What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

When Staircases Are Lemons

When staircases are lemons.

From my Oxford Dictionary of English -

Lemon - informal - an unsatisfactory or feeble person or thing.

In this 21 year old townhouse, three levels, when walking up and down the staircases, all of them, that is ALL OF THEM, bounced, sagged, squeaked and felt unstable.  Some bouncing was dramatic!

The only place I could see the structural components was in the small crawl space under the lowest staircase.

And it was revealing!

It was apparent that many repairs had been done over the years to try to correct this issue.

You can see from the red arrows:

-->  Separations, shown on the left.

-->  Drywall screws used to "shore things up."  Drywall screws are not strong enough for this application.

-->  Nails used to "correct" bouncing and sagging.  As I said, some of the bouncing was very pronounced.

Of course nothing has worked.

My client, an investor who trusts me, and the agent who has referred me for many years, both saw what I was referring to.

The house was being sold "as is."  Usually that means the seller knows of things that there is unwillingness to repair.  This issue alone was enough to turn the investor off.  He is not interested in inheriting a potential risk.  In my opinion, and his, this problem is dangerous.

What did he imagine?  A heavy tenant, adding to his weight by carrying something heavy up the stairs, and having one or two collapse under him.  How fun! 

What a phone call that would be, to the property manager or to my client, the homeowner.

Do we have a big, balloon, liability insurance policy?

And both the Realtor and I pointed out that one day he would be selling the house and at that time the buyer might want proper repairs done to all the staircases.  That could be very expensive, with drywall removal, carpentry, possible replacement of staircases, and the rest.

My recommendation:  sometimes it is one thing, and only one thing, that can turn a buyer off.  And this was the one thing in this house!  My client moved on.  We are scheduled for another inspection later this week.  It pays to trust your home inspector to evaluate, inform, educate and warn.  Sometimes there are no issues!  And sometimes there are.  And observing and reporting THAT is the objective of a home inspection.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 15 commentsJay Markanich • August 15 2017 08:23AM
When Staircases Are Lemons
share
When staircases are lemons. From my Oxford Dictionary of English - Lemon - informal - an unsatisfactory or feeble person or thing. In this 21 year old townhouse, three levels, when walking up and down the staircases, all of them, that is ALL OF THEM… more
The Walls Were Wet In The Middle But Not At The Bottom? Why?
share
The walls were wet in the middle but not at the bottom? Why? And that was the question. I couldn't answer it! I only knew what I found. During the thermal image sweep of this condo I found walls and ceilings wet, but only on the lower level. The… more
A Flat Roof Must Provide A Way For Water To Go
share
A flat roof must provide a way for water to go. If not, water sits, and finds any small opening it can. Since we know gravity works, if water can go down, it will. On a flat roof surface, that means eventual destruction. This is a 17 year old EPDM… more
Thermal Imaging Art
share
Thermal imaging art. Thermal imaging can check a lot of things. It can be a precursor check for electrical issues. Heating and air conditioning can be evaluated. Roof and plumbing leaks are a given. And the best way (the only way inside walls)… more
When Any Upper Level Is Hot Insulation Is Almost Always The Reason
share
When any upper level is hot insulation is almost always the reason. And why else wouldn't it be? It could be that the air conditioning does not reach or blow hard enough into the upper level. But that air pressure is an easy check. When air is… more
My Client Asked If There Was No Insulation In the Wall
share
My client asked if there was no insulation in the wall. Often during a home inspection my client follows me around when I do a thermal image sweep to check for insulation issues or roof leaks. They like looking over my shoulder and listen to my… more
Attic Insulation Certificate
share
In new construction the thermal barrier in the attic should be verified by an attic insulation certificate. This house is supposed to be Energy Star compliant for Virginia standards. As such there are criteria that are to be met. For example,… more
Can You Repair A Leak With A Handy Can Of Miracle "Spray? "
share
Can you repair a leak with a handy can of miracle "spray? " Of course you know the answer. You've seen the commercials. They are incessant! A handy can of spray which will repair everything from your pipes, your roof and gutters, a… more
FRT Plywood That Needs Further Investigation
share
This is the case of FRT plywood that needs further investigation. FRT plywood (F ire R etardant T reated) came into use in the 80s when masonry firewalls between townhouses were replaced with a thick, fire-resistant drywall fire barrier wall. This… more
Do You Know What A Gas Lantern Mantle Is?
share
Do you know what a gas lantern mantle is? Gas lanterns, or gas lamps, are popular around here in neighborhoods that are made to look old fashioned. They provide the street lights via little pear-shaped cones called mantles. You can see two mantles… more