What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Completely Remodeled: There Should Be A Sign: Don't Cook Here, Please!

A recent inspection started out on a high note.  The Realtor met me early and showed me extensive advertising for this house, which advertising extolled it as "completely remodeled.  Must see the inside!!"

I asked if there were any permits provided by the seller or listing agent.  "Oh, I don't know...," she said.

The kitchen just felt wrong.  I don't like that feeling.  So, first thing, I pulled the stove away from the wall of the  "remodeled" kitchen.   This view would be one indication why there are no permits to reflect professional work.

 

The picture is taken while peeking over the top of the range.  Upper left/center is the gas connection.  The shut-off valve, which must have pre-existed this installation, is visible on the top, and inaccessible.  The rest of the connection is just as frightfully incorrect!

What you cannot see is the bottom of this unprotected, flexible gas tubing.  It was maybe 6' long and actually bent, curled up and stuck under the range! 

There was no anti-tip device either!  Well surprise, surprise, surprise!

This was a new range and has an electric spark to ignite the flames.  This necessitates a proper electrical connection, preferably to a dedicated receptacle.  The "remodeling professional" provided one!  The range was plugged into an extension cord, visible center/right.  That cord goes up the wall from there.  It passes through a hole in the bathroom wall and its other end was hard wired into the light fixture connection for that bathroom.  All that wiring is ungrounded and was laying on the top of the bathroom light fixture, right beside the hot lights.  Had the drywall been replaced I may never have looked there to find this connection!

Thus begAnneth a very, very, very long inspection...

My recommendation:  if you are going to show your clients homes advertised as "remodeled," before you even take them by to see it, call and ask the other Realtor if he/she can show you the permits for the work.  If the answer is no, don't even bother to show it!  And if there are permits, make sure they were not issued South of the Border...

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 46 commentsJay Markanich • July 08 2009 11:26PM

Comments

Jay,

What a mess this looks like!

Good sound advice!

Posted by Sheila Moran, SanAntonioSheila.com, RE/MAX Access, 210-32 (RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels)) about 11 years ago

Jay,

Some of the things that you find in homes just amaze me.  I bet as you say, it was a very, very long inspection.

Posted by Gary Coles (International Referrals), Latin America Real Estate (Venture Realty International) about 11 years ago

Sheila - the advice is just common sense.  Easy peasy!  And the house was the Mother Of All Messes...

Gary - there will be more posts to follow.  Yes, very looooong.

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

Maybe this was an oversight.  The remodeler may be back to fix it right. 

(And I weigh only 110 lbs.)

Posted by Angelia Garcia (Pure Realtors) about 11 years ago

Angelia - maybe you are right and I am jumping to conclusions!

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

Jay - a hardwired extension cord running to the bathroom light?  That's a new one for me.  

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 11 years ago

Wow, Reuben, not for me!  I had a microwave once wired like that, into a wall switch in the dining room behind the kitchen!

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

Hi Jay,

 I am not right.  It is probably like you say.

Posted by Angelia Garcia (Pure Realtors) about 11 years ago

Angelia - I said that to you tongue in cheek...  I was giving you one of these --  (;>)

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

Jay, has the words "recently remodeled" ever not raised the red flag? 

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 11 years ago

What a scary situation!  Thank goodness you had the knowledge to look behind the range .... before something explodes. Yikes.

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) about 11 years ago

It sounds to me as if this listing agent has opened his/her self up to liability for marketing a kitchen as completely remodeled. An agent must be very, very careful about claims made. At least it should read Seller States blah, blah.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Yikes. Don't you just love those do-it-yourself projects? Kidding! I hope the buyer has the sense to insist on having the seller pay for all the proper permits, and everything brought up to code before closing!

Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) about 11 years ago

Shadow - when I pull up and see the sign that mentions "Investor Owned," or "Gorgeous Inside!" I wonder while still in the car.

Maureen - looking behind the range is a usual part of the inspection to look for an anti-tip, but in my routine I do the kitchen last.

Vickie - I think you are right!

Lisa - it may have been done by the seller or by a "professional," unknown!  "Up to code" means "up to the minimum standard."  I like to see more than that.

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

That is one scary looking kitchen, I saw one back when I was selling real estate where they had put a cabinet in above a gas stove. The problem was it was installed only 10 inches above the stove and you could see the scorch marks on the bottom of it. (I would say that is a little to close to the flame!)

Posted by George & Arlene Paukert (Road to Wealth, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Jay,

Every day we find just one more great reason to insist our buyers get a thorough home inspection by a pro such as yourself!

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) about 11 years ago

Any time some tells me the house was just remodeled, I get that sinking feeling in my stomach. I know more often than not it is going to be a long inspection and report.

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

Are the south of the border permits costly? I know a few sellers that may need them. Being brought up in building this is always a first question.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) about 11 years ago

Picky picky picky Jay....lucky person who chose you as their inspector ! We write that as part of our offer...listing agent must provide evidence of all permits pulled and subsequent inspections done...as well as accompanying lien waivers....picky or icky !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 11 years ago

What a mess!  Perhaps you misunderstood the agent...she may have said "completely remuddled inside"  ;-)

Posted by Kim Brown, Keene, NH - New England at its Best! (Keller Williams Realty) about 11 years ago

I just gave a listing agent a long list of issues with a remodeled flip.  It was apparent that the electric work was not done to code (or by an electician).  A new kitchen with no GFCI, a room finished with only one electic outlet on one wall, open junction boxes, etc.  The response was well all my client really did was paint and put in new carpet.  Ahhhh I don't think so and even if that might be true then they inherited problems that need to be fixed!

