Not Til The Fun Is Done

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

My client was going to be late, by an hour, but asked me to get started because he had a tightly-scheduled afternoon.  This was a short sale.  The sellers were home and a friend, who is a part-time real estate agent, (with all that phrase implies!!) was there to, his words, "make sure [I did] nothing wrong." 

I'm not sure how he would know that I am doing my job right or wrong, but there he was. 

He asked me to go to the attic first.  SO I WENT STRAIGHT TO THE BASEMENT.  Why?  Because I'm good at reading between the lines.

When I saw this I knew we had a problem.  A big one.  It's coming from the garage!

This is one of the main drain stacks in the house.  Can you see the purple primer on some of the PVC tubes?  Those are tubes that were installed by a plumber.

Plumbers use purple primer to clean the ends of PVC tubing of dirt and especially oils or grease BEFORE applying the glue.  The primer helps the glue to adhere better to the plastic pieces so they melt together without gaps that can be caused by foreign material or oil.

My problem?  The tube on the very right, which angles to the left to tie into that drain tubing:

1.  Shows no purple primer.  So it was not done professionally.
2.  Is coming from the garage! 
3.  Is the diameter that would be needed by a toilet.  A toilet?

So where did I need to go next?

TO THE GARAGE!

Opening the door to the garage I see it has been turned into a hair salon!

In addition to all the hair-styling equipment, there is a large space heater and 65" big-screen TV.

Looking around there are two sinks and a powder room that makes the latrine I helped to dig at the Goshen Boy Scout Camp in 1967 look like a luxury suite.

That drain line into the garage apparently drains those two sinks and that wonderful powder room.

There are MANY new electrical outlets.  Quickly testing a couple, when one side of the salon is tested the lights on the other side go out, and vice versa!  My tester mimics an 80% load (12amps on a 15amp circuit, etc.) and tests the whole circuit for six different things.  The test would be the equivalent of plugging in a large vacuum cleaner for example.

Gee, should we even bother to call Houston with the problem?

Not until I have investigated further.  At this point a thousand things are going through my head, and I went back and forth between the basement and garage about 30 times!

The "agent" was visibly disturbed, like I am finding something he didn't want me to.  (SURE, I WAS GOING TO MISS THIS!!)  The sellers had both suddenly found something to do in the kitchen, through which I had to pass on my way between the two locations.

The "agent" confronted me, somewhat aggressively.  "Why do you need to go back and forth so many times?  How long will you be here doing that?"

Looking him straight in the face, I calmly said, "Not 'til the fun is done."  You can think smiley face...

He actually cringed.  Not wanting to be perceived as confrontational, I explained further.  "Do you like a good detective or mystery novel?  Right now I am a detective trying to figure out a mystery.  At this point I think I have the interesting plumbing figured out for the hair salon.  Right now I am interested in where the dangerous electrical wiring comes from.  You see, there are no new circuits in the panel box, which means who ever wired it got the electricity from somewhere else, like a wall switch or wall receptacle, and there are overloads.  I know it's not from the garage circuit because when I trip it only one receptacle turns off.  I'm having some fun! 

BUT MOSTLY I AM HERE TO PROTECT MY CLIENT FROM BUYING SOMETHING THAT PUTS HIM AND HIS FAMILY IN DANGER.  AND THAT GARAGE WIRING DOES THAT.  I NEED TO KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT IT TO BE ABLE TO COUNSEL HIM PROPERLY SO HE CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION."

He shook his head and left me alone.  I never did figure out the salon wiring - I think part came from the dining room and part from the washing machine!  The garage wasn't the only problem with the house.  And, of course, the sellers would do nothing toward fixing the "as is" house.

I met my client at the door and we had a long talk, IN MY CAR. 

My recommendation:  when during a home inspection someone tries to influence the home inspector's work, I promise you that this just makes the inspector more wary.  Giving him unfettered access to the house is by far the better way to go!

 

 

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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Rainmaker
455,517
John Mulkey
TheHousingGuru.com - Waleska, GA
Housing Guru

Jay - Just think of the extra money your client can make with the salon--perhaps enough to do the wiring correctly!

Feb 28, 2011 07:11 AM #51
Rainmaker
571,668
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Jay,  Yikes,  This really was an interesting post.  The " guard agent " was a good tip- off.

