What I'm Seeing Now

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What You See Outside Often Translates Inside

When walking around the outside of a house, very often I will see something that looks like it will demand attention inside.  The clues are there, sometimes more subtle than others, but what you see outside often translates inside.

Can you see the problem here?  This is a six year old house. 

The homeowner recently attached that downspout extender there.

Difficult to see from this angle is the slope of the ground.

Water from that downspout used to flow directly to the window well at the wall.

Even with the extender in place it still goes there.

Proper grading is essential to the well being of a house.

You can extend downspout water away from the house all you want, but if you do nothing about the grading it will come back!  Water ALWAYS flows where it is told to flow!

And houses don't make very effective boats!

 That erosion hole is about 1' wide and I could see down about 2'.  Where do you think that water pressure is sending the water?

Right to the basement!

Now, imagine what would be going on if that basement was finished!?

It's good to find that out now, during a home inspection!

At this point it is a little thing.  It's easy to fix at this point, and it is exceptionally important to do so!

Not hard to see, but important to point out!  The client looked right at it and had no idea that it could be a problem. 

Well, it is!

My recommendation:  if you see something going on outside that may be a problem inside, make a note.  You might just find out how prescient you can be too!

 

 

 

 

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 141 commentsJay Markanich • July 30 2011 07:32AM

Comments

And houses don't make very effective boats!
And houses don't make very effective boats!
And houses don't make very effective boats!

The only time this can be avoided is before the house is constructed.  Got a house with bad grading???  Get ready for a wet basement.  I have rarely seen it fail.

 

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

Good morning Jay. This post is a good one. Boats are air tight, houses are not. In any event you are right about obvious clues seen from outside. Just sayin.....

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) almost 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay, so true, so true. Congrats on the star...

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

Jay - excellent post - well deserved of an early morning feature!  I continue to be grateful to inspectors - the ones with the great eyes!  Thank you! 

Posted by Barbara Hensley, Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas (RE/MAX Properties) almost 7 years ago

Absolutely, Jay.  And people have no idea how a little water can make a big problem.  I just checked on a guy's electrical system Thursday because of water running into his panel box.  It leaked out through the bottom of the box and destroyed the drywall and molded the insulation, but the panel box was actually fine.  It just acted as a pipe for the water to continue on.  If they had looked outside they could have seen there was no chalk around the lines coming in.  Good post!!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 7 years ago

There are some builders who do their own groundwork and even though they know how to run the machine, they may not know about grading and creating swales to divert water.....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 7 years ago

Lenn - if I had a dollar for every time I have used that line on a home inspection, well, you and (and the family of course) I could go somewhere very exotic for a very long time!

Sheila - and there was no cracking in the foundation wall!

Michael - didn't know it was starred until I read this.  Thanks.  And it is a good point.  Water, water - well, does it keep mass, um, moss from growing in a rolling stone?

Barbara - not very hard to see. Grading is a big, big part of the home inspection.  And thank you!

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

Another good post, the cause and effect as you describe with this example of the downspout, the window well and the water that can get into the basement is something that a buyer might overlook and obviously you don't. 

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Mike - water in a panel box is a problem more often than people think!  Good you caught that!

Barbara - that or the swales created are not compacted enough to stay in place and settle away until there is no swale!  Construction requires thinking.

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

That was hard to miss from inside Eileen!  But I predicted it from the outside and would have been surprised if it wasn't a problem.  That puddle extends for about 15'!

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

Yes, the outside of the home is our skin and there's only so much our skin can tolerate.  You're right - they are lucky it's not a finished basement yet.  Hopefully, it will be fixed before they move in.

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

That would have been a huge mess in a finished basement Debbie.  That puddle is much larger than it appears here.

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

After looking at the outsider you may assume that everything inside the home is looking good, but it's always best to check the inside too. Having someone like you on my team would be great when a buying a home. Great post.

Posted by Donna Paul, Long Island Home Specialist,All About Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Gold Coast) almost 7 years ago
Very good visuals to help understand the concept of your post. thanks for the explanation.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) almost 7 years ago

Jay, I noticed one of my downspout extenders was disconnected yesterday. No water problem, but I'm glad I saw it before it becomes a problem.

