What I'm Seeing Now

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Is The Thermostat In The Basement Why It's So Cold Upstairs?

This is a flip, and a total "remodel," of a 120 year old house.  I always expect to find things that aren't right.

AND WE WERE IN FOR SOME FUN!

After turning appliances on to get them running, I always start in the basement.  The first thing I see is the new heat pump, but it is hooked up to the old, metal duct work.  Now I am not an HVAC specialist, but you just can't do that.  The old system was oil and blew much less air than a heat pump demands.  Retrofitting heat pumps and using the old duct system is a fat NO, NO.

But right beside the unit is the thermostat.  The basement simply isn't the best place to put a thermostat.  And right beside the system and under the only register in the basement!  So it's temperature registration will not accurately reflect what is going on in the rest of the house.  I had noticed the main level was a little cooler than the basement, so my client and I had a talk about stratification and regulating temperatures level to level.

FYI, there were no duct dampers (of course, they were using the old duct work) to help that and only on return vent.  That sole return was in the floor of the hallway and 12x12".  Heat pumps require huge amounts of air.  They HAVE TO return at least as much air as they blow.  If not, you will never have a comfortable home and the unit will be killed off in a couple of years.

THE BIGGEST KEY TO EFFECTIVE HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING IS THE RETURN AIR DUCTS AND THEIR LOCATIONS. 

We went upstairs and it was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit!  Outdoors was about 30 degrees so something was up!  And I got the question:  "Is the thermostat in the basement why it's so cold upstairs?"

My immediate response was that probably not, there had to be something else going on.  The upstairs had three bedrooms, a hallway, a hall bath and a "master bath" in the rear bedroom.  Looking around, only the center bedroom had a heating register!  Neither bathroom had one, neither of the front bedrooms and not the hallway.

"Is that why it's so cold?"

The same question again.  

"Let's look in the attic."

Up I went to see this.

You are looking over the two front bedrooms.  Of course you don't see any HVAC registers.  We know there weren't any.

Do you notice anything else missing?

I don't see insulation.

Do you see insulation?

I don't see insulation.

I see wiring for the new lights, so the electricians were up there.

There was a new duct for that one room, so the HVAC guys were up there.

SOMEBODY KNEW THERE WAS NO INSULATION UP THERE!  AND NO DUCTS SERVICING THE OTHER ROOMS.

My recommendation:   A flip by a contractor does not mean the contractor knows what he is doing.  That heat pump has no chance of being effective.  This particular contractor's check list did not include installing HVAC registers or insulation. 

Do you think those were the only things he missed?  Can you see the twinkle in my eye as I ask that?

 

 

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 122 commentsJay Markanich • January 17 2011 07:11AM

Comments

So tell us Jay did the clients go ahead with the purchase after finding all the problems?

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 8 years ago

Jay, good catch.  I've also seen some pretty amazing AC/Heat situations here in Florida.  All I can say is, 'what were they thinking?'

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 8 years ago

Seriously.  You would think by now that people would know that an inspection will be made.  Jeez.

Posted by Virginia Gardner, Realtor, Charlottesville, Serving Central Virginia (Roy Wheeler Realty Co.) over 8 years ago

I haven't heard James.  To me it seemed by the end that they were very disappointed.  I think the problems are one thing, but what we can't see inside the walls is another bigger thing.  The report was very long!

And down there Gabe you have to move air!  All the principles remain the same though.

Virginia - I have more fun with flippers than anybody.  I met a flipper who did not know I was a home inspector and had a post about it.

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

No insulation, the window looks like one we would see in New Orleans and look at the spaghetti in the attic...yikes.

Posted by Brin Realty Associates Team At Bean Group, Amherst NH homes and Southern NH real estate (Bean Group | Brin Realty Associates) over 8 years ago

That's actually the original gable vent Rene.  It looks old because it is original!

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

Yikes. Do that in Michigan and you be froze to the sheets. lol

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 8 years ago

It sure was cold upstairs there Randy!  In Michigan, well, I can't imagine!

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

I know what I would be telling my clients!  It really is amazing how bad some people can do flip projects.  Thanks for sharing this one with us.

Posted by Jacquie Cliff, - Real Estate and Short Sale Expert (Champions Real Estate Services - Lynnwood, WA) over 8 years ago

You wrote: "I always start in the basement.  The first thing I see is the new heat pump,"

The heat pump was inside the house in the basement?