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 11 years ago

What a great wakeup call! Thanks for sharing this information, picture ... In my market I hear "completely remodeled" often and I'll be more cautious now. Thanks again

Posted by Linda Prange, CRS, Broker/Associate, Better Homes & Gardens Real about 11 years ago

Hi Jay -- This is serious business -- fire, explosions, gas leaks, etc., could have resulted.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) about 11 years ago

Jay, and I have begun to think that it is SUPPOSED to look like your picture where all the plumbing comes out of the wall under the kitchen sink:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 11 years ago

That's just crazy! In this case, it's a good thing the "remodeler" was SOOOOO bad they didn't bother to cover their schlock. Imagine if that mess had been covered in drywall - no one would know until tragedy struck!

Posted by S&B Real Estate Team (Capstone Washington Real Estate, LLC) about 11 years ago

A bandaid put on a gaping wound just doesn't work. Realtors complain about inspectors all the time. When inspectors do their job and keep my buyers out of trouble, and me out of a lawsuit or an ethcis complaint, I say thank you.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 11 years ago

This so looks like many of the foreclosures we have here in Phoenix. Can you say nitemare loud enough.  Nope!  For someone NOT to get an inspection is beyond riduculous -

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

A home inspection can save lives!

Posted by Stephen Orear, Realtor, CDPE - Carson City NV - Real Estate Specialist (Northern Nevada Real Estate - REMAX Realty Affiliates) about 11 years ago

What a mess! I suppose the value of remodeling is only as good as the contractor who did the remodeling. Thanks for the advice!

Posted by Rebecca Sargent (Century 21 Home Realty Inc. ) about 11 years ago

Good thing that you followed your gut instinct and did your complete inspection> this would have been a horrible find for the buyer down the road.

Posted by Nicholas Goraczkowski, Your Mortgage Resource - (720) 83-RATES about 11 years ago

You are right about making sure the work has been permitted. And the seller's must disclose that as well.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) about 11 years ago

Jay, wish I could give this blog to every friend/buyer I've known who has said they didn't need to have an inspection!  Reminds us to ask to see permits. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 11 years ago

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That is just flat out scary!!!  WOW!  What did the agent have to say upon witnessing this mess?  Curious....  Glad we have inspectors to point these flagrant UH-OH's out to us along the way!  Thanks for your post!

Posted by Jeani Codrey, If you're not learning, you're not living! (The Learning Jeani) about 11 years ago

Yikes...that looks scary!! Reason #252 why all buyers should get a home inspection before buying a house.

Best,

Dan

Posted by Dan Magstadt (Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc) about 11 years ago

If the unprotected, flexible gas tubing was stuck up UNDER the stove, it's no wonder the kitchen was remodeled, Jay.  The old one musta blowed up! ;)

Posted by Heather Chavez, Real Estate Virtual, Assistant (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 11 years ago

Jay,

That is why I tell ALL my buyers to get an inspection. I started working with an investor last year who ( before she started working with me) had bought 2 homes sight unseen only to find out they were red-taged. That means they needed to be torn down because they were not inhabitable until a lot of work was done. It has taken her a year, but she finally got them up to code and is now trying to rent them out.

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) about 11 years ago

Jay - I am sure you have seen a lot in your line of work.  It's good to know that you take the extra effort to see behind the facade of work that was completed.  Obviously some remodels are done better than others.

Posted by Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com) about 11 years ago

George - that is just a hair too close!

Irene - home inspections would be cheap at twice the price, if competently done.

James - do your eyes cross and teeth rattle as you try to smile politely?

Laura - Nope!  Cheap to buy, but very, very expensive in the long run!

S&D - icky is the word!  There is a LOT of icky out there...

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

Kim - GOOD ONE!!

Cindy - which problems become the buyer's problems really quickly!

Linda - caveat emptor...

Chris - and getting more serious every day.  Everyone trying to make a buck on someone else's back.

Charlie (Shadow Take Two) - we're seeing it more and more aren't we!  In this case, some of the kitchen's fine plumbing went back into the newly "remodeled" bathroom on the other side of the wall...

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

Jamie - my fear exactly!

Joe - I have no choice but to say it like it is.  The Golden Rule...

Anna Banana - I wonder what percentage actually get inspections?  I hear it is about 70%, but don't know.

Stephen - and they probably have!

Rebecca - succintly put.

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

YourMortgage - I always go with my gut, but sometimes I don't want to!

Sharon - I have issued inspection reports identifying horrific problems.  My clients would afterward back out.  A week later I see an "Under Contract" sign on the realty sign.  Do you think things were disclosed and fixed?  We're back to the Golden Rule aren't we.  Deja veux...

Thank you Kathy.  Just print it off!

Jeani - the buyer's agent shook her head time and time again during this inspection.  I am sure she suggested her buyers back out.

Dan - you're counting?!

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

Heather - gosh, who knows!!??

Ann - look before you leap.

Troy - true and true again.

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

Great post and good advise.  Thank you!

Posted by Eric Host about 11 years ago

And buyers ask why they should spend money on an inspection.....for this exact reason.  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Irene Tron about 11 years ago

Just because the permits aren't hanging from the fridge doesn't mean the work wasn't permitted...  Obviously the work on that house wasn't, but I have seen plenty where the work was done well... but they seller didn't have the permits laying around. 

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) about 11 years ago

Thank you Eric.  More to come.

Irene - a home inspection is very cheap protection.

Lane - right, permits are seldom laying around.  Typically, there should be a final sticker on the panel box, or the listing agent should be able to make them available.

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

This blog does not allow anonymous comments