A Tale Of Two Reports, And Two Home Inspectors

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

This was a down and then up day, offering me a tale of two reports, and two home inspectors.

I stopped by early to retrieve a radon device and was met at the door by the seller.  This was a very well-kept house, and there was very little to report.

That didn't matter.  He had questions.  And for the next half hour I heard not questions but about all the insufficiency's I had displayed in my inspection report.

In the inspection I had noticed a repair in a bedroom ceiling.  It was minor.  I lift my light up to shine at a nearly flat angle onto the ceiling of every room.  That reveals any drywall repairs or what nots.  There was a small one in this bedroom.  In the attic above there was no where that a leak could have occurred, but there were many footprint divots in the insulation over that bedroom (cable guy or whatever).  I asked if this was a repair due to some kind of leak or perhaps from unintended pressure on the drywall seam from above.  BUT I NEGLECTED THE QUESTION MARK!  That really set him off.

Forcefully, "You make a statement of fact here!  This is clearly no question!  I KNOOOOOW there's no problem there and not even a repair!  You are WROOONG!!  I don't even need to look at it to know you're wrong!  You have no business saying such a thing!!"  Etc.  It went on.

To that I said I must have forgotten the question mark and, "Thank you for your feedback."

That was the gasoline on the fire.

"So, you agree with me!"  And it went on from there.  "Here you should have said this...!"  "There I would have written that...!"  "We don't even speak the same language!"  "You have things on the report that I don't even recognize - what is this silly photograph!?  (thermal image)  You say here, for instance, that cold air is getting in around the basement door!  There is NO cold air getting in the basement door!  You're wrong!"  To everything I said, "Thank you for your feedback."  "Part 2 is boiler plate - it's only information!  Everyone knows I have a gas furnace!  This is useless!"  (Everything in Part 2 is required by the state and my association - it's pretty much boiler plate, with specificity!)

I find that when people have to be right about everything it's best to just let them.

The more I said thank you the madder he got.

"You OBVIOUSLY don't even have the mental capacity to understand what I'm saying!"  And he threw the report at me.  "This is trash!"

He didn't get to me, and he knew it.  I think that ruined his day.  Bullies need to be kowtowed to and feared.  He said more demeaning things than I am mentioning here.  For a half an hour.

At the end I reacted a bit and said, "I apologize for being too obtuse to understand," and politely left.  I thought he was going to explode.  His embarrassed wife ushered me out.

Later that day I got a call from a client in a house I inspected over a year ago.

They had had remodeling done.  I found serious deficiencies, said the contractor was wrong in claiming he didn't need to pull permits for anything and I suspected he was not listed with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR).  Thus by law he could not accept more than $1000 for this work.  I suggested they find that out and contact the county.  They had yet to finish paying him, but were in this for many tens of thousands of dollars.  My report was long, detailed and included photos with my explanations.

The phone rang.  Actually it played "Let It Be," but you know what I mean.

"Jay, you probably don't remember me but...  "

I remembered them.  Nobody they called would touch this house.  Nobody wanted to get involved.  They were very grateful I would even come.

I then heard, "We did what you said and got the County on our case.  They said they had never seen such a professional inspection report.  They said your writing style made things understandable and with your photos explained things so well they almost didn't need to come to the house.  But they did.  They said what you said, that our panel box was a fire hazard!  Using your report they really went after the contractor.  We won our case, the County said you saved us over $80K, possibly a house fire, and you were the only person who had the b___s (her word not mine) to come and make a case on our behalf.  Thank you!  We want you to come back to look at the work that is being done now."

All I did was a home inspection and write a report. 

Same report, same inspector, same writing style, same stuff, different day.  The old SSDD.

My recommendation:  the house is the house.  Be yourself.  And don't let the turkeys get you down.  For some, being a turkey isn't enough - they need to be bully turkeys.  SSDD.



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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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Jill Saddler
Draper, UT
Draper Utah Real Estate Professional - 25 years+!

Sounds like a rollercoaster of a day! I agree with Tom - lots of credit for not blowing your cool :)

Jan 21, 2014 11:42 PM #26
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I bet you really made the guy made using the word obtuse. I seemed to remember the same reaction by the warden in the Shawshank movie.

Jan 22, 2014 12:37 AM #27
Laura Foreman
Referral Maker Real Estate CRM - Carlsbad, CA
Copywriter, Buffini & Company

I'm glad you ended your day on a high note with an appreciative homeowner instead of the jerk. 

Jan 22, 2014 12:57 AM #28
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Frank.  It was no skin off my nose.  Let him rant.  He defined himself, not me.

Thanks Lenn.  I just said the same thing to Frank!  I think this is how he gets through life.  He was impolite to his wife when she poked her head in trying to save me.

Bill - the best way to deal with a bully is to crush him, but not when I'm in his house and have a reputation to preserve.

Glad you liked it Sarah.  Stop by any time.

Same to you Drick, stop by any time, and thanks.

Jan 22, 2014 12:59 AM #29
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I did Kat.  And I'm trained in two disciplines and formidable.  But no matter, he did not define me.  I was very reluctant to post this because I did not want people to think I am pointing at myself, but thought it might be fun to see that two points of view can be experienced in the same day!

He gets around, right Tom?  All I could say to my client was, "wow..."  I called them to warn them about how to word anything in the addendum.

Thanks Brian!  I like it!  And this was a great house, in great shape.  I wonder what would have happened had there been problems!

I have never had a seller do this Clint.  This guy was really mean and really trying to get to me.

