What I'm Seeing Now

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The Good, The Bad And The Smokey

How often do we home inspectors see something that is correct and incorrect at the same time? 

In this case, it was the good, the bad and the smokey.

Every gas appliance should have access to its shut-off valve within 4' of the unit and on the same level.

Oftentimes I see this kind of installation on a flip and the valve is in the basement ceiling just below.

The valve cannot be on a different level of the house.

In this case Flipper, not his real name, put the valve behind the range, and inside the island into which the range fits!  Happy day!  THIS IS GOOD!

However, when we went to test the oven, it heated up for a while, did not reach temperature, and then produced smoke and turned off the kitchen GFI receptacle beside the sink off to the right off of this photo!

Ummm...  This gas range has a slight electrical need.  You see the clock on the front panel.  That is the panel that shows all the settings, and the burners and oven are all ignited with a spark.  That is pretty normal.

But Flipper hard wired the range into one of the kitchen GFI circuits!  And for some reason the unit isn't doing well and trips the GFI.  THIS IS BAD!

There was no circuit labeled in the EXTREMELY-OVERLOADED-WITH-DOUBLE-TAPS-EVERYWHERE panel box that looks to service this range.  And I could not find a plug anywhere behind the range.  So I suspect this unit is hard wired into the kitchen GFI circuit.  I really don't know!  But I do know a bona fide electrician is needed!

My recommendation:  on flips things often look really, really beautiful.  But be sure to test stuff!  Test everything!  Many times doing that will reveal things not otherwise observable!  Remember, don't ASSume everything must be GOOD because it looks GOOD!

 

 

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 61 commentsJay Markanich • July 09 2012 03:44AM

Comments

Interesting. I am surprised that with all the care to have the cut-off valve close by they would slack off on the electrical side.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Different guy Gary!  Or the same guy who knew about gas valves from having been hit up previously, but still doesn't understand electricity!  The panel box was a disaster.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay...

Flip properties are more likely to contain "shortcuts" than others, because the seller is bottom-line conscious.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 8 years ago

That's a given Richard!  Which is the exceptionally-important WHY for getting a home inspection!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, Nice informative post.  Once again you point out all the concerns of purchasing Flippers home where too many shortcuts are taken and not enough professionals are used.

Posted by Bobbie Smith, 570-242-1891 over 8 years ago

Bobbie - thanks.  General contractors, if this guy IS a g.c., think they can do everything.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

 Good find. The Mr. Flippers want to save when flipping homes. This was one of the many short cuts they got caught with.

Do things right the first time. Then, us inspectors would simply say "very good home, nothing found".

But we know that's not going to happen.

Have a good day in Virginia my friend.

Best, clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 8 years ago

Sadly, many buyers for these fixers are going to believe that, because the improvements look new, they will have been installed by professionals who knew their business. 

Then, far too many of them will buy WITHOUT a competent home inspection.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago

And this short cut was "approved" by the County, Clint!  You're right, won't happen.

Lenn - that's the basic problem here!  It's a huge ASSumption to think a "pro" did all the work.  And this Flipper is full-time employed as a computer person in a big company, travels a lot, and, according to my clients, is VERY hard to reach for weeks at a time.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

One more reason, as though there aren't enough already, to make sure a certified inspector is part of a rehab buyer's arsenal.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 8 years ago

Jay, the hair on my neck stands up when the Realtor calls to have me inspect "a cute little flip".  I tell my clients all the time that Flipper loves shiny and they do to when they see it.

Posted by Brad Brinke (ProCraft Inspection Services) over 8 years ago

Another of a thousand Brian!

Brad - shiny is true.  It's more than lipstick on a pig though, far worse!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Very interesting Jay.  I'm with you.  Even though it looks great and shiny and new, test it.  Thanks for sharing this info with us.  Well done!  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 8 years ago

Thanks Team!  It must be tested.  Of course it's new!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, I can see why flippers do these short cuts to save money. I just had a microwave installed above the stove. The dedicated line ended up in expanding my breaker box and running a dedicated line. The electrical and dry wall work cost three times more than the microwave. At least we know we're not going to have any problems with this install.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

Of course that's true Mike, and your electrician was doing it right because ... because ... he is licensed! He can lose his license doing it improperly!  Plus, he wants to do it right so you call him back and refer him elsewhere!

