What I'm Seeing Now

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Revealed

In the past week we have had a lot of rain around here.

For some time I have had a pre-drywall inspection scheduled.  The clients called to ask if we might want to reschedule it due to the rain.

Of course I said no, things are often revealed by the rains that we might not otherwise notice.

This is a very nice house, with very nice window wells, with their own very nice drainage, all connected to buried drain tile, bringing water from around the house to a very nice sump pump in the furnace room.

While not hooked up yet, I can see where the tubes enter the sump pump pit, but they are still capped, so no water is inside the pit yet.

Walking around back I noticed this stairwell full of water!

I said to my client that the drain lines are not functioning yet so this water is to be expected.

But, swishing my hand around in the water (which I really like doing) it was revealed that there is no drain installed!

And this stairwell is a good 30' of concrete basement slab from the sump pump!

Do you mean to say that nobody noticed the lack of drain before now?

REVEALED!

My recommendation:  don't ever let a builder talk you out of a pre-drywall construction inspection with the statement that "we are here every day and our supervisor and the County conduct dozens of inspections."  Don't buy it when the sales lady calls your home inspector a "placebo."  And don't believe your builder when he says he won't do anything about what the home inspector notices unless the inspector includes the code along with it.  Of course he will!  It isn't the home inspector's job to quote codes!  Get your own home inspector with his own set of eyes!  And try to go just after a big rain storm!  You never know what might be revealed!

 

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 68 commentsJay Markanich • May 27 2012 04:02AM

Comments

Yicks...perhaps it was meant to be an adjacent wading pool...!  Have a great holiday weekend !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

Drainage is important INSIDE and OUTSIDE * I'm having an issue with the drain pan sensor for the AC in a tenant-occupied unit....water level keeps tripping the system and the water level is not in the danger zone...curious!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 6 years ago

Hi Jay,

Very well said indeed. The builders here don't like to see me pull up.

In fact there is one who refuses to let me on the property.

It seems I find all kinds of things wrong when I inspected their homes.

Have a good day in Virginia.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 6 years ago

Morning Jay congrats on the feature.  Builders taking shortcuts will only wind up costing them more money for the repairs after the fact.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 6 years ago

I have a new home under contract with Toll Bros.  The sales rep clearly said, "We welcome home inspectors."  That gave the buyer a lot of confidence. 

I've also gotten that same positive message from KHovanian and they consistantly deliver a defect free home to my buyers. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I agree with you about the buyers not being talked out of any inspection. Builders make mistakes, it sure looks like this one made a big one.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 6 years ago

S&D - as a little guy I would have had a blast in that pool!

'Tis Wallace, 'tis.  And floats are okay, but a second drain line attached to the pan, which drains the pan outdoors via an inclined gravity-utilizing discharge tube, is BEST PRACTICE.

Clint - they do employ little tricks and things to keep me off the property at times.  But I am still there.  Once I went after hours and the buyers just game them a hand-written list (of their own making ...   ;>) ).

James - this was an oversight I think.  But interesting it has not been noticed before now!  Didn't know it was featured...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I remember buying a new construction in MD about 20 years ago...no inspection, no nothing. Of course the builder rep never mentioned it and I was naive. Always, Always, Always......inspect!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Lenn - Toll doesn't seem to hear a WHO like another builder does...  And when Hovnanian was Washington Homes, and built my home, they didn't like me at all.  But I noticed that they called me about three times to do inspections on executives' homes when they moved into our area!

This will take a bit of work Joe!  All in a week's work...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Get those calls all the time. " Are you sure you want to inspect today, it's supposed to rain?"Heck yeah I do, makes my life so much easier. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 6 years ago

Excellent read. 

That why I recommend the same type of inspection here in New Jersey.  I find the same problems you are describing here and more.  Unfortunately the clients want to always believe the builder and sales office.  Not saying they can be right, but remember they are selling you a home.  We(home inspectors) have no financial interest in the sale of that home.  We are truly independent eyes looking at these homes. 

Good Job!!!

Posted by Ed Mitchell (AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services) over 6 years ago

Gary - pre-drywall inspections were unheard of 20 years ago, at least around here in Northern Virginia.  So you may not have been so naive!

Scott - I love inspecting in the rain.  It does reveal stuff!

Ed - thanks and totally agreed!  I have been doing pre-drywall inspections for about 15 years and it was a tough market nut to crack.  But now they are common it seems, at least around here.  I find all kinds of stuff!  My biggest problem with new construction is the word "professionalism," which I sarcastically call 7-11 construction...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, thanks for another excursion into home inspection wisdom and insight.  I like to look at ceilings in the rain for the same reason.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 6 years ago

Brian - wasn't there a song about that?  Ceeeiiiiilings in the rain?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay,

Looks like that is going to be an expensive retrofit. As we all know, water issues don't get better as the home ages.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Extra water certainly demonstrates some of the problems!

Thanks for your comments on my blog posts.  We always recommend a professional home inspection.

