Would You Want To Do This Inspection?

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

Honestly put, I have never in all my nearly thirty years doing home inspections had a communication like this.  I read it and thought, "Would you want to do this inspection?"

I had a one bedroom condo scheduled for a few days.  The day before the inspection I received an email with "just a few questions if you don't mind."

  • Are you going to make me sign something?  If so, my lawyer wants to review it, particularly the liability clause.  He says I should reserve the right to alter your contract as needed.
  • My lawyer advises me to look for a home inspector who gives clients one year minimum to see if he missed anything, and someone who covers costs for mistakes.
  • Regarding disputes, do you use arbitration or courts to settle them?
  • Do you assess attorney fees in disputes if the client fails to prove his case?
  • In your inspection do you also cover building code issues that may arise?
  • If there are disputes of findings with the seller, do you step up at no cost to clients?
  • If the condo association refuses to cover a problem with the unit, do you, at no cost to me, agree to appear before them to defend your findings and persuade them to step up to their responsibilities and pay to repair the problems?
  • Do you also provide cost estimates and explain options for repairs, and pay for any differences if your estimate is wrong?

Now understand, I have never had a dispute such as this person imagines, never been to court, never appeared before a condo board to defend my findings or go to bat for a client who wants that board to pay for whatever and never had anyone think they have the "right" to alter my agreement.  If you don't like my agreement we don't have a deal!

THOSE BULLETS ARE TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL.  I cleaned up the grammar a bit, is all.

I am self employed.  As such, I don't look to others do provide anything for me.  Never have I gone into an inspection thinking in advance about liability clauses, disputes, arbitration or court, a time period to cover my mistakes, or any of that other stuff! 

This is a person all about entitlement, what others are "responsible" for as regards this person, what this person "deserves," and how much of other people's time this person should be able to call upon at any time, FOR FREE!  It's a me, me, me, me world!

Of course I said, among other things, that never had such disputes arisen and that I had never been to court, and politely refused to do the inspection.  And I wished the person the very best luck with the purchase!  Also, of course, I was thinking how fun it is going to be for that condo to have this person living there! 

I received an immediate email back saying that another inspector was selected instead who was "highly recommended" by a friend IN ANOTHER STATE! 

Living right the slot was filled by another purchaser, a larger house for more money, so my day was not disrupted.  The Realtor who referred me also called to apologize and I told her she should be glad a friend referred the other inspector!

What thinkest thou?


Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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



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Mike Dennis
Keller Williams Realty Southern Arizona (Sierra Vista) - Sierra Vista, AZ
Associate Broker GRI, ePRO, CIAS, CDPE Sierra Vist

Jay, The buyer should hire his lawyer to do the inspection. If the lawyer is as sharp as he believes himself to be... how could he go wrong?

Jul 28, 2011 03:07 PM #79
Fred Hookham
Keller Williams - Milton, WI

I read all 80 comments and only have a couple things to add.

You should suggest the lawyer screen and hire the home inspector. (Somebody above had a great idea there.)

If you feel really crazy, send them your alternate rate sheet, for clients who have an attorney on retainer.

1.) Providing cost estimates for repairs - $600 per hour with 3 hour minimum charge.

2.) Meeting with condo associations - $700 per hour with 2 hour minimum and all travel expenses paid.

3.) Meetings with sellers about disputed findings - $600 per hour with a 3 hour minimum, $800 per hour if there are any attourneys present.

4.) Investigative time to research building codes for revisions - to be billed on an ongoing basis as the need arises, as determined by the home inspector. Minimum rate of $800 per hour.

5.) Court testimony - $1,000 per hour, or any fraction there of. Entire transcript to be furnished for my companie's records free of charge.

6.) Additional supplies and retainer fee - For my company to put a lawyer on retainer and for the additional paper and copy machine toner that will be used.

OR maybe you just want to run away (without turning your back on them!)


Jul 28, 2011 04:36 PM #80
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

I love Fred's response. 

As for me, this is precisely the kind of email that would have me decline the business. No how no way, and no excuse need be offered. 

And for a CONDO! 

Jul 28, 2011 04:59 PM #81
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Jay - As an attorney with nearly 30 years experience, it appears to me that this advice came from either a law student or an over-eager new lawyer.  Any attorney with experience knows that while you want to advice caution, you don not advise your clients to make it nearly impossible for anyone to agree to do business with them.

