What I'm Seeing Now

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A Tale Of Two Reports, And Two Home Inspectors

This was a down and then up day, offering me a tale of two reports, and two home inspectors.

I stopped by early to retrieve a radon device and was met at the door by the seller.  This was a very well-kept house, and there was very little to report.

That didn't matter.  He had questions.  And for the next half hour I heard not questions but about all the insufficiency's I had displayed in my inspection report.

In the inspection I had noticed a repair in a bedroom ceiling.  It was minor.  I lift my light up to shine at a nearly flat angle onto the ceiling of every room.  That reveals any drywall repairs or what nots.  There was a small one in this bedroom.  In the attic above there was no where that a leak could have occurred, but there were many footprint divots in the insulation over that bedroom (cable guy or whatever).  I asked if this was a repair due to some kind of leak or perhaps from unintended pressure on the drywall seam from above.  BUT I NEGLECTED THE QUESTION MARK!  That really set him off.

Forcefully, "You make a statement of fact here!  This is clearly no question!  I KNOOOOOW there's no problem there and not even a repair!  You are WROOONG!!  I don't even need to look at it to know you're wrong!  You have no business saying such a thing!!"  Etc.  It went on.

To that I said I must have forgotten the question mark and, "Thank you for your feedback."

That was the gasoline on the fire.

"So, you agree with me!"  And it went on from there.  "Here you should have said this...!"  "There I would have written that...!"  "We don't even speak the same language!"  "You have things on the report that I don't even recognize - what is this silly photograph!?  (thermal image)  You say here, for instance, that cold air is getting in around the basement door!  There is NO cold air getting in the basement door!  You're wrong!"  To everything I said, "Thank you for your feedback."  "Part 2 is boiler plate - it's only information!  Everyone knows I have a gas furnace!  This is useless!"  (Everything in Part 2 is required by the state and my association - it's pretty much boiler plate, with specificity!)

I find that when people have to be right about everything it's best to just let them.

The more I said thank you the madder he got.

"You OBVIOUSLY don't even have the mental capacity to understand what I'm saying!"  And he threw the report at me.  "This is trash!"

He didn't get to me, and he knew it.  I think that ruined his day.  Bullies need to be kowtowed to and feared.  He said more demeaning things than I am mentioning here.  For a half an hour.

At the end I reacted a bit and said, "I apologize for being too obtuse to understand," and politely left.  I thought he was going to explode.  His embarrassed wife ushered me out.

Later that day I got a call from a client in a house I inspected over a year ago.

They had had remodeling done.  I found serious deficiencies, said the contractor was wrong in claiming he didn't need to pull permits for anything and I suspected he was not listed with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR).  Thus by law he could not accept more than $1000 for this work.  I suggested they find that out and contact the county.  They had yet to finish paying him, but were in this for many tens of thousands of dollars.  My report was long, detailed and included photos with my explanations.

The phone rang.  Actually it played "Let It Be," but you know what I mean.

"Jay, you probably don't remember me but...  "

I remembered them.  Nobody they called would touch this house.  Nobody wanted to get involved.  They were very grateful I would even come.

I then heard, "We did what you said and got the County on our case.  They said they had never seen such a professional inspection report.  They said your writing style made things understandable and with your photos explained things so well they almost didn't need to come to the house.  But they did.  They said what you said, that our panel box was a fire hazard!  Using your report they really went after the contractor.  We won our case, the County said you saved us over $80K, possibly a house fire, and you were the only person who had the b___s (her word not mine) to come and make a case on our behalf.  Thank you!  We want you to come back to look at the work that is being done now."

All I did was a home inspection and write a report. 

Same report, same inspector, same writing style, same stuff, different day.  The old SSDD.

My recommendation:  the house is the house.  Be yourself.  And don't let the turkeys get you down.  For some, being a turkey isn't enough - they need to be bully turkeys.  SSDD.

 

 

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 45 commentsJay Markanich • January 22 2014 02:37AM

Comments

Jay don't you just love it?  Those types expect a violent reply and when it doesn't happen nit just gets to them worse as you indicated.  Those people usually stroking out due to the stress.  Love it just love it. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 6 years ago

Well, glad I don't live in that household James.  His wife stuck her head in to try to save me, saying I probably had to leave, and he told her to go away.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

It really is interesting seeing the different reactions.  Sounds like you handled things well.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

It really is interesting seeing the different reactions.  Sounds like you handled things well.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

It really is interesting seeing the different reactions.  Sounds like you handled things well.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

Thanks Debbie.  From your comments, it looks like you really liked the post! 

And I have been married for a long time...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Can't please all the people all the time...sooo many homeowners take offense if their house is any less than...as Dini would say....purrrrrfect !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

Jay - good for you, FABULOUS post. You are correct: The house is the house, and you are reporting on the condition, and what you see. Keep it up. 

