Technically Speaking

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

Listing agents can be funny.  Some like to show up at the end of a home inspection on their listing "just to answer any questions."  Sometimes they also feel the need to give me a little history, just so I know.

I have been doing this long enough to be able to translate all that.  What the agent is really saying is, "I know there's going to be a list and I want a head's up now before the report actually comes out."  And, "This homeowner lived here a long time and did a lot of work himself.  He is very home savvy."

On this particular inspection, the house was in overall good condition.  But there was a long list of things that simply needed to be corrected, technically speaking. 

Take this dryer outlet for example.

1.  It's junction is inside an electrical box and that box is secured to the wall.  This is all correct, technically speaking.  But it's secured onto a small wood strip glued to a concrete block wall.  I assumed (you don't want to assume really) that the box was screwed to that wood strip, but I really don't know.  This is all incorrect, technically speaking.

And it's been fine until now.

2.  The service cable goes inside the box where a junction has been made.  This is all correct, technically speaking.  But the box is very small for such a large cable and because of that the cable had to be pulled out of the box in order for everything to fit inside.  This is all incorrect, technically speaking.

And it's been fine until now.

3.  Further, that cable was improperly stripped, leaving the hot and neutral cables exposed to potential damage.  This is not a small amperage line and can really hurt somebody!  That gray insulation with the writing on it should go completely inside the box, technically speaking.

And it's been fine until now.

4.  The service cables are so large that where they go into the box they are very tight and cannot be easily pulled out.  This is all correct, technically speaking.  But the National Electric Code stipulates that any electrical cable going into any electrical box should be secured with a connector clamp.  This clamp does two things - it holds the cable tightly in place and prevents any sparks from escaping through that hole.  Because this box is too small, the hole accommodating the cables is very small and a connector clamp will not fit.  Therefore one is not present.  This is all incorrect, technically speaking.

And it's been fine until now.

5.  The box has a protective metal cover which houses the junction properly and prevents sparks from escaping.  This is all correct, technically speaking.  But really a cover plate is needed.  Do you see the ground lines on the right side of the outlet holes?  A cover plate would protect that also.  That is another reason why this box should be installed beside a 2x4 stud, securely fastened, and flush to the edge, so a cover plate rests flat and secure.  There is no properly-placed cover plate.  This is all incorrect, technically speaking.

And it's been fine until now.

Why do I keep saying technically speaking?  Because bubbly Miss Listing Agent kept saying that this dryer receptacle had been there a long time and had been fine until now, so "technically speaking" it is OK!  With every little point I made about THIS ONE THING, the Little Miss kept debating me with her "technically speaking" come back!  She also said, "And it's been fine until now..." more than once.

I WAS JUST ABOUT AS TIRED HEARING ALL THAT AS YOU HAVE BEEN READING IT!  Although you knew I was leading to a point, didn't you!  After that, when she pressed me for the "rest of the list," I politely refused saying it would be in the report.  I WAS DONE!

How about I do my job and you do yours, lady?  Go home.

My recommendation:  This was just one example of one problem that was OK, technically speaking, and OK to do for yourself, technically speaking, but not OK to sell to someone else because, after all, it was incorrect, technically speaking.  And if the house catches fire or my clients are hurt because of something that I let go and did not mention, well, technically speaking, it would make me feel bad and disrupt my life in a big way!

I will admit to seeing things that are very inventive and not correct, technically speaking, but wouldn't bother me if I was to buy the house.  If it's alright for me, and after discussing it with my clients it's alright with them, I let it go.

The Golden Rule, after all, is a very good way to live, and that's NOT technically speaking.

 

 

 

Posted by

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


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mark Woodward 12/25/2010 11:06 PM
  2. Dan Edward Phillips 12/27/2010 12:03 AM
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Rainmaker
233,449
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

How about I do my job and you do yours, lady?  Go home.

Ha!  Well put!  This was an excellent post and a joy to read.  Thanks.

Dec 23, 2010 02:28 PM #46
Rainmaker
376,877
Robin Dampier REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker King - Hendersonville, NC
Hendersonville & Western NC Real Estate Source

Enjoyed the information and humor in your post on the Ms Bubbly.  Unfortunately there are more than one Ms. Bubbly in the business.  Technically speaking what you have described sure would need the blessing of a licensed electrician willing to say so on paper.

Sue of Robin and Sue

Dec 23, 2010 03:52 PM #47
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

S&D - wow, I especially love it when the agent knows more than I!  But, all said, that is pretty much all the time!

Claudette - my opinion, this is the only chance the buyer will have unfettered access to the property prior to closing, and it should be so.  There has not been time to digest the inspection and the report has not been generated.  Until then, there is nothing to talk about.  No one knows what the buyer will be asking for.

Wallace - then there must be a whole lot of liability going on here!

Jen - exactly and the buyer hasn't had time to digest everything yet!  What will they be asking for?

Dec 23, 2010 10:47 PM #48
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Randy - there is always that temptation to take over from the inspector!  My experience anyway.  Sometimes I really think - Go home!

Mike - they would have to try a long, long time to put words into my mouth or influence me.  That will be a frustrating failure for sure.

Thank you Barbara.  Sometimes the humor is what gets me by!

