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Interesting Situation....any opinions/ thoughts?


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I did an inspection back in Oct., and the house has still not closed. My client is now on his 6th extension........

After my initial home inspection, a handyman company set up as an LLC, and licensed as a Residential Specialty Contractor ( RSC ) was hired to fix the house. They supposedly did all of the work, or subcontracted out the electrical and plumbing work. We are still not clear as to who did the work, because the "contractor" refuses to supply a list of names and license numbers for any plumber or electrician he may have used......no permits were pulled.

I was hired to do a repair inspection soon after the initial inspection, and found a list of items that were either unfinished, or were improperly repaired. My repair inspection report was forwarded to the contractor who sent a retort via e- mail basically stating that his work was superior, and that I didn't know what I was talking about...imagine that. (yes, I did send a reply back). About a month went by, and I figured that either the buyer walked, or everything was resolved...

A red flag must have gone up at the bank, because they did some digging and found that the guy acting as the owner of this handyman company was not included on the license (company has exempt status w/ no employees). Now, according to the buyer's agent, the bank will not let anything go through until I sign off on everything requested in the original repair addendum.

About a month ago the listing agent called me to find out exactly what I would require in order to sign off on all of the repairs. He told me that the guy who did the work had been added as a member of the company, and that the contractor's board made his addition to the license retroactive to the date he started work on this house, so that he was somehow covered for all of this work. (is this even possible?)

About 2 weeks ago I received a call from a concerned electrician who was hired by the seller to go out and give his opinion as to whether any further electrical work was needed. I think that they were trying to discount my report, but that it backfired on them. The electrician ended up writing up a bid for 4k to complete the repairs on the electrical mess. For whatever reason, he felt that something fishy was going on, and called me to discuss the home, give me fair warning, etc. He also sent me a list of items that he was concerned with.

I contacted the buyer's agent to find out what was going on with the home, told her about my discussion with the electrician, and wanted to find out what was going on with the place. She called the selling side and asked what was going on, and was told that no electrician had been on the property since the initial repairs were completed, and that she was misinformed.......

A couple of days later, I decided to call the electrician because I had some questions, and wanted to know if I could forward what he had sent me as proof that he had been on- site. He told me that a couple of different people from the selling side had called and threatened him, said how dare he talk with the "enemy"-- their words according to him. I asked him if there was any way he would work on the electrical system if I could set it up to where my buyer was his client. He said that he wanted nothing to do with this property, and that he would not set foot on the property ever again.

I decided to look into the handyman company who has been doing the work. The guy who did the work is the husband on this handyman contractor. This guy's name is associated with several other contractors license numbers along the west coast, a couple of which have been revoked (OR and WA at least), and his name is listed on websites such as rip off report, where one poster called him a "master manipulator".

This weekend, I made the choice to contact the CCB in order to determine whether the handyman company's license and bond will protect my client in case something goes wrong down the road. I was all set to call them today, until I realized it was a holiday. I figured what the heck, I'll post here and see if any of you have any opinions or recommendations as to what I should do.

I still haven't decided as to whether I should turn this handyman company in, as I believe that they have violated several laws including:

1)They didn't pull permits for anything.

2)They refuse to supply the license numbers of their subcontractors (electrician and plumber at least)

3)If they did not have subcontractors do the plumbing and electrical work, then they illegally did the work themselves.

4)I don't think that they are allowed to hire subcontractors due to their license type.

5)They did not operate within the requirements of their license type,

6)Etc.: this is just off the top of my head while writing this quick post.

If this was a one time screw up with an ignorant contractor, I probably wouldn't consider turning him in, but this guy has a pretty tarnished history.

PS:

My client is a frail old man that is difficult to get ahold of. There have been 2 fail sales prior to this one and he is on his 3rd agent. As much as I want to wash my hands of this property, my client really loves this place and wants the loan to go through. I'm afraid that if I tell the bank that I refuse to be involved with the property any further, the sale may not go through. I told the buyer's agent that I was tempted to refuse to perform any further repair inspections, but she has begged me to continue.

Any thoughts or opinions?

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There is obvious underhandedness going on with the seller and listing side. Turn in the "handyman" to the CCB, file a complaint with whatever division of Oregon's government regulates real estate licenses, explain to the client that you can't allow yourself to become mired in messes like that and back the hell away from it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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explain to the client that you can't allow yourself to become mired in messes like that and back the hell away from it.

......you may be the only person saving this old guy from disaster--don't be too quick to walk away. I know situations like this are troublesome, but I'm always a sucker for the "underdog".

......just to note, your post is a pleasure to read--well thought and easy to understand.

......if all else fails, maybe your client could get Holmes to cross the border[:-crazy]

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I would spend 15 minutes doing my very best to advise this client on what's happening and how he might respond. I would not charge for this 15 minutes. In the absence of another contract for a home inspection, I would not speak to or even acknowledge anyone else.

Marc

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I'd offer to continue working on this project with the exising client with the single condition that the contractor goes away. After that, I'd recommend that all of the work be reviewed and, as necessary, re-done by a new contractor who has a proper license.