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) over 6 years ago

And I thought it was a great house S&D!

Carol - thank you and what choice do I have?  And look, I didn't forget the ? mark!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Another brilliant post, Jay! I like it when you say, "I find that when people have to be right about everything it's best to just let them." 

Posted by Frank Iglesias, Atlanta, GA Real Estate Investor (Working With Houses, LLC - Atlanta Real Estate Investments) over 6 years ago

My experience with hot heads such as that home owner is that, this is not an isolated incident. 

I have no doubt that this behavior defines him.

Folks don't change.  They are who and what they are.

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Hi Jay, good thing it was "not your first rodeo" in sidestepping the emotional seller/bully, but as you know, not giving into a bully is usually the best way to deal with them. As always, an awesome post

 

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) over 6 years ago

Wow, the people we find!  The housing business is a tough crowd.  Excellent read and great reminder of how people react differently to the same things.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Sarah Lynn Jaskowski, House. Home. Today. over 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing this

Posted by Drick Ward Property Management / Broker Assoc, "RealtorDrick" - Experienced Representation (NEPTUNE REALTY) over 6 years ago

You are much more patient than I.  He threw the report at you after picking it and you apart?   I would have wanted to deck him.

 

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) over 6 years ago

Jay, I LOVE this post! I think I know that guy. I am sure he has been in my families Mack Truck dealership before.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) over 6 years ago

Jay, people who get mad at you for no rational reason are really mad at something else in their lives.  As we used to say in engineering school, "Nil illigitimi corborundum" (don't let the bastards wear you down)   ;o)

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 6 years ago

Hi Jay,

And I was beginning to think I had the only bunch of seller who ever complained. What was I thinking. This happens more than most inspectors want to mention.

Even when confronted with the evidence they still want to argue with us.

Remember the home where the local "JHA" inspector said the home was fine. Then in my report it was not? Then the buyer calls in the state inspector that did side with my report and everything in it and told the builder to repair or finish everything in the report.

This is why we take the training very seriously. We need to be correct until proven wrong.

Have a great day 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) over 6 years ago

What a lovely compliment on the second inspection. On the first you held your cool as you knew you were right. I probably would have told that seller I work for the buyer and left. Testament to you and your nerves of steel!

Posted by Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker, RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity. (RVA Home Team) over 6 years ago

What a great post. I think you handled that first situation perfectly. Kudos to you!

Posted by Rob Tucker, Built 3 $60M Teams + $2B Sales Organization (Rockstar Agent) over 6 years ago

You must have the patience of a saint Jay. Saint Jay..lol. You handled it like a true professional.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 6 years ago

Much more patient than I would be able to show. I certainly would not have listened that long.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 6 years ago

Way to not take his rantings personally.  I know it is hard to take criticism personally in any business but it takes a true confident professional to brush it off and continue with your day. 

Posted by Julie Brown, Broker-Associate, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa (Steffes Group, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

I would have used polite multi-syllable word to keep him at bay.

Hope you get a letter of reccommendation from the second.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 6 years ago

Jay, I give you a ton of credit for not blowing your cool with homeowner #1. I'm pretty sure I would not have been able to take that abuse for 30 minutes! Owner #2's actions are what we live for. Respect and appreciation for a professional job well done!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 6 years ago

Sounds like a rollercoaster of a day! I agree with Tom - lots of credit for not blowing your cool :)

Posted by Jill Saddler, Draper Utah Real Estate Professional - 25 years+! over 6 years ago

I bet you really made the guy made using the word obtuse. I seemed to remember the same reaction by the warden in the Shawshank movie.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 6 years ago

I'm glad you ended your day on a high note with an appreciative homeowner instead of the jerk. 

Posted by Laura Foreman, Copywriter, Buffini & Company (Referral Maker Real Estate CRM) over 6 years ago

Thank you Frank.  It was no skin off my nose.  Let him rant.  He defined himself, not me.

Thanks Lenn.  I just said the same thing to Frank!  I think this is how he gets through life.  He was impolite to his wife when she poked her head in trying to save me.

Bill - the best way to deal with a bully is to crush him, but not when I'm in his house and have a reputation to preserve.

Glad you liked it Sarah.  Stop by any time.

Same to you Drick, stop by any time, and thanks.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I did Kat.  And I'm trained in two disciplines and formidable.  But no matter, he did not define me.  I was very reluctant to post this because I did not want people to think I am pointing at myself, but thought it might be fun to see that two points of view can be experienced in the same day!

He gets around, right Tom?  All I could say to my client was, "wow..."  I called them to warn them about how to word anything in the addendum.

Thanks Brian!  I like it!  And this was a great house, in great shape.  I wonder what would have happened had there been problems!

