Main Line Homes Blog


"DAMMIT!! That's Not Your Job."

I often get asked by buyers of new construction why they would need a home inspection. Doesn't the municipality inspect the homes to give them a "use and occupancy" certificate? But this post explains very well why you want someone answerable just to you to go through the new construction at different stages to check on the construction.

I wasn't there long.  And it began easy enough.

Some clients that I had done a new construction inspection for had been having enough communication problems with their builder that they asked me to go back to check just a few things from my report that were to be fixed.  They weren't confident that it had been done.

The supervisor met me at the door and was very friendly.

The more I did though, the more adversarial he became.

One problem was very erratic air flow from the HVAC ducts on every level, ranging from 25 cubic feet per minute to over 700cfm.

I turned on the systems and began checking every one.  He got more upset with each one.

"Are you going to check every one?"  Yes.
"That's not your job!  Why are you checking every one?" 
Because the buyer is paying me to do so.

It went on like this.

There were three basement circuits.  Two were fine, and one registered <100 volts, too low and unacceptable.

We went back through the routine.  Remembering the problem area, I began checking each wall receptacle. 

"Are you going to check every one?"  Yes.  "That's not your job!"  It is if the buyer asks me to do so.  He only got more upset.

This sort of thing went on.  With more and more things I heard, "That's not your job!"  I stopped answering him.

Then the new tact.  "Because of you I have had people in here from every trade in the book.  We have crawled all over this house!  There is nothing wrong now!  Making me call all those people isn't right.  That's not your job!"

I stood right in front of him and looked him in the face.  "If you did your job buyers wouldn't need to call someone like me.  Fifteen years ago I never did these inspections.  If you had communicated with the clients they would not have me back today.  So, yes, I am very much doing my job.  You should take the hint."  He couldn't look me in the face.

"THIS HOUSE IS PERFECT!  YOU CAN'T FIND ANYTHING WRONG NOW CAN YOU?"  He was nearly yelling, but walking away from me.  Very famous last words...

Nothing?  "NO!"  Nothing at all?  "NO!"  Not one thing?  "NO!"  Not even a safety issue?  "NO!!"  You want to bet?"  "YES, A$$HOLE, I WILL BET MONEY!!  GO AHEAD, YOU FIND SOMETHING!  THIS HOUSE IS TOTALLY SAFE!  THEY COULD MOVE IN RIGHT NOW!"

I merely pointed at the smoke detector over my head.  Not on the report, because they weren't done, the covers need to be removed before the detectors work and things are safe.  I said, "I counted 8 of these.  How many did you count?  You'll need a ladder."  Now I could have lent him my ladder, but that's not my job! 

As I walked out the door, I heard a very exasperated, and fairly high pitched, "DAMMIT!!"

My recommendation:  on new construction, things go much more smoothly, and confidently, when the builder is communicative with the buyer about things.  Regular communication is best.  If that isn't happening, you might want to call the marketing department to inform them that it is making the buyers nervous.  And mention that because of that lack of communication the inspector might be out more than once, because, after all, THAT IS HIS JOB!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia

If you are buying or selling on or around Tredyffrin Easttown or along the Main Line we can help you,  contact us or connect

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Comment balloon 3 commentsNick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 • June 29 2011 06:55AM
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