What I'm Seeing Now

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Good Builder (rub the head), Good Builder

I love walking in to a house to perform a pre-drywall inspection and find the place cleaned, organized and ready for our inspection!  And a builder that considers safety!  Some people who walk into houses under construction are not familiar with unfinished construction and can get hurt.

For example, this is how I usually find stair cases. 

What's wrong here?  No hand rail!

Should there be a hand rail there since it isn't finished?

In my opinion, yes.

This is how I find most stair cases.

Often, also, I see 2x4s laying around with nails in them, other trip hazards, general untidiness, the plans for the subcontractors laying on the floor or in a corner, puddles of water, and so forth.

Another problem - the house isn't ready for a pre-drywall inspection!  The details we are looking for are not in place - fire block has not be started, the insulation is not installed, showers and bath tubs are not finished, etc.

IF THE SMALL DETAILS ARE WELL TAKEN CARE OF, THE REST OF THE HOUSE IS USUALLY IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE.  AND THE SUPERVISOR IS ON THE JOB!

For example, this builder has taken the plans, separated them by system (plumbing, electrical, etc) and taped them to the sun room window.

It's hard for things to get lost!

A subcontractor with a question knows right where to go for the answer.

Nothing gets torn or missing.

I DON'T SEE THIS VERY OFTEN...

This is a good sign of a careful builder.

My client and I were there to make sure secondary things were installed in the right places - Category 5 wiring (data) locations, ceiling fans, special upgrade lighting, work order changes and such.

The insulation is to be installed in a couple of days and we will be going back.  My client wanted me to come to interpret the "writing on the wall," in this case, so I did.  And this gives me an opportunity to tell the client why I am impressed. 

Being able to do that relieves some of the stress.  Building a home is a very stressful adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This good builder also went an extra mile here.  On a sweeping staircase it is required in this County to put a guardrail on the side where people can fall.  But it is not required on the right side at the bottom of the staircase, as is done here.  And few builders put handrails going into the basement.  This builder does. 

That extra window is broken and to be replaced.  And the extension cord was being used by a worker in the basement and will not be there when we do the "final" pre-drywall inspection with the rest of the family.

My recommendation:   when you are in a house for a pre-drywall inspection, pay attention to the little things - cleanliness, organization, readiness for an inspection, which means that things that should be completed actually are.  That all adds up to a supervisor who is on top of the work and a builder that has standards.

 

 

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 43 commentsJay Markanich • October 08 2010 06:42AM

Comments

I agree a clean and safe job site says a lot about a builder. Those are the companies who usually do the better quality work also.

Posted by Paul Lesieur (203kloanmn) almost 10 years ago

New builds around here are like chicken's teeth. Reading this makes me just a little envious. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) almost 10 years ago

I would like to see that more often too. Too often the place is a mess.

Posted by Ellen Dittman, #1 Stop for NE FLA-JAX/OP 904.535.1199 (TEXT OK) r (Watson Realty Corp.) almost 10 years ago

Jay, that builder plans to be around for a long time by the look of things.

Ty

Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) almost 10 years ago

Recently walked through a home where the hardwood flooring was being glued down.  The house was a mess and the flooring guy was sweeping away just enough space to lay the next few rows of wood.

Stuff like that makes me nuts.

Why not have a clean house for that work?

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) almost 10 years ago

Paul - like I say, it is a good sign!  I look for indicators!

J. Philip - I have never been where you are (except Manhattan), but I imagine that things are already built out.  If anything new is done, it is probably an addition, or even a building that gets razed and a new one put in its place.

New construction goes on everywhere around here.  The further-out counties are not completely built out, like the near-to-DC counties are.  I get a nail in a tire about once a week!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Ellen - often it is a mess!  And to me that is disappointing.

Ty - and has been around for a while.  One way to see if a builder is doing it right is to check his local history.  Bad builders come and go - the good ones hang for a while!

Mike - that is not a good sign!  There should be tar paper under the flooring, and that should be laid, tacked and clean before the hardwoods go down.  The sub should know that.  Or maybe not...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay,

It was glue-down engineered hardwood, which made the dirt even less desirable, IMO.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) almost 10 years ago

Miguelito - and still needing tar paper!  But you are right about the dirt.  NOT a professional, that guy.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

What a simple solution to a common problem.  Preserving the plans and making them easy to find by taping them to a window is just brilliant!  Definitely a good sign!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) almost 10 years ago

A builder that keeps a clean and neat site is a builder that takes pride in his work ...a sloppy building site is a "headsup" to buyers.

Posted by Brin Realty Associates Team At Bean Group, Amherst NH homes and Southern NH real estate (Bean Group | Brin Realty Associates) almost 10 years ago

That was a clean house. If looks determine the quality of the builder, that builder is good quality.

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio (www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell) almost 10 years ago

Isn't that great, Miss K?  You would not believe how often I see the plans strewn about, torn, in five places, loose - it is ridiculous.

Rene - it is a big head's up!  It says something about everyone involved, top to bottom.

