What I'm Seeing Now

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Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

Sorry for the cliched title.  But if the shoe fits, wear it.  There I go again.  Sorry.  But really, beauty is only skin deep.

A couple of years ago the deck was sagging.  It was getting old.  So, wisely, the female homeowner hired a professional company to rework the underside supports, stabilizing the old girl, and add new decking to the topside.

That is a smart plan and a proactive homeowner.

The professional company also suggested that she let them add the decorative lattice work all around.  They also added a black mesh all around so nobody could see under the deck!

And they nailed it on everywhere.

That will secure it so that not only is it pretty, but animals would be less likely to go underneath and make a home.

That also made it harder for the home inspector to get under there to check their work too.

But alas (and alack) he did.

Carefully removing the small nails holding the lattice into place, he was able to bend back an edge enough to get underneath.

THE UNDER SUPPORT IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU KNOW.

I can see from the construction that there will be a very important beam resting on a very important column right under my very cute blue spot.  (I'm a regular Rembrandt...)

And there it is!  Just as I suspected!

It seems the original column was cut in favor of the new arrangement.

The arrangement left by the professional company, hired to rework the underside supports, stabilizing the old girl.

Well, you remember.

Is that great or what?

Now that is a real, um, arrangement!

Do you see what I see?

1.  The original column was a necessary 6x6" and buried in the soil.

2.  It was replaced with a 4x4", which is an improper dimension.

3.  That 4x4 rests on a concrete block, merely stuck in the soil.

4.  It is barely toe nailed into the beam it "supports."  Well, at least they used two nails.

5.  The clever, what shall we call it, COMBO SUPPORT, made up of the rest of the cut off, former 6x6" column, a concrete block and a 2x4, all resting flat but, you can see, not touching the underside of the beam.  I'm not sure which was intended to be the final support - the classy column or the combo support!

6.  That beam is merely nailed at a 90 degree angle to another beam, under my blue spot!  Cute, by any measure.

I thought it deserved a closer look!  ------->

This kind of thing really zips me off!  This lady got ripped off. 

I want to be present when they come back to the house to give her money back! 

This is pathetic.  And it wasn't the only combo support!

It was a few years ago though, so the likelihood she has any claim at all is pretty slim.

She is being relocated and the relo company sent out two home inspectors.  She told me she fixed everything on their list.  "What was that?"

"The rear hose was dripping."

AMONG the things I found include:  two bathroom GFIs which turn off lights but not receptacles; a whirlpool without GFI protection; a sub panel wired incorrectly; a rusted panel box in the bathroom; severe water intrusion in the crawl space; that water had shifted soil such that it is pushing a concrete block support column under the main support beam almost to failure; approximately half the insulation under the floor fallen onto the soil and ruined; a separated furnace vent - well it was amazing.  That's not the entire list!

This lady has been taken and taken and taken.  It is disgusting.  I felt very badly at this inspection.  And I set this seller up with some really good people to take care of her needs.  That's usually beyond the scope of what I do, but NOT in this case.

My recommendation:  we are in a service business.  It is important that those we serve are served well.  And remember the Golden Rule.

 

 

 

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 29 commentsJay Markanich • August 27 2011 07:03AM

Comments

Jay: Hopefully she has learned to ask better questions and to check things out.

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

Anne - I don't know how much that would have helped and even if this was a lady who would crawl under a deck (and she is not) she probably wouldn't know what to look for.  It's a shame.

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

Jay, they should be forced to pay her back. It is pathetic that she was ripped off like that, but not surprising. And the home inspection done prior to putting it on the market, well.. that is scary. There is an inspection company to avoid. They should be giving her the fee back too.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

Beauty's only skin deep yeah yeah yeah, beauty's only skin deep... oh yeah! Sorry, your headline and your stroy reminded me of that song. I might have been singing it as I was writing up all the stuff you found...lol. Good Job Maestro!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 7 years ago
Jay, very good topic. I wonder if the homeowner obtained references before hiring this contractor. We suggest getting 3 references from housing contractors. If we hear negative feedback then those folks are off our referral list.
Posted by Jane & Garry Smith, ABR, GRI, Realtors - Portland, ME - (207) 253-3195 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 7 years ago

These were the relo inspectors Andrea.  I used to do inspections for a relo company (you probably know them) and about 15 years ago they fired me because I was finding so many things it "made them look bad when they present the list to the seller."  Go figure...

Fred - I really felt badly.  But, we are there to do a job.

Jane and Garry - wouldn't know.  My referral list is a very short one, for the reason you say!

