What I'm Seeing Now

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Finding Fun Flipper Fodder

It isn't hard to do and it's always something to post after finding fun flipper fodder.

Going downstairs I immediately noticed that the staircase was sans handrail.

Mentioning that to my clients they said when they asked about one, Flipper (not his real name) told them he had looked up the code.

The code told him that the requirements said this staircase was not "wide" enough for a handrail.

To that I said, "Ummmm..."  Direct quote.

This staircase is actually wider than a lot at 38". 

It certainly requires a handrail.

So I had a little fun with it.

On the report I included links to local County and International Residency Code (IRC) mentions as regards handrail installations and requirements.

Let's just say that those links virtually inundate people with information!

There are requirements about everything!  When one is necessary, how high, its thickness and how far from the wall, shapes - it goes on and on!

There are diagrams showing measurements, specificity as to strength, continuity along a wall, where on the wall it should end (top and bottom), well, you name it, the many, many codes show it.

I can only hope Flipper felt pure gratitude at my helpfulness!

Yes, I'm sure he did!

My recommendation:  your home inspector is likely to be just as helpful with information and instruction as you go about understanding the needs your house, even your NEW house, must satisfy.  And remember, the code requirements represent a MINIMUM standard and there is no reason your builder, or Flipper, can't exceed them!

 

 

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 40 commentsJay Markanich • July 15 2012 04:26AM

Comments

Jay, I'm sure Mr. Flipper felt something, but I'm not holding out hope for pure gratitude.  I'm thinking something along the lines of $*U$(*(*@!!!!  Home INSPECTOR!!!!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 8 years ago

And that wasn't the only thing he was grateful for Bliz!  He got a lot of "help" from me!

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

LOL Jay.  I'm sure he was thrilled. 

Oh, and LOL if the stair case hadn't been wide enough...wouldn't that then mean 2 code violations?

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 8 years ago

Dang it Flipper! I can just see someone tumbling down thoses stairs, looks like a looong way down there too! If they had a set of suction cups... they could grip on to the walls!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 8 years ago
Jay, I had an inspector say that a 3 ft. Island in the kitchen that was freestanding had to have a an outlet per code. The builder refused to install it because the house had just past codes inspection. That would have been really tricky putting an outlet in a floating kitchen island.
Posted by Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties, The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730 (Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070) over 8 years ago

Unbelievable!  I have had VA appraisers flag a three step entrance because it did not have a hand rail.  I think that staircase might have had more than three steps....

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

I had a flipper question me on a water heater TPR valve extension pipe. Seems the plumber, the county inspector and "everyone else never had a problem with it." I enlightened him similarly ;)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hope flipper was happy,  inspections by professionals is always best.  Good thing the stairway was wide enough no extra problems that way.

Posted by Diane Daley (Caron's Gateway Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Good morning Jay. Wth? A flipper who miquoted code? Unheard of. lol. Exactly why it is so important to have a professional inspection done.

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

The cost of adding a handrail can't be that much, can it? The safety it adds would be a huge benefit for anybody who looks at that long staircase and see's the potential for accident.

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Good one Jay. It's hard to believe how hard a flipper will try to save a few dollars and maybe endanger someones life.

Posted by Wayne Jackson, North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake (Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109) over 8 years ago

A handrail tends to keep the kids little dirty hands off the walls as well....

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

It seems like common sense that a handrail is needed on any stairwell, the interpretation of code is one of those discussions I'm sure happens all the time, but just looking at the stairwell you know that a handrail is needed.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 8 years ago

A flipper making hos one recommendations of what is code or not . .based on hoe much money it cost them. . that would be the day

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

Flipper gratitude! Ha.! What a concept.

Aside from 'code', how about 'common sense' and basic 'safety'. I just don't get into code argumrents. It it is sub par, it's sub par. Period.

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

If he wasn't going to put a handrail up at least carpet the stairs to cushion the fall.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) over 8 years ago

I love it "flipper fodder". I agree with Robert what about safety and we know common sense was not present. 

