What I'm Seeing Now

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"The Attic Is Properly Prepared For Storage." It's The Latest Thing!

Lists featuring what has been done to a house can be a good marketing tool.  But sometimes things that get advertised can get a home inspector very excited!

The list on this house included, "The Attic Is Properly Prepared For Storage."  A whole lot has to happen for that to be true.  I seldom see it.  Attics usually don't make very good storage spaces!

I got the story though when the listing agent stopped by to "answer any questions." 

It seems the "local DIY expert," her words, has been "wonderful," her word, about showing the homeowners in the neighborhood how to do the "latest things," her words, to their houses.

One of the "various improvements," her words, was to do the "latest thing" to the attic!  And it was done some time ago.

Now follow me as I try to help you to grasp the "latest thing" in attic wear!

First, apparently, is to remove as much of the insulation as possible from the floor of the attic.

That is so that plywood can be laid down flat for better support for storage.

Some areas, like the small space here, cannot accept plywood, so they were simply left uncovered.

Everywhere else can be covered completely with plywood!

So where does the insulation go, you might ask?

Well, between the roof rafters!  This is the "latest thing."

It holds up real well with 1x4s!

In this attic much of it was falling, there were serious gaps, and whole sections of sheathing did not get covered.

But you can always get back to that later!

Then, you sprinkle, willy nilly, cellulose insulation over some, but not all, areas of the plywood.  A light coating of insulation seems to be the "latest thing."

This leaves you plenty of room to get creative with the next "latest thing" for your attic.

Layering and shelving!

Don't worry, we'll get to that falling and missing insulation later. 

And the gaps?  Well, nothing is perfect.

What we NOW have in this attic is a big shed, PROPERLY PREPARED FOR STORAGE!

That is the "latest thing!"

By the way, both upstairs bathrooms vented directly into the attic space.  The tubing which used to service them was laying on the floor. 

This was apparently done to add additional air movement to the attic space as both gable vents, which provide the ONLY venting for this attic, were made substantially smaller.  It's the "latest thing" to "control" air flow, especially in winter!

Question, and this one will be on the final exam, so get it right.  What happens when you cover roof sheathing with insulation, introduce two bathroom vents into the attic, and restrict air flow through the attic space?

You got it!

And all over the place!

And in many shapes, sizes and colors!  It was quite the fashion statement! *

YOU DO KNOW WHAT THAT STUFF IS, DON'T YOU BOYS AND GIRLS?

While not quite the "latest thing," this is probably the thing that happened MOST LATELY!

Selfishly, as a home inspector, I hope every neighborhood has a generous DIYer who is so eager to share his knowledge with the rest of us!  This guy is great!

I have to tell you, it sure makes my job fun!

And, side benefit of all side benefits, I enjoyed a wonderful sauna while I was up in there!  My shirt completely changed color!

My recommendation:  if there is a generous, local DIYer in the neighborhood of your listing, you might want to have your house looked at by a home inspector BEFORE you advertise that fact in your Feature List!  The inspector will be able to tell you what IS and IS NOT the "latest thing."

* And it tastes like chicken...

 

 

 

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 54 commentsJay Markanich • June 24 2011 05:18AM

Comments

Hi Jay,

It's amazing how naive Realtors can be. And the home buyers believe them. Good post.

Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 7 years ago

I don't know that she had actually seen this, Clint, but even if not she surely bought the line from the seller!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

If a seller tells me something about the attic, I would believe them too because I'm probably not going up a ladder to check it out.  When I represent buyers, I always suggest a home inspection.

I hope this local DIY guy didn't do this to a lot of homes.

I was showing a house a couple of weeks ago and their feature sheet listed all of the "new" stuff... one of which was a "new" furnace in 1994.  It may be newer than the old furnace, but it's still almost 20 years old.

Posted by Tracie Cope, ReMax 360 - www.LCountyHomes.com (Granville, Newark, Heath, Buckeye Lake & all of Central Ohio) over 7 years ago

That's a common comment on some lists, Tracie - "new" stuff.  Well, newER maybe, but not new!  I wouldn't expect the realtor to go up to check the attic, but to just accept all the DIY stuff as OK is a bit naive.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

How sad.  And, I bet this do-it-yourselfer has done this for many of the homes in the area.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Good morning Jay;  looks like the "Latest thing to do" is everything wrong.