Have a very special Memorial Day and an outstanding week.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) over 6 years ago

Important blog! In my experience, when someones states unnecessary to hire an inspector, title insurance or other professional that makes it even more important. That large of a purchase you need that protection! Thanks Jay!

Posted by Leslie Godbold, Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living" (WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio) over 6 years ago

Richard - as you know, water is THE killer of houses.  Now is the best time to handle this, and, of course, necessary.

Roy - I enjoyed that blog a lot!  And thanks for stopping by my blogs too!

Leslie - thank you.  I think inspections are essential.  An engineer friend of mine asked me to do a pre-drywall inspection on his new house.  I asked why, he's an engineer!  And he said that 4 eyes are better than 2.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Oh gosh.  that is going to be challenging to fix.  It's not easy to just add a drain.  Oy vey.  I guess it's a good thing you went out there.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 6 years ago

It's a problem for sure Debbie.  Oh, and it's "Jay," not "vey."

;>)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Good morning Jay.  Excellent post.  Good thing the weather was actually in your favor!  

Posted by Linda Blumenthal, NYS Licenced Real Estate Salesperson, CBR (Hampton Crossing - Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - 631-466-4087) over 6 years ago

It was Linda.  Sometimes it takes some convincing to get clients to look at things after a rain!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, I can't believe they didn't put a drain in the stairwell. Who ever buys this home better be prepared for a wet basement every time it rains. A pre new home inspection is a must.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

It is what it is Mike!  There's always more time later to do it right, right?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Wise words Jay. Having an independent inspection during the construction process is truly great advice.

Posted by Vanessa Saunders, From Manhattan to the Catskills of New York (Global Property Systems Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I think it is Vanessa.  I find too many important things during pre-dryall inspections, and there is nothing that is common.  Every inspection is different.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

How lovely...an outdoor fish pond with access for the fish to enter the home....this wont last...good one Jay

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 6 years ago

Jay, I just love those outdoor stair wells (water collection systems)----a little roof would help a lot.   Also as you will see in my post today I will be a little more careful where I put my hands :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 6 years ago

Thanks Richie.  These would be small fish though, so easy to clean up inside.

Charlie (Shadow) - maybe I should read your post before I comment on your comment!  I think I will.  Be back later...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay - That is a mighty big oops on the builders part!  A buyer should never skip any opportunity inspect the property though the construction process.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Great feature Jay. I think most of your posts should be featured. As usual your post is right on the spot. If one is making the largest purchase of their like why would you not demand independent inspections. 

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) over 6 years ago

 

OK, I'm back Charlie.  Comment made!  I did put my hand in there, but as you can see, I am a long-time fan of putting my hands in water.

That's me checking the water temp prior to my primping to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner November 1953.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

You now have an unhappy builder but a happy buyer. Your inspection fee is nothing compared to what you have saved the buyer in possible future repair costs if that improper installation had gone undetected.

Posted by John Juarez, ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN (The Medford Real Estate Team) over 6 years ago

I agree AJ.  There are so many things that can go wrong, and being on site everyday they might not stand out!

Thank you Tom, that is very kind.  I have said for sometime, to the other inspectors, that our posts should be featured more!  Totally self indulgent of us, to be sure...  Independent inspections are essential.

I think so too John.  This is a very expensive home and my fee was nothing by comparison.  Can you imagine calling the builder to take care of this AFTER you have moved in and water is in the basement?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Ouch!  That's gonna hurt.  It's a good thing you were able to keep that appointment.  What a surprise that would have been at a later date.  

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 6 years ago

Rain, lots of rain and standing water certainly will reveal a lot of things that may have gone unnoticed without it.

Thanks Jay for another informative post. 

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com) over 6 years ago

Soon to be home of west nile. Who doesn't love an outdoor water feature.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) over 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing this.  Having worked for builders, we had mandatory pre-drywall inspections and did not allow buyers to skip this step. However, the buyers always came WITHOUT an inspector!  You're right, this is a good time to catch things with an inspector. Since builders have warranty, catching this early would definitely be to their benefit also.

Posted by Athina Boukas, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) (Virginia Capital Realty) over 6 years ago

Great job, Jay.  I so agree with you - a little pre-inspection work will help preserve a new home for a very long time.  

Posted by Juli Vosmik, Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739 (Dominion Fine Properties) over 6 years ago

Jay, In my area inspections on new construction are very rare. When showing newer homes I see many problems including code violations.

Posted by Wayne Jackson, North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake (Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109) over 6 years ago

Mike - especially after moving in!

Adrian - that is why I wanted to do the inspection when we did!  They could have waited.

Rob - water view!  But denial isn't just a river...

Athina - I have been doing pre-drywall inspections for 15 years or so and they are crucially important.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Juli - and despite all the other "inspections" the house gets!

