What I'm Seeing Now

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"I'm Very Disappointed With My Home Inspector."

The email began, "I'm very disappointed with my home inspector."

It continued, "I am going to have to make a claim with my home warranty, or have to pay an electrician to fix electrical problems with my house.  Many receptacles just stopped working, and there are other electrical issues."

You probably already know where this is going, but if you don't, there is a hint here  --->

I wrote back, "Client (not her real name), I reviewed your report and aside from old smoke detectors there were no electrical issues with your house.  I evaluated the electrical system completely.  And 'other electrical issues' is very nondescript.  Oftentimes when people think they have electrical issues I can evaluate them over the phone.  Kindly call me and I will see what is up."

She did not call.

So I called her, the next day, at work!

"Hi client!  It's your home inspector, Jay.  Do you have a minute to tell me what the electrical problems are with the house?  I may be able to diagnose them over the phone."

She was happy to hear from me!  Frankly, I did not know what to expect.

"I had a handyman at the house to put in ceramic tile.  He plugged his tools into the bathroom and none of the bathroom receptacles work.  So he tried to plug it in with an extension cord to the receptacle under the deck and it didn't work either.  He called his cousin who is an electrician and he said that the problem indicates a serious electrical issue and he will have to replace all the receptacles and circuit breaker."

You probably already know where this is going, but if you don't, there is a hint here.

 My answer, "Do you remember the special receptacles in the bathroom and kitchen with the push buttons?"  "Yes."  "Do you remember when I tested them and talked about them?"  "I remember you testing them, but I don't remember what you said."  So I explained again.  "When you get home, push the button on the one in the bathroom until it clicks.  This resets it.  I don't remember your house, but there may be another one in the basement under the panel box in the basement.  If there is one there it controls the receptacles outdoors.  Reset it too."

Now you know what is going on there, but if you still don't, there is a hint here.  --->

"How much did this handyman say his 'cousin' would charge to fix this 'problem'?"  "He quoted $100 for each receptacle, but he didn't know how many it would be.  And $150 to replace the bad circuit breaker.  The parts could be as much as $100.  He said my home inspector should have caught it."

THIS IS DISGUSTING!

Controlling myself, and not yelling into the phone I simply said, "Do you remember the last thing I said to you?  Please call me anytime you have any questions.  You can really call me anytime.  You are my client."  "Yes, I remember."  "You were being lied to and they were taking you in a scam.  Get me the name and license number of that electrician and I will have his shiny hiney investigated.  That's IF he has a license.  And ask your sphincter handyman to please call me.  Asking you to call me was not an empty offer.  Please call me anytime, and I will be honest with you."

My recommendation:  this story is not to pat myself on the back!  This is the society we live in.  Everything is a lie.  You name it.  It's most likely a lie.  When contractors tell you something, why not call your home inspector to run it by him?  The call might save you a bunch of $.  And I AM a cynic.

Oh, did the handyman phone me?  No.  Do I expect he will?  No.  And yes, I said sphincter.

 

 

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 20 commentsJay Markanich • September 23 2015 01:46AM

Comments

Good Wednesday morning Jay. This is the reason that I take a few minutes to show folks where the GFI outlets are and how to reset them. Stops a lot of these silly calls.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 4 years ago

Ouch....and coincidentally....we were just at a new listing...where the plug didn't work....and that was exactly the problem...that David reset....and for no charge...:) !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 4 years ago

I demonstrate them every inspection Michael.  But the overload of info during an inspection overwhelms many folks.

S&D - replacement works too...  but send an invoice.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Jay, this problem occurs often and the solution is simple. Many want to take advantage. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 4 years ago

Wayne - years ago when I was a contractor I heard an electrician explaining to a lady how he needed to do a lot of work to get the bathroom circuit working again.  I walked over and pushed the GFI button and miraculously it worked again.  I didn't say a word.  Things got real quiet after that.  Busted.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Jay, SOS different day. A good handyman can be quite an asset. That said finding a good HONEST one can be challenging. 

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) almost 4 years ago

Both of those statements are true Tom!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

I have heard my share of similar stories. I also have had a few clients call me and yes I did save them money. Some literally thousands of dollars. There are sharks out there, we all must be diligent. 

Oh btw, I believe the correct term is sphincter muscle ;) 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Jay, there are indeed a few liars out there---I wish that I could say there were no home inspectors that were also incapable of knowing what they were doing.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 4 years ago

Nice job Jay.  Most of the contractor we have around here are above board, but occasionally you get someone ethically challenged.  I feel sorry for those out there that don't have the knowledge to know the difference.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) almost 4 years ago

Hahaha, that is ridiculous! That guy should recieve 50 lashes with a wet noodle!

I always show my clients the resets for the GFCI's, as many times the reset is in another room or garage as you stated.

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 4 years ago

I am so glad Ms. Client listened to you Jay! I always tell clients to call me with any questions.. just because the transaction closed, doesn't mean, we are no longer available.

As for the handyman... I have no words. But I do like Fred's comment: 50 lashes with a wet noodle!

Posted by Andrea Bedard, M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond (Thompson Company, REALTORS®) almost 4 years ago

Jim - I bet!  Sharks to say the least!  I know there are a couple three sphincters in the digestive system, but I just looked it up and there are over 50 in the body!  But I accept your term!  The, um, hole muscle to which I refer is the last in the digestive tract.  The Beatles might call that "The Long And Winding Road" muscle.

I have certainly run into things that I have never seen before Charlie!  Like the other day, a plug-in radiant floor heating system for a bathroom!  But I admitted I had never seen one before and didn't lie about it!   It made for a fun thermal image though!  There's a difference.  Those two, the handyman and the "electrician" (call him Cousin) I don't think were incapable of knowing what they were doing!

Stephen - my mother used to say that they see a woman and see what they can take her for.

Wet noodle Fred?  Not good enough!  But I'd settle for a teensy investigation by the Virginia DPOR.  I actually play a game with them by tripping the basement bathroom and betting where we will find the controlling receptacle.  It teaches a lesson.  Well, sometimes...  This lady was on info overload and didn't remember that.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Thanks Andrea.  Like I said to Fred, I'll settle for the DPOR investigation.  They are not nice to scammers.

What will happen?  Maybe a fine, but I doubt it.  And likely Cousin Electrician will only change his business name and operate under someone else's license.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

This is a great story to share. They need to find another handy man!

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) almost 4 years ago

I think so too Roy!  And listen to their home inspector.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Jay Markanich I have always believed that there is no highway paved with gold for those who take advantage of others. Hope these scammers pay the price for their dirty deeds. Good post!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc.) almost 4 years ago

S&N - when I hear of people saying "the rich" who emply millions should "give back," I can only that think it's the scammers, and criminals, and those who take advantage of the weaker who should be doing the giving.

And I have heard there is a stairway to heaven paved with gold.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Jay Markanich , too funny!  I had one a month ago...the reset for the bathroom was in the bathroom at the other end of the home.  Who would have guessed. Sometimes I spend more time tracking the GFCI resets than anything else on an inspection.  Amazing what electricians (or Uncle Joe) will install.

Posted by Donald A. Masters (Master Home & Building Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Donald - once I had the GFI buried uncer the panel box and behind the drywall that someone installed in the newly finished basement.  I tripped it, and couldn't find it.  Suspecting it was there I put the location on the report, and the seller found it later that night.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

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