What I'm Seeing Now

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Accidents In The Home Often Don't Happen By Accident

I don't know if most accidents happen at home, it is because we are there a lot or because we do so many things that will become "accidents."

Personally I think most accidents are planned.  Well, not PLANNED directly, but not thinking we do things that will fail, or fall, or break, or whatever, and when they do we say that we "had an accident."

Safety is a big part of a home inspection. I know I am always looking for unsafe things around the house.

For example, this stair, under the side door of a garage.

Fortunately it is not very high, so if there is a fall it won't be very far.  But that doesn't that a fall won't hurt!  The stairs are each too high according to the code, but that is not the issue here.

Look closely.  The stair is floating, not touching the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did they do that?

What holds it in place?

Well not much.  Two nails!  Two rusty nails!

And those two rusty nails go into a 2x4 which is itself nailed into aluminum siding!

You don't have the benefit, if I can call it that, of standing on that stair to test it.

But I can tell you, it is NOT very secure!  It wobbles and bounces.

It is, to quote a phrase, an accident waiting to happen.

I was kind of hoping that by standing on it I would break it so it would have to be repaired prior to my client's inheriting it!  But no such luck.

My recommendation:  it pays to make a safety sweep of our own houses regularly.  Look for things that are leaning and might fall, something that is sagging and needs shoring up, sharp things within reach of little hands, etc.  It will pay big dividends in the long run.

 

 

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 33 commentsJay Markanich • January 20 2011 07:39AM

Comments

Actually, you are bringing up a very good point. We keep talking about home inspections and listing/ selling houses. But, how about doing a regular sweep of our own properties?

Once that snow melts, I guess I will do so and most likely ask you lots of questions!

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

Ask away Lydie.  Anytime...

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

Picky! Picky! Picky! Just drive a few "stobs" around the steps. That'll fix 'er right up... 

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

Jay, Michael may say it funny, but if he means shims, that's what the owner would end up doing if it were written up

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

Michael - I don't know what those things are, but I guess they stob people from falling?

Ed - so I guess they prevent people from shimming?

Oh, shimmy, shimmy ko ko bop.  Got it.

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

Ah yes the temporary homeowners fix that they forget about until an accident happens.  This is one reason I ask my clients who have been in their homes for a long time about doing a pre-listing home inspection to try and deal with the issues they may not have realized were brewing for awhile.

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

Levitating steps!  Now that is an amazing thing!  I wonder if your friend Mosby had anything to do with that?

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

Cindy - that is something I have tried for years to get going around here, and it has never taken hold.  I think it would be beneficial - more like a consultation than a full-fledged inspection.

Kathryn - you know, I bet he uses them all the time!

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

Jay, reading your post, I think I need seasonal checklists to keep me on track on a preventative maintenance plan. 

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

Safety issues are really something that buyers need to consider.  I was so happy that you went over safety items with our last mutual client.

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

That's a good idea Chris.

Well, that is a part of the inspection.  Anytime I see something that is unsafe, I feel the need to report it.  Part of my Scoutmaster training, Chris Ann!

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

There are philosophical beliefs that say "there are  no accidents"....everything happens/is done for a reason.....and I reason there is one we have become pals on AR !

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

S&D - Well, if you lay a ladder against a house in such a place that wind can blow it over, it blows over for a reason!  And it's no "accident!"

And it's no accident we are friends on AR!

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

Jay, I have things that wobble and bounce---are you saying I need more nails?

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

I can't get anything by you Charlie.  You've nailed it again...

And don't forget to Bend Yer Bolt!

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

Yes, you're right, we should be looking around our own places much more often.  Good advice.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 8 years ago

Jay, it is amazing what some homeowners will do.

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

You break it, you pay for it ;)

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

Debbie - I know I should!  Really, safety is one of those things that is often overlooked by people.

For all I know Damon, the builder did that!

Reuben - I really was hoping it would break.  Then I could claim whiplash and terrible personal suffering.  I'm thinking $10 mil!

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

Valerie - if I had seen that from the garage to step down I wouldn't have thought about it.  Seeing it from the outside though made me think!

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

Hi Jay, as inspectors it never stops amazing me on what you can find during a inspection. Just about when you think you have seen it all, something else "pops up" that leaves you shaking your head. Good luck,

Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 8 years ago

While we are not usually surprised anymore, Clint, we are often amazed!  But we'll never see it all!

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

Good morning Jay.  Always something to learn when reading your post.  Thanks

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

And I am glad you do Ken!  Keep stopping by!

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

You said it, that's a floating stair supported by a cushion of air. Very modern.

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

The only 'rusty nail' that I want to see comes in a coctail glass with ice.

The correct install here requires 2 treads, but he rise to the door threshold makes it 3 'steps'. That makes it a call for handralling too.

Any inspection that you do is also a safety inspection, because if you, as the last 'pro' in there, don't speak up, who will?

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

Jim - I'm sure that's whiplash I am feeling.  And severe ankle pain.  Floating or not, it really hurts...

Robert - for sure.  Safety is the biggest not-mentioned item on most home inspections.  Many things mentioned are not couched in terms of safety.

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

Jay it doesn’t matter which state or what time of neighborhood we look in. These same issues pop up everywhere. They really think they’re saving something, until the so-called accident happens.

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) over 8 years ago

"So called" is right Sue.  These are set ups!

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

Hi Jay, as always an entertaining post.  If people would put the energyand $s into maintaining their home that they put into their car, we would find far fewer items like this.

Posted by Dale Ganfield over 8 years ago

Thanks Dale.  You have a great point!

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

God Bless Home Inspectors! In my book, anyone who purchases without a home inspection has rocks in their head and is looking for trouble!

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

Barbara-Jo - some of these seemingly little things can make a big difference!

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

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