What I'm Seeing Now

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Wadda Ya Know, A Permit Sticker!

It was very impressive to walk up to this flipped house and see a permit sticker!

After all, it has been a while since I've seen a permit!

Reading it was a little odd.  All it is a permit for is to install "Plumbing - New Shower."

This house, built in 1958, probably had a basement powder room, which was not uncommon, and they wanted to expand it into a full bathroom.  Very smart.

But that's all they did?  It would be unusual in itself to flip a house and only put in a new shower.  But I will leave that for another time.

The permit sticker was odd for two reasons.

1.  It is on the outside, with fresh masking tape.  To me that means it was taped up there very recently.  I have never before seen a Permit sticker on the outside of a house.

2.  There is another piece of paper taped exactly opposite on the inside.  Without entering yet I peeked in to see the paper inside.  It read, "Please Leave The Lights Off When You Leave."

Well that's not unusual, so why am I struck with a feeling?  Because it's a flipped house!

Going back outside I heard the Wizard of Oz say, "Pay no attention to the glass behind the sticker!"  So I pressed on the glass.

It was totally shattered, being held in place by tape.

Flipper wanted us to know that he had a permit!  But the permit was creatively hiding a problem.  Red flag?  Yep, a big 'un.

And by taping his Permit in that way he added a second message which said, "Not everything you see is what it really is.  I dare you to find what is hidden by every magic curtain."  Just then hissing smoke and long flames shot up all around me from beside the front porch.  I thought I heard laughing.

Thus beginnith the inspection.  And the voice was right - I had to be on my toes!  Fortunately I was.

My recommendation:  It's a flip!  Be on your toes!  And listen to the voice behind the curtain...

 

 

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 20 commentsJay Markanich • September 23 2010 07:11AM

Comments

  There are many flippers who have flopped or are about to cuz they think a little dab will do ya...paint here, cheap carpet there....forget the little things like windows, plumbing and electrical fixes/updates....they cost money and then....not a profitable flip...duh !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) over 7 years ago

Sally - yes, and perhaps they think the house will be "so gorgeous" people will not go about having it inspected.  The shower installation in this case was fine, necessarily, because the County came by to investigate it and sign off.  But when the County does that they aren't looking at other stuff!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay, you make a good point, agents beware!  Take a very good look.

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 7 years ago

Things aren't entirely as they seem Dan!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay,

Wonder why they didn't cover the broken window with a comprehensive Home Warranty certificate?

Good eye. 

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 7 years ago

Mike - when it doesn't look right or feel right it probably isn't, I think.  Where you been?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Flips are a huge challenge in today's market.  There are so many that are poorly done.  Thanks for sharing another crazy red flag.

Posted by Pat Fenn (Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker ) over 7 years ago

There sure are a lot of red flags out there, huh Pat?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I'm still trying to figure out a way to clone you for the Annapolis area in Maryland...  Another interesting tidbit from Jay that helps us to develop a sharper eye that will make us better agents.  Thank you!

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay - With some distress sales going for well below the cost of construction, we've attracted the part-time flippers again--bad news for home buyers--but good blog fodder for inspectors!

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 7 years ago

lol......I always look for random throw rugs or furniture on hardwoods also!  It is amazing what people will try to hide.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) over 7 years ago

Good detective work.  I've never seen the permits taped to the oustide either and that is a red flag.  Damon brings up a good point abt the area rugs - not as it relates to home inspections, but certainly as it relates to pet stains on hardwood floors.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Margaret - we love Annapolis and go there a couple of times a year.  Maybe next time I will contact you in advance and we can meet for lunch or dinner at Buddy's.

I'd like to clone me too.  Boy would that make life easier!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

It is blog fodder John, and hopefully with instructive posts!

Damon - HA!  I look under all that stuff too!  DTA - don't trust anyone...  they hide cracked tiles, stains, broken pieces of hardwood, damage, holes, you name it!

Debbie - fer sher.  When things appear to be out of the ordinary, often it is with a reason.  That's where the detective work begins!  Thanks...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay:  Certainly wish you were down here -- just came back from meeting with a plumber to get estimates which arise from a Home Inspection Report -- well, let me be precise:  from the Mother of all Home Inspection Reports!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Inspector had to either have been on wacky weed, or this report belongs to another house.  It's likely to destroy this deal; and it is a deal!!

So far, the plumber, electrician, engineer and dock builder have all scratched their heads in bewilderment!  The one thing that was agreed upon:  the Home Inspector had NO clue where to find the main cutoff valve for the water!

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 7 years ago

Uh oh!  Well, Tish, my youngest son is at Camp LeJeune, but lives in Jacksonville!  He will be around until the next deployment in December or so.  Maybe sooner.  He doesn't do home inspections though...  but would that do?

Sorry about that inspector!  I am called often to try to interpret inspection reports and/or comments.  It is usually from a guy without much experience.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, flippers have dropped out of area in a big way because money is too hard to get for them, and buyers are getting too astute. Up here I won't cry for you, we have a Jim. 

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 7 years ago

Don't cry for me Edgentina!  I am VERY glad you have a Jim, as I have come to know him pretty well.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Very creative.  I don't know if I would have given that a second thought - it's very common to see permit stickers at the front door around here.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Reuben - when I saw the one on the inside over the other one, it said it was hiding something.  I pushed on the outside permit and it crunched.  Here the permits are stuck on a front window so they can be read from the outside.  Most jobs require various permits, including a general start work permit.  The single permit by itself was unusual.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

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