What I'm Seeing Now

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"I Don't Want To Hear From The Home Inspector"

My clients were on vacation when their new construction was ready for a final inspection.  They told me that I was scheduled for anytime I wanted on that day.  So I showed up real early.

The inspection revealed the usual stuff - loose dishwasher leaking onto the kitchen floor, leaky faucet in a bathroom, grounding electrode hanging loose under the electric meter with no sign of a grounding rod beside the house - you know, the usual stuff.  There was more than that!

But this is the view on the end of the front porch.  From this view it doesn't look like a far drop.

It is.  The drop on the left side is 38" and the right corner and in front on the end 34".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This family has small children and elderly parents.  Thinking about someone falling off that porch would be a considerable and continuing stress.  Not to mention the code... but we needn't go there.  The supervisor told my clients that he didn't want to hear from the home inspector!  He might condescend to hearing from the buyers, but I am told it takes more than one mention for him to consider anything they say.  Hmmmm...

They have a little boy who will be doing swan dives off that porch!  I know I would have done hand springs off the end.  "Look at what I can do Mom!"  But not everyone can do that and this porch is hazardous.

My recommendation:  The clients thought that drop was a bit far.  It is.  They thought it should have a rail and they are right.  Just because it is a new house and something doesn't look right, don't assume that it must be right because there just wouldn't be any builder oversights!  Well, you know what happens when we assume.

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 49 commentsJay Markanich • July 26 2010 06:57AM

Comments

The railing is a MUST * for pets, kids and us old folks!!!  No porch rail means no place to "put their feet up!"

 

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) almost 8 years ago

Wallace - exactly!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Yup!!! Just the usual stuff <sigh>...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

This would never have gotten past our city inspector....no porch,no deck, no nuthin without a secure railing...

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 8 years ago

There are builders in our area that despise home inspectors due to them going back over their workmanship and material.  However, I recommend having an unbiased opinion from another professional at all times, whether it makes the builder mad or not.  It almost seems like they are hiding something or just being very defensive.

Posted by Don Spera, Serving York and Adams County, PA (CR Property Group, LLC) almost 8 years ago

This is the reason I tell my buyers when it comes to new construction hire your own independent home inspector!

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 8 years ago

Jay - That's why I've told home buyers that, contrary to what most builders may say, they HATE home inspectors.  The builder should have caught the porch rail; that's a common problem and one that code inspectors rarely miss.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 8 years ago

Good catch, Jay.  I am sure the builder will be happy to install some sort of railing.  If they don't, they will suffer on that all important customer satisfaction survey.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) almost 8 years ago

New construction requires an inspector at LEAST as much as resale.  My inspector checklists are usually longer on new construction homes.  Thanks for the great post.

Posted by Sam DeBord, Seattle Real Estate Broker (SeattleHome.com -Coldwell Banker Danforth) almost 8 years ago

You must have some of the same builders I have around here Jay.  Don't you just wonder how much that rail would set the builder back in comparison to the hospital bill for setting and casting a broken leg.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 8 years ago

It must be mentioned that there is no "Home Inspection Contingency" for new construction.  If the porch is out of "code", the county will have to order the railing installed.  Otherwise, if the porch is not out of "code" the buyers will be installing a railing after they take posession. 

That's a question the buyers should have asked about when the house was under construction. 

Seems to me that their agent should have noticed a point of danger with that porch. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Jay - I think so many buyer's are under the impression that the home will be perfect if it's brand new, but that usually isn't the case.

Posted by Michelle Gibson, REALTOR (Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. ) almost 8 years ago

I'll bet those builders hate it when they see a buyer hiring an inspector. I'm sure they know better and this isn't a smart way to cut costs!

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA (Safe Haven Realty) almost 8 years ago

NOTHING can replace a good independent home inspection!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 8 years ago

I hope that the ground slopes and that porch is not off level by 4 inches.

Posted by Jerry Morse, BBA,GRI (The Morse Company) almost 8 years ago

in our area, a drop of anything more than 18" requires a guardrail of somekind.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) almost 8 years ago

Here in Texas we have city inspectors look at the home during 3 phases of construction. After the slab is poured, after the plumbing and electrical are finished, and at the end of construction. I don't deal with much new construction, so can't say whether this would have passed or not. I like to think not.

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) almost 8 years ago

A home inspection is always important in new construction.  A home inspection on a new construction that I had listed showed a joint in the plumbing coming from the toilet that the plumber missed gluing. 

What a mess that would have been!!!  It certainly convinced me to always have an inspection on new construction.  My builder friend was very upset with the plumber and certainly grateful for the home inspection.

Posted by Barbara Calwhite, 417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation (Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri) almost 8 years ago

I always suggest an inspection on new homes. All we can do is strongly suggest. Most of the time they do it. 

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay, where was the local code official?  Any porch or deck over 30 inches in height needs a rail.  Good that you were there to help and protect your client! 

Posted by Dale Ganfield almost 8 years ago

This is one I can't stress enough .... just because its new construction ... doesn't mean you can skip the inspection!!!  I always stress to my clients the importance of getting an inspection ... it can save them quite a bit down the road!!!

 

Lori Cofer

Posted by Lori Cofer, REALTOR, Moscow Idaho Real Estate (Beasley Realty) almost 8 years ago

Michael - isn't it amazing!  It seems like the same stuff over and over - Ground Hog Day!

S&D - I did not see a final sticker, so it might be that the County is yet to approve the joint...

