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  1. #1
    Joe Suelter's Avatar
    Joe Suelter Guest

    Default Did I make a mistake?

    Did an inspection the week before last for a new client. The house has a retaining wall, approx. 8 feet tall, with no railing surrounding it. The wall is decorative cement block, glued together (I am assuming) with no drainage holes. The homeowner has been caulking the joints trying to keep the pea gravel within the wall. The wall is built in a 90* curve, and at the top of the curve, the wall is buckling and leaning pretty bad.

    I wrote it up, first to have an engineer/contractor evaluate further. I also called it a potential safety hazard due to the significant drop if one would step too close to the edge. I just received a call from the selling agent, mad that the buyer backed out of the contract due to the sellers not "meeting his demands". I didn't get into particulars about what his demands were, I really don't care. However, this Realtor tore me up one side and down the other. He (agent) had a contractor look at it and he said "the wall will last another 20 years" and that "there is no problem with this wall".

    This selling agent is pinning his lost sale on me, and I don't feel I did anything wrong. Looking for a little feedback.

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  2. #2
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    No way. Retaining Walls over 4feet need permits and with that comes designs and drawings, code and more. Glued? Caulking? If that used home salesman had called me I would have demanded he get that contracttor put in writing. He would then better start back peddling as to his comments.

    my ten cents

    sdg




    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Suelter View Post
    Did an inspection the week before last for a new client. The house has a retaining wall, approx. 8 feet tall, with no railing surrounding it. The wall is decorative cement block, glued together (I am assuming) with no drainage holes. The homeowner has been caulking the joints trying to keep the pea gravel within the wall. The wall is built in a 90* curve, and at the top of the curve, the wall is buckling and leaning pretty bad.

    I wrote it up, first to have an engineer/contractor evaluate further. I also called it a potential safety hazard due to the significant drop if one would step too close to the edge. I just received a call from the selling agent, mad that the buyer backed out of the contract due to the sellers not "meeting his demands". I didn't get into particulars about what his demands were, I really don't care. However, this Realtor tore me up one side and down the other. He (agent) had a contractor look at it and he said "the wall will last another 20 years" and that "there is no problem with this wall".

    This selling agent is pinning his lost sale on me, and I don't feel I did anything wrong. Looking for a little feedback.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Maryland
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    1,049

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    You did the right thing by writing it up. Screw the realtor. This is all the more reason I never...did I say NEVER market to realtors.

    If a realtor called me to do that the call would last as long as it takes me to push the hangup button. Especially the seller agent. Sometimes the client will authorize me to discuss with their agent, but never the seller agent.

    A drop off the edge of a retaining wall (if on the property and accessible) would get written up for lack of a guard for any height over 30"

    I second Steven G on the permits and design requirements. BTW, the 4' height requiring permits gets measured to the bottom of the footer. So, measure the exposed height and add any locally required footing depth.


  4. #4
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    What everyone else said. Just write up what you see and move on to the next one. I would have had to ask for a copy of the service call from the contractor who said it would last twenty more years since i am sure he put it in writing.


  5. #5
    Joe Suelter's Avatar
    Joe Suelter Guest

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Thanks guys for your comments. I personally didn't feel I did anything out of the ordinary, nor wrong. This selling agent was "doing me a favor" by giving me "some pointers". My obligation is to my client, and that's as far as it goes. There were issues with the water heater, electric, and roof as well. I certainly don't blame him for backing out...he can do better.

    On a positive note, I have another inspection scheduled for Wednesday for the same buyer.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    3,473

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    The selling agents' "pointers" are nothing more than suggestions on ways you can help sell the house for him. I agree with what the other guys have posted. Call it as you see it and stick to your guns.

    Any pics you can share of the retaining wall in question?