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 8 years ago

Golly, Jay,

Was there any actual work done to improve or update this "total remodel?"

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 8 years ago

There's a lot of "slash and dash" flipping going out there. In an effort to get the job done as fast as possible, things are missed and covered up.

Posted by Larry Costa, Realtor, Carver MA Real Estate (Century 21 Classic Gold, Carver MA) over 8 years ago

Good morning Jay.  I'll bet that you did find other things with this house.  Maybe no roof vents?

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 8 years ago

Wow you would think insulation would be high on the list in your area. Many people overlook this part when flipping homes.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) over 8 years ago

Jacquie - I am amazed sometimes by what I see, but no longer surprised!

Maureen - the interior unit was, yes.  The compressor, of course, was outside.

Mike - yes, new granite counter tops, to which the dishwasher and none of the cabinets were attached!  The tops were all laying there mobile!

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

That is the long and the short of it Larry.  They are always fun inspections!

You are looking at the only roof vent in that picture Ken.  With peeling paint!

Harry - I'm sure they were going to get to it right after the inspection...  or not.

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

Guess there was no requirement from the County which would have required an inspection along the way -- such a shame.  You are the man . . .

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 8 years ago

Clearly not all contractors are created equal and not all flips are done equally well -- some are complete flops.  Thank goodness for home inspectors :)

Posted by Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager (RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca) over 8 years ago

Jay,

Did they also knock out a wall to "open it up"? Without support? :)

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) over 8 years ago

Jay, the key word here is flip. The obviously had to replace the furnace and that they did and noting else associated with the heating system. the buyer should pass on this one. I'm sure there were many other issues.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

Jay - Some "flips" are great (a few) and some are marginal; this one sounds more like a "flop."

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

I like Tanya's term; flops. Flips are flops! It has a nice ring to it.

The only persons who should see the attic with no insulation is at framing carpenters. Doing inspections I sometimes see low R-values, old poorly fitted jobs, and damaged insulation but never none at all.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 8 years ago

Looking at the photo again I see other things that I'm wondering about. I'm sure there were many other problems here. I see (what looks to be) 2x4s that appear to be reinforcing the rafters. Structurally they should not be required. Maybe some of the rafters have been weakened. If they carry weight, how is the loading transferred through to the foundation?

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 8 years ago

This is a terrible rehab job. Downright embarrassing to those of us doing it right. Glad you were able to help the potential buyers see the issues. It'd be an interesing report for that whole house i'm sure.

Posted by Darrin Carey, Real Estate Buyer (Homes and More, Inc) over 8 years ago

Let me share a relayed story about my own home, I had built ten years ago.  Our master bedroom was always several degrees cooler than our main room where the thermostat was located.  I hired a HVAC guy that could engineer.  He walked into our bedroom/bath and saw a return rated for 60cfm, while the registers were rated for 20cfm and 10cfm respectively.  I didn't need to be an engineer to solve this problem.  We throttled the return, and added a new return outside the bedroom.  I also added dampers to my registers.  After working with the dampers for a few days, we now have everything balanced.  Oh, before installing the dampers, we peeled back the duck work insulation and discovered we were losing lots of conditioned air in the attic.   

Posted by Dan Johnson (LiLi Lua, LLC) over 8 years ago

And this is why selling a flipped home is starting to scare me. It is amazing to me how many buyers assume that since it was a flip it must be in great shape....."move in condition". Many of these homes started out with water and mold damage and some of them most definitely are not what they appear to be.

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) over 8 years ago

Great post as always. I'm going to re-blogg for all mt FB friend can read this

Posted by Susan Jacobs, Realtor-Helping Buyers/Seller (Samson Properties) over 8 years ago

It always pays dividends to have a qualified inspector involved before you close, even if they find nothing of consequence.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) over 8 years ago

Once again the flippers take short cuts with the hope the bells and whistles detract buyers from the major issues. 

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

it's sad when you watch those flipping shows, you know which ones actually care and which ones only care about the $$$$

Great catches

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 8 years ago

I can see the twinkle, I can see the twinkle!!