Elfin Ginny - once a listing agent actually called another inspector to ask questions about something I noted on the report, in front of everyone!  He agreed with her that what I had mentioned was wrong.  Then told me in front of everyone.  I asked if he was still on the phone and he was, so loud enough for him to hear I said, "Anyone who thinks he can diagnose that over the phone is an idiot.  Give me his name and association affiliation."  He hung up immediately.  HA!

Dec 23, 2010 10:53 PM #49
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Michael - there's not much to be said if the buyer doesn't ask for something to be done.

Of course Bob, because the seller doesn't know what to do really without an agent.  Same to you and yours!

Irene - make your decisions once you see what is on the table, not before!

Patricia - I think the buyer is the process and what the buyer wants in an addendum is the end game.  Nothing is decided yet at the inspection!

Dec 23, 2010 10:56 PM #50
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Barbara-Jo - I have thought about that and I believe I would have another inspector help me in my own home purchase.

Tammie - that is an interesting position and not one have have seen before!  Good for you!

Well, Tni, would that that was the norm!  I wish!

Brian - how often have we heard the, "But I've always done it that way!" comment?  So what, you've always done it wrong!  History questions of a repair are relevant as to time frame and such, but for now it is the buyer's time to spend with his new house!

Dec 23, 2010 11:00 PM #51
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Robert - that is one response I hear a lot and really, really don't like to!

Justin - one hack job of many in that house!  Overall it was in good shape though.

Darryl - not only do I never do that (!) but even if the house really did need to be completely rewired, I would never say that.  I might mention all the advantages to having a licensed electrician out and why I think so...

Missy - and THAT'S about the time things need to be considered and taken care of!

Dec 23, 2010 11:05 PM #52
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Evelyn - unfortunately, sometimes it isn't Miss B who shows up, it's Miss Argue-Meanly.  The hyphen is very chic, you know.

Mike - a good philosophy to live by.  He doesn't have the liability that I do though.

Brian - well, and more so with the introduction of Miss Bubbly!

Terri - thank you and Merry Christmas to you too.  What's the hat for?

Dec 23, 2010 11:08 PM #53
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That's it exactly Tom.  But I really think the only agent I painted here was Miss Bubbly!

Thanks Rebecca.  Miss Bubbly does seem to get around!

It is Chris, but no where near as attractive as duct tape.  I don't know what they were thinking.

Catherine - some people seem to have those ears blocked and just a little pride gets in the way!

Dec 23, 2010 11:10 PM #54
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Randy - here the requirement is that the listing agent and buyer receive a copy of the inspection report, and maybe so there is proper disclosure of defects.  Just because you don't know doesn't mean a danger doesn't exist!

Jim - I seem to meet agents all the time who think they are better inspectors than I.  Remember Miss There's-No-Such-Thing-As-Mold-In-An-Attic?  I still have never heard from her!  Still not sure why...

Erica - going into people's homes as you and I do we know that people live with a lot of things!

Maureen - when that happens I politely tell everyone that this is the buyer's unfettered time and they are invited to go somewhere else.  If not it is best to reschedule the inspection.

Dec 23, 2010 11:15 PM #55
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

And I'm glad you enjoyed it Reubs!  But really, how many times has this happened to you!

Robin and Sue - which is, AFTER ALL, the point of an addendum!  The photo above is really an easy fix.

Dec 23, 2010 11:17 PM #56
Rainmaker
526,069
Mike & Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

In the listing agents eyes nothing is ever a problem...it is always "grandfathered it", "the way seller bought it","this house is not new, what does the buyer expect?", "seller is a contractor so there can't be anything wrong", "this is a grey area" and my very favorite:

"Why does the buyer need the windows to open?"

Loved your post, thank you.

Eve in Orlando

Dec 24, 2010 12:26 AM #57
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You are very right about all of that Eve!  And I have heard every one of them!

Dec 24, 2010 12:16 PM #58
Ambassador
2,007,427
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Of course it's been fine up until now, but what about tomorrow or better yet the day after closing?

It's your job to inform the buyers and let them make the decision.

Dec 25, 2010 11:54 AM #59
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I agree Christine.  Observe and report.  Beyond that it is the buyer's course of action.  The buyer is the process.

Dec 25, 2010 12:00 PM #60
Rainmaker
207,865
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

"If the deal falls apart and I have knowledge of a defect from the inspection I will now have to disclose it to any other potential buyer"

Sure seems like an ostrich's head in the sand approach to full disclosure.  

While it's likely more common than most of us would care for, I'm not sure "negatively impact my seller" is a good reason to stick your head in the sand about potential dangers to the home buyer. 

Just seems like a good way to get bit in the butt!

Dec 28, 2010 02:10 AM #61
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I agree with you completely Erby, and was a little surprised by that comment!  I tried to be polite in my response.

Dec 28, 2010 05:46 AM #62
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Had I not stopped it Valerie, there would have been a debate on every splinter in the house.

Dec 30, 2010 11:22 PM #64
Rainmaker
226,084
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi Jay, I guess you have heard it all in your job. I had a gas fitting company for 10 years and advised my employees to never comment on another trade. I have to agree with you that i usually leads to things that you don't want to get in to. Just do the job that you were hired to do and take instructions from the person that's paying you to be there.

Jan 02, 2011 09:11 AM #65
Rainmaker
1,839,704
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Michelle - my job is to observe and report.  Sometimes that involves commenting on how something was done, but I never say that another trade was less than stellar!

Jan 02, 2011 09:42 AM #66
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Rainmaker
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