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,847

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Suelter View Post
    Did an inspection the week before last for a new client. The house has a retaining wall, approx. 8 feet tall, with no railing surrounding it. The wall is decorative cement block, glued together (I am assuming) with no drainage holes. The homeowner has been caulking the joints trying to keep the pea gravel within the wall. The wall is built in a 90* curve, and at the top of the curve, the wall is buckling and leaning pretty bad.

    I wrote it up, first to have an engineer/contractor evaluate further. I also called it a potential safety hazard due to the significant drop if one would step too close to the edge. I just received a call from the selling agent, mad that the buyer backed out of the contract due to the sellers not "meeting his demands". I didn't get into particulars about what his demands were, I really don't care. However, this Realtor tore me up one side and down the other. He (agent) had a contractor look at it and he said "the wall will last another 20 years" and that "there is no problem with this wall".

    This selling agent is pinning his lost sale on me, and I don't feel I did anything wrong. Looking for a little feedback.
    Congratulations you're no longer a virgin!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Mesa AZ
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    1,181

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Suelter View Post
    T


    On a positive note, I have another inspection scheduled for Wednesday for the same buyer.
    If you got another inspection by disclosing what you believed, to me it looks like you answered your own question.

    I found killing a deal by telling the facts, and properly explaing the defect, opposed to worring about getting another referral from a realtor will get you far more repeat jobs and referrals from the clients, and even from a lot of realtors that are concerned about their clinets.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Southwest US
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    585

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    You did good!
    The first engineer that looks at that will will probably declare it "failing" then, if you had soft-sold it you would be on the hook for a new engineered wall. Realtors don't seem to understand that.


  10. #10
    Richard Thacker's Avatar
    Richard Thacker Guest

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Think of it this way...you will most likely piss off 50% of the people and 100% of them will be the ones who lost the sale.

    Home Rite Home Inspector, York, Pa - Real Estate Inspection in PA and Maryland


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    North Las Vegas Nv 89081
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    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Remeber your working for the buyer not the agent.
    Call out what you see. Referells from the buyer not the agent is what going to keep you in business.
    I'ved had more agents an sellers call me and threaten to sue me.
    I tell them to go for it and never hear from them again.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Fredericksburg, VA
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    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Ditto on the previous comments!

    I have two inspections scheduled this week for previous clients who ended up not buying a house. It's not unusual at all. Do a good job for your client and as John said "Screw the agent".

    I do have referrals from a few agents who DO WANT a thorough honest evaluation of a home. They don't want to be connected with selling a load of junk. But I don't market my services to realtors. Never knew how or any desire to.

    Most of the time, the seller or agent can always find some jack-ass to state what they want to hear. Just have the client get it in writing. You'll also run into the statement, "I've been doing it like this for "umpteen" years and I never had a problem".

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  13. #13
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    I just fairly recently had a home that had three very very slight signs that there was foundation movement and anyone could have very easily missed one or another. As a matter of fact I did because they were so slight. Due to what I finally stumbled upon, literally I just felt there was more to this than met the eye and suggested a foundation company come out for some measurement. Well sure enough the entire front half of the home had settled down and across the front and half way up each side piers had to be installed. Of course the listing agent used her foundation company and the seller actually called a third. They all concurred that the repairs were needed.

    Looking at this home you just would not have pegged it in the slightest for movement let alone foundation repair/piers.

    I had to go into all that because this inspection came from an extremely busy agent. She sells a minimum of a few homes a month and her"her last inspector almost got her sued so she decided to use me as she has always heard that I am a PITA and write everything up.

    Well she referred me to this gentleman and immediately to another. BHo9th folks wound up not buying the homes due to no negotiating and meeting on terms so they walked

    Well, the Realtor that almost got sued due to "her last inspector almost getting her sued" figured that was enough of me and went on to the 'next inspector'. No scaring the client out of buying the home. No over worded reports, no OH MY GODS when I found the next concern. Just honest straight forward reporting on the concerns I found in the homes.It is extremely comical that all the stuff I preach on here comes true daily in this business.

    They have no business being in the home inspection business.