The company you did the inspection for is taking possession on Monday. The Landlord fixed all of the problems. Thanks again.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 7 years ago

Donna - thanks!  That's the idea - a home inspector should be a part of the team.

Cheryl - things may look innocuous, but often they are not!

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

Michael - they often blow off from pressure.  Good to hear about the fixes for that office!

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

One way or another problems in houses involve water so follow the water. When political decisions don't make sence, you follow the money, then they do. With houses it's follow the water.

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

For sure Robert!  And water is THE killer of houses inside and out.  Maybe we should switch to dihydrogen monoxide.

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

Jay, insightful words.  Absolutely agree, we had similar problems when we lived in CT.  We had our house built and after the very first storm, our basement turned into a sad situation.  It was all because the contractor did do proper drainage (which when the problem was traced - it was because the drainage pipes weren't extended under the driveway..  we got that fixed in a hurry.  Thanks..

Posted by Susan Gaieski, Director for Social Media & Technology (Water Pointe Realty Group) almost 7 years ago

It is reminder we give all of our sphere every spring...re-grade and upgrade...deliver that topsoil and slope slope slope !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) almost 7 years ago

Another good "start your day with Jay" post....His eyes tell no lies. Houses with something to hide tremble at his approach

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 7 years ago

Jay,

Great post! Although we don't see basements in Louisiana, it's very true that you can spot interior problems from the outside with if you look closely enough. Thanks for the post!

Posted by Scotti Jowers, Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale (CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes ) almost 7 years ago

Your pictures truly tell the story. Thanks for a well written post.

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) almost 7 years ago
Yes, great use of pictures to make your point here! Such an easy fix to this problem and could save a lot of money in repairs down the road!
Posted by Kris Kombrink (RE/MAX Great American North) almost 7 years ago

oops, guess they sure were glad you caught that Jay!  And it's exactly why I recommend ALL buyers have a professional inspection when ever buying a home!  If they choose not too, I'll have them sign a paper saying they were advised...  They usually agree.
Pamela

Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

Looks like the same home as the post yesterday. I guess they have more problems than a "drain line in the floor".

Was it a "deal killer"?

Have a great day, good post.

Clint McKie

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

Jay, by the same token, when we show a house that turns out to have wetness problems in the basement, the cause almost always can be found outside.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 7 years ago

Just goes to show that paying for a professional home inspection is worth every dollar.  

Posted by Phil Hillerman, Crye-Leike Realtors® (Crye-Leike Realtors®) almost 7 years ago

Great post Jay!  Water problems are the kiss of death in home inspections after someone has made an offer!  It would be so much more advantageous for the seller to deal with this matters early and certainly before putting their home on the market.  Houses don't make good boats!  Loved that line!  

Posted by Sherri Berry, Murfreesboro TN Homes & Real Estate (Reliant Realty, Murfreesboro) almost 7 years ago
Jay - that is why we always recommend an inspector. You are the expert in your domain an you know what to look for.
Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay, 

Amen brother. 

Still amazing how challenging it is sometime to convince a buyer to get a home inspection during a purchase. 

Your blog posts consistently sum it up for me. 

Keep up the great work my friend,

Paul

Posted by Paul Weir (Re/Max Performance) almost 7 years ago

Nice catch on that one Jay. I'm sure your clients appreciated your good work.    

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) almost 7 years ago

Love your post Jay- We have to be detectives when we show homes. I know the first house that I look at with buyers they start watching me and ask what I am doing when I walk around the whole place inside and out looking up and down, opening cabinets etc. By the second or third house that they like enough to check out thoroughly I find that they too are trying to find the high spot in the back yard in order to get a good look at the roof and they are checking ceilings for signs of water damage... Fun stuff fer sure :)

Posted by Deb Espinoza, GRI, Broker, SRS,ABR ePro, SFR, CNE (Stage Presence Homes, San Diego Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Jay - Great post as always.. follow the water and you will find the problem... Gravity is a wonderful mystery solver isn't it?

