What I'm Seeing Now

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Uncle Bob The Builder

When addendum repairs are promised and then receipts are provided, why do so many Realtors get the gut feeling that Uncle Bob the Builder did the work?

In the case of this house, and the numbers of "repairs" done, that gut feeling came through in flying colors.

And, frankly, Uncle Bob's work would probably have been preferable to the guy, or guys, hired to do the requested repairs!

And all were done with "receipts" of a "professional, licensed contractor."

YUMMIE!

The Realtor did what was thought important and necessary to protect the buyer.

But, alas and alack, and despite all good-faith efforts, the requested "professional" repairs were anything but!

One thing noticed during the initial home inspection was a very bouncy living room floor.  Having investigated it underneath it was determined that the house was aging and the span from center support to foundation wall was long.

Time had done its number.  Under the weight of four people the floor bounced.

Introducing furniture in addition would have made things bounce more.

The buyers wanted additional support underneath.

The seller agreed to provide it.

And this is the "professional" result!

Inspired, no doubt, by the game Jenga, which I have played many times, this is one fanciful support!

No that's not the photo - that puppy is really leaning!

And, yes, like the game Jenga, one brick did come out easily!

I replaced it so the support wouldn't be, um, compromised.

I think they got the bricks from a pile in the back yard.

THIS IS ENTIRELY IMPRESSIVE!  Perhaps not in a good way, but ENTIRELY IMPRESSIVE!

Yes, a receipt was provided.  Alrighty then!

My recommendation:  repairs aren't always what they are cracked up to be.  "Professional" repairs aren't always what they are cracked up to be.  Receipts by a "licensed contractor" aren't always what they are cracked up to be!  Uncle Bob is usually what he is cracked up to be.  But, frankly, I think this work is even below his expertise!  Even, um, cartoonish!

 

 

 

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 52 commentsJay Markanich • July 28 2012 03:39AM

Comments

Yes, that does look like Jenga.  It seems like the sellers will need to give the buyers a credit to get this done properly.  So sad.  It makes you so distrustful.

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

Yesterday's post, and roof, was another tip off that this was not entirely "professional," Debbie.

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

Believe it or not, I saw a house with an almost identical "repair".

It was a house in Barnesville MD in which a buyer had an interest.  I toured the property with them and when we got to the cellar, when I saw a beam sitting on a pile of cinder blocks, similar to your brick stack, I couldn't wait to GET OUT OF THERE.

The cinder block stack was, indeed, leaning. 

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

Done this way, and over time, all these things lean Lenn!  And this one has only been there a short while!

Interestingly we were bouncing in the living room before I went there to see this.  I wonder if that bounce contributed to the leaning!

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

Geez, he could have tied a rock to a string to make a caveman style plumb bob to find a better starting point. Maybe his kids will buy him a level ( with instructions on how to use it) for Christnmas?

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) almost 7 years ago

In the least Jeff!  A guy with the name Bob should own a plumb bob!  But built this way this "column" didn't have a chance!

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

Good morning, Jay....  what are people thinking when they allow this type of work to take place...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 7 years ago

Jay- Best to get a professional (ethical) inspector and visually check repairs! I honestly have to wonder where everyone's heads were (or maybe I'd better not say)!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 7 years ago

Morning Jay finally Uncle Bob he looks just like what I pictured him in my mind.  Handsome young man and with that smile who could say no.  I bet he has a great  personality to boot.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 7 years ago
If I were the buyer, thecfirst question to thsnseller after this so- called repair, would have been, do I look like Boo Boo the Fool to you? Even if I were thr seler, I would have asked the bootleg repair guy the same question. I guess they weren't banking on anyone coming back to actually see what was done.
Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) almost 7 years ago

Barbara - the seller may or may not have known prior to the reinspection, but they do now!

Kathy - I think Bob thought this to be good and proper work!

James - and speaks a happy-sounding foreign language!

Charita - perhaps, but we did!  They are busted now!

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

I would love to know how much Bob the Builder charged for this "repair".  Made me gasp out loud!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) almost 7 years ago

Jay, you do come up with some great examples. This reminds me of what we called a hammer mechanic in the Mack Truck business. If the part does not fit the mechanic  just keeps getting a bigger hammer until he can make it fit.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Obviously paying for his engineering education at a fine school, Kathryn, I expect he charged quite a bit!

Tom - that's a pretty good analogy!