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

I hate flipped houses.  First of all the buyer just loves it because it is 'cute.'  But 'cute' usually becomes a problem as you found.  If we are lucky, the buyer wants to walk.  But sometimes the buyer will be so patient, wanting the seller to correct the problems.  But the seller never does totally and satisfactorily.  And then after closing, you keep waking up in the night wondering how that buyer is doing in that 'cute' house.

Sarah

Posted by Sarah, John Rummage, Love Being Realtors® in the Nashville TN Area! (Benchmark Realty LLC, Nashville TN 615.516.5233) over 8 years ago

I have some rental properties in the old part of town and the flippers are always busy. I can watch the same property get flipped a few times a year. A little more gets done or redone each time. In a few more years there may be a new house. haha

Posted by Brian Persons, Certified Master Inspector (Brian Persons Front Range Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

Interesting article-thanks-I am learning new things here every day-now to get my DUCTS in a row

Posted by Tim Peterson, Realtor Safety Training Classes (Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes) over 8 years ago

It is simply amazing to read about the things that you find in your home inspections.  No insulation...really?  Big first clue that someone did not have a clue!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 8 years ago

Jay, I am quite sure the electrician appreciated there being no insulation :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

Great post Jay. Gives us a few more things to look for as Realtors.

Posted by Keith Jeppson - Salt Lake City Real Estate (Everest Realty Group) over 8 years ago

For a buyer, Flips can be very scary.  Obviously, flipping currently in Indy is kinda scary anyway.  Not only should you have an inspection, You should have separate mechanical inspections, by licensed contractors.

Posted by Shirley Soforic (F. C.Tucker co.) over 8 years ago

Jay,

I was a little slow this morning. When I first read this I thought, "Its not a flip, its a flop.". Others beat me to that great line...

-Brent

Posted by Brent & Deb Wells, Prosper TX (LivingWell Properties) over 8 years ago

Tish - there would be some care by the County HAD THEY PULLED A PERMIT!

Tanya - all that despite the Declaration of Independence!  Good word too -- FLOP!

Bill - not in this house!  But there was plenty more to identify, so that problem may have ranked down on the list!

Michael - not much about this "new" HVAC system is correct.  That house is doomed.

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

John - this house was a disaster.  Had you walked with me you would have laughed, as I did, but under my breath...

Robert - the roof was sagging on that side, hence the vertical members.  You can also see the sagging on the left, without vertical supports!  And no collar ties.

Darrin - the report was very long and very involved, to say the least.

Dan - good job!  Not suprising on the leaks - I have gone into many an attic with cool air blowing on my face!

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

Barb - you are entirely right about all of that!

Susan - thanks for the reblog!  And what's FB - Flipper Boy?

Wayne - the only consequence to that is more peace of mind - worth big bucks!

Cindy - truly this house was a shame.  There weren't many bells or whistles, and if here had been they would have been drowned out by all manner of disaster.

 

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

Don - they may be the reason for a lot of these problems!  People see the show and think they have the ability to do things they don't.

Alan - I am famous for my twinkle!

I agree Sarah.  Cute is a long way from correct or well done!  Good luck once you move in.

Brian - that is probably happening all over the place!

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

Tim - not bad!  And easier without insulation clogging the pond up.

Kathryn - the extreme cold upstairs influenced the rest of the house!  Clue there?

Charlie - for all I know, the electrical was put in and then they put up the new drywall!  But there are walking boards up there, so who knows...

Brent - it is a great word and a great title for another such blog!

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

Keith - thank you.  There are a thousand things to look for as Realtors!

Shirley - I would agree with that completely, although not just in Indy!

Bummer Brent!  It is a great line to use!

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

Keith - thank you.  There are a thousand things to look for as Realtors!

Shirley - I would agree with that completely, although not just in Indy!

Bummer Brent!  It is a great line to use!

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

Jay - Keep up the good work.  As I've said before, I pretty much always learn something from your posts.  Your point about contractors is a solid one.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 8 years ago

Grathiath Jason.  We do try to be instructive!

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

Jay,

Another great post.... re-blogging. It's not just the insulation missing that's the point... but is it a good contractor or a wannabee?

Posted by Brad Rachielles, REALTOR, CDPE, Upland, CA (CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453) over 8 years ago

WOW, I can't believe this still goes on! Where is common sense and integrity in a job well done? ( Traci shakes her head ) Unreal!