AND, peace of mind is worth a million bucks!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Well, just a few violations in the process. Not sure about your inspectors, but the local guys miss a lot of things. Now when you get into Norman, man the city inspectors are a pain. They hit the small builders hard and leave the big builders alone.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 8 years ago

If this flipper is anything like some of the genius's on TV flip shows, then this doesn't surprise me at all. Good catch.

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 8 years ago

Not everything that glitters is gold..? MMMMmmm

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 8 years ago

Hire things like this out.  Cut the grass, clean out the garage etc but leave gas, electric ALONE.

Posted by Chris and Dick Dovorany, Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty ( Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida) over 8 years ago

Buyer beware. Flippers are often Jack of all trades..master of none. It is very hard to not fall in love with shiny new

Posted by Athina Boukas, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) (Virginia Capital Realty) over 8 years ago

I think Flipper has been taking some shortcuts. . He did not know you are the dolphin killer. .

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 8 years ago

People just don't get it! Flip, flipping or flipper....it's just another 'F'- word!

Doersen't matter how you spell it or vary it, it's an 'F' word.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 8 years ago

Yeah, he shoulda just walled over the plug so no one would try to use it. Pesky GFI circuits.

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) over 8 years ago

Jay, good find.  I had something similar happen to a client's overn.  THought it was electrical at first, but the oven turned off due to a faulty thermostat on a two year old over.  Electrical stuff can drive one crazy.

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 8 years ago

Your blog is always has great information! I keep noting things to remind my buyers and appreciate your time and insite.

Posted by Donna Bosze, Ask Me Why I'm Different! (Realty Executives Top Producers) over 8 years ago

Jay, I often get an uneasy feeling in a home that was recently renovated and put for sale... its because I know they renovated it to sell, and will more often than not find they have taken shortcuts...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Good afternoon Jay. Nice looking range though. lol. I see overloaded electric panels all the time. It helps me persuade the buyers to get an inspection.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 8 years ago

I've seen many lipstick on pigs in the flipping market, the homes look great but when you inspect them all of the short cuts start to get exposed. There are some cases where the individuals really know what their doing and produce a great product. Thanks for the photos. 

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com) over 8 years ago

Par for the course with flips in our area, eh?

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 8 years ago

Flipper has been doing some work in Chesapeake Virginia as well!  Just saw his work today in a home that had an addition put in with a doorway that must have been 5'7" at most.  Clever man or woman, that Flipper!  But the stainless steel appliances sure were pretty.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 8 years ago

Than - that's because the big builders give bigger bottles of whatever...

Scott - I see some of those flips and am shocked.  And the TV show just goes along like it's all okay.  All I did here was turn on the oven!  The GFI did the rest!

Richie - not even the stairway to heaven.

I agree C&D - the general contractor ought to hire a real electrician!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Athina - people are often very disappointed after a home inspection of a flip!

Fernando - these guys are everywhere around here, as you know.  My clients say this guy has a good rep with the county.  Well no wonder - they don't catch much!

F word Robert?  Wow!  And flip has four letters!

Tim - he wired into the underside of the receptacle box so nothing was visible I bet.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Gary - thermostats are very difficult to evaluate!

Thanks Donna.  I hope they can use the blogs!

Chris - and it's all unpredictable.  Nothing stands out as normal or even unusual!  The problems are all over the place.

Randy - this panel was a disaster.  And the County "approved" it!  What do you bet they didn't look at it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Adrian - there is a flipper around here who calls me when he is done with the house and wants an inspection before he puts it on the market.  That's circumspect!

Justin - just par?  Better than that!  Birdie or eagle for normality.

Kathryn - code says 6'8"!  He may not have known that...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

An excellent post on remembering to always put safety first, even if it's pretty.

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) over 8 years ago

Thanks Charlie.  Safety is one of the biggest things during home inspections.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Morning Jay Flipper sounds something like Uncle Bob with the duct tape.  I wonder if they could be the same guy?  I think we have a lead.  Call Sherlock!!!

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 8 years ago

Uncle Bob has a whole tool box James!  Duct tape, in many colors, is certainly in there!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay 

Great catch and good reminder.  Thanks

Posted by Kim Carnes, Carnes Home Inspections - Indianapolis Metro Area and beyond - (Licensed - Certified Home Inspectors (317) 753-7098) over 8 years ago

Thank you Kim.  This was a very fun inspection!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay some folks like to save and don't realize that their lives a in jeopardy.