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com) over 8 years ago
Jay: What was the flipper thinking. Of course the staircase needs hand rails. Or maybe the walls are the handrails.
Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 8 years ago

The interesting twist is that if the stair was not wide enough to require a handrail the width would be less than allowed :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

Oh Jay, will it ever ends with Mr. Flippers??? Sometimes I think people just wake-up and feel like they want to change their profession and be ..... today. :)

Tatyana

Posted by Tatyana Makarov, Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay,  I can just see the agent tap dancin' around the answer while trying to divert the buyers' attention.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 8 years ago

A Flipper who tried to cut a few corners? Unheard of! haha Jay, every home should have a professional home inspection. Even the pretty ones.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 8 years ago

Debbie - he loves me now, for sure!  I think he was saying that the stairs needed to be real wide to require a handrail.

Yeah, but Fred, there's that hook at the end to slow your fall.

Debbie - not sure how you put a receptacle in a moving island!

Kathryn - I'm pretty sure too.  Let me go count.  Just a minute.

Back - yep, it has more than three!

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

Jim - you lone wolf, you!  Imagine, there was really info out there?

Caron's - this was a wider-than-usual staircase!  A handrail could not crimp anyone's style.

Randy - he never looked anything up.  He was blowing smoke to get them off his back, with the specious mention of the code "requirements."  The code(s) is/are pretty specific!

Morgan - if you look at the staircase, it would have meant a lot of angled cuts.  He didn't want to deal with it.

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

Wayne - the game is to sell the house, sell the house, sell the house.

Joshua - at the very least!  I like a handrail and I am not 83.

I agree Eileen.  And there are so many specifics that there is no room for interpretation!

Fernando - you are right.  I would never trust a flipper's code interpretation either!

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

Robert - I never spoke with him, but my clients did!  There is not much to argue over here anyway!

Rob - there's that hook at the end to slow the fall too.  Between the two I think we're good.

Adrian - common sense, good sense - whatever - they are often not present in new construction and remodeling!

Evelyn - being so narrow one can hold onto each wall as they go up and down!  Is my turret room ready yet?

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

That's it in a nutshell Charlie.  And for the really wide staircases, well, just go up and down two by two and three by three.

Tatyana - that would be a fun way to go through life!  Wake up and be something new every day...

Bill - nothing up my sleeve!  Bunny in the hat!

The prettier the better Eric!  And the prettier the more the need to inspect!

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

Yeah... for some reason, I doubt he was very happy!

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

He might have a little more work to do Charlie!  I hope so anyway.

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

Was this house being flipped?  I did not catch that.  Yes, folks, there is a code for everything-- even stuff you have never thought about.

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

Yes, Gary, the word appears many times, including the builder's "name," to indicate that.

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

Well, those Flipper types like to do only the bare minimum. Glad you straightend him out! Thanks for your post today,

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 8 years ago

Morning Jay where do people come up with these ideas?  Anyway congratulations on the feature and I hope you have a good day

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

I guess that's why most accidents happen in our own homes.

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 8 years ago

Pamela - I am hoping my clients straightened him out!

James - he was blowing smoke, not having read any code anywhere.  He didn't want to do the rail because of all the turns it needed.

Ken - the codes are there for reasons, and one of the biggest reason is safety!

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

Sounds like Flip can read a tape measure....or want an FHA buyer....safety related issues are always flagged loudly.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

Good catch.  If they were try to save less than $100 dollars on the hand rail what other corners were they try to cut.

Posted by Keith Lawrence, ABR, SFR (Christie's International) over 8 years ago

This is a very expensive house, S&D, almost $2mil (!), so I doubt FHA would be interested!  But I am!

Exactly Keith.  And they try to save it in any way they can!

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

What is it with handrails...or rather the lack of them?  I think that is one of the things I see missing most in a home when I walk through it....  That and the obvious lack of a experienced caulking professional.

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) over 8 years ago

Handrails are an obvious characteristic of stairways Mike, or should be.  As to caulking, I have always said that builders could not build anything without caulk!  But most caulkERS stink.

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

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