What I'm Seeing Now

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"We Should Have Listened To You Three Years Ago. Can You Come Back Over?""

Eight years ago I did an inspection on a new construction that I thought might have future water issues.  I recommended better grading and extending the downspouts.  After the recent very soaking rains, I got a phone call which said, "We should have listened to you three years ago.  Can you come back over?"

Wait, didn't I say I did the inspection eight years ago?

I did.  And three years ago we had a similarly soaking rain.  They called me then too.  There was some moisture intrusion into the house, in this corner!

This is the innocuous corner in question, from outside. 

They had me come with my thermal camera to evaluate it.

Given the amount of rain three years ago, not a lot of water entered the house.  But even then I could see that natural settlement around the house was encouraging water toward this corner of the house.

I recommended that they cut this downspout off about 15" or 18" high, and curve it around this corner of the house, running it all along the rear of the house to the other side, where it would discharge harmlessly onto the driveway.  Even one of those plastic caps over the window well would not hurt, even though there is drainage inside it carrying water to the sump pump.

They did nothing three years ago.

Then the recent rains happened, dumping 6" - 8" on the area, depending on where you lived.

Measuring the roof, I calculated that those rains dumped 1500 to 1700 gallons of water down this particular downspout.

The photo above makes it difficult to see, but more settlement in the five years since my previous visit literally pools water against the house.

And it came in.  They cut the carpeting in that room, used as a bedroom, to try to dry it.

 

 

Looking at that bedroom wall, this is what the camera detected just under and to the left of the receptacle above.  It was the wettest spot in the wall, a week or so after the heavy rains.

While water did get in and soak the carpeting, I think it was a remarkably little amount of water given the amount of rains!

BUT WATER IS WATER.  IT MUST BE ELIMINATED.  MORE THINGS HAPPEN OVER TIME THAN SIMPLY GETTING WET.  THERE IS UNHEALTHFUL MICROBIAL GROWTH TO DEAL WITH.

So I am confident that rerouting that downspout will go a long way toward solving this problem, if not eliminate it completely.

Banking the soil and regrading should be done also.  Along with the plastic bubble.  I am not so in favor of the bubble as the window well has draining and the bubble is ugly!

My recommendation:  simple things can go a long way toward solving an ongoing problem.  And a suggestion by your home inspector might go a long way too!  Trying his recommendation(s) might also go a long way toward reducing stress levels!  While he might appreciate you calling him back time and again, you don't really want to do that, do you?

 

 

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 67 commentsJay Markanich • September 21 2011 04:12AM

Comments

Jay

Another classic case of woulda, coulda, shoulda.....

Certainly seemed like your recommendation then was a very simple thing to do. Now, it will probably cost them more to repair the damage.

What was that saying about penny-wise but pound foolish?

Thanks for the pictures --- it helps to better understand the problem.

Posted by Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA (Alain Pinel) almost 7 years ago

Thank you Pacita.  Glad you could stop by.  I hope it was instructive!

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

Yes, I bet there are a lot of people that wish they took your or their inspector's advice, esp after what we've had the last few weeks.

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

Jay: the pictures really tell the story. Hope this time your clients follow your advice and there will be no more phone calls. (Sorry). 

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

Has been a wet time, has Debbie!  Could you bring the carpet store to their door?  They can use it!

Anne - it is a bummer.  I like the return trips!

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

Good morning, Jay. Folks don't realize how much water comes off a roof during your average rain. It will astound you...

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

Really, I am sure that they are filled with regret now. What a shame that they could not have just listened to you from the beginning. Penny wise and pound foolish!

Posted by Diane Grady (Endless Summer Realty) almost 7 years ago

For sure Michael.  2.31 sq inches of surface area in a 1" rain is one cubic inch.  From there it is easy to get the gallons in a rain fall.

Diane - so to speak!  They are listening now!

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

Jay, I guess the question is will they take your recommendations or will you be back in another eight years?

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 7 years ago
I want one of those thermal cameras but I bet that would be an expensive toy. Did they call anyone else about the water issue? Sounds like you should consult with builders too!
Posted by Tanya Redic, e-Pro, SFR (CIDER Properties) almost 7 years ago

You said it all - A stitch in time saves nine - Never so applicable!

Posted by Marcia Kramarz, CDPE,LMC,CBR (Re/Max Executive Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jay, Thanks for sharing. this is a reminder for me to check the grading around my house because we had a lot of rain recently.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Water is the number one enemy of your home.

Posted by Yvette Chisholm, Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500 (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Jay, thanks for the posting as well as practicing ethical business practices! Thanks again!

Posted by Michael L. Brownstead, ABR, GRI, MRP, SRS, 1SG US Army (Ret.) (Keller Williams Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jay, my first thought was shoulda, woulda, coulda as well, but Pacita was right there with it as well. I think that people just decide that the builder must know more than the inspector, and at times they may, but for the builder it's all about the money and the less he spends on building the house, the more he keeps in his pocket. Unless, of course, he hands out coupons at closing for discounts off services to his buyers after the sale as well.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 7 years ago
I hate that story. Why didn't they listen to you each and every time you warned them about potential water damage and the remedy that was necessary? Water is so destructive..I am sure they are full of regret now, not that it does them any good. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day.
Posted by K.C. McLaughlin, Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC (RE/MAX United) almost 7 years ago

Unbelievable.  What's the point of them calling you again?  So you can give them more advice they won't follow?