Jul 28, 2011 05:40 PM #82
Jeff Getman
Realty Executives of Ravalli County - Hamilton, MT
Realty Executives

Run - don't walk from this one!! This guy is looking for a free ride and someone else picking up the tab. Definitlet NOT worth the huge fee that you inspectors normally charge!! You'll spend more than your fee defending yourself. Not worth it.

Jul 28, 2011 05:41 PM #83
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Jay - I agree with Susan.  This is just way over the top and would make nearly anyone on the other side freeze and likely walk away.

Jul 28, 2011 07:09 PM #84
Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection - Framingham, MA

YES.  I actually look forward to these clients.  I am very interested in the name of the lawyer and meeting with them.  Especially when a license is required.  The perspective client email clearly indicates legal advice, it appears to be in conflict with regulations from many States, I didn't review VA regulations for specific conflicts.   Are lawyers required to carry insurance in VA? 

In MA the Office of the Bar Counsel and the Board of Bar Overseers can help protect the public from unethical conduct by lawyers.  There may be a similar entity in VA.

From the plaque on a local courthouse.  LIBERTY IS OBEDIANCE OF THE LAW.

Jul 28, 2011 07:47 PM #85
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Wow! I think you did the right thing here. That whole e-mail had a glowing red flag on it. Glad it all worked out in the end.

Jul 28, 2011 08:03 PM #86
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Anna, I think I did too.  And the "universe," (I read that "Father") is very good to me - I pay tithing.

Mike - that's a suggestion I did not make, but will next time!

Fred - that is definitely the way to go!  It sure is better than my puny fee for the inspection!  But remember, she wanted me for free until kingdom come.

Joe - I did an inspection yesterday on a house which had a master bedroom bigger than the house I grew up in and almost as large as the first floor of my current house!  That guy was a low key as could be!

Jul 28, 2011 11:06 PM #87
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Susan - you may be right.  I had no involvement with the lawyer and that would have been interesting to find out.

Jeff - I am afraid that this kind of entitlement mentality is really, really prevalent out there!

Christine - apparently some other inspector thought this was acceptable and took the job.

And you can have them Jim!  I could just see myself having to go before the HOA board 6 or 8 times in the first year, at her behest.  I surely don't have time for that action! 

Tom - maybe Google should start delivering these kinds of emails with little red flags attached!

Jul 28, 2011 11:11 PM #88
David Niles
Niles Real Estate Investments www.NilesREI.com - Hamburg, NY

Ha ha, very nice, thats a RUN away from, not walk type of customer.

Jul 29, 2011 02:58 AM #89
Daniel Rogers
Final Analysis Home Inspections - Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach Home Inspector

You dodged the bullet on that one. I'd do all those things for $10,000 and not a penny less. I'd tell them to find a another inspector and maybe a lawyer who's from planet earth. 


Jul 29, 2011 04:35 AM #90
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

I'm glad this one wasn't mine.  This buyer sounds just a weeeeeee bit unrealistic.

Jul 29, 2011 09:11 AM #91
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

David - I kind of did!  But softly and politely...

Daniel - for sure I made it clear I did not want to do the inspection and they found someone else.  I got an email later that night telling me they had selected someone else and by then I had already filled the slot.

Justin - me too!  Unrealistic to say the least.  A lawyer to review my agreement before you sign it?  Wow...

Jul 29, 2011 11:15 AM #92
Curtis C. Brown

Jay, Life is defiantly too short for that type of nonsense! You deserved the bigger, better inspection after that e-mail. Sorry your not getting many responses to this blog though.

Jul 29, 2011 05:32 PM #93
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

The house I did instead Curtis was huge.  It's master bedroom was bigger than the house I grew up in!  And the buyer was very down to earth and a pleasure to work with.

Jul 29, 2011 10:36 PM #94
John King
Bluefax Realty, LLC - San Antonio, TX
President & Broker

I see the bullet coming....oh wait, you already dodged it.  Good job my friend!


Jul 30, 2011 08:01 AM #95
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I did John.  You have to be real quick!

Jul 30, 2011 08:30 AM #96
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

Ha!  No way would I want to do that inspection.  I would have said the same thing you did.  Whatever my fee, it wouldn't have been worth the hassle.

Jul 31, 2011 02:27 PM #97
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

No fee would be worth that Reubs.  I backed away, vewy, vewy softwy.  Like Elmer Fudd.

Jul 31, 2011 11:23 PM #98
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