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 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay. <sigh> Too bad the DIY'er didn't fall through the ceiling and put an end to their career. Oye VEY!!! Such a mess...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay: How did you feel after spending some time in a humid, hot attic space, full of mold? Throught still scratchy? Were you coughing and weezing?

To the seller: If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 7 years ago

GEEZ!  I've led a very sheltered life.  I have always been taught by experts that "attics are for ventilation, not for storage.  Do folks store things in their attic???  Some do.  Storage is scarce is small homes. 

Back to the drawing board?????

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Debbie - HA!  That's just what the realtor said!  He has been "very generous."

Ken - you and I must be behind the trend.  I'm not much for fashion anyway...

Michael - and my client just got back from Guantanamo.  This, and the MANY other things in this house, was all quite the eye opener.  The prisoners at Gitmo live better!

Anne - it was 143F in the attic!  I had a hard time touching anything wood!  I got quite the quick-soak sauna.

Lenn - they are!  As you know.  But he had three (termite ridden, right on the ground) wooden sheds in back for plenty of storage there, so this attic really wasn't necessary after all!    ;>)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I just got a very nice phone call from a lovely ARer who was laughing about my post.  I was asked if I know just how sarcastic my post came off?

UM, YES, YES I DO.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I hate to even open the door of the attic and see all these particles flying all over the house. .. 

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 7 years ago

It's always best when that stuff falls down the back of your collar Fernando.  And that first thing in the morning.  On a hot day.  When you're really busy and can't do anything about it.

Welcome to my world...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Thanks Jay for a good post. I am one Realtor that loves leaving the attic stuff to my Home Inspector. I appreciate the information that is so valuable to purchasers.

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) over 7 years ago

I like to have Sellers do a Home inspection up front to avoid all the surprises later for reasons just like this.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 7 years ago

Jay,

I've been in many an attic too, and have never understood the fascination for storage in those conditions. In condo's and townhouses, it's sometimes necessary, but they better be careful what they store there.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 7 years ago

I don't think attics are structurally designed to support additional storage like this. I'd ask an engineer.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 7 years ago

Jay, waving a "Feature List" in front of you is like waving a red cape in front of a bull! 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 7 years ago

This is so exciting -- a new wave in home storage in full color!  What can we look forward to next; basements without ventilation and/or access?

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 7 years ago

Jay - great points about sheating and ventilation from the bathroom. Those all could cause problems. We see most home owner in the DFW are uses their attic above the garage for storage.

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 7 years ago

Seeing insulation in the rafters makes my stomach sink. The poor poor roof.

Posted by Robert Slick, NRBA, RDCPro, Trident/CCAR MLS (Beach and River Homes) over 7 years ago

Mr Jay,

You can bet your bippy that I would have caught that.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay,

I have seen this and also in the crawlspace. Where they listed all this ample storage available in the crawlspace. Till little ol me came along and spoiled the parade.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Oh nice and moldy! Just where you want to store all of your treasures. 

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Thanks David.  I will have to tell Gianna that you are attic phobic!

I wish I could get that to catch on around here Cheryl!  I have tried without any success.

Rich - light stuff up on shelves in the crease of the W, and off the insulation is okay for things that aren't damaged by heat or cold.  But not much more!

They aren't Tom.  I have already asked engineers that question, with 100% giving me back the same answer...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

That always gets the ball rolling with me Pat!  And let the games begin!

Tish - whatever the next Latest Thing is!  I don't really know, but so looking forward to it.

Thanks Mike.  I see over garage storage here a log and that is fine, so long as it isn't too heavy.

Robert - you would think that before you allow someone to talk you into the Latest Thing you would do a little investigation first!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Mason - I haven't worn a bibby in a long time and thought you had grown out of them.  Oh, silly me, you said biPPy.

Don - there was a lot of stuff spoiled on yesterday's parade, I assure you!

Rosalie - that's so true!  And breathing it from season to season is the Latest Thing for whatever ails you!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

This horror story reminds me when college kids come home the first year in college.  They think they know it all and share with the world that their parents.  DIY'ers scare me and when they write those sheets, like you, it creates a field day for me.  I call them "hobbyists" here in Chicago.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Barb Van Stensel over 7 years ago

Jay - Wow! I'm going up to my attic this afternoon and start removing insulation.  Great idea--and I'm sure the addition of extra weight on my ceiling joists won't be a problem. Thanks for sharing these tips from a "generous" DIYer.  NOT!

