What I'm Seeing Now


My Job? To Protect My Client's A$$ets!

New construction inspections are always a challenge.  And for many reasons.  There is a lot of countervailing stuff going on. 

  • The supervisor thinks he has built the perfect house.  Sometimes he tells me that. 
  • The builder doesn't want me there.  Sometimes they tell me that. 
  • The client has been upset many times by the time we do our inspection.  Sometimes they tell me that.
  • And the client has been told that the house was already inspected numerous times by the County and that the supervisor was on site every day doing his routine inspections, so that superfluous home inspector isn't really necessary at all.  Sometimes they tell me that TOO!

Here are a few photographs from a recent new home inspection.  They will each become the subject of an individual post at some time.  I could include more!  This is the same house, "ready" for a "final inspection" before occupancy and ALREADY APPROVED by the County.  Oh, at the time of this inspection the wall ovens and dishwasher were yet to be installed.  They were going to get to it "tomorrow." 

How the County can sign off on the electrical without the electrical wall ovens or even their wiring being installed is beyond me, but that's where we were.


Broken furnace vent, exhausting moisture and carbon monoxide INTO the house.









An exposed opening where a poorly-cut drip edge did not extend to the end and roof sheathing is exposed.  That cut end of a shingle will not last very long either.  This was one of four, all done the same way.





No insulation in the attic!  None, not even a cotton ball.








Bent kitchen vent, right beside the garage door.  It is so bent, the flap does not open all the way.  And they didn't even paint it.




Perhaps hard to see, but the trim to the right of the small pediment detail is made up of two pieces, caulked in the middle with the nails showing.  They aren't even finish nails, and for all I know are bright nails, intended for interior applications!  The other side of the pediment had a single piece.






Faux stone improperly installed, with no casing bead, backer rod, and the mortar is touching wood (likely not primed or painted) all over the house.  Result?  Eventual rot all over and moisture penetration to the interior.




This is laughable.  Is anything level - trim at the top, shingles, roof, window?

This is one of four similar areas.  All are just as hideous.  If I had to drive up to my house every day and see this kind of thing I would cry.  My house would be a perpetual source of distaste for me.

My job is to protect my client's assets. When you are paying big money for a house, and my definition of "big money" is a $million or more, you deserve a proud, professionally-done, craftsman-like finished product!

I know builders don't like it when I show up.  Why would they?  There are more photos!  These are only a few!

I feel badly for what is happening to our trades.  They are being filled with people who have no idea what they are doing, and CANNOT read English.  My eighth-grade shop teacher would fail these jokers left and right.  He may have failed me for this, even though I was only in 8th grade! 


Sorry to stand on my soap box and scream, but I am disgusted!!

My recommendation:  NEVER buy a new home without a home inspection.  Don't look for the cheapest inspector you can find.  Hire an experienced bull dog who knows what he is looking at and can explain it.  He is worth twice what you pay him, so pay him his fee and pick his brain!




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 31 commentsJay Markanich • November 20 2010 04:36AM


This is quite sad.  Was it actually inspected by the county or did they lie about that?  Yes, this is a great example of why an inspector is worth his weight in gold.  Suggested.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

Good morning Jay. Doing a thorough job also protects our a$$ets too...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Thanks Debbie.  Yes, the County stickers were already there, dated two days prior to the inspection, which meant even more things had not been completed. 

True, Michael.  Our best protedtion is a good job!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay-HERE HERE!  The inspection process by the construction team is a joke.  Yet every year hundreds of buyer's in our area go to closing without a thought of an independent inspection on their new home. 

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 9 years ago

Thank you for lesson.  I always show up for the home inspection, and always learn something.

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) over 9 years ago

Sadly, by the time the "pre-settlement" inspection is done, it's too late to repair a lot of things like a croked window.  I'm of the opinion that "staged" inspections are needed.  Few buyers are willing to pay for the though.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Wow!  The building, electrical, plumbing inspectors should be fired!  How can such incompetency be allowed to continue?  I would be at the town hall asking questions

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 9 years ago

I love historic homes and get excited when I get the opportunity to sell one.  Of course you expect a long hit list in the older homes.  It's sad to see such a list with new construction.

Posted by Melissa Stahl, Realtor, Exit 1st Class Realty over 9 years ago

I am amazed that new-construction buyers think the county building and certification of occupancy process is ENOUGH to close on their purchase

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 9 years ago

A certificate of occupancy in CT does not mean the home is complete. That is where people get confused. A CO in CT is "certifying that such building, structure or work performed pursuant to the building permit substantially conforms to the provisions of the State Building Code"

In other words the home does not have to be complete as a reasonable person would define as complete, but what the State and or municipality defines as complete. Two quite different interpretations don't ya think?

The faux stone is great example of what IS NOT checked by the building official. He never would have gave it a glance, nor had any idea of what is a right or wrong installation.

New construction needs to be inspected.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

Good morning!  I get sea sick looking at that last photo.  The fact that this is the same house is just astounding.  What did they do right??

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 9 years ago

Jay ~  Had to lean on the button -- I have preached this for years to new home buyers.  I know how much the Builder's Rep hates to see a Professional Home Inspector -- they even hate to see a Professional Realtor, with her blue painter's tape in-hand, show for the walk-through.  Excellent post; thanks.