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jay -- Good catch, Jay.  A good great home inspector like yourself is worth his weight in gold to the buyer.  YOU certainly are prescient!

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Jay,

Good post.  Not only can outside fixes tip us off to inside problems as well, but the nature of the fix paints a picture of how the home owner might have tried to fix interior issues as well.  Sometimes exterior fixes are a red flag on several levels.

Posted by John Davison, Raleigh-Cary-Triangle NC (Coldwell Banker) almost 7 years ago

Jay, I don't know if I would have caught that right off, but you make a good point. 

Posted by Morris Massre, Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida almost 7 years ago
Great catch! Something as simple as piling on dirt can prevent so many problems.
Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) almost 7 years ago

Hi, Jay. I have a couple of listings with obvious water damage, and would-be buyers always notice it. They almost always have an "I'll pass" idea in their minds while looking at the rest of the property.

In one case, the roof leak had been professionally repaired but the water stain was still very apparent on the kitchen ceiling. Fixed now but only after A LOT of feedback!

Other listings have water stains on wooden doors and window sills, which can't be so easily touched up. It's a real "red flag;" it would be for ME and it obviously is for THEM but sometimes you just can't get the sellers to do anything about it.

Good post; congratulations on the feature.

 

 

Posted by Leslie Helm, Real Estate For Trail Riders (Tennessee Recreational Properties) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

That is why if my clients do not want to have a home inspection done by a professional...they have to sign a waiver saying that they decline my advice.

Posted by Ann Nguyen, Lake Tahoe Truckee Homes For Sale (eXp Realty) almost 7 years ago

Great post Jay.  While water views are most desirable, nothing makes a buyer run faster than water in the house! And who can blame them? I once lived in a house that had a flooding basement every time it rained or the snow melted...what a nightmare!!!  Thankfully, I didn't own it!!!

Posted by Jayne Esposito, SRES, GREEN (Coldwell Banker ) almost 7 years ago

Jay, I don't know how many times we've had to add soil to the side of the house, as the ground sloped towards the foundation.  It's pretty common to see as a problem, but you would think the builders would all know about it being a problem!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) almost 7 years ago
Jay...if the pride is gone on the outside there is little chance the inside is any different
Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) almost 7 years ago

Susan - water needs a place to go.  It not, it goes to the easiest point and collects!

S&D - it's all about the slope and regrading!  That's it in a nutshell.

Wow Richie!  Thanks, but, aw shucks, I'ma blushin'...

Scotti - basement or not, those are true words.  Keep your eyes peeled.

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

Thanks David.  We try!  I need to start taking pictures that I think might be used later on blog posts!

Thank you Kombrinks all.  I hope those photos are instructive.  It is surely better in person.

L&P - that's a smart policy.  I think everyone should have an inspection, but that is my bias!

Different house Clint.  This one is 6 years old.  But these problems are easy to fix.

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

Brian - water needs to go somewhere.  It finds the easiest way, often indoors!

Phil - I would agree with that every time you say it.

I use that line all the time on home inspections Sherri!  And it's true!

Thanks Mike.  And that is a good recommendation!

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

Paul - find some relevant posts and keep them available to show your clients.  It might help.

Sandy - they did.  And it wasn't the only thing on that house!

Debbie - it is good that you have that detective attitude!  I bet your clients appreciate that.  Many eyes are better than two.

L&R - it seems to work every time!  Give water somewhere to go and it will.

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

Thank you Barbara, but that one, while not immediately recognized by all, was easy to spot!

John - what repairs were made and when is very relevant information when a house goes on the market.

Morris - if you were looking for problems, as I do when I walk around a house, you would have seen it too!

Coral - dirt, and grading, is easy to fix.  I wish more people would!

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

Leslie - once the problem is fixed touching up is not hard.  You must seal back the stain, with something like Kilz or Parks, and then prime and paint.  The stains will not return.

Ann - I have heard that before and think it's a wise practice.  People should be more prescient and get inspections, and not regretful after the fact.

Jayne - they should have had that evaluated immediately.  I could have affected your health!

Jeremy - they know, but the do not compact soil well so it settles in a short amount of time.