Posted by Traci Ferguson, Realtor, EcoBroker, LEED AP (San Luis Obispo Realtor & ecoBroker with Patterson Realty) over 8 years ago

The lack of insulation in the attic would answer a lot of questions to me as to why it's so cold, the explanation of the return ducts was quite interesting.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

wow....That sounds like a FSBO!

Posted by Richard Daskam, Your Real Estate Consultant (Keller Williams Coastal Properties) over 8 years ago

Brad - supposedly a pro contractor/flipper.  Pro ... well ...

And thanks for the reblog!

I saw you shake your head Traci!

Eileen - that combined with the fact that no heat was getting there.

Richard - nope, agent involved!

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

Great Post Jay! You should come to Massachusetts. You'd love it here, we at least replace the burner and forget to put the ducks in to all the rooms and then duck tape the vent from the unit. But hey, cosmetically the house looks fabulous. If you don't need heat. Maybe the Flip contractor made a road trip and did the house I'm talking about too!

Posted by Lisa Coates, Residential Home Sales Specialist (Level Ten Construction Consultants) over 8 years ago

That looks like an expensive repair to replace all the duct work with the proper size.  Yikes!

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 8 years ago

Lisa - not uncommon!  I have found rooms missing a heating register even in brand new construction!

Justin - actually it might be.  Heat pumps require different duct work than the previous system had employed.  Properly done, that duct work would have to be installed.

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

Great story Jay, and the attic photo is the capper! I am curious as to how they got this far. They wrote an offer on a home that had no heat registers in 66% of the bedrooms and neither of the upstairs baths? I would have noticed that. When I freeze my butt off it's usually a clue somethings not working right:) We like our central heating to work in Minnesota.

Posted by Steve Baklaich, Treating Buyers & Sellers to Full Service Always. (RE/MAX Results St Cloud Mn real estate) over 8 years ago

Wow, Steve, I didn't know you had any heat in MN!  Oh, you mean from the heating system!   ;>)

Sometimes people walk through homes really quickly and see new stuff and figure if there's a problem the home inspector will find it.  Well, I found a bunch!

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

This really boils down to if they were getting a good deal AND if they were willing to do the additional work to bring the property up to today's standards.  Just because the flipper did a subpar job doens't mean the property can't be had for a good deal.

Posted by Simon Mills (Mills Realty) over 8 years ago

Don't you think contractors should have to be responsible to someone?  I guess that someone is going to be you!

Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) over 8 years ago

Jay, this is why I always encourage my buyers to have a home inspection, always!

Posted by Mike Frazier, Northwest Tennessee Realtor (Carousel Realty of Dyer County) over 8 years ago

These are the things you can see that he missed. What we can't see would scare me to death! I love having good inspectors! thanks for the post!

Posted by Chris and Berna Sloan, Tooele UT (Group 1 Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Flip transactions such as this one are designed to return the maximum profit to the flipper. They are not designed to provide the best house to the buyer. The house is made to look attractive in order to fetch a good price is a short time. Shortcuts are taken. Costs are shaved.

Buyer beware!

Posted by John Juarez, ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN (The Medford Real Estate Team) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay: This blog site is so important because there are great inspectors like yourself who keep us apprised of wha tis what. Thank you! Gay

Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) over 8 years ago

Jay -- 40 degrees and one heat register? None in the bathrooms? No insulation?  Thermostat in the basement?  What a mess!

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Oh! I can only imagine the twinkle in your eye! lol Geee, you think?

Someone stop me, I cannot stop laughing reading your post... question is: "is it that funny?" Some people, I swear! Keep inspecting and blogging!

 

Posted by Lydie Ouellet Dickinson, Realtor (Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA) over 8 years ago

Simon - I think it was a "good deal," but there were so many problems seen, it makes one wonder what problems are unseen under the drywall!

Allen - there may be liability in there somewhere, but I doubt it.  That is why people should hire inspectors!

Mike - these are very good reasons!  There are more...

Chris - my feelings exactly!  There were many, many things wrong with this house, "professionally" remodeled.

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

I have my suspicions that there were other things that he also missed. 

Posted by Don Barrett (Integrity Real Estate Services) over 8 years ago

John - and at that point the home inspector is introduced!

Erica - that is the snow ball on the tip of the iceberg at this house!

Gay - all of us try to be instructive!

