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