William - that is a good way to say something that is very often true!

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

Ah!  That explains it!

Now I can make more sense of it all.

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

Not only that Jeremy, but they push big rocks back next to the house and add wood and such.  Over time the soil around these things erodes and the incline becomes less and less.

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

Hmmm, Jay, do you inspect House boats?  On topic, controlling water flow and proper grading can save so many potential problems...

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

Good afternoon Jay. You are spot on. A quick walk aroun d the outside can explain a multitude of things found inside.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) almost 7 years ago

Houses and boats, Chris, but not house boats!

Randy - I try to walk around twice before the client arrives at the inspection.  The, when they come, I seem really smart!

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

Great reminder. I was also told to never plant shrubs right up nect to the house where you will need to water them.

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 7 years ago

Kristi - vegetation too close also holds moisture against the house and can invite insects to get in.

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

Not only do they put large rocks next to the foundation, they also backfill around the plumbing line with soil with large rocks so that I have to do 3 line repairs in the last 7 years.   Yay!

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

Those rocks, especially the sharp ones, also damage buried electrical.  My neighbor's house went out completely, and half of my house.  The hole they dug in my neighbor's yard was 8x8x8'!

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

Yep!  The rocks they backfilled with at my place keep coming up under the pipe from frost heave and ground compaction.  All 3 leaks have been on the bottom side of the pipe, and have taken a bit to reveal themselves.

My neighbor's back yard has a sunken area about 3 feet wide by about 8 feet long.  Obviously where all the stumps and logs went...

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

The heave/frost cycle causes underground damage to all that stuff.  And your neighbor's stumps are probably eaten by now!

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

Absolutely, on both accounts.

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

We don't have basements here in our area of Northern CA and I still see homes with bad grading! Homes that you know will have water running into patio doors when there is a big rain. Same issue, different effect.

Posted by Vickie Nagy almost 7 years ago

Jeremy - those things are commonly seen, especially in older yards - sink holes, settlement around houses, and so forth.

Vickie - it's all the same!  Water needs a way to go and if not provided one it will find the easiest one!

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

Jay,

That darn water just never plays nice. We definitely need much more di-hydrogen monoxide to counterbalance things ; )

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

Jay, it seems like deja vue all over again everytime I see downspouts terminated at the foundation (and splash blocks don't count as being any kind of solution) there is almost always an issue in the adjacent crawl space

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

I like #41's advice. Get them to sign a waiver if they don't get a home inspector. If nothing else, they will take your advice seriously. Here, the home inspection is usually one of the things the seller pays for, though.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) almost 7 years ago

Not for me, what I feel and think inside is what translates outside :-) I know I have control of my outside and inside. 

Posted by James Sanson - Ranked in the TOP 1% of Arizona, Homes for sale in Maricopa AZ (Keller Williams Realty Phoenix) almost 7 years ago

Jay,

Water is lazy. It always seeks the easiest point of entry. Grading is such an easy fix when a home is being built.

Rich

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

Just remember folks, that water created the Grand Canyon. It is a powerful force. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) almost 7 years ago

Jay:

Nice catch.  Grading is so important to keep water from collecting near exterior walls. 

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

Neglect on the outside equals neglect on the inside for sure! 

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

Wow! Quite the problem that some might not notice. Perfect reason for a good inspector.

Gretchen

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Jay, this makes me really glad that we do not have basements here - at least rarely do we have a basement and mostly in older houses or walkout ones that are built into the also rare hill.

Sharon

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) almost 7 years ago

I recently received a call from a homeowner who was in the last phase of constructing his new home. It was a pre-manufactured home dropped on a superior wall foundation. Too bad the site was improperly graded from the beginning. The more I looked at it the more water intrusion issues I found. 

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) almost 7 years ago

Don - you just brought a tear to both Billy Jays' eyes.

Charlie - and I like the visual object lesson on a home inspection!

Hella - I bet that makes the point really quickly!

James - I'm seeing a metaphor in there!  It's good to have control...

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

Richard - and diverting that rain water from the start also!

Joe - and we have the mini grand going on here.  Just wait a couple of years!

