What I'm Seeing Now


Sidewalk Corner "Repair"

The reputation has gotten around that I am the go-to inspector for new construction inspections.  I think that has happened because I am good when dealing with buyers and building supervisors.  Being in the middle is never a comfortable place to be, but I find myself there a lot and seem to be good at it.

Such was the case recently.  I met the buyers, Realtor and supervisor in front of the house. This photo is what we saw as we first walked up the driveway.  This kind of thing makes my stomach go uh-oh...

A corner had chipped off the front sidewalk and someone who knows nothing about concrete tried to fix it.

Other words come to mind, but let's just call this "unprofessional."

When I first saw it that cracking was not there.  That happened during the inspection when they pressure washed the area!  Just the water pressure alone caused this "patch" to break off!

I am italicized.  Here is how the inspection started:

This is not the best way to repair this broken sidewalk.  It will not last long at all. 

Supervisor:  Why not?  (Now excuse me, if you have to ask that question, you may be in the wrong business...)

Buyer:  What should have happened?

The last section of sidewalk should have been cut off and re-poured.  And to answer the other question, this is the entrance to the house, this patch sticks out like a sore thumb because it looks infantile, it is an inch thick at best, will not adhere to the original sidewalk and will crack off soon, perhaps as soon as someone steps on it.  (Little did I know they were going to pressure wash it and break it off then!)

Supervisor:  That's ridiculous!  Cutting it off and re-pouring a whole section of sidewalk is a lot of work for such a small area!  I've seen concrete fixed like this many times.

Maybe you have.  That does not mean it was done correctly.  This is not the way to fix it right.  Cutting off the end section and re-pouring it is the only way to fix it right.  You do want it to last, don't you?  I guarantee that Oglethorpe and Volcanica (not the buyer's real names) do.

Supervisor:  Well, if the rest of the inspection is going to go like this we are going to have problems! 

I'm smiling as I look at him and say:  Gee, I hope not!  This house is your signature.  You do want to DO IT RIGHT, don't you?

Supervisor:  How's this.  When that cracks we will fix it your way.  Is that okay?

Ask your buyer.  That isn't up to me.  I just call'em like I see'em.  I hope Oglethorpe and Volcanica (not their real names) hold you to that promise.  You are giving it to them in writing, right?

Buyer:  I'd like that in writing, sure!

As I was leaving the pressure wash had already cracked the "repair!"  I just went back inside, got the supervisor, Realtor, Oglethorpe and Volcanica (not their real names), took them outside and NOT SAYING A WORD, pointed at the already cracked "repair."  I did smile and wink at Oglethorpe (not his real name).

Then I got in my SUV and rode off into the sunset!  Have gun, will travel...

My recommendation:  Call'em like you see'em.




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 5 commentsJay Markanich • July 24 2009 03:40PM


Call 'em like you see 'em is definitely your job, Jay, and I can see why you are the "go to guy". If this was good enough for the contractor, he is not good enough for my clients.

Posted by Bob Foster (Century 21 Lanthorn R. E. Ltd. Belleville, Ontario) about 11 years ago

Concrete in Florida is always breaking.

Posted by Monika Depalo, REAL ESTATE Agent/Stager (GAFF'S REFERRAL'S INC.) about 11 years ago

Bob - sometimes I am just amazed.  More amazing to me are the people who buy the builder's line, "We have had someone on site since this house begun.  Between us and the county this house has had dozens of inspections.  You don't need a home inspection..."

Monika - this sidewalk is about 2 weeks old...  this was broken by something heavy and they repaired it the day before our inspection.

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

Nice story Jay. I'm sitting here grinning writing this. You wear the white my friend.

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

James - sometimes I am floored by work one person wants another person to buy...  It didn't take that patch 2 hours to crack!  What timing!

Don't know about the white.  But we do what we can do.  I can tell you, the rest of the inspection was interesting to say the least...

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

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