I agree with you about those window well covers.  They're ugly as hell.  When I sold my last house, the buyers asked me to install those ugly things on my basement window wells.  I did it, but naturally I waited to the last second, because I can't stand those things.

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

I strongly recommend following the direction of the inspector that you hired. Particularly if it's Jay!

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) almost 7 years ago

SPAM ALERT on #10 !!! LEE dumped 8-13 inches on our Region and numerous listing's basements were flooded for the first time ever !

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) almost 7 years ago

Jay, that's really too bad.  Seems that fixing the problem in the first place was really not that involved, now it's ten times worse and more expensive.  Some people only learn the hard way.

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) almost 7 years ago

I pray I get my lesson on first debut...you never know when you are going to "get it". No one likes the return of the roosting chicken especially if it is a bad chicken...good one Jay

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

I have customers tell me "I was hoping not to have to see you again." I take no offense, because they usually have taken my advice and have sought out a better home to purchase. I guess these people really like seeing you again and again.

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

Jay, we haven't gotten very much rain in Texas this year, which means when we do, we are going to have water issues like this.

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) almost 7 years ago

Jay - Not only do they get to use your services again, they probably should be calling a carpet cleaning company that can properly clean and dry that carpet, and replace the padding.  (Having worked for such a company in Ft Wayne, nearly every spring we had repeat customers who needed us to clean their carpets from the flooding of spring thaw.)

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) almost 7 years ago
Jay, great post. I do think the recent rains tested a lot of sump pumps, and a lot of them flunked.
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

People under estimate the damage that water can do to a house.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) almost 7 years ago

At least they admitted their mistake and asked you back for further advice.  You must have made a good impression the first time out.

Posted by Bob Zorechak - ABR, GRI, e-PRO, Sells Homes in Morris/Somerset/Hunterdon Cos., NJ (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan) almost 7 years ago

it only seems to make sense to listen to the expert.  if you told me that, I may get a second opinion, but I would have listened.  Pay now or pay more later

Posted by Mark Welsh almost 7 years ago

I don't know Michael!  But I really don't mind going back again and again...

Tanya - they have come way down in price.  Mine is down to about $9K now!  This is the second time I have been back with my camera.  They want to see the extent of the damage.

Marcia - or a downspout extension in time!  Either way, it would have saved!

Gita - things like soil can settle, especially when they are underwater!

 

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

Yvette - that's what I tell my clients - water is THE killer of houses inside and out.

You're welcome Michael.  I am very ethical with my clients, and in practice generally!  I have to be - a scout is trustworthy.

Ed - I expect they intended to get to it, but never did.  I left them a Round Tuit when I was there!

K.C. - no know!  During the first inspection I hit them with a thousand things to remember, and after the second visit they probably intended to get around to it.  See my comment to Ed above!

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

Reubs - they wanted to see the thermal image if it was worse then the last time!  And don't you love it when those covers don't actually cover!?

Thanks Alan, but I left them with only common sense!

Michael - I was out in that a lot and here they said 6-8" - but I don't believe them!

Silvia - the school of hard knocks is a cruel but effective teacher.

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

But I keep going back Richie!  I must be a good chicken!

Jim - I certainly take no offense!  They can call me back any time they want!  Since the first inspection they keep having kids, so I see new people every time I go.  This time they added a rescued greyhound too!

Ann - dry soil can shrink around the house.  When it does gaps form which fill quickly with water, which can be pushed into the house.

Steven - for some reason, and you can see it in the photo, they cut the carpet!  Don't know why, but it will be replaced.

 

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

Pat - thanks, and I have gotten the phone calls!  I know LOTS failed!

Harry - it needs about a billionth of an inch to get in!

Bob - my clients can call me anytime, for advice or, if they want the complete pestering package, another visit!

Mark - not much here to get a second opinion on - the water ends there or where ever you give it a place to end!  That is a lot of water to end beside the house.

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

Great article, very informative and useful information to have.

Posted by Will Nesbitt, Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage. (Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria) almost 7 years ago

Thanks Will.  This was down your way, just off Carlin Springs!

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

gutters and grading...probably the most ignored part of a house and property even though the least expensive things to maintain or correct.  Who woulda thunk it!

Posted by Dylan Taft, Ulster County Area Consultant (Dylan Taft Broker/Owner Taft Street Realty, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Jay, we see this over and over again where the buyer doesn't take our advice and then wonder why things aren't different :)

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

I'm not sure why they called you out 3 years ago if they weren't go to listen...but there ya go!  Are those bugs in that picture?

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

I've never seen anything like that! Yes, they should have listened to you 8 years and 3 years ago. Go back and show us the wrap-around gutter when you get a chance ... if they do it.