Evelyn - and it's good to have such a lesson available to teach when you are on a home inspection!

Rosalie - this puddling had apparently been happening a while and was much larger than the photo conveys.

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

Gretchen - it was brought up outside and really, really noticed by the buyers on the inside!

Sharon - basements are great, so long as the water is taken care of!

Sue - with those dropped in homes, if it ain't graded, it ain't dry.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago
The same thing can be said of people. There are clues on the outside to how they feel on the inside.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) almost 7 years ago

Oftentimes Cheryl.  Usually to sell the book the cover needs to be well planned!  The opposite applies too...

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

We don't have basements here in Florida, but in many of the new comunities built during the "boom" years in the early to mid 2000's, I see homes that were built on poorly graded lots and so close together that there is no room to improve the drainage.  Water remains around the foundations and erodes the soil causing foundations to crack and homeowners then claim damages for "sinkholes" when the problem actually was caused by the lot preparation and backfilling prior to pouring the foundation.

Posted by Steven Pahl, Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423 (Keller Williams Tampa Properties) almost 7 years ago

Call in the bulldozer!

Posted by Lucien Vaillancourt, Jacksonville Florida Real Estate (Native Sun Realty, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

That makes total sense Jay.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Nancy Pav, Nancy Pav, Your "GottaHave" Realtor (Long & Foster) almost 7 years ago

Jay, Santa Fe is more know for our flat roofs than basements. The roofs can be an issue if not drained properly. Your post is an excellent reminder about the impact of poor drainage on a home. Thank you!

Posted by Emily Medvec Qualifying Broker, Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM (Hello Realty Partners) almost 7 years ago

The water situations never get better until something is done.  I think that you could also infer that if there are obvious issues on the outside, there will be some inside as well.

Posted by The Hollinden Team, Serving the Greater Louisville area (RE/MAX Champions) almost 7 years ago

Absolutely true. If you see something on the outside chances are there will be an effect on the inside. Thanks for reminding.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) almost 7 years ago

Hey Jay,  Even in the desert we have drainage problerms.  It is mandatory that you keep your own

water on your own property.  Makes for lawsuits when you have improper grading and you give your

water to your neighbor. 

  Thanks for the imformative blog. I will now be looking at the drainage.  I certainly have seen alot of lawns

here that they have overwatered and have too much water on the foundation.  A home inspection is always the way to go!

  Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend! Marilyn

 

Posted by Marilyn Montaigne (Options and Opportunities ) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay. I think you are saying it well. "what you see outside often translates inside...." Very true, indeed, I would agree with this. Often the very first giveaway of what else lies ahead.

Posted by Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR, Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations (AZuRE Team - Realty ONE Group) almost 7 years ago

This is the absoute reason we, as brokers or agents, ALWAYS recommend a home inspection be done.  Even if it's a short sale or bank owned, "as-is" property.  I tell my clients every single time- it's the cheapest   money you will ever spend.  At least you- the Buyers will know if there are any major issues with the home. I just received a call this past Thusday that we finally got written approval from B of A on one of my deals- They gave us until 8/3 to close!  6 days!!!!!!  Crazy what we deal with on short sales, but the first thing I did was call my buyer and ask if they could close that quickly (thankfully it is a cash deal), and the next question right after that was "let me get the inspections ordered.  I know that it's a high rise condo in Phx, and the HOA takes care of most everything, and of course we've already signed and "as-is" addendum, but I still have to do my own due dillegence as a broker and tell them they should have the inspection done.  Even though they know the building very well and know of both special assements (1 already levied, 1 more when that one is paid -State law gives us 12 months to pay off any HOA special assessments.)  The first one will be around $27k, and the 2nd one we have been told will be slightly lower, but not by much.  My clients know the building very well and have been looking for the perfect unit in there for some time now, but they already knew about the current assessment and the special assement that will follow, and still moved forward.  However, even though they live out of town (about 3-4 hours) I still had to order last minute, can't wait inspections because they took my advise as their Broker (Thank YOU!!!).  This one came out pretty good, but I've had some where I battled with buyers to spend the $$ to have it done, and have cancelled contracts during the inspection period.  Most don't cancel, but it makes them clearly aware of anything that needs to be done to the home.  The same clients' son bought a unit in the same highrise about 3 years ago and refused all inspections.  Then he found out about all the major issues they were dealing with in the building...  Now his parents are buying a couple of units in the building, but know very well the importance of a home inspection!