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 7 years ago

Barb - they do think they know it all, having seen on TV how quick and easy it is to do things!  It is always an adventure!

John - I'd get started right away.  Be sure to include real heavy stuff when you get to it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay:

your story illustrates that sellers should have property inspections before the property is put on the market.  The sellers may think they have done something correctly, but the home inspector will tell the real story.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 7 years ago

Jay, that is so funny. It is amazing what some people will fall for! I love that you've used so many specifics and the photos to illustrate as well.

Posted by Shannon Jones, Long Beach CA Real Estate (The Shannon Jones Team) over 7 years ago

Evelyn - we are very objective in this home-sale process!  We have nothing to gain and everything to lose when we say something!

Shannon - thank you!  Those were only a couple of pictures I could have posted!  The place was a real adventure.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hey Jay, a good sauna now and then is good for you (or so they say).  Creating a conditioned space that was never meant to be conditioned seems to be the "latest thing".  I hope your trip to DIY land was as good as mine have been lately.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 7 years ago

Yeeesssh---got to love that listing info

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Hey Jay your sure have a beauty there. If I were in another business I'd be wondering where you find these gems. As it is I know they are out there. Then we have the DIY team out here 'salting' the earth.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 7 years ago

Jay, really....you have to admit she was just putting a positive spin on a situation; the mark of good salesperson....hehe. The only thing is that if she keeps it up, she may wind up being the latest thing to go out of this business.  

Posted by Ray Waisler, NMLS #6621 - Specializing in Jumbo FHA & VA (Finance of America) over 7 years ago

In TN, basements are rare so people either use their attic or garage for storage. Unfortunately, these poor souls didn't really think this one through.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 7 years ago

Fads come and go. This "latest thing" better go fast, and this neighborhood DIYer should be made to endure the sauna while you point out the results of his folly..... and then be billed for the inspection.

Posted by Brad Rachielles, REALTOR, CDPE, Upland, CA (CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453) over 7 years ago

Jack (and Izzi and Mickey) - that was one of the best saunas I have ever had!

Charlie - this one was real complete too!  It gave me all kinds of hints as to what to look at!

Robert - people think I make these things up!  I really don't!  The DIYers are out there and in force!

Ray - it was a positive spin!  The problem is, well, you know what the problem is...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Tammie - he did think it through!  All the way to the end of the attic!  I hear you though!

Brad - well, woulda, coulda, shoulda be able to bill the guy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, are you going to be marketing your new "mood" shirts that change fancy colours?  btw, I never realized that creating a perfect environment for mold was the latest thing ;-)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 7 years ago

Chris - there are so many home trends now it is hard to keep up with them.  I think any shirt can be used for the quick sauna in that attic!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

It's amazing that people can think that they can run exhaust fans into the attic and there won't be problems.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 7 years ago

I thought 143 degrees was the perfect temperature to store things. Isn't that why the Air Force parks all their space planes in Arizona?

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) over 7 years ago

Eric - that is very common out here, and an exceptionally bad idea as we have very high humidity.

Tim - yes, but that's dry heat!  It was pretty hot in that attic, but not dry!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Ventilation, shmentilation, do you really need it. Or insulation for that matter. This guy is a visionary.

And as far as sarcasm, I do not know what that AR person was talking about. You, sarcastic!? Where are they getting that?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

The sarcasm sometimes sets the mood Jim!

I can also be cynical, facetious and hyperbolistic.  How much fun is staid, anyway?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Mr Jay,

Storage does not slow me down at alls. I moves arounds it. My agile-ness is wonderful.

Nutsy

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 7 years ago

In this house you could have moved about at will Nutsy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, I see what you mean.  He DID have help! 

And what help this DIY guy was!  He was a real FUNGI to have around!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) over 7 years ago

Good one Jeremy!  This place had problems out the wazoo.  It was a disaster.  There wasn't much that "creative writing" could have made better, or worse!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Thanks, Jay.  :)

Wow.  Amazing what people will try to sell to other folks!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) over 7 years ago

From listening to the realtor Jeremy, they thought this kind of thing was a feature!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

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