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA (Safe Haven Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jay, it can be basic human nature to procrastinate and put off a job like this.  Now it will cost them dearly.

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

Thats the thing! People get all excited about a new house, and they sometimes think they know more then the professional, and then later it bites them in the butt! I guess all we can do is give our opinion and hope they take it!

 

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

Jay, 

I love those thermal scans and won't hire an inspector unless they have the thermal scanning in their inspection.  

Inspectors do really know best!  Penny wise, pound foolish.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, hindsight is 20 20! Too bad the home owners took so long to finally listen to your advice.

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Chartwell Kansas City Realty) almost 7 years ago

Jay, too bad they didn't listen to your practical solution which would have saved them money and inconvenience. I love those cameras as well!

Sharon

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

Good to be right sometimes Jay. Actually, I'm glad that the owners have decided to address the problem, no matter how long the wait.

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) almost 7 years ago

Now how could they not listen to you? Did they not believe you or did not want to spend the money? It's costing them more now.

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

Dylan - they move a LOT of water and must be done correctly!

Duckie - and in this case advice two times!  Well, they are on it this time!

Nancy - they needed a Round Tuit and when I left three years ago I did not leave one with them.

Cynthia - if I am in the neighborhood I will stop by.  This is not exactly next door!

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

Chris - unfortunately you are right.  But, live and learn.  It's the school of hard knocks.

Rosalie - well, it sure bit this time!

Michelle - I consider my thermal camera to be the sharpest arrow in my quiver.

Maria - for sure!  We see better toward the rear.  We should have eyes in that direction!

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

Sharon - they are a lot of fun and are definitive when the final images are produced!

Tom - being right isn't as important as being careful!  We should all be more careful!

Sandy - this was a big bite in the rear, for sure.  It is costing more, yes!

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

Lack of rain in my part of Georgia has allowed many to believe they have no water issues.  But when the rains come back many will have wet basements.  Your story reminds me "A stitch in time saves nine".  IThat phrase kinda works in this situraiton.

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

It took me 2 years to do the "honey do" list our own home inspection revealed (the term "deferred maintenance" came up a lot!).  It was certainly time well spent.  I can only imagine how pricey it would be to remedy the defects and their complications now.  When I re-inspected our house 2 years ago, only 3 new defects came up.  It took me a week and maybe $20 to fix those.  BIG difference!

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

As human beings we tend to react better than we anticipate.

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

As a homeowner and an agent most times I think I see issues at my own house. The question is how soon am I going to deal with it! Fixing the pool timer today.

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

People should take their inspectors advice.  Why pay for the inspection and then ignore the problems?  I had a lady blame me for problems she found after closing on her home.  I had stressed over and over again that she should have a home inspection done but she refused to spend the money.  Then when she moved in and found problems she tried to blame me - go figure :(

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL) almost 7 years ago

Jay, That house looks similar to the one I had in Baltimore.  We got two 100 year floods in 10 days!!  Needless to say the basement flooded both times.  Glad to be rid of that headache!  Great post

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) almost 7 years ago

I often wonder why or how people don't take any action to eliminate challenges until a catastrophe occurs?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) almost 7 years ago

If they don't want to take your advise they can always try this: " Rain, Rain go away....."

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

Karen - that certainly applies here!  And the best time to buy the sump pump battery is before the hurricane arrives!

Julie - I hear you!  My roofer friend just tuned up my roof - a couple of shingles needed replacement;  I had him put in two kick outs (he had never hear that word!); all three plumbing penetration sleeves were cracked; etc.  The roof is 14 years old, so I probably just gave myself many more years.

Marshall - that is a great bumper sticker you could probably sell!  The NRA would probably love it!

Bill - you have to eat an elephant one bite at a time!

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

Terry - of course it's your fault!  Get real.  Others MUST be blamed here!

Bob - interesting they call them "100 year floods!"  We have had a few of those around here too!

Kimo - it's called the School of Hard Knocks!

Robert - we both know that works every time.  Which voice do you use?  I use my 4th grade voice.

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

Well, it is kind of cool they called you 8 years after the fact!

Posted by Liane Thomas -Top Listing Agent, Bringing you Home! (BROKER Allison James Estates & Homes BRE 01885684) almost 7 years ago

Well, Liane, three years and then eight years!  They like me!   ;>)

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

My doctor has been telling me to loose weight for like 15 years. . . .and one of these days . . . . .

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

You need to get a Round Tuit, Gene.  Want me to send you one?

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

Jay ~ that sounds like the standard, "would of, could of, should of" situation.  Hind sight is 20/20.

Posted by Dawn A Fabiszak, The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience! (Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado) almost 7 years ago

Dawn - this is one of those 20/20 hindsights twice in a row!

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

Jay,

If they aren't going to follow up on the advice, next trip out just program your number into their speed dial to make life easier for them.

Posted by Joe Daniels, Broker, Appraiser, Realtor(R), (Personal Service Realty) almost 7 years ago

Hey, Joe, I might already be there!

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

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