Not often does do I have the opportunity to go back to a house following a home inspection. I inspected this particular house just a couple of weeks ago. And, in addition to its problems, it had high radon, requiring remediation, which the sellers had to accomplish. So my clients asked me back to do a follow-up radon test.
When I arrived the front porch, which had many problems noted on the inspection report, presented itself!
So I looked around!
First, I looked at the newel posts on the front guardrail. Both had been rotting, high and low, and one had completely let go of the guardrail. It was on the list of repairs my clients presented to the seller.
One post had been noticeably "repaired." The other, nearly as rotten, had had nothing done to it.
That is it to the right. Can you see the repair?
My camera strap is playfully placed in front of the post. But if you cannot see it, that is the repair in the picture below.
My client came out to see me looking at the "repair." She said, "You aren't trying to ruin my Saturday morning, are you? Don't say anything, it will only get me started."
So, I didn't.
It's easy to see the rot. Look again. Can you see the "repair?"
Now, look closely.
That's it! The piece of plywood beautifully fashioned and attractively centered on the post. It is attached to the very rotting part of the post with drywall screws.
(Note: drywall screws are meant for drywall, which is an INDOOR product. They are NOT meant for outdoors.)
(Note: plywood is not a very good outdoor product because it comes apart when water softens it. It also rots easily. It is meant for indoors.)
Those drywall screws will rust pretty quickly. When they do, everything near them will rot away even more quickly. I was impressed that they were holding at all because that post was pretty rotten!
The rail is attached with an interior finish nail, toe-nailed from underneath. Solid! Very, very solid!
OK, not so solid.
I saw the look on my client's face. Nothing was said. That wasn't the only poor repair they inherited.
"Are you going post-al yet?" very, very nearly parted my lips. Fortunately, I didn't say it! She was very, very close...
She said, "Do you remember the section of fence that was lying on the ground?"
"Well, they fixed it too. With a bungee cord! We made such a stink that they actually came back and fixed it properly. We told them we were going to walk."
Bummer it had been fixed! I sooooo wanted a photo of that!
My recommendation: When you specify repairs, you might want to say exactly what you want done, what you expect it to look like when completed, by whom, and with receipts provided. Not everything counts as a repair!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560