Thanks Shannon.  I didn't want people to think I was pointing at myself, because I was not.


Jan 22, 2014 01:07 AM #30
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank Rob.  I would think this is a very unhappy person.

Thank you Suzanne, but I don't want people to think I was puffing myself up or in anyway a saint!  I just felt it best to be solid.

I actually had to excuse myself, which I did Than.  And thanked him again!

I had not done or said anything wrong, Julie.  So I was confident.  His wife was very embarrassed.

There were many of those in my head Raymond! 

Jan 22, 2014 01:10 AM #31
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks but I was reluctant people would think I am pointing at myself Tom, which I am not.  Believe me, inside my head this guy was ripped to shreds!

It was exactly that Jill, and thank you too.

Jan 22, 2014 01:12 AM #32
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Joe - I remember that line!  Mostly, when I think obtuse, I remember my angles in geometry class - acute and obtuse.  In my context, it meant dull.

I agree Laura.  But it was not bothering me, as he defined himself and not me.

Jan 22, 2014 01:14 AM #33
Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Not an inspector but I have been to over 1,000 inspections. I always go. Buyer or seller representation. I lesson I learned is that you can't keep everyone happy.

Jan 22, 2014 01:17 AM #34
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Jay, this guy was looking for a fight and you wouldn't give him one. A true professional! The second one makes up for all of the others.

Jan 22, 2014 01:35 AM #35
Vanessa Saunders
Global Property Systems Real Estate - White Plains, NY
From Manhattan to the Catskills of New York

Home owners are notorious know-it-all's when it comes the particulars of their own property. You were right to just let him blab on...I'm nor sure I would have had the same patience!

Jan 22, 2014 03:13 AM #36
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You can't Bill, and sometimes people can't be pleased at all.

Mike - not sure about all that, ;>) - but that second call was wonderful!

Vanessa - he wasn't blabbing!  He had checks beside everything he wanted to talk about!

Jan 22, 2014 03:32 AM #37
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Jay, you're so right - the house is the house!  And I used to treat bullies the same way back when I worked for Eastern Airlines.  The louder they yelled, the softer my voice got and the madder they got.  Of course, this was Eastern Airlines and chances were pretty good that someone along the skies did something really awful to them.  Still, there is never an excuse to be a bully.

Jan 22, 2014 04:22 AM #38
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Based upon what I read here, I would take your report over many of the reports I see other agents sending to me. I often wonder how these guys got their license.

Jan 22, 2014 05:18 AM #39
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The only thing that you can do with rude people, is exactly what you did.  Be polite and not let them get to you.  As far as the second case, good for you!  I am glad that someone was willing to do what needed to be done.

Jan 22, 2014 06:46 AM #40
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Good evening, Jay. Defensiveness is driven by fear. I suspect that the seller is afraid that either he/they will have to pony up for repairs or that the seller will walk.

Jan 22, 2014 07:42 AM #41
Jeffrey Molloy
Check Mark - Westchester Home Inspections - Mount Kisco, NY


You know full well that nobody actually reads our reports...:) Most scan for the "important" things or the "deal breakers" but seldom see the importance of actually trying to fully understand what we are reporting.

The sad thing is that only another home inspector actually understands what we are tasked to do.

Everybody signs a service agreement that explains limitations, the law, association standards of practice, etc. but we all draw the ire of our clients when we omit something (ANYTHING) and the disdain of sellers when we report something(ANYTHING). Forget the fact that we are usually "required" or "not required" to even mention what most people complain about

In your case the nuance of a missing comma made for a bad day...and I don't mean for you!

I've been accused of being many things as an inspector, but "wrong" is seldom one of them.

Keep up the good work, your clients will love you and GOOD Real Estate agents will respect and recommend you.

Jan 22, 2014 07:58 AM #42
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Pat.  What's odd is that the things mentioned regarding this house were really minor!  No buckets in the attic!  It was no skin off my nose, but wow was the word I used with the selling agent!

Tammie - my state, and association, has specific requirements as to the things reports must mention - like, for instance, that this house had a gas furnace!  He was upset by my "boiler plate!"  Well, what's the alternative?

Karen - I say that I am not an alarmist, but not a sugarcoater either.  The house is the house.  I have no problems giving my considered opinion.  Sometimes my comments are pure fact!  Yo, dude, um, like, hey, like there's a, like a leak under the sink.  Wow, man.  That work?

That's what's so odd Michael.  There were no repairs and my clients weren't going to ask for anything to be done!

Thanks Jeffrey, for your kind words.  One other thing he said was that I did not understand that people actually read the report!  Really?  I don't?  I've been doing inspections since 1981 and run into many types of people.  But this guy was unreal!  But, as a good Scout, I have to be courteous and kind.


Jan 22, 2014 12:18 PM #43
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

I have expressed to my fellow inspectors too many times to count, writing a clear, understandable report should be a first priority. I have said the report should be comprehensible to anyone who reads it. For it is not written for the inspector, but for the client and any concerned parties. 

If I was confront by that same person, I would never have spent a half an hour with him if he continued to act in that manner. There is no point. I have encounter such homeowners. I get my stuff and go. I have no time or patience for that kind of behavior. 

Jan 24, 2014 10:14 PM #44
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I tried to leave a couple of times Jim.  He was upset over nothing.  Even his wife tried to save me!  If I am nothing with upset people, I am polite.  I agree, I let him go on too long, again, over nothing.

Jan 25, 2014 01:01 AM #45
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