What I'm Seeing Now


A Sinking Into The Ground, Fault Interrupter

For a few days now I have been anticipating doing a home inspection on a flipped property.  Unfortunately Mr. Jay, of Mr. Jay's Neighborhood, was otherwise occupied and could not make it today.


One reason I was looking forward to it is that I had understood this particular flipper had pulled permits.  There had not been a final inspection yet.  He was waiting for me to look at the property so see what I came up with.  To me, that's not a good sign.  A builder confident in his work and competent at his craft should not need some schmuck home inspector's opinion of his work.  But I digress...

One thing you want to see are things firmly attached to the wall.  You never want to run across a sinking into the ground, fault interrupter.

And this poor little fellow was sinking fast.

Only there a couple of months, it is already disappearing behind the powder room splash block.

I'm afraid that in a couple of months, as that sinking continues, the first receptacle would completely disappear.

Then the second.

Finally the entire cover plate would be gone and this bathroom would be without a receptacle altogether.

Buried.  Gone.

The blog post at that point would begin something like, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to remember..."  Well, you understand.

I am already getting teary eyed!

Well, at least we were able to get a photo of the little guy so we can remember him as he was in better days.

THIS IS A LESSON IN PLANNING AHEAD. The receptacle is too low anyway, but typical of many things found during the inspection.

Stay tuned...!  There is more fun to follow.

My recommendation:  when permits are pulled, they should be prominently displayed on a window and visible to all who enter the house.  And beware the flipper who is waiting to see what others find before he calls the County to render the final inspections.  There is nothing correct with this installation.  And it is prominent!





Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 22 commentsJay Markanich • May 18 2011 04:59AM


Good morning, Jay. Yeah, I hate that sinking feeling too. Kinda gets you in the pit of your stomach. As long as there are flippers, we will never run out of blog fodder... 

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

And there will be some fun posts with this flip Michael!

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


I have heard of inept builders using the town inspection department in lieu of a quality program, but your inept flipper has a two-pronged program, featuring both home inspector and town.

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

Jay, Yep, couldn't have hurt to planned ahead a bit on this one! :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 8 years ago

Good morning Jay. When I see something obvious my immediate thought is "what else am I not seeing?" I guess that's why we hire you guys. Peace of mind.

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

Oh my, that switchplate is awful.  Talk about lack of planning.  Hope the sink is far away from that one.

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

Hi Jay, they ( the re modelers ) should have raised the receptacle up before they installed the splash guard. Or is it just me. LOL

Great picture.

Clint McKie 

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

I believe the culprits had it all wrong. . .they though they have to drop the whole bathroom  12 inches and it was simply too hard!! 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 8 years ago

That's lack of experience show there. You have to think your way back from the finishes when placing builtin features. 

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

Jay, I sure you were "shocked" to see this!  ... but then again, compared to some of the things you have shared with us, perhaps you weren't...

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

Perhaps the back-splash is growing!!

Posted by Vince Santos, Southeast Michigan Home Inspector (StepByStep Home Services LC) over 8 years ago


That is too funny. Hey that is one of them special cover plates that cost extra to purchase in the box store. You have not seen them?

A thought, what if that is one of those anti-gravity receptacles and really is on it's way up?

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay - With the number of "flips" already out there and the potential for many more, you're going to have lots of blog material for years to come.  Sadly, the buyers who fail to have such homes inspected will suffer the consequences of such construction.

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

Mike - I had a continuing education class today and it was also attended by three of the County inspectors where this house is located.  I described some of the things I found to them and they are VERY interested in seeing the house!

Bliz - that's where experience comes in...

Randy - that is precisely what I said to my client!

Debbie - it isn't just the switch plate but the receptacle was screwed into the box BEFORE the splash block went on, so in order to get the receptacle out the splash block has to come OFF!

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

Or lowered the sink Clint!  Which is easier?

Fernando - that is probably the best plan of all!  I will have to get to my client ASAP!  That should go on the addendum!

One would think Robert.  Woulda, shoulda, coulda.

Chris - this is the first of many non-surprises I will share with you!

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

Vince - that didn't occur to me, but still the receptacle will be buried and we will have to have a service.

That's a thought Don, but it would make it anti-gravity and that wasn't my first assumption.

John - fodder for centuries to come!  Or something like that...

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

picky picky picky Jay ...probably just trying to make it neat and level...like the rest of the house probably is not !

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


When Nutsy is back there, buying your firm, he can give you some tips on wiring.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 8 years ago

I try to be S&D!  And you are right about the rest of the house.

Steve - if he is trule certifried, he will know that I don't wire, but do look at it a lot!  These will have to be big, big dollars.

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

I agree, that was definitely bad planning, but really, what's the problem?

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

Jay, and this flipper had to hire you to show him that?  Even I could have found sinking interrupters!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Reuben - how do you get the lower screw out to remove the device?  Oh, and the GFI turned itself off but none of the downstreams!  The traveler was wired wrongly.  This guy was a disaster.

Pat - no, a buyer, in Tampa FL, hired me to find things like that.  There are more posts to follow on this very fun house.  And the buyer?  He flew the coop.  His realtor was there with me the whole time and following the inspection, he told me, she called the inspector guy she normally uses and asked him why he "doesn't have tools like that," and "doesn't do things like that."  I didn't hear his answer...

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

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