Sunday, March 27, 2011
Spring time is here. The snow is gone. Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. This is the best time of the year for real estate activity. Everyone is excited about the nice weather, and feelings are positive. Prospective buyers are driving around looking at homes with anticipation and pleasant moods.....Well most people anyway. I Conducted a home inspection for a client a few days ago, It was on a Condo really, and in a nice well manicured development. The lawns were clean, the flowers were emerging, the birds were chirping, the squirrels were playing, and then The buyer arrived. The buyer is an older woman around 60 or so. She got out of her car and walked over with a scorn on her face, and a pile of files in her arms. She looked like a social worker coming to conduct a home visit. The Squirrels stopped playing, and I swear the birds were silent. " I'm the prospective buyer" She said, and without a smile or a hello. I introduced myself and My Colleague who was there to test for Mold. The client looked over the top of her glasses and eyed me from top to bottom, and said, "Well Lets get to work". "The Realtors had not arrived yet, and we cannot get in until they come and open the doors", I tell her, and the scorn came even stronger now. My Cell phone rang just then, and I prayed for an excuse to cancel. It was in fact the agent calling to tell me he would be a bit late, and may not come at all. He gave me the access code to the lock box, and told me to get started, and see if he can make it. I tell the client, and she is now raving mad, "Hes not coming"? "What kind of thing is that"? I tell her he is going to try and make it, but we can get started without him. She is standing in the yard confused and repeating her statements. "Hes not coming"? "Hes not coming"? Yeah lady, and I wish I was him, I think to myself. As we get started, I begin my approach, and start going through my check list. There are some woodpecker holes on the exterior siding, and I note it and explain whats happening. The client looks like I told her there were weapons of mass destruction in the house. She has a horrified look and says " SO birds are destroying the house and making horrible racket at all hours of the day and night?" Now, not one of those words came out of me.... so I have no idea where that came from, I tell her that I suspect that it may be old damage, but the condo association will be notified at some point and address it. Next comes the furnace. The furnace is in a closet. There are rust stains on the furnace and past water damage. Repairs have been made, and the leak above has been repaired. There is some Mold, and open holes in the ceiling. The ceiling holes have to be closed for fire rating, and mold needs to be cleaned up. She asked me if Fire can get up into the space, and I explain that....POTENTIALLY, If the right circumstances occur, Maybe... And her next words are..."So this thing can catch on fire and burn me to death as I sleep?" Oh MY GOD.... I want to cry. Where the hell is the agent? I Know why he is late. My associate is glad to be left alone. Now comes the water heater. An electric 40 gallon in the closet. The electric line is covered in BX cable, the metal spiral stuff. Someone has damaged the cable on the water heater, and the wires are exposed. I mention that the cable needs repairs to better protect the wires. She asked if it was dangerous...and I pause...can she possibly make this into a big deal?.... I say " If the cable was to be abused, and a sharp edge was to cut into the wires, then it is possible for a shock, but it would be really hard for that to happen, and we just want it repaired for safety. She looks at me and then to her note pad, She is writing notes on things. Just then the realtor shows up...THANK GOD! She walks right over to him and says " Well, so nice of you to join us" Why didn't you tell me you had no plans on being here?" "Woah", he says, I had something that came up at last minute, I tried my best, and I'M here now". "How are things so far?" "Just terrible, is all," and she begins to tell her agent all that I said, and in the worst possible way. The agent looks at me with horror in his eyes and says " Dave, that not like you at all". I look at him with a look like i want to strangle him, and say.."just you watch" SO I show him the water heater, and ask him to ask the client what I said....SO he does, and she does. "The water heater electric is dangerous and will kill me if I touch it a certain way, and who knows how long its been that way, and its a fire hazard". The realtor choked on his coffee. GOOD. he deserved it. We manage to get through the rest of the inspection and are finishing in the kitchen. The garbage disposal was off, and the little breaker was popped out. I reset it and it popped again. This means that the little wrench is needed to free it up. I use the wrench, and turn the thing on again, and it works. No problem, I'M almost done, and home free to get the heck out of here. .....just then I smell smoke. I open the cabinet, and the garbage disposal is smoking. The realtor looks at me as If I planned this, and the lady is running for the door cell phone in hand ready to call 911. I shut the unit off and turn off the breaker. All is fine. a new garbage disposal will be needed. No problem. It was told to me later that day, that the client called the condo manager, the fire department, the fire marshal, and about half of the residents to warn them how unsafe this condo is. She also called the realtor a half dozen times with questions. It does not pay to be negative, and pays less to work for them.