I would simply refuse to do any more work on this project as long at the bad contractor is still involved.

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I'd offer to continue working on this project with the exising client with the single condition that the contractor goes away. After that, I'd recommend that all of the work be reviewed and, as necessary, re-done by a new contractor who has a proper license.

I would simply refuse to do any more work on this project as long at the bad contractor is still involved.

This is more the way I tend to do things too. [:-thumbu]

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The buyer your client will now know there is $4K worth of electrical repair to do. Maybe an equivalent amount to bring the plumbing up to snuff? It sounds like the sellers are not acting in good faith. I think it's up to the realtor now to cut a better deal for your client.

If he really wants the place, they could try get the place for a reduced price so that the work can be done correctly with permits. Once they got reputable people in there, you could then back away gracefully. Good luck with it!

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I'll leave aside reporting the original contractor and stick with what might be best for the client.

It seems very obvious, based on what the electrician and the buyers agent told you, that the seller side has and is prepared to lie through the teeth. Not good. I guess I would make sure the client fully understand what has occurred and advise him that the only way he can now be sure that repairs are carried out properly is for all parties to agree on new, independent, licensed contractors to evaluate the conditions, make documented and warrantied repairs as needed, and then have them or the city inspectors, not you, sign off whatever the bank wants.

I don't think it's our job to sign off on repairs to a third party that should be performed by a licensed contractor. I very much doubt our insurers would like that. While the visible defects may be gone, can we be sure that the hidden stuff was done properly? Reinspecting to ensure that there are no more visible defects is one thing. Blessing an entire system after it's been worked on is, IMO, something we should leave to the licensed trades.

It's a can-o-worms you have there Brandon and I admire you sticking with it so far, but I think it may be far enough already. Be careful you don't dig yourself deep into an ugly legal hole.

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There is obvious underhandedness going on with the seller and listing side. Turn in the "handyman" to the CCB, file a complaint with whatever division of Oregon's government regulates real estate licenses, explain to the client that you can't allow yourself to become mired in messes like that and back the hell away from it.

Hi Mike,

That's exactly what I told the agent I wanted to do. The electrician and I both felt the same way. Thanks.

......you may be the only person saving this old guy from disaster--don't be too quick to walk away. I know situations like this are troublesome, but I'm always a sucker for the "underdog"

Me too, that's why I'm torn at this point.

just to note, your post is a pleasure to read--well thought and easy to understand.

I appreciate that Greg. Writing/ communicating in a way that makes sense is a constant struggle.

I would not turn the contractor in, not my problem. I likely would have to get out of the situation, even if I wanted to "help".

Hi Les,

I'm definitely torn on whether to turn this guy in. I'm definitely not the type to turn people, and don't think I ever have. In this case, he seems to prey on people. I'll have to ponder this one for a bit longer.

Thanks for all of you for posting...definitely some food for thought.

Since I already agreed to do a repair inspection via e- mail to the buyer's agent, I'll likely end up going through with it.

I will refuse to allow the contractor on- site during any (if I do them) repair inspections. He was supposed to be there the last time, and it wouldn't have been pretty. One poster who hired this guy posted on Rip- Off Report that he felt the need to have several "buddies" on site when this contractor showed up to get his tools, after being fired.

In my previous (month ago) correspondence with the buyers agent, I let her know that I would not show up for a repair inspection until I had very specific paperwork from each individual contractor noting their license numbers, permit numbers, a statement that they had read, understood, and completed everything per the addendum, and that they were providing some sort of warranty for the work they have done, etc.

I think that under OR law, a contractor is allowed up to 2 repeat performances to make all of the work they did right on a botched job, before being allowed to get someone else. I don't know how it works for someone that shouldn't have done the work to begin with, but who was added to the license after getting busted.

I'll have to re- read all of your posts and think about this one for a while.

Thanks a bunch.

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I would bring the old guy up to speed. If wants to continue with the purchase I would suggest that his attorney be brought up to speed. The attorney is getting paid to direct the show, not the home inspector.

Works every time to either get the seller to perform, or to enlighten the buyer.

Tom Corrigan

Hi Tom,

Yeah, I think an attorney could have definitely made this go better; the problem is, at least here in Washington State - I don't know about Oregon - that attorneys aren't a regular part of the real estate transaction.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The only way I would remain on this project is if a new qualified contractor was hired to get the work done. I would not turn the contractor in, as Les said it is not my issue to get involved. It is difficult to see older folks taken advantage of and this part of the issue would be the most difficult for me to just walk away from.

It sounds like the buyer needs a consumer advocate to help with the process; is it possible that the his banker has taken on this duty?

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It sounds like the buyer needs a consumer advocate to help with the process; is it possible that the his banker has taken on this duty?

I was finally able to get ahold of my client yesterday. He didn't have a clue as to the extent of what was going on, and the only info. he had received was from his mortgage broker. So yes, it sounds like the bank/ mortgage broker have done a good job on this one.

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