What I'm Seeing Now

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Mr. Jay's School of Inspectology - What's The Problem Here?

What do you see?

Anything wrong here?

In Mr. Jays' School of Inspectology we teach.  What's the problem here?

The house is very nice, six years old, has a brick facade, 30 year roof and that metal front porch roof is flashed properly. 

This inspector noticed the problems with this house right away.

It is one of Mr. Jay's pet peeves with new construction.

What's the problem?

LANDSCAPING!

The "professional" landscaping company put vegetation way, way, way too close to the house.

Number 1 - tree on the left.

That is an ash tree.  Ultimate size 100+' high x 70+' wide.  It is 6' from the corner of the house.

Ash limbs are very, very strong and very aggressive.  They will certainly damage the house in time.  This small tree is already swallowing the street light!  While the roots aren't so damaging, they will hold moisture against the foundation of the house.  A BAD PLAN FROM THE START.

Number 2 - tree on the right. 

That is a Cherry Blossom tree. Ultimate size 50+' high x 40+' wide.  It is 6' from the corner of the house. 

They are beautiful and popular here.  Cherry blossom roots are very, very strong, near the soil and aggressive.  These roots will damage the foundation, lift up and break those front stairs, lift up and break that sidewalk and do the same to the driveway.  The limbs will damage the walls of the house.

In addition, between it and the house is an evergreen bush that will be 20' x 20' in time.

THAT IS THE ONLY DOWNSPOUT ON THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE.  Where is the downspout discharging!  Yikes!  That's a lot of square footage of rain water landing in one small spot.  Together these root systems will hold enormous amounts of water against the foundation.  ANOTHER BAD PLAN FROM THE START.

Only six years old, that front corner of the house contains the stair case that leads from the kitchen to the basement.  There are two 90 degree stair case sections with a typical 4'x4' landing in the middle.  At the bottom is a closet built into the stair case.  THE BUILDER LEFT NO ACCESS UNDER THAT STAIRCASE AND LANDING.  SO IT IS DEAD SPACE. How do we know that tree and bush are already a problem?  Microbial growth in the walls of that closet!  What's going on under those stairs?  We couldn't see.

I ask you -- is that basement wet?  Yes, but we can't see HOW wet.

It's already a big problem. 

My recommendation:  large trees should be further than 25' from a house, and some trees further than that.  Other vegetation should not be next to the house.  When you pull up to a house, have a look.  If there are trees right next to the house, or a lot of vegetation and vines, you know before you go in that problems are brewing, if not already there.  Be smart.

 

 

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 26 commentsJay Markanich • August 01 2011 06:59AM

Comments

Hi Jay,

I have written reports saying things about the trees. Just to hear the buyer say "it's o.k., we are only going to be in the house about ten years and then we'll sell it".

So forget about what I just wrote up huh.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 9 years ago

I must be a good student Professor Jay, I noticed the trees right away.

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 9 years ago

So don't bother Clint!  No problem here, everyone go home!  People are amazing...

Ken - good to see you in class early!  Trees are a big, big deal and get bigger with time!  Why builders don't get that is beyond me.  A cutsie, wootsie little tree doesn't stay that way!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Good morning, Jay. But, but, but, the trees look pretty. Doesn't that count? I'm just sayin'...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) over 9 years ago

Trees and ROOTS and future tuckpointing problems with the bricks.....no one EVER thinks that the mortar in their bricks will cause a problem.

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 9 years ago

It counts for a lot Michael!  That's why they do them!  But cutsie, wootsie when planted doesn't stay that way!

Wallace - among other very serious damages!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Sweet.  I got that one right!  I guess I'm learning and I'm a good student.  A pity the look and functionality don't work hand in hand here.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

Good for you Debbie.  Things that are obvious to the eye are not always obvious to the buyer.  This client, and realtor, had no idea.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay considering my share of tree trouble since I moved here you know I noticed them before I even started reading. I guess it doesn’t matter how much damage something will cause down the line as though as it’s pretty today.

The problem is that so many of these professionals don’t know enough about the building envelope to understand how their work affects everything else. It’s a shame that is a cute house. 

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) over 9 years ago

I liked the house a lot Sue.  But problems abound!  With so many realtors and inspectors seeing the problem right away, it is amazing that the "pros" never seem to think that far ahead.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

I think a seagull would look great perched on that tree to the left. I see this type of landscaping far too often. The plants look nice at first, but it seems to escape some people that plants grow larger.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

Seagull on the left and a sand flea on the right?  You back Jimbo?  Cutsie, wootsie don't stay that way, for sure.  The "pros" all know that right?  Right?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Who would have thought that I my age I would be enrolled in school. Glad to be here.

But professor, we made sure the downspouts we positioned to water the trees when they were younger. They just didn't drink as much as we thought they would.

Can we wash the car with the excess ?

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton, Mass 02356 (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 9 years ago

That is good if it was extended in this case, but to smaller stuff like a crepe myrtle or dwarf Japanese maple.  As to the excess, captured in barrels, you do realize the water is full of PCBs from the roof shingles, right Don?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay - The problem you describe is often caused by builders/owners who want to create an impact with the plants they select.  Most choose relatively small size trees/shrubs because of the price, and ignore (often out of ignorance) the future potential harm.  Builders, homeowners and far too many landscapers are guilty.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

I see this all the time. Most people don't know better.

Posted by Brad Gotham (Granite Peak Inspection, Inc. ) over 9 years ago

Of course they're guilty John.  This is ridiculous and I see it all the time.  I planted a weeping willow in my back yard 14 years ago.  It's 60' from the house!  Even I knew better then.

Brad - that's why it's one of my pet peeves!  This is silly really.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

What??  The builders got full size trees, and not minatures or dwarfs to grow no higher than the house?  Planting them that close is just recipe for disaster when the winds get high.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 9 years ago

It's a disaster even when there is no wind Steven!  As you know, no doubt.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

One would be surprised what everygreen roots...popular and plentiful here can do to foundations...ouch....pretty to look at but ouch on inspection !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

S&D - there was a lot of moisture being held against that house!  Wish I could have seen it.  All we saw was the mold.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, we loved the landscaping and mature trees on our property when we bought it.  I soon realized that I would have to cut down a number of trees planted too close to our home.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

We see this issue too. It is amazing how only a handful of people can see the "big picture" when developing new property.  I think if more time was spent researching beforehand, alot of this could be avoided - just sayin' ~ Jennifer

Posted by Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections, Experience the IHI Difference (IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581) over 9 years ago

Chris - that is something people don't recognize off the bat.  They are swayed by the beauty!

Jennifer - buyers shouldn't have to research anything that is left up to the professionals to do properly.  You are right, the landscapers (pros all of them) don't think far enough ahead to be able to do properly for a house's future.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

But there is nowhere else to put them on that lot. Jay, some people don't think past the end of the week.

 

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 9 years ago

Jack - then don't put trees there!  Crepe myrtles, or ornamental Japanese maples - anything smaller.  But not something that might, gee just might, get too big!  I know you agree...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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