 

I tell every Buyer that I work with that it's the cheapest $$ they will spend.  If they object, I will still try to have them get one done, but if they refuse (which thankfully if only once in a while), I make SURE they sign the BINSR that they refused inspections, against their Broker's advise.   Ugh!!  I just HATE it when they say no!!!!  On this particular deal, it is a high rise condo, where the HOA takes care of just about everything including A/C, heat and water heater..  But I still told them I had to recommend it, no matter how well they know the building, the HOA and the 2 special assessments coming, because that's my duty as their Broker.  And one of the biggest cost in the assessment was a landscape water leak.  It lead down though to the under ground parking garage and had been disclosed to the Board, but they decided it was easier to   If they would've declined, I would've sent them a BINSR asking them to sign a disclosure that clearly says I, as their agent, advised them to have inspections done, but they refused.  Either way they decide to go is always up to my clients, but I will ALWAYS recommend a home inspection to be done- again... Cheapest $$ you'll ever spend.  :)  Great post Jay!  

Posted by Dawn Marthini, Selling Arizona Since 2001 (The Real Estate Firm) almost 7 years ago

Agree completely -

Often the initial appearance and that is the "outside" will translate into the overall condition you'll eventually find on the inside.

Home owner quick repairs are often a nightmare waiting to be discovered.

Have a great year!

Posted by Bruce Fecteau (Century21 Beachside MV) almost 7 years ago

Our area has several bungalows built on shallow cement foundations with a small crawl space.  When the exterior inspections shows a corner where all the water appears to settle and the downspout is dumping water at the base of the house you will most definitely walk inside and feel the total slope of the floor.  Most of the homes were built in the 1920's and most all have some sort of differential settlement. It is usually not a deal killer because all the houses seem to have some sort of settlement issues but it is good to have a great 'drainage expert" in you contact book.

Posted by Ann Wilkins, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA (Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jay, you ROCK!  My favorite home inspector is priceless.

Posted by Marge Piwowarski, Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC (Phoenix AZ Horse Property) almost 7 years ago
"Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink." Good call! 
In Minnesota and parts of North Dakota water is our biggest selling point and most devastating enemy.
I always told my clients that all basements and crawl spaces would have water in them. Nature is lazy and water will flow down hill and it is just a matter of time until a toilet over flows, the kids get rambunctious in the tub, or a pipe gives up the ghost. These are usually annoyances.
Persistent water is much more difficult and as you noted often comes from items relatively simple, if not always cheap, to correct. Make certain the house has a functioning gutter system, assure water is diverted 6-10 feet away from the structure and that landscaping in the near vicinity slopes away from the structure at about 1" per foot for then first 10' feet or so.  This last one can be a real bear in some neighborhoods.
Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Most would-be homeowners and too many real estate agents would not notice the "outside clues." That's why they need inspectors like you!

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) almost 7 years ago

Jay - As a former builder I was always amazed by the lack of knowledge about proper grading from both builders and landscapers.  While it seems easy, it's apparently easy to ignore.

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

Great post inproper grading is difficult to correct after the fact and could cost after the fact.

Posted by George P. Cruz Sr., PSL FL CDPE, TRC, CIPS (DR Horton) almost 7 years ago

Yup. It's not so much the blatant "red flag" as much as the latent cause or damage that should be the focus.

Posted by Daniel Rogers, Virginia Beach Home Inspector (Final Analysis Home Inspections) almost 7 years ago

Thanks for the tip.  It is something that I never would have known to look at.  A good inspector is worth his (or her) weight in gold!

Posted by Becca Stradling (Desert Heritage Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Steven - backfilling and not compacting it is a big problem here too!

Lucien - that will utterly solve the problem here!

Nancy - little things over a long period of time cause problems that get bigger with time!

