An entire inspection of a foreclosure recently was spent with my buyer client and her "contractor." I use the quotes around the word contractor intentionally.
Not realizing I speak Spanish, in each room they were discussing the best way to hide this, or cheaply repair that, or cover this or clean the mold off of that. I listened and understood.
I did my thing, they did theirs.
Please understand -- my thing is to provide the best service I can, no matter what the outcome.
Their thing was something entirely different.
Finally, in the master bathroom, there had been serious leaking through the extremely filty, rickety shower doors. The water had gotten under the vinyl flooring, staining it purple and causing it to peel upward. There was similar staining around the tub and toilet. Typical. There is only one way to fix it - replace the product and any damaged wood beneath. They watched me press my weight all along the edge. Nothing seemed to buckle, so perhaps it isn't terribly rotten. But who knows what is under that vinyl.
They discussed tacking the vinyl back down with small nails, hiding them with caulking. She asked my opinion, in English. Being sure both would understand, I answered in Spanish. You should have seen their eyes widen! I said:
"You can do it cheap, or you can do it right."
"That would be much more expensive than fixing and caulking the flooring. I'd have to replace the flooring, and fix the floor, and remove the toilet, and replace the shower door. It would cost."
"There is a lot to do here in this house. I have to watch my pennies."
"Would you want to buy a flipped house from someone who had done substantial repairs, all cheaply? You have discussed hiding things, covering things up and I for one would not want to buy that. Have you ever heard of the Golden Rule?"
Long pause. "The Golden Rule depends on one's budget." That is a direct quote. Big smiles from both.
"No. It doesn't." Smiles gone. "Would you fix things this way if your children were going to buy this house? Of course not! Why would you do less for someone else? Why did you hire me? Because your realtor told you I would do a very good job. You expect me to do that for you. Would you have hired someone to do less?"
The conversation ended at that point. She got it. She didn't care. Buy it, flip it, get out of Dodge.
What happens after my inspection really isn't my purview. But it coooouuuuld be...
Oh, as I was leaving, the "contractor" happily offered me his card. All smiles! "You are a very good inspector. Please refer me to your other clients!"
"No thanks. I have a very small group of people I refer. I have known them all for many years. My experiences with them have proved to me that they do very careful work, with pride and professionalism. I care about my clients and would not refer less." Smiles gone.
My recommendation: You can do it cheap, or you can do it right. Do it right!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560