What I'm Seeing Now


Going Postal

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


Comment balloon 11 commentsJay Markanich • October 06 2009 04:54PM


Man oh Man are you ever picky picky picky:)

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

Charlie - I did fail to mention the nice bow along the top of the plywood connector plaque.  Silly me.

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

Jay - Is it really that important how things get fixed? ha, ha.  You would think that the seller would know better.

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

Troy - I think the seller had a contract and could hardly wait to get away.  That's my understanding anyway.

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

I don't do a lot of re-inspections, but that's the kind of crap I see on every one I do.  Nasty work.

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

It's amazing, isn't it Reuben?  The seller no longer has interest in the property, only the money, and is willing to foist that crap onto someone else.  The hearts of man are growing much colder...

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

Our phrase for that here is in a "workmanlike manner"...maybe it should be "work Woman like"....you mean duct tape really doesn't fix everything ?

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

Mr  Jay,

My family went postal many years ago and one of them, uncle Millet, became very famous with the post office.

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

Hey Jay,

Now that's what I call a bandaid fix.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) almost 11 years ago

I actually use a bungee (a little skinny short one) to tether a metal gate that shivers in the wind just enough to bug the neighbors. ...and I thought I was so clever.

Posted by Kate Kate almost 11 years ago

S&D - duct tape really does fix everything.  C'monnnnn....

Nutsy - would that make him air male?

Eric - the right band aid and that might not have been visible at all!

Kate - you were clever!  Don't discount yourself.  Not a good repair for a whole fence section though!

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

This blog does not allow anonymous comments