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