This blog concerns a previous post and could be called A Front Staircase Disaster - A Follow Up.
Getting an email from the agent it simply asked my opinion asking, "Do you think the items in this invoice will result in a good deck?"
The last thing I said to my clients before leaving after the inspection was not to accept a proposal from a contractor saying they would jack up the posts and repair the stairs, that the repairs for this porch needed to be done with a permit.
Reading the proposal attached to the email it said, "Repair/replace footings under the landing. Attach the stair stringers to both decks."
What I didn't see is anything about pulling a permit.
The proposal also said to hurry, hurry and accept this so they could fit this work into their busy, busy, busy upcoming schedule. Hurry!
So, will this proposed work result in a good deck, as the agent asks?
THAT ISN'T MY CALL! I HAVE NO JURISDICTIONAL AUTHORITY! MY OPINION WAS AND IS THAT A PERMIT NEEDS TO BE PULLED (AND CLOSED - MEANING THE COUNTY APPROVED THE WORK) AND THEN THINGS WOULD BE DONE PROPERLY.
So I sent the agent back the link I put on the report. It is to the County website that defines when permits need to be pulled. On that page is a place to click to see what the County requires regarding decks and stairs. And on that page is a place to click showing diagrams as to how they expect things to be done. It's pretty clear. So I sent him those two links also.
And I replied basically, "Call the County to see if a permit is needed. You can send the County my photos if you want."
Later I got back a text (don't get me started on texts as being business communication). It said, "Thanks very much Jay. I called the county and they said that yes, a permit is required. We are expressing this in the buyer's home inspection response to the seller."
I thought WOW, THEY LISTENED! So often people discount what I say in favor of a contractor's very official proposal. The contractor is the "expert," no matter who it is. And so often I am completely discounted.
My recommendation: I have to tell you how good it feels when clients listen to their home inspector! We home inspectors have nothing to gain, and a lot to lose, from offering a document which observes and reports the conditions of a given house. Beyond our fee, we have no financial interest! Are we willing to offer follow-up opinions? Yes, within restraints. But any such opinions will be just as objective, and client-leaning, as they can be. The buyer is our client! The client's understanding of the property's condition before purchase is our goal.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560