What I'm Seeing Now


Juliet Will Be Calling Romeo Any Day Now

A picture says a thousand words.

Look carefully!

I will have to supplement this picture with a conversation I had just the other day.  I arrived at my inspection and discovered a crew "remodeling" the house. 

It was purchased by an investor who is fixing it up to flip it.

The work was well underway.  I looked briefly at the balcony and went right inside.  I was met by "the crew."  My conversation went something like this:

Me (in italics): What's going on with the balcony outside?

The Crew:  It was an old balcony that leaked into the living room.  So we are replacing it.

(What you are looking at above is plywood with about a 2 degree slope.  There is a dimple in the middle of it which will create a puddle about the size of a beach ball.  There is no flashing at the edges.  There is no gutter above the balcony.  Presumably a railing will be put on later...)

But you have already repaired and painted the living room ceiling. 

We wanted to get it out of the way when we painted the rest of the house.

But you aren't finished with the balcony.  Why isn't it going to leak now?

Well, first we put down Tyvek and that's water proof.  Then we put shingles on top of that (you can see them carefully wrapped over the edge). Then we nailed down the plywood real tight.

The plywood you have there isn't meant for that kind of application. How are you planning to protect it?

We have this.  (He holds up a bucket of roof tar, ONE GALLON!!)  That will keep it dry.  Then on top of that we are putting pressure-treated deck wood for the people to walk on.

Are you professional roofers?  (I asked that knowing they aren't)

No, but the guy in charge is.


I have to say, the rest of the house was just as impressive.  New roof, new kitchen, new baths, new receptacles, new light fixtures, fresh paint, new carpeting, and a new deck yet to be built out back - wow, the works! 

And no permit to be seen anywhere!

Have you mentally counted the number of nails through that balcony roof yet??  What's the over/under on when it will begin leaking??

My recommendation:  When your clients are buying a flipped house, try to find out who the contractors are, their experience and licenses and whether a permit was pulled to do the work.  If not, be very, very careful!!

Hopefully, when Juliet stands on the balcony to call Romeo, she won't be standing in a puddle in the dimple!

It's days later and I am still working on the report...


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 6 commentsJay Markanich • June 25 2009 07:55PM


so many flippers are doing so little.  Just covering up major problems.

Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com (Real Estate One) about 11 years ago

What a weird addition to a house - that is really creepy if you ask me.

Posted by Rhonda Duffy, #1 Retail Listing Agent in the U.S. (Duffy Realty of Atlanta & Rainmaker Realty) about 11 years ago


That sounds par for the course with many of the people who are flipping houses. What a mess.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Russ - or NOT covering them up!  This case had a lot of so-called fixes, but...

Rhonda - well, it has a lovely view of the parking lot!

Steve - it was a mess.  And I didn't get into any of the other problems.  And there are truly some real problems.  My client is a single lady who, despite my warnings and statements during the inspection, was excited to get a newly "revnovated" house!  I was wondering by the end why she had me there!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 11 years ago

Flips are more often than not pieces of crap dressed up by unskilled people to look nice. I can spot one a mile away. It's always funny to me when I state at the beginning of the inspection this is a flip, right.? And everyone has that surprised look like, wow, how did you know.

Too bad your client wasn't listening, she will probably be very sorry later if she buys this little gem.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 11 years ago

Oh man this is so right on.  Who the heck knows what they're doing/not doing.  Even with a home inspectiong it's kind of scary sometimes.

Great post!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) about 11 years ago

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