Emily - water is THE killer of houses no matter the source!

Steve - imagine what a problem this would have been had the basement been finished!

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

Bill - cause and effect.  One thing follows the other.

Marilyn - I understand that when you have water it is often a lot at one time.  Planning ahead is essential!

Richard - it pays dividends to pay attention outside!

Dawn - those are huge problems!  You don't know what you don't know.  And I agree with the last line.  Gee, this comment could be a very good blog post!

Bruce - sometimes repairs will cover up what has been a problem for a long time.  That's where the inspector's experience comes into play.

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

Ann - those guys are popular around here too.  And that sounds like a common problem with that design house.

Aw shucks, Marge.  I'ma blushin'...

Marshall - water doesn't need much of an invitation.  And 6-10' out is a great distance.

Marte - nobody but me on this inspection thought anything of it.

John - me too!  And I am amazed by the landscapers (pros) who put cherry blossom trees 4' from the corner of the house!

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

George - it sure cost in this house.  Good to catch it now before the basement is finished!

Daniel - that would be a great focus!  We were in VA Beach last week.  You might like my post about how hot the beach was, and the two different beach animals I ran into (two different posts...).

Becca - I think so too!  Wow, would I be worth a lot of money!

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

Great job.  When showing homes, the problems seen on the inside can be traced to issues on the outside.  some issues are minor, but sometimes the issues involve major work and the buyer is better served by finding another house.

Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) almost 7 years ago

I use the condition on the outside to gauge the interior condition when doing exterior BPOs.

Posted by Michael Blue, REALTOR - 760-889-8877, Encinitas/Carlsbad (Home Smart Realty West) almost 7 years ago
Jay, Good thing I'm not a home inspector. I am learning what to look for thanks to your great posts, but a good home inspector is worth their weight in gold!!! Thanks for sharing.
Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) almost 7 years ago

Karen - this one looks real bad, but really isn't.  And I think the fix is very easy.  Good to catch it now!

Michael - often when I pull up to a house I can tell the inside condition from what I see outside.

DeeDee - thanks!  And that would make me worth a lot of money!

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

Jay,  I am so glad we have pros like you to see the obvious and the not so obvious.  You keep us agents out of a heap of trouble at time.  Thanks for what you do and thanks for the post..good lesson for us all.

Posted by John McCormack, AlbuquerqueHomes.com, Albuquerque Homes Realty (Albuquerque Homes Realty * www.AlbuquerqueHomes.com) almost 7 years ago

Thank you very much John.  Those are kind words.  We inspectors like to think we keep you out of trouble too!

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

Negative grades are probably the most common defect I mention. I tell people that their foundation was made to hold the house up, not be a dam.

Posted by Julie Babcock -Nook & Cranny Home Inspections (Nook & Cranny Home Inspections Tonawanda, NY) almost 7 years ago

That's very similar to my line about effective boats Julie!  They aren't great dams either...

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

Jay, Congrats on the feature. You are right and this is one of a myriad of reasons why buyers should always hire a reputable home inspector.

Posted by Risa Liebster, Toluca Lake Real Estate (Ramsey-Shilling Associates) almost 7 years ago

Thomas

This is a great example of people needing to think of the consequences of every fault.  Some things really are small, but even the seemingly smallest fault can cause BIG problems either now or later down the road if not remedied immediately.

Great post Jay!

Posted by Thomas Haught (The Russell Realty Group) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Risa.  Yes, there are a myriad of reasons alright!  And a plethora...     ;>)

Thomas - usually small problems don't get smaller!  And this looks ongoing.

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

It's all about the little details.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 7 years ago

And the minor ones Reuben.  They should switch to dihydrogen monoxide.

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

I see lots of poorly done grading these days.  As someone else mentioned, that should be taken care of first thing when building a home.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) almost 7 years ago

That would become a huge problem if the buyers finished the basement and never corrected the problem.  Often times, homeowners alter the grading around the house and don't realize the problems it could cause.

Posted by Patricia Beck, Colorado Springs Realty (RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE) almost 7 years ago

I learned to look for this after seeing a house where the basement was full of mold. Once you see the mold, it was fairly easy to see where the water was getting in.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) almost 7 years ago

Good eye, proper grading is so important and most of the time a easy fix. 