Feb 28, 2011 08:23 AM #52
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Chris - well, we good/better/best inspectors are everywhere!  I had a good friend who was born in Tooele - his name was Ted Tuttle.  Officially he was called A. Theodore...

Thanks Lydie!  Now, explain to me why you can't tune into the blogs while on vacation...

;>)

S&D - like Edison, he saw a good thing and wanted to improve on it!

John - I was thinking the same thing.  Neighborhood businesses, like China...

Bill - doing this for so long, you get a sense of what to do and when to do it!

 

Feb 28, 2011 10:29 AM #53
Rainmaker
683,909
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

You are so right, when I get directed or instructed at an inspection, I look much harder at everything.

Feb 28, 2011 12:41 PM #55
Rainmaker
1,244,485
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Jay,

I have done a few of those places where a room was turned into a salon versus a saloon which Nutsy and I would more appreciate.

Feb 28, 2011 03:42 PM #56
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Roundabout, Erica, that agent DID help me do my job correctly!  May have been unintended...

Jim - fer sher.  Comes with the territory, and the uncomfortable look in people's eyes!

Steve - got it.  There will be another post about the salon (not saloon) a little later.

Feb 28, 2011 06:07 PM #57
Rainmaker
78,369
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Jay,please let me know when the book comes out as I agree with the above comments and found this very entertaining.

Gold Star for you.

Mar 02, 2011 02:52 PM #58
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

How you been boy?  It was nice of you to show up Bob, but your words are nicer.  Thanks!

You'll like the post that follows this one I think...

Mar 02, 2011 10:29 PM #59
Ambassador
2,079,419
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

All I can say is a good home inspector is worth his weight in gold!!!

Mar 03, 2011 09:40 AM #60
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I agree Barbara-Jo!  And, given the current gold prices, we are gaining in value every day!

Mar 03, 2011 10:20 AM #61
Rainer
273,930
Coral Gundlach
Compass - Arlington, VA
Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate.

Scary stuff.  Did your buyer stick with the sale?

Mar 04, 2011 12:10 AM #62
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I don't know Coral, he hasn't called me.  I'll probably know if he calls for another one soon!  I had some fun after the inspection though!

Mar 04, 2011 06:33 AM #63
Rainmaker
78,369
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Jay I have been fine but wish we had a quote/paste at this forum.

Your name came up last weekend when I took an all day SEO seminar with your friend and mine "Dominic" of Home Inspector Pro .

He put your website up on the board as an example.May I say the site looks very good,so congrats.

Mar 04, 2011 02:49 PM #64
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bob - well, it's good to hear from you.  Dom is using my website?  Wow, did he explain what a complete zero I was when I first started on?  What a whiner I was?  I don't know how long I've had my website, I guess about three years, but it sure has been a boon for me.  Dom made it happen.

You can paste anything you want onto this site.  What do you mean?

Mar 04, 2011 09:57 PM #65
Rainmaker
233,449
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Well done.  It's a good thing that agent was there to make sure you did your job right.  I can only imagine what would have happened if he wasn't there to supervise.

Mar 07, 2011 01:37 PM #66
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That, Reubs, is one of the reasons I will not do an inspection without an agent present.  Did you see the hair do I got after the inspection?

Mar 07, 2011 10:29 PM #67
Rainer
140,502
Robert & Leslie Lang
Weichert, REALTORS® - McKee Real Estate - Hawthorn Woods, IL

Hey, I'm pretty sure I used that latrine at Goshen (been a while, though).

Mar 19, 2011 04:20 AM #68
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Fabulous Robert!  When were you there and what camp(s)?  That year I was in Bowman, at the end of the lake.  I liked it a lot - lots of snakes!

Mar 19, 2011 11:44 AM #69
Rainer
61,654
Jim Watzlawick
Watz Home Inspections - Algonquin, IL
Watz Home Inspections

It just goes to show that homeowners should have certain things done by professionals, most homeowners know just enough about plumbing and electrical to make themselves dangerous.

Sep 21, 2011 08:48 AM #70
Rainmaker
1,839,329
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Jim, and for sure!  Do you go by the nickname Watz?  Seems to me that would have been an easy one to pick up along the way.  My name, Jay, is a nickname.

Sep 21, 2011 08:51 AM #71
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Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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