Scott - and they have been around here for a long time.  That says something big too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay, I'm sure its nice to work with a builder who shows pride in workmanship before the finished product is completed.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 10 years ago

Great Jay, i have one builder who does an excellent job like this but it's not the norm...good pointers, too.

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Pride in workmanship is always apparent as when there is no pride.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Excellent post. You're right - how the contractors keep the job site is a good indication of the quality of work. I have walked onto constructions sites (as well as additions and major repairs) and have seen a wide range of practices. I've had plenty of times where it was rather unsafe for me as I went in to measure for the floors. Congrats on the feature.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 10 years ago

Having anything lying around with nails popping out is simply inexcusable in my mind. A hand rail is alwaaaaays helpful too!

Posted by Aaron Seekford, Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116 (Arlington Realty, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Jay ~ Congrats on the Gold Star -- it's well-deserved!!!  Can count only one builder whose sites could compare to this; on the other hand, most are hazardous.  Nothing like a true professional who considers such things as precision and safety.  I plan to share this with a couple of builders with your permission.  Have a great day!!!

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) almost 10 years ago

Jay - It is always refreshing to see a home being built by someone who takes pride in their work. I've always felt it began with cleanliness.  If a builder demonstrates to subcontractors that he takes pride in his work, it's likely to be shared by those subs.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 10 years ago

Great post...most builder's homes around here look like your first example so I thought that was the norm.

Posted by Doyle Beekman, CPA Broker CLHMS ABR CRS CNE (The Beekman Group-Keller Williams, Austin) almost 10 years ago

Michael - I know I feel better, and so does my client.

Thanks, Ginny, and glad to hear about your area.  Good to know.

That is the essence of communcation, right Jim?  Say what you mean and mean what you say.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay...there are builders that are just passing through and there are those that take pride in their work....I once worked with a man who would clean up like he was never there. There is a difference between loving what you do and just passing through...thank you for this functional post.....Jay

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 10 years ago

Debbie - thanks, and anyone can walk through a construction site at this phase and you don't know who that might be.  Sometimes a huge family shows up, including extended family!

That's right Aaron.  It bothers me too!

They may or may not appreciate that Tish!  And if they don't, maybe they can take the hint...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

John - that's right, things like that get noticed.  When you go into a messy home you don't feel so bad about dropping something on the floor!

Wow, Doyle, that is good to hear!

You are welcome Richie.  And you can tell something about people when they take pride in what they do.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

WOW_did not know thse things-I will be sure to notice now!

Posted by Pam Dunn, Relocation Specialist (RE/MAX Premier Choice) almost 10 years ago

Well, Pam, I am happy to inform you!  Check in often!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay,

These builders are far and few between. I'm happy you had a good experience with this last inspection and you tell them about it. This builder is due for some recognition..  send them your post.

Sergio

Posted by Sergio DePinto (Royal LePage Maximum Realty.,Brokerage - Greater Toronto Area) almost 10 years ago

The client got it Sergio!  He can do with it what he will!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Valerie - never saw a house being built when I was a child.  I grew up in established Chevy Chase in NW Washington DC.  However, I DID see a couple of apartment buildings being built!  We went into them all the time!  They are 18, 20 stories high!  And we were up there, I remember, looking down onto Connecticut Avenue, watching the cars go by!  Talk about dangerous!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

I thought so too Erica.  You can see in the photos other tacked up design mentions and plans - they are all over the house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay, I think having a pre-drywall inspection is a great idea on new construction.  I've never really heard of this but will definitely recommend it in the future to my buyers who are buying a new home.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

I have been doing them for years, Tammie, and highly, highly recommend them.  It's amazing the stuff I come up with!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

I haven't sold a whole lot of new construction, but I have done a few... and the condition of the site is generally a good indicator of how the smaller things are being handled. 

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) almost 10 years ago

My point exactly in the post Lane!  Good to hear it from someone experienced in the arena!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Good advice, as always, Jay.  I've never had a client willing to pay for a hone inspection with new construction, but you make a good case for it.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

I concur, a clean and safe job site says a lot about a builder and their product.

Posted by Mike Mayer (Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC) almost 10 years ago

It is very disconcerting to refer a Buyer to a Builder, then see a construction site that is littered with garbage, cigarette butts, and worse. 

Plus, music blaring from the boom boxes of the Subs, loud profanity, etc. when the Buyer stops by to check on the progress of the work.

None of this is acceptable.  It should be written into the Contract.  If a Builder's subs cannot conduct themselves in a professional manner, then get off the property.

 

Posted by Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Margaret - it may be the very best time to do a home inspection!  You can see so many things.

One thing does follow the other Mike.  I can see it pulling up to the house.

Fred - then he would just go to 7-11 and find more, who would probably do the same thing!    ;>)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

I've done the pre dry wall walk through with my client but have yet to persuade a Buyer of New Construction to get a Home Inspection.  Margaret C.

Posted by Margaret C. Taylor, St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent (Century 21 New Millennium MD) almost 10 years ago

I think that is short sighted on their part Margaret.  I find more problems on new construction than old!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Nice to run into a good one now and then, isn't it?

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 10 years ago

It makes it fun Jack.  Like bowling a strike every now and then!  The real trick is to string the strikes!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

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