I have never had a seller do this Clint.  This guy was really mean and really trying to get to me.

Thanks Shannon.  I didn't want people to think I was pointing at myself, because I was not.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thank Rob.  I would think this is a very unhappy person.

Thank you Suzanne, but I don't want people to think I was puffing myself up or in anyway a saint!  I just felt it best to be solid.

I actually had to excuse myself, which I did Than.  And thanked him again!

I had not done or said anything wrong, Julie.  So I was confident.  His wife was very embarrassed.

There were many of those in my head Raymond! 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Thanks but I was reluctant people would think I am pointing at myself Tom, which I am not.  Believe me, inside my head this guy was ripped to shreds!

It was exactly that Jill, and thank you too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Joe - I remember that line!  Mostly, when I think obtuse, I remember my angles in geometry class - acute and obtuse.  In my context, it meant dull.

I agree Laura.  But it was not bothering me, as he defined himself and not me.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Not an inspector but I have been to over 1,000 inspections. I always go. Buyer or seller representation. I lesson I learned is that you can't keep everyone happy.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max By The Sea) over 6 years ago

Jay, this guy was looking for a fight and you wouldn't give him one. A true professional! The second one makes up for all of the others.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

Home owners are notorious know-it-all's when it comes the particulars of their own property. You were right to just let him blab on...I'm nor sure I would have had the same patience!

Posted by Vanessa Saunders, From Manhattan to the Catskills of New York (Global Property Systems Real Estate) over 6 years ago

You can't Bill, and sometimes people can't be pleased at all.

Mike - not sure about all that, ;>) - but that second call was wonderful!

Vanessa - he wasn't blabbing!  He had checks beside everything he wanted to talk about!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, you're so right - the house is the house!  And I used to treat bullies the same way back when I worked for Eastern Airlines.  The louder they yelled, the softer my voice got and the madder they got.  Of course, this was Eastern Airlines and chances were pretty good that someone along the skies did something really awful to them.  Still, there is never an excuse to be a bully.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Based upon what I read here, I would take your report over many of the reports I see other agents sending to me. I often wonder how these guys got their license.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

The only thing that you can do with rude people, is exactly what you did.  Be polite and not let them get to you.  As far as the second case, good for you!  I am glad that someone was willing to do what needed to be done.

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) over 6 years ago

Good evening, Jay. Defensiveness is driven by fear. I suspect that the seller is afraid that either he/they will have to pony up for repairs or that the seller will walk.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Jay,

You know full well that nobody actually reads our reports...:) Most scan for the "important" things or the "deal breakers" but seldom see the importance of actually trying to fully understand what we are reporting.

The sad thing is that only another home inspector actually understands what we are tasked to do.

Everybody signs a service agreement that explains limitations, the law, association standards of practice, etc. but we all draw the ire of our clients when we omit something (ANYTHING) and the disdain of sellers when we report something(ANYTHING). Forget the fact that we are usually "required" or "not required" to even mention what most people complain about

In your case the nuance of a missing comma made for a bad day...and I don't mean for you!

I've been accused of being many things as an inspector, but "wrong" is seldom one of them.

Keep up the good work, your clients will love you and GOOD Real Estate agents will respect and recommend you.

Posted by Jeffrey Molloy (Check Mark - Westchester Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Thanks Pat.  What's odd is that the things mentioned regarding this house were really minor!  No buckets in the attic!  It was no skin off my nose, but wow was the word I used with the selling agent!

Tammie - my state, and association, has specific requirements as to the things reports must mention - like, for instance, that this house had a gas furnace!  He was upset by my "boiler plate!"  Well, what's the alternative?

Karen - I say that I am not an alarmist, but not a sugarcoater either.  The house is the house.  I have no problems giving my considered opinion.  Sometimes my comments are pure fact!  Yo, dude, um, like, hey, like there's a, like a leak under the sink.  Wow, man.  That work?

That's what's so odd Michael.  There were no repairs and my clients weren't going to ask for anything to be done!

Thanks Jeffrey, for your kind words.  One other thing he said was that I did not understand that people actually read the report!  Really?  I don't?  I've been doing inspections since 1981 and run into many types of people.  But this guy was unreal!  But, as a good Scout, I have to be courteous and kind.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I have expressed to my fellow inspectors too many times to count, writing a clear, understandable report should be a first priority. I have said the report should be comprehensible to anyone who reads it. For it is not written for the inspector, but for the client and any concerned parties. 

If I was confront by that same person, I would never have spent a half an hour with him if he continued to act in that manner. There is no point. I have encounter such homeowners. I get my stuff and go. I have no time or patience for that kind of behavior. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

I tried to leave a couple of times Jim.  He was upset over nothing.  Even his wife tried to save me!  If I am nothing with upset people, I am polite.  I agree, I let him go on too long, again, over nothing.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

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