Posted by Michael Singh,Broker (Singh Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Very nice post! your client will be very grateful to you for pointing that out to them every time.

Posted by Christopher Salazar (Century 21 Town & Country) almost 7 years ago

Justin - it usually is, but they compact the soil so poorly that it settles and erodes away.  And this is what you get!

Patricia - it might be that they thought that's when they would get around to it!

Gerard - mold is the symptom of the problem.  And when you see mold, the problem is always water!

Michael - the sooner it's gotten to the better.

Christopher - I pointed it out from the outside, but said where the problem would be inside and it was.

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

Good Eye for spotting a potential problem such as this.

Good Heart for opening lines of cummunication to both the seller & buyer(s) to get it resolved.

Posted by Visually CREATIVE Video Charlotte, NC, Bringing YOUR Ideas to LIFE! (Real Estate Video Services) almost 7 years ago

And, VC, I think this is a fairly easy one to fix.  Thanks!

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

Hello Jay.  Rainwater management is one of the most important considerations to home health and safety.  A little water in the wrong place, over a long enough time, can cause shifting foundations, mold, insects, and many other concerns.  Thanks for another great post!!

Posted by Rob Smith (Rob Smith Property Investigations) almost 7 years ago

Thank you Rob.  Sure is.  Water is THE killer of houses, inside and out.

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

What a great post! It amazes me how often little problems are unnoticed by clients and only become an issue after I point them out or the inspection does. Bravo.

Posted by Ben Blonder, Buyers, Sellers, Investors! (Broker/Owner, Keller Williams) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Ben.  That's why buyers hire home inspectors!  And they should get an experienced one!

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

Yikes!!!

 

It's interesting to see the different issues you guys encounter, here we have no basements!

Posted by Jerimiah Taylor (Keller Williams Southern Arizona ) almost 7 years ago

That's what I thought Jerimiah!  But the client and realtor were not impressed, until I explained it!

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

That is such an easy fix & I'm sure the seller hasn't fixed other things that needed attention on this house. The gutter extension is a good idea but still that's not the fix & it doesn't even cost that much money.

I would just like to add here that when a house looks half-arsed on the outside, the inside is definately the same way. Mr. Home Depot probably lives here only he doesn't know the 1st think about fixing anything. He does have their credit card though just in case he might need it for something!

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 7 years ago

Wow Lyn.  You don't even need a hammer!  You hit that nail in with your fingertips!

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

Excellent information, no matter what those temporary fixes never work out.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Kathy.  What isn't supposed to last long usually doesn't!

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

Great post. The same can be said of the need for curb appeal. If the outside looks like the property isn't clean and well maintained, that scares off would be buyers who will rightly suspect that this is a symptom of how little care is taken by the current owners overall.

While home stagers don't address the underlying issues that a home inspector will catch, we do recommend that obvious defects are addressed and that visually the home shows at its best, both inside and out.

Posted by Debra Gould, The Staging Diva (Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Debra - it is probable that most people don't recognize that staging a house is from the outside in, like you do!  That should be on all of your literature!

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

Good post.  Most people do not think of little things like a minor grading issue as causing big problems, but they do.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Grading is always a huge issue Gene.  Except perhaps in the driest desert, and then blowing sand becomes grading!

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

Jay,

What a great example--The home inspection is huge, and it's obvious that you know what you're doing! Best to you, Michele

Posted by Michele Norris, ((( Buy or Sell, Call Michele ))) Lake Tahoe NV (Crystal Realty - Incline Village Nevada ) almost 7 years ago

Michele - what could be huger than the inspection!?    ;>)  And thanks!

 

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

Aloha! Inspectors like you are the reason why buyers should never perform their own inspection... The value of a professional that offers knowledge and experience is priceless!

Posted by Monique Ting, Your agent under the sun (INET Realty Honolulu, HI) almost 7 years ago

Aloha Monique.  Thanks, and people sometimes do bring their own relatives or somebody to look at the house with them.  It's not the same thing!

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

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