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

Jay, I'm sure the sellers said to fix it cheaply as long as the floor doesn't squeak. He could of at least used a level to make the column straight. LOL

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 7 years ago

Good morning Jay. Maybe the builder was being artistic and incorporating the "Leaning Tower of Supportsa" into his work,

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) almost 7 years ago

Jay, I have my contractors license and wouldn't attempt myself to repair a pier. I do have the books to tell me how and I have seen enough and know building code to do it. So its not about the license as much as experience and knowledge.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) almost 7 years ago

Jay, Nice work there. Is it not odd to see someone who does something like this when the correct repair may have been easier to install. A pier and wood column is not that hard to do. Stacking the bricks probably took as much time and likely more labor.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 7 years ago

There is nothing wrong going on here until you go to sell the property....

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

OK - I really enjoyed this one. Jenga, indeed!!!

Posted by Karl Hess, on The Jersey Shore (Keller Williams Shore Properties) almost 7 years ago

Holy Moly!!!! Welll it's less expensive than sistering that beam or replacing it. That would be enough for me to walk from the property

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) almost 7 years ago

My guess is the cost to have the job done correctly was out of the budget so they went to budget bob!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Well, we both know that our friend Uncle Bob really gets around...lol. The first thing I thought when I saw that was "Whoa" I'm getting outta here!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 7 years ago

Good post.  The picture says it all....

Posted by Pat & Steve Pribisko (Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,  You always bring us some amazing stuff - too scary to be made up !  I always ask that a licensed contractor do repairs.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 7 years ago

WE do see some really funny stuff.  Anything to save a buck!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) almost 7 years ago

Jay that chimney will never draft properly built like that---it is way too small and the cap is on too tight

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

Unfortunately, I think this happens more often than not.  Your "support" picture was very funny.  I figured it was the camera angle.

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

What's wrong with the pillar support? It's masonry and wood. LOL

"Uncle Bob" has no hard hat, not any work boots and no tool belt. Only a pick up and a hammer, maybe a screw driver or two. LOL

The stories I could tell if only I had saved a lot more pictures.

Have a great day and good find.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) almost 7 years ago

They were told to fix it and they did.  If they said it had to be fixed by a licensed contractor and they did not, then the house doesn't close until all repairs have been completed satisfactorily to the satisfaction of the inspector.

Posted by Chris and Dick Dovorany, Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty ( Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida) almost 7 years ago

I really don't like sellers doing repairs. Our biggest issue these days is "mold" (OK, "mold-like substance"). While mold testing requires a license, the repair itself does not. A $5 can of Kilz hides the issue, but it certainly isn't preventative. Nor do I want the seller's brother-in-law cutting holes in the roof or the siding to vent the bathroom fan. 

Get estimates and credits, and let the buyer take care of things when he takes possession.

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) almost 7 years ago

What a truly scary photo! If it were me, I wouldn't have even gone there, even to just take a picture.

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

A little ingenuity goes a long way. Besides, once the furniture is in the house it will 'lock' the bricks into place with the weight. ;-)

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) almost 7 years ago

Mike - there's a lot he COULD have done here!  And NOT done!

Randy - a regular Italiano architect that guy!

Debbie - you are wise to stick to what you can do best, and KNOW what to do.  A man's, um, woman's got to know his, um, her limitations!

Don - this may be the same "contractor" who did that wonderful roof "repair" in yesterday's post!

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

Richie - nothing to see here.  Move along.  Everything is fine.  Everybody go home now.

Karl - hey, it reminds you of what it reminds you!  Looks like Jenga to me!  Did you do the Jenga dance?

Doug - there are alread double beams there.  Maybe he could have sistered it so much the space became a solid!

That they did Gary!  He may have been the roofer in yesterday's post too!

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

Fred - that was one crappy crawl space, in more ways than one!  The toilet was leaking and there was a huge, very smelly puddle there.

P&S - truly a thousand words!  I tried to embellish a bit too.

Bill - this guy IS licensed and they presented the receipt!

William - and a buck saved (like this) is a buck that costs much, much more later.  I think Poor Richard's Almanac said that.

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

Charlie the Shadow - should I have tried the Smoke In A Can test?

Not a funny photo Charlie D. - that baby is really leaning. 

Clint - solid as a brick!  Not going anywhere...

C&D - this guy is "licensed," but perhaps not in engineering!

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

Valerie - the seller is not there now and maybe had never seen this, until my report that is!

Leslie - that approach is becoming more common around here.  Hopefully enough money is set aside