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

One thing we agents learn from "experience" (that much maligned word) is to never never, never accept a home inspection report provided by a relocation company.

I recall the first time I was provided an inspection report from a relocation company.  Even this ignorant agent could identify serious problems not identified on the relocation company's home inspection report.  Two that stood out were 7 windows where the thermal seal had failed, including sliding glass doors.  The other (don't tell anyone), when I looked at the furnace filter, it clearly hadn't been changed for years. 

Final result??  7 new windows/slider and a new heat pump. 

It pays to question a third party inspection report, the report may not reflect the true condition of the property. 

 

 

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

Well, I can't speak to that Lenn, but my experience is not discounted either.  In the days that I did it, they wanted photos, but we didn't do the digital thing then.  So the roll of film was included with my report.  They would send me on 3 and 4 inspections some days, but wanted me to use their checklist.  It was not a very comprehensive list, especially when compared to my computerized report.  That weak checklist probably got them in trouble too.

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

Gawd only knows how many times I have encountered this in my inspection career...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) over 7 years ago

Ji Jay - wow! I feel bad for the woman... I hate seeing that happen!

Posted by Maggie McFarland, Pearland Realtor, Homes for Sale in Pearland Texas (RE/MAX Pearland - Maggie McFarland) over 7 years ago

Good morning Jay.  Somebody must still be asleep out west.  I managed to get to the suggest button before they did.  Another good catch.  I hope you stay dry and safe.

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

 It started out sounding like the contractor had done all the right things...and I am sure to the homeowner it sounded that way...having had a friend who had the skunk family living under her deck...eww eww eww.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 7 years ago

Low decks like the one you inspected can be such havens for termites, drainage problems and more. And often they offer little if any resale value.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) over 7 years ago

Michael - I see women taken by contractors all the time.  And years later what can they do?

Maggie - it is a terrible problem and a real, real pet peeve of mine.

Ken - thank you!  I don't think this Armageddon they have been predicting will be anything of the sort.

Sally and David - skunks moved in!  Skunks are the example I use with people when I find holes under their front stoop.  I tell them to fill the hole in before the skunks find it!

David - around here termites are everywhere.  WE are their haven!

 

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

Jay, The Golden rule is a great start to any business plan.

Posted by Brad Gotham (Granite Peak Inspection, Inc. ) over 7 years ago

It's certainly the best Brad!  I buy into it for sure.

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

Jay, 29,000 to go.

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

Jay, Have you ever thought of writing a book about the "NEW AND IMPROVED CONSTRUCTION METHODS" that you run into? I so enjoy your posts. Do you think you would run into so many "classics" in other areas of the country?

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

There oughta be something interesting she could do with those photos you took.....

Posted by John M. Scott, Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area (BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties) over 7 years ago

Ken - what does that mean?  I hope it doesn't take me a long time.

Brad - I am sure "new and improved construction method" are everywhere and all would understand the book.

John - maybe, but this was done a couple of years ago.  These weren't the only ones!

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

Jay, oh.. that didn't make me happy, LOL. I think I got your message...

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

Wow...look what you can find out when you peel back a little lattace..and the golden rule is a forgotten art..I think you are leading the way back!

Posted by Tara Stone, NJ Estates and Stables (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

Great Job, as always, Jay.  Hopefully the relocation inspector was paid for by her company and not by her.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 7 years ago

Jay - I just want to know what the crew did for the homeowner to "stabilize the old girl." I hope she feels better now.

 

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

Andrea - for people like this, it's certainly best to have a home inspector by to check the work.  Obviously the paradigm has not shifted that far toward home inspectors!

Tara - it seems to be forgotten.  Most of the self-employed people I know try to do their best job.  I know I do.

Steven - let's just say he was floated in on a balloon and floated out after the inspection.  They probably ought to float that inspector out of town.

John - I noticed a little up and down when I was walking on it.  I don't know where it will go from here.  That's one of three!  The other two were similarly silly, but not quite as bad.  Still, they had a lot of play too.

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

Jay;  when you reach 500,000 points I understand you have free membership. 

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

Sorry Ken, that didn't occur to me!  I am not one to look at points and such.

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

I've seen some of those relo inspection reports. Not worth the paper their printed on. As for the contractors taking advantage of this woman to say it sickens and angers me is an under statement.

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

Me too Jim.  I was pretty proactive in trying to help her.  Not exactly what I typically do with a seller!  She was so upset she was shaking.  Even the buyer felt bad.  I bet he shoulders a lot of this himself.  He manages a shopping mall, so he has access to lots of people.

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

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