Wayne - I can't speak so much to the code violations as I have no juice to do so, but these inspections reveal many things.  Every pre-drywall inspection is different!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Oh Jay, that did make me laugh.  At least you were swishing your hand in the tub water. LOL    And I love to show property in the rain... makes perfect sense to me to see where the water is going first hand.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 6 years ago

Had it not been for the home inspection, I am quite sure the new home owner would have gotten a big surprise following that big rain right after they moved in!

Posted by Dale Samples, REALTOR -Homes for Sale Charleston, West Virgini (304.741.4705 • www.dalesamples.com ) over 6 years ago

Jay, Great water test pic, lol. That the way I still do it ; ) Yeah a pre-drywall inspection really should be on everyone's radar but for most it is not. And like you rain can be such a great way to reveal future issues.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Tammy - in those days all parents had nude photos of their children.  It was a part of the era.  I too like to do inspections in the rain!

Dale - sooner or later there would have been a big surprise!

Don - the rain is very revealing!  Once in an attic, during a HURRICANE, I noticed water being forced in!  Revealing...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Wow!  The things you see are just amazing.  You have to be a brave soul to be a home inspector!!

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 6 years ago

Hi Jay - I don't want any of my buyers to pass up a home inspection, even on a newly constructed home.  The county inspectors are not necessarily looking for the same things, and they also cannot spend as much time on each inspection as a home inspector can.  If they refuse to hire an inspector, I have them sign a paper saying that they are doing so against my recommendations.

Nice cheeks on #32 by the way!

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 6 years ago

Maureen - what, and not get to play in water when I see it?

Susan - I agree, the County is looking for safety things like smoke detectors, GFIs and such.  And that was one cute kid!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Jay, whether an inspection or showing I like going into houses right after or even during a rainstorm. There are very few secrets kept when it's raining

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 6 years ago

Ed - rain can be a very revealing thing!  Hence the post!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I've had builders who have a "take it or leave it " attitude. You forego the inspection or you don't puchase a home from that patricular builder!

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 6 years ago

Perhaps the builder threw in a free pool as an upgrade and forget to tell the buyer.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 6 years ago

Jay,  After reading the comments I forgot what I was originally going to say here. Now all I have to say is ... what a cut little butt you have (LOL)!

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 6 years ago

Great post and the photo says it all.  I caught several large "misses" when I built my last home that had I not been there the builder would have spent far more money on correcting the issues.

Posted by John F Muscarella, Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast (RIVER FARM PROPERTIES, LLC) over 6 years ago

Joan - on a pre-drywall they would have a hard time keeping me from the property.  I have done them at 2am.  The people just generate a hand-written report.  And I don't know why right a builder would feel they have to prevent someone from getting some consultation.

Cindy - works for me.  Especially if I can make mud pies.  But you already knew that...

Kathleen - that was some time ago, my dear.  My mother thought that was the best photo she ever took...

John - when we built our home the builder didn't like me.  We were the only people in the neighborhood not to get a fruit basket when we moved in!  Then they hired me later to inspect houses when executives moved into the area!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

You have obviously mistaken the wading pool for a defect. Funny how everyone tries to talk the buyer out of a home inspection. That should be a giant red flag, or may be that's just me being paranoid, naaah. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

I don't know if these folks were talked to about an inspection Jim, but they were surprised to see the list of stuff I came up with.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Wow, that's going to be an expensive fix!  Talk about lack of planning...

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Hello Jay,

The perfect "rubber ducky" story (ha-ha-ha)...hard to believe no one noticed the missing drain!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Minor oversight Reubs.  Minor oversight.  And I got to play in some muddy water!  It would be easier to install a sump pump in the corner and spray the water into the yard!  That round thing is a plastic margarine tub cover.

Lisa - but remember, the supervisor is there every day and the County sees the house many times.  No need for a home inspection here!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hello Jay,

No, never...why would a inspector be needed?  Hmmmm, let me count the reasons (as if your post hasn't already proved the point)!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Builders are playing more and more games with inspectors Lisa, at least around here.  And piling on more and more criteria before an inspector is allowed on site.  With finds like this one, I guess I understand why!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

They are catching on to you my friend.  Now they want you to cite the code?  Please.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 6 years ago

Jay -- after or during a good rain storm is great time to catch problems like this.  I just put new fiberglass roofing on my mother-in-law's patio roof, and she said it was leaking in the middle.  Fortunately we had a nice little thunderstorm while I was there, and I was able to find where the water was coming in under a seam.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 6 years ago

What's the code for stained roof sheathing with orange stuff on it, Justin, just in the shady spots?

Sorry...  what happened with that?

Steven - sounds like you had too small a seam?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

I spent several years working as a Quality Control Manage for a couple of builders.  You would be amazed at the things that I found.  If I had not made the inspection, those problems would have been covered for quite a while to suddenly show up as a problem for the home owner.  I have to say that a pre-drywall inspection is probably more important than a preclosing inspection.

Posted by Robert Sole (REM Inspections LLC) over 6 years ago

Robert - you may be right.  I say to my clients that the pre-drywall is the only time to see the house in a skeletal state.  But it's amazing what I also find on the final walk through!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

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