    Oh yeah. The clients moved on to other Realtors and I inspected those homes as well. These both turned out better and both clients bought the second home.

    Repeat customers continuously. Repeat referrals from previous clients constantly. Realtors, well, what can I say? I have said enough. I just cannot keep them around.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Joe,
    Ted just gave you a very valuable piece of information. There are things you will learn by experience. Not everything smacks you right in the face. Sometimes, it's just a little nag in your head that something isn't quite right, a gut feeling. You can ignore it, do a little investigation on your own, or call for an expert evaluation of a "symptom". Most serious problems will have complimentary pieces of evidence that taken individually may not mean much but the total can indicate major issues.

    To go along with client referrals, it's a pretty nice feeling when a client writes a check and hands it to you with the comment, "That's the best money I've spent on anything"

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Washington State
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    358

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    It all depends who you're working for - hopefully the buyer. Stay away from crooked agents. You'll learn which ones to avoid soon enough. For every time you kill a deal and save a buyer grief, that buyer will pass your name on to 5-10 of their family and friends about the great job you did....I've told many clients to "walk away" in front of agents during an inspection, some agents are still with me, some are not - good riddance !!!


  16. #16
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    In NC...the SOP does not allow an inspector to give their opinion on whether to buy a property or not. Or to put a value on a property. It may be different in your location.


  17. #17
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    One inspection for tomorrow morning and a call just came in for another on Tuesday. Both are referrals from past clients. A few others this week were either referrals from past clients or past clients and one was a referral from a past client and she just happen to use a Realtor that does refer me and the Realtor referred me to her so the lady had one direction to go. Almost all my work comes from past clients in one way or another, then the internet then Realtors for a very small percentage.

    Don't worry about a Realtor that wants to try and take charge of you. You are the one in charge. It is your inspection until you sell the results to 'your' client. You are the one that got permission to go into the sellers property to perform a comprehensive inspection. Where in any of this says that the Realtor is in the Home Inspection business. Read your SOPs. It does not say anywhere that the Realtor is in charge of you or your inspection. It says no where that you have to report to them for any reason.

    The home inspection business went bazakwards when the field started filling with more and more and more inspectors and the amount of inspections for the amount of home sales rose dramatically. Realtors were never meant to be in charge. Inspectors changed that by flooding Realtor offices and smiling and buying pizzas and goodies and attending Realtor meetings and MLS meetings. Dropping prices so they could pump out 2 a day instead of making a darn good living doing one. Sure they started making more but working twice as much and running twice as fast. I grew up in the piece work business. I know all about running. I got away from that years ago and the field is trying to drag me back into the piece work business kicking and screaming.

    Remember these points. You are the inspector. You are the clients inspector. You are making the appointment. You are the liable party. You are there to protect the clients financial interests in the property they are considering buying to the best of your ability by reporting concerns that you find at that property. They did not buy it yet and you are not selling it. You are the one that wants past clients to be future clients as well as a future referrer for you for future business.

    I just do not see Realtor written anywhere in that past paragraph


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Westminster, B. C., Canada
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    165

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Hi, ALL &

    Ditto & Ditto...

    Call it like it is /like you see it !

    I had a recent situation where my 'Client' was the Son of the actual Clients (out-of-town & elderly). The Condo building was stucco - of the potential 'leaky' type. I gave him a good education on the risk his folks may well be facing in the future - unless there was a Engineer's Report saying 'nothing to worry about'...

    He walked & their Realtor was MAD-AS-A-HORNET, claiming I scared the H___ out of him, for no reason.

    Too bad - Happy Client & that's all that matters !


    CHEERS

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, FL
    Posts
    180

    Default Re: Did I make a mistake?

    Never apologize for putting down what you see and believe no mater the potential consequences. It is not the home inspector that fails a house it is the house that fails. All Realtors have contractor friends that do them favors, he will get over it and be better served by your telling it the way it is.


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