 

 

 

Posted by George P. Cruz Sr., PSL FL CDPE, TRC, CIPS (Premier Brokers International) over 8 years ago
I had folks buy.a home and the inspection went somewhat well. Unfortunately, within 4 days both air conditioners were down. One was covered under the home warranty. The other was not because the previous owner (or someone they allowed) jerryrigged the unit to bypass something (just forgot the part name) and the wiring burned up. So now I tell this story to buyers, hoping they will also get an HVAC inspection. The units tested okay but you never know what is hiding.
Posted by Kathy McAlpin (HomeSmart - Arrowhead) over 8 years ago

Nothing like a good old fashion Home Inspection performed by a good Inspector.

Posted by Jim Miner, Loan Modfication & Short Sale Specialist (Miner Noh & Associates) over 8 years ago

This is a great example of why a home inspection is important. How would we know without you?

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 8 years ago

I'm not suprised the County approved it. Around here they take people who have no construction experience at all, hand them a code book, and send them out to inspect.

This is the first time I've heard of anyone hard-wiring in a kitchen range. Guess it makes sense, those outlets cost $40 or $50 the last time I looked.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 8 years ago

George - a home inspection is usually worth far more than it costs, in many ways!

Kathy - sounds like they bypassed the fuse box outside.  A common practice when new units are installed.  That was an excuse for them not to cover it.

Jim - thanks.  We try, we really try.

Karen - I think the home inspector posts are very full of information on the AR site.  Well worth the reads!  I read as many of them as I can!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

All that may be true Marte!  The range also needed it's own circuit, but the panel really had no room.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Flips remind me of my first wife - It looked pretty good - but there was some stuff I did not see.  Great post.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay, we agree.  We can usually spot flips when we walk in.  And we always wonder what they are covering up.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay.  You just cleared up something for me.  I have a pending listing and the buyer is purchasing it with FHA financing.  On the FHA appraisal, the appraiser stated that the gas line was improperly capped.  I think he's talking about a Shut Off.  Thanks for your informative article.  Have a wonderful day. 

Posted by Sharon Sanchez, Your Number "1" Source For Real Estate. (Ace Home Realty) over 8 years ago

Hey, isn't Mr. Stove supposed to be on it's own circuit? 

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 8 years ago

Gene - that's one way to look at it!

Bob - that is the big mystery and the hardest thing to figure out!

Sharon - that may be it.  It might be he doesn't see a valve at all.

Yes Lyn.  The post says that - but there was no room in the inn, I mean panel box!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Gas is not something to mess with.  Lots of potential for danger if the system is set up wrong.

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Especially when it's combined with electricity Rob!  Especially!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay - That is why I always always always insist that my buyers have a home inspection.  If they refuse (few do) I have them sign a waiver stating that they are going against my advice.  Today my buyers and I met the inspector at a brand new home in a nice subdivision. Many agents I know would never do a home inspection on a new build, assuming it would be perfect.  Not me.

The inspection was great except that the A/C was wired wrong and was missing the rubber cap around the freon tube in the attic, so that even if we got the A/C to work well (it didn't) a lot of the cold air would escape. 

I had the construction supervisor for the tract come to the house to meet with the inspector so he could see what should be done.  I'm glad I did that because the construction super came over anoyed and simply claimed that it worked fine.  By the time he left he promised to get the A/C guy back and take care of it.  If we hadn't had the inspection, would my buyers have been able to get the A/C working properly?  Maybe not.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 8 years ago

Susan - they would have lived with it, probably during hot weather, while the builder's subs got around to trying to fix it.  Best to do it at the inspection when everyone is present.  Supervisors are OFTEN annoyed with me, especially when buyers call them and ask them to come over!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Just did a flip like this.  Of course I was told "it's all been redone so this will be an easy inspection for you". Always makes me giggle when I hear it.

Posted by Rafi Footerman, Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More! (Mid Jersey Inspections) over 8 years ago

Rafi - that there is a big red flag and the radar gets immediately turned on!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Wish you were in California. We'd be keeping you prett busy. Let me know if you ever do manufactured homes. We provide a Nationwide foundation retrofit and installation and engineered certification business and have a need for good home inspectors with MH experience.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor (CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS) over 8 years ago

I am with Manufactured Home Foundation Certifications John.  Is that the same thing?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

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