What I'm Seeing Now


Bounced Checks

In the last two weeks I have gotten a rash of bounced checks. This happens periodically, but not like this. Are you experiencing the same thing?

It's usually the same excuse - oh, my wife forgot to transfer money, I didn't realize you would deposit it so quick, the same old blah-blah, etc. I have since been properly paid, all except one.

One guy, who claimed to be buying a $1.4 mil house for cash, wrote me a business check for the inspection. I didn't notice but he back dated it one week. It bounced. I always call the realtor and have him/her contact the client. This time the realtor had moved to Texas. She said that the whole thing was a fraud. Apparently everything this guy did bounced, ALL the way to settlement. His website*, up on the day of the inspection, is mysteriously down now. Phone cut off. The address on the check does not exist (he changed a couple of words, but I did find his apartment, empty). The bank account was viable, though empty of funds, on Friday when I called him on another number I found. I returned to the bank on Monday to see if funds were there and it had been closed. I think I'm stuck with a jerk!

The D.A.'s office said I can prosecute criminally or go to small claims court. But neither is a guarantee. There is nothing to attach and they told me that I would obviously win my case against him, but that there was no guarantee that I would get anything out of him from the judgment. He is not around and they do not go about trying to find people. So here I am. I don't think it's worth the time, effort or stress to go after the twerp.

I have been doing inspections for 27 years. I can't remember this ever happening before.

The laws in this country really favor the scam artists - you can't evict someone for months when they are living in your house and not paying rent - you can't go after people for bad money if they have covered themselves sufficiently - you can't, you can't, well, you know! We are at the point of saying to people - cash, bank check or money order - no guaranteed checkie, no inspectie...

Is this a sign of the times or what? I was interesting in knowing - are you experiencing the same thing?

Caveat inspector...

* The Auto Innovators - Gabriel Cunningham ("Gabe").  Business plan - mobile wi-fi connections that move with the car.  Interesting, but don't trust this guy!!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 10 commentsJay Markanich • November 21 2008 06:56AM


Jay, I'm sorry to hear that this has happened to you.  Luckily, all the checks that I receive are from my broker.

Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) about 12 years ago

Sorry - No We don't see that but we are seeing people NOT HAVE AN INSPECTION. Not my clients but others in my office have seen it. HOW STUPID IS THAT???

Posted by Richard Shuman, Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals (The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts) about 12 years ago

I do agree with you that things seem slanted toward the scam artist. I have always believed the chain is as strong as it's weakest link. If we vigorisly prosecuted and held accountable those folks maybe the Big Scammers, AIG, etc would not be so eager to scam us all

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros (AllMountainRealty.com) about 12 years ago

Brian - yeah, I know!

Richard - I understand, in my area anyway, that about 70% of all buyers get home inspections!

Charlie - my wife's life insurance is with AIG!  I don't think they're scammers, but how stupid is it to offer to insure bundles of bad-paper derivative loans made to people the government said must be given loans regardless of ability to pay, legality or valid credit histories!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 12 years ago

A lot of people are hurting and taking from peter to pay paul and praying there is a grace period in between so they can get money in time that peter wont notice.

Posted by Heather the Realtor Orlando, Lake Mary, First Time Home Buyers, Bank Owned Homes (LemonTree Realty) about 12 years ago

Orlando - I recognize that and understand it.  However, if you have to move money, or wait until pay day, or whatever, all they have to do is tell me.  It is a lot less effort, less stress, shows more integrity -- and they don't end up having to pay me back my bank fees with the new check....

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 12 years ago

Jay, sorry to hear this has happened to you. I think there was more to this guy than someone who was on hard times.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 12 years ago

Michael - I think you're right.  I spoke with the agent's broker, a friend of mine.  He said that his office decided, after looking into this fellow and his history, not to pursue him for what they contractually could.  That says it all...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 12 years ago

Jay, sorry you are being hit by "wanna be" bandits. Sometimes people honestly have an error but to get 8 that is awful in such a short time. Too, Mr. "no business" would likely never pay you anyway even with a judgment.


Posted by Eric McGowan about 12 years ago

Sí, Señor...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 12 years ago

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