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 9 years ago

Unfortunately in this economy contractors are picking up anybody to work cheap

Skill or other wise

Hire a trained,professional and licensed inspector. Remember they work for YOU and your interests

The money you spend today may save you thousands later

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 9 years ago

Jay, even if it wasn't a substantially expensive home, knowing how to use the tools of the trade are basic. Levels are there for a reason, and when a 'carpenter' shows up and through his interpreter explains that he doesn't have the tools, I'm sure that even without an interpreter, he would understand 'You're Fired"

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 9 years ago

Another great post Jay!  I recently experienced this kind of thing first hand with my buyers.  Though the home they bought was built in 2004, our inspector found a pipe to the air conditioner in the attic crawl space that had not been connected right by the builder and was cooling the attic all of this time.  Wonder how much money was wasted there!  

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 9 years ago


Great work.  It's my goal at all times to protect my clients assets.  I love the title!  

Sad the number of poor jobs done on a brand new home.  Can't imagine how one gets CO with zero insulation???????  The only good news is that problem is easily solved except has a dollar cost.  Some are not so easy to solve and then the buyers fill stuck with them. 

All the best, 

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 9 years ago


Some clients drive me nuts. It is like you use all the right words in the report to make a rational person know that the house is not that easy to fixup, even if cheap. But they just do not read or listen.  I hate that.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Jay, thanks again for the eye opener. I hate to admit how naive I have been to think that a new home need not be inspected. Please forgive me, it won't happen again.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor (Ward County Notary Services) over 9 years ago

Thanks Cindy.  Oh that we could change the mind set around here!

Ken - heck, I learn something new on every inspection!

Lenn - this house is going to take a lot of work, particularly on that faux stone work.  All, all, all done incorrectly.

Webster - this was a joke in many respects!  I wonder how much "checking" they all did.



Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Melissa - I have more problems with new homes than with old!  I too love historic properties!

It amazes me too, Wallace, but you don't know what you don't know.

Jim - I give my clients a link that shows maybe 50 diagrams of how faux stone is supposed to be installed.  It is amazing when they compare that to their homes!

Interestingly, this is the only County around here that sends separate inspectors for the different trades, including insulation!  You think that guy saw the insulation before he signed off on it?

Kathryn - it was a long report, to say the least.  I am going back to inspect the "repairs" when they are finally done.


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Tish - the blue tape really gets a work out around here too!

Don - I call it "7-11 construction."  That best describes it - they go to 7-11 in the morning to pick up their "professional" workers for the day.

Ed - a lot of these guys understand English a WHOLE lot better than they let on.  I speak Spanish fluently and can tell you they are far more understanding judging by what they say to each other.

DeeDee - a BUNCH of money!  Some things just amaze me, even after all I have seen.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Thanks Michelle.  I am trying to make sure the dollar cost is not my client's!

Steve - I once had a realtor call me upset that my report "made" the client have to read it to understand what was going on with their home!  Even then, at times, they pretend they "didn't know..."

Bob - FORgiveness happens in advance.  I can only PARDON you for your past mistakes, but will FORgive you for the future ones!     ;)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay - I agree that you've done a good job of protecting your clients' assets; and think that some of the builders need to have their assets kicked.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

Jay, you know you are just WAY too picky!

So what if CO2 was poring into the house, that is what windows are for. Crack them open, that is if you can get them open. Where is pry bar again?

As far as the insulation, just turn down the heat and throw an extra blanket on. You'll pay exactly the same in energy bills and you'll have the benefit of your parka as your constant companion.

And the trim work, really Jay, do you need to mention such small stuff? Don't you know that everything is disposable now? Soon the homeowner will want a different colored exterior, might as well just tear it off and get new.

In all seriousness, poor craftsmanship can be expected because good craftsmanship is no longer valued. We tear down old beautiful homes to make way for new junk, and we don't care what goes in the landfill. Living in an old steel town as I do, I've seen many hours of hard labor let go, and even destroyed, by people who don't care. When will we start caring again? Maybe when we stop building and start investing in what is already built.

Posted by Christine Emmick, Woman of many words (Freelance Writer) over 9 years ago

John - this really was pathetic.  I felt badly for my clients because they are buying this place.  It doesn't take much explanation for smart people to realize this or that is done incorrectly or really badly.

Christine - wow, we need to get together more often!  I play around with your kind of humor a lot, maybe too much!  Sometimes my dry humor gets me into trouble too.  I had to add that last line to the post because a couple of people contacted my privately asking when CO is okay!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Great photos Jay, and that missing insulation in the attic is especially unbelievable.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 9 years ago

They were going to get to it "tomorrow" I am sure Reuben.  It's so funny.  Often when my reports get communicated to the supervisor, he tells the buyers, "Oh, yeah, that's already on my list..."  What a load.

I am going back to that same house today to see what's up with those things and more.  We'll see what's fixed.  What do you suppose they are going to do about all that faux stone?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

The missing insulation was my biggest surprise.  I certainly would not let my buyers close until everything was complete and correct.  Forget the "we'll get it tomorrow" business.

Posted by Mike Weber, 40+ years in Northern Colorado (Keller Williams Realty Northern Colorado) over 9 years ago

Mike - I went back yesterday to re-check the items not done and the insulation had been blown in.  But other things were not completed yet and the buyer is going after them really hard.  I hope he succeeds!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Here it is .. the home I heard about.  Sloppy sloppy sloppy.

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) over 9 years ago

It was pretty sloppy Jim.  It is homes like this one that makes it easier for me to say to clients, like the ones yesterday, that their house wasn't bad at all!  Nice to meet you yesterday!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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