bad gutter.  I think the buyer's agent did a lesser service than I would have expected.

My feelings exactly Doug.  Thou speakest well.

Same to you Suzanne.  Maybe the tarp is signaling the Mother Ship?


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

It sure was to me Linda!  And same to you.  By the way, would a red tarp be an obvious blue flag?

Well said MaryEllen.  I think these clients may be using a different person in the future for their searches.

Jimmy - it would be hard for the buyers to point a finger.  And I don't know the time line of how things unfolded.

Brian - I was disgusted personally.  Jimmy is right, above.  But how do you prove what was known and what was not?

Charlie - the paradigm shift should be more toward the Golden Rule, but, as we all know, it is tarnished badly and getting more so.  Methinks...

Sorry A&J.  I appears that some sentences and paragraphs disappeared from my post and when I got home tonight it was hard to understand.  Not sure how that happened.  I made a couple of changes.  Basically, this is an REO, and the buyer's agent did not inform the buyers in advance of any problems.  I thought that a few simple photos of the outside would have been enough information for them to decide against this one. 

See my comment right above Jeff.  I did make a couple of changes, but will have to work on it more tomorrow.  Busy with two reports tonight and there's a game on I want to see some of - Roll Tide...

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

Jay, what have we come to where practicing the Golden Rule is a paradigm shift--in some ways methinks it has

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

You're such an alarmist deal killer! ;)

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

I agree Charlie.  In the 70s there was a "business" book out called "Winning Through Intimidation."  I thought that was a big uh-oh.  I was right.  Things are screw the other guy before he screws you.  Too bad.

Joshua - well, hope springs eternal, but the inside was as ugly as the outside!

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

There is a lesson to be learned here.  And a good practice to follow:

Develop a good working relationship with a trusted, knowledgeable home inspector.

Work out an arrangement with the inspector that when you have out-of-town relocation clients, you will call him or her for a brief walk-around inspection, photos and a phone consultation.


P.S.  Folks might want to revisit "Winning By Intimidation" in spite of the title, much of the advice focused on being meticulous and thorough with every detail of your business.  Something that seems rather apropos to your post here ... :-)



Posted by Cheryl Johnson about 7 years ago

Most of what should be said, has been said. As to the bank "knowing", here in Utah, there seems to be an undistinguishable line between knowing and caring. The banks don't care, the "listing" agent probably hasn't seen the property anyway. Because of snowloads, we obviously pay close attention to roofs here. But, at the end of the day, this buyers agent hurt us all. Luckily, in a market the size of mine, we've seen most of the homes and virtually all of the roofs! Thanks for the reminder of what we should be doing...

Posted by Chris and Berna Sloan, Tooele UT (Group 1 Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Cheryl - I think these people have found theirs, for now anyway.  My suggestion may have upset that realtor!  And I met Robert Ringger subsequent to that book.  He seemed like a difficult fellow.  But I wasn't intimidated!

Sometimes that's true here too Chris, as to the listing agent.  This buyer's agent was not too forthcoming with info either.  I used to have a good friend from Tooele - Ted Tuttle.  Most people knew him as A. Theodore, not Ted.  CTR.

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

How could anyone "Not Know" there was a huge blue tarp on the roof.  I agree with the consensus that they just did not care.

Posted by Marnie Matarese, Showing you the best of Sarasota! (DWELL REAL ESTATE) about 7 years ago

Marnie - I have to agree with you.  I think everyone was hoping the buyers would simply decide to fix things.  There were a lot of things to fix!

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

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