Don - this supervisor got to know me real well on the pre-drywall inspection.  Some of his most glaring goof ups were previous posts here on AR.  And I don't care what the builder thinks of me.  My client is the process.

Cindy - and that despite the builder's continual attempts to tell people that they don't need one.

John - I wonder, but really think this is how they intended to turn over the house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Chris Ann - who knows!?  Maybe they think the porch is "finished!"

Sam - I have said for years that I have more problems on new construction than on old.  Well, often!

Jack - all that would cost far less than the subsequent lawsuit.

Lenn - don't know what the agent noticed, but I suggested yesterday that they contact the County.  If they express a concern over the phone, I have found that PW County will go out to look at something.

Michelle - it is seldom the case!  Of course new homes need an inspection.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Cynthia - most spend lots of time, overtly and covertly, trying to convince the buyer that they don't "need" a home inspection.  On one of my previous posts a builder called home inspectors "placeboes!"

Barbara-Jo - you got it!  But call now...

Jerry - the porch was properly inclined away from the house, so they paid attention at least to that!

Alan - that is one stiff code, but one that I agree with!

Ann - I recommend two new construction inspections for my clients.  And they are both important.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Barbara - once I noticed something on a new home inspection that was a terrible structural flaw.  I found that they made the same mistake on every house in the development (townhouses).  My client called the County, and they came out and condemned all the houses until the repairs were made.  The builder would not let me back on the property after that!  Like it was my fault...

Kristi - that is GOOD to hear!

Dale - don't know!  It could be that they had not given the final approval yet.

Lori - and my new-construction inspections have in fact saved my clients lots of money!  Thank you for the reblog!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Glad it worked out... It really is a good idea to have a railing there for many reasons.

Posted by Ellie Shorb, Realtor DC, MD & VA Luxury Home Expert (Compass Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Home inspectors are invaluable!

I'm so glad that it's becoming more and more mandatory to get it inspected.

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) almost 8 years ago

Ellie - when I was a kid I would have LOVED to have that open platform for jumping, flipping and general Superman activities!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Judi - wow, do I ever agree!  And the professionalism in many of the contruction trades has changed and home inspections are really becoming a necessity.  If you get the right guy...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

In any contract, we are able to have a home inspection contingency as well as a radon testing.  The only inspection that is waived is the termite inspection with new construction.  It is must no matter who the builder is and what their warranty is!  Thank you for sharing "your usual stuff"!

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) almost 8 years ago

Jay:

I always have a "Home Inspection Contingency" even for new construction. Safety is extremely important and something that is going to cause a big drop to a child or elderly person needs to be fixed.

 

Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) almost 8 years ago

Karen - the warranty is only as good as the builder.  If they don't think something is important at the start of a house's life, why would they fix it later?  Thanks for the compliment!

Claudette - safety is the bottom line in any construction!  Good job on the contingency.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

Great article. Depending on the community regulations as far as appearance, the builder may be installing railings on every home. :)

Steve

Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) almost 8 years ago

That does tend to dress up a porch, doesn't it Steve?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

hmmm  I bought a house once with a 3 inch drop on the inside floor...yet every wooden door frame was perfectly level.  I disclosed...but lost a bundle when I sold.  I was told the foundation was poured wrong...I had no idea that could even happen...but sure enough.  Well, that was quite a few years ago and I've learned.  You can't take anything for granted.

Posted by Monica Hess, Kentucky's Feng Shui Master (Feng Shui This Kentucky) almost 8 years ago

That's a sad story Monica.  A pre-drywall inspection would have revealed that.  Almost certainly the builder knew and went to great lengths to level everything in such a way as to hide the flaw.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

When we assume (with a drop off like that) we end up on our....

Posted by Kate Kate almost 8 years ago

Many agents just blow off inspections for new construction. I have had many new houses with problems including non hooked up plumbing!

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) almost 8 years ago

Many agents just blow off inspections for new construction. I have had many new houses with problems including non hooked up plumbing!

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) almost 8 years ago

Jay, you have given one great example as to why we recommend independent inspections in new homes. Nobody is perfect and new homes have their issues just like resale homes.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) almost 8 years ago

You got it Nana.  Nanas have learn NOT to assume.

Erica - plumbing issues are very frequent on new homes!  My experience anyway.

Frank and Sharon - I often have more problems on new homes than I do on older ones.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, people do get a false sense of security with a new home, and their agent if they d have one representing them needs to be every bit as thorough as if it were an older home. Anything can be overlooked, and with new construction the problem is usually a matter of which sub-contractor thought the other was going to finish the job if there are multiples. Plumbing and electrical are usually the most common for oversights.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 8 years ago

Ed - you are right in all of that and your reasoning!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I would think that its almost the same as having a stairwell with no railing!

Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) almost 8 years ago

Much the same Ralph!  Much the same...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I agree with much of this, especially Jay.  This is the very reason buyers should always have agent representation when purchasing new construction. I have seen some serious builder oversights in my day.

Posted by Virginia Cheezum (F. C. Tucker Company) almost 8 years ago

Virginia - I happen to think that such representation is essential.  Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

Never ceases to amaze me and my Client when a new home has a dozen issues to be repaired before closing.  The only thing more amazing is the number of people buying a new house who don't have any inspection at all, thinking the municipal inspections will catch everything.

Thanks,

Richard Acree

HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC

http://habitecinspections.com 

Posted by Robert Dirienzo, Home Inspections - Nashville TN (HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

That, Richard, and the builder says, "You don't need a home inspection.  We have been inspecting it every day for 120 days!"

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

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