Just the beginning Barbara, just the beginning in this house!

Lydie - I will keep inspecting, market willing!  In a way it is funny, but sad at the same time!

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

Under our current contract there would be no way for a buyer to get out of this situation.  Do you know if Real Estate Agents in your area use the VAR contract?

Some flips are definitely flops!

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) over 8 years ago

Gee, Don, what would make you think that?  And you would be right!

Damon - I assume they had a home inspection contingency, but that is not my side of the deal!

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

Wow!! Scary what some people do or don't do to make a quick buck! I hope the listing agent tells the seller that these problems need to be addressed.

Posted by Robert Amato (Bob Amato of Empire Home Mortgage Inc) over 8 years ago

Bob - I email my report and if there are questions they get back to me.  I expect to hear from them to do another inspection!

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

Another yikes! As soon as I saw the pic I said where's that insulation? I'd run as fast as I could from that house. I'm sure they just put the 'lipstick on a pig' and put the house back up for sale.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 8 years ago

 

Good stuff Jay.

I believe the term for that type of remodel is Mickey Mouse.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay~  It blows my mind what I see and hear about in some of these houses that are for sale!  I can't even imagine why any buyer in their right mind would ever even think twice about getting a home inspected!

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 8 years ago

Lyn - but the lipstick in this case wasn't even an attractive color!

Anthony - I noticed stuff walking up to the front door and things went downhill from there...

Vickie - but apparently they do.  I even from time to time have the agent ask me to reduce my fee, because the buyers are having "such a hard time" buying the house!  You can't afford me, you can't afford a house!

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

Hmmmm....here, it would be written in the offer that seller is to produce all permits pulled for work done...guess the agent forgot hmmm ?

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

Hi Jay, buyer beware and get a Home Inspector!  Thanks an interesting post as always.

Posted by Dale Ganfield over 8 years ago

Unbelievable the corners people will cut in order to try to flip a house.  Getting an inspector should be an absolute must!  It makes you think if they were so unashamed to present this home for sale with such glaring deficiencies that you could easily see....what must be lurking beneath the surface?  One can only begin to imagine the horrors that go beyond skin-deep.

Posted by Dave Kinkade, Director of Marketing - Property Management (Home Locators Property Management Tampa Florida) over 8 years ago

I am so glad to hear how thorough and knowledgeable you are. I know that there should be returns all over the house and registers in every room. Then the facts about the heat pump and how it REQUIRES all the registers... Did no permits get pulled on this place?

Just the fact that they didn't even bother to throw some insulation in the attic makes me wonder about the rest of the house. The exterior walls, the floors between levels... Mind Boggling!!!  I hope that your client ran away from this or at least got big concessions!

It is amazing that this contractor would do such a poor job. Just goes to show you that there are idiots everywhere!

Posted by Steve Facella (ReMax Prestige) over 8 years ago

Sharp eye!  Sounds like you just gave your client a few bargaining chips to get the "flip" into a livable home.

Posted by Jeffery Newton over 8 years ago

I guess he didn't do that flip as if he was going to live there...

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) over 8 years ago

Jay, all I have to say is, "You are the man!"

Posted by Nicole Fleming (FC Tucker Emge) over 8 years ago

Thanks for the quality post Jay.  It's interesting hearing about the types of things other Home Inspectors find around the Country.  Take care and stay safe out there.

Posted by Darin Redding (Housecall Property Inspections) over 8 years ago

Great post and living in a hundred ten year old Victorian I can empathize with some of the things you found.

Having no insulation allows a visual example of why I never advise walking an attic with deep blown-in insulation, a hundred and one trip hazards! Unless those wires are properly routed and secured the next inspector will probable owe someone a new ceiling.

I suspect you may have found some bat dung too if the opening in the gable vent is as large as it appears. My de-batting cost about $800 ten years ago. I bet it's a lot more now.

I was always more concerned when I inspected a house built, remodeled or "up-dated" by a contactor because they do know how to hide what they don't want to fix. It's a good thing the vast majority are honest.

I inspected houses for a couple of flippers that esentiall just aimed at the money some people insist on leaving on the table. They would purchase a reasonable solid house and clean up, fix up and paint to make it show it's true character. It seems cleaning products and paint are unknown concepts to some sellers.

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay

Having worked heavy steel construction 30 years I can Imagine the night mares you must walk in to as a home inspector. Having been involved in remodels and rebuilds of every thing from small ships to sky scrapers I can tell you probably 8 times out of 10 these projects are owned by some one who only sees the $ side of it they only want to spend money were it can be seen. I have noticed these are the people don't succeed they come and go after a project or two. The individuals who Know to do the job right and not cut corners are folks I worked for over and over again. Funny how that works the people who focused on the $ went broke those who cared about the job Did very well LOL........Brad

Posted by Brad Hornshaw, Realtor, Listing Agent, Buyers Agent, Investments (Brad Hornshaw Realtor Lynnwood, Bothell, Everett) over 8 years ago

S&D - flippers no permit pull here now never.

Sellers to provide all permits!  Ha!  That house was in DC and you could have ALL the permits, pulled and signed off on, and it would mean NOTHING!

Thanks Dale.  I would agree with all that!

That is the big difficulty with this kind of thing Dave.  You don't know what is under that you cannot see.  I fear for people buying this stuff.

Steve - this sort of thing is, unfortunately, pretty normal around here!  Heat pump people know what the system requires.  Could be that the installer wasn't a heat pump guy, but a "handy" man!

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

Jeffrey - I hope I gave the clients enough information to make the decision to call me again on another house!

Jeremy - the Golden Rule is not alive and well in Flipper Land!

Well, thanks, Nicole, but things like this are easy to discover.  It's the hidden stuff that scares me!

Thank you Darin.  You don't have flippers out there?  And if you do, is this the norm for your area, because it sure is here?

 

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

Marshall - that can be hard living!  Those homes require a lot of care.  I went into the attic of an older home once to turn on my flashlight to see between 1 and 2 million bats!  The floor was 6" deep with guano.  You are right, what they hide is the hard stuff.

Brad - interesting how the boomerang comes back fairly regularly.  You reap what you sow!

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

What ... are you telling us that even though a flip looks fantastic we should always have a home inspection? Is that the message here :)

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA over 8 years ago

No insulation and no heat in the bedrooms!? Was this done by a group of sixth graders? No offense to sixth graders, they are far more intelligent than the crew who worked on this house.

Btw was the twinkle your star for the day?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

Sometimes a flip can look real nice - which is important with a flip - but have lots of hidden issues.  An inspection by a quality inspector is money well spent.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I love the picture of the romex wiring, it gives a whole new meaning to the term "drag and drop".

Posted by Sam Fischer over 8 years ago

Wow, Jay!  Unbelievable!  and yet we all do, because we've seen stuff too.

I just sold a home that was "over-improved" and had been on the market a very long time, because the sellers wanted to make back as much of what they spent as possible.  (Hah!)  Everything looked pristine, and most things went well at inspection, except for a few fairly minor things. But in addition to some roof shingles peeling up at the edge of the roof, there was a surprise in the attic.  Although they had installed a ridge vent on the roof, no-one had opened up any of the plywood in the attic to afford any air flow to the vent!  How clever is that?  Amazing!

Posted by Paula Burt, REALTOR , SFR, RECS over 8 years ago

That's crazy.  I can see some of those things. If I can see it, then it is really screwed up

Posted by Mike Henderson, HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848 (Your complete source for buying HUD homes) over 8 years ago

Oh, the tangled web we weave...

Posted by Debbe Perry, 828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC (Real Living Carolina Property ) over 8 years ago

Cynthia - getting a home inspection would pretty much sum it up!

Jim - while you and I are continually amazed, we are probably never surprised!

As to the twinkle, my wife says that when I am being silly or sarcastic in person people can see the twinkle in my eye and that in an email or on a post it doesn't always come across.  Dry humor is hard to communicate when typing!

Gene - that is it exactly!

Sam - overall I was inspecting a fabulous job!

Did the twinkle come across there too?

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

Paula - I have seen that before too!  And the guy putting on the ridge vent either knows he is venting nothing or has no idea what a ridge vent is intended to do.  Either of those circumstances is frightful...

Mike - I wonder if after they put up the drywall if they actually ever went back into the attic!

Debbe - that is it for sure.  People are always trying to get something over on someone else.  That boomerang comes back in time!

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

That sounds pretty crazy, but I've heard of it before. I found out that my personal home had the upstairs thermostat wired to the downstairs blowers and vice versa. It took 6 months to figure out why it was so hot upstairs!

Posted by Sandy McAlpine, Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC (RE/MAX EXECUTIVE) over 8 years ago

My inspection on Saturday had insulation blown in the attic... for about 15% of the attic!  The rest was bare.  This is BUFFALO!

Posted by Julie Babcock -Nook & Cranny Home Inspections (Nook & Cranny Home Inspections Tonawanda, NY) over 8 years ago

That is very hard to diagnose Sandy!  Glad you could get it figured out!

Julie - well, that was 15% more than this attic!  According to gubment statistics, your attic was 15% more green.  How nice...  Isn't it amazing Julie?

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

I think I detect a twinkle there, Jay ;)

Posted by Julie Babcock -Nook & Cranny Home Inspections (Nook & Cranny Home Inspections Tonawanda, NY) over 8 years ago

Well, I'm sure that 15% in New York is probably more important than a 15% here Julie...

Good that you could see the twinkle!

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

It is amazing how many people think they know how to do remodeling when they don't have a clue.

I'll admit that some of those flippers are probably trying to pull a fast one, but I've seen many people who try to do these things themselves - thinking it looks easy enough for any dummy. My husband used to do remodeling, and now my son does. Both of them just shake their heads at some of what they see.

On the other hand, I've seen some very talented people who buy homes with problems others would run away from - and they actually fix them.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 8 years ago

Marte - one of the problems may be these TV shows where people watch them and think that in a half hour they can do it too.

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

I just inspected an old house in Minneapolis on Tuesday with no insulation... anywhere!  It's always quite shocking to find this kind of thing.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

How in the world they can get by up there without insulation Reuben, I don't know.  Maybe they use those very efficient Amish space heaters and stay toasty.

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

thanks for allowing this to be Re-Blogged!!!

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 8 years ago

This is something that can be used anywhere Maureen, in hot or cold climates!  Thanks for the reblog!

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

As a matter of fact, the uninsulated home had a huge pile of firewood in the basement.  I didn't even think about the connection until you suggested it.  Damn you're good.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 8 years ago

What did you recommend this Buyer to do?  Did the Buyer go forth with the contract?  Tell us WHAT HAPPENED!

Posted by Kathy Opatka, Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches (RE/MAX CROSSROADS) over 8 years ago

Well, Reubs, space heat is space heat!  Firewood in the basement?

Kathy - I have not heard back!  For sure I thought these folks would be calling with questions or something.  Maybe they are looking for another place having dropped this one.

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

This is a good example why you need a home inspection, even if the house "looks" like everything is new!

Posted by Shiela Heg, Broker-Owner - Find Homes in Southeastern WI (Lake to Lake Realty LLC) over 8 years ago

Sheila - I have more problems on new construction than I do on old.  The houses with the most problems are flips and remodels!

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

I'm sorry for this Jay . . . and feel free to delete my comment, but for the pity's sake #117, do you mind not putting your advertising link in EVERY comment you post on someone's blog?!?  Perhaps, we've all become too polite . . . but DUDE, do you see ANYONE ELSE doing that?!?  You want to know why?!?  Because linking to your site on someone else's blog is a violation of the ActiveRain Community Guidelines, and terms of service.  PlUS . . . when you click your link, it PULLS the reader OFF of Jay's post, and plants them into your website!  TACKY TACKY TACKY! 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 8 years ago

Richard - a contractor!  He was there present.  When I showed him the attic he was "surprised," his word.

Carla - you are right -- it was really cold up there!

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

Jay, Incorrect HVAC causes so much unnecessary discomfort in homes today, and regarding the insulation, in this day and age, this is unforgivable.  Just because a house looks updated, doesn't mean it is.  Great Post.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Jay - I would not want to be washing in any of those bathrooms if they aren't getting any heat! Too bad people don't always take pride in their work!

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) over 8 years ago

Chris - exactly right.  And I don't have much confidence in these guys, or remodeling in general.

Barbara-Jo - it would be a trip to be wet in either of those bathrooms!  Makes for a quick bath!

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

Flippers cut corners and cover things up. An inspection is always necessary.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 8 years ago

For sure Wayne.  The bottom line is getting the house sold.  Silk purses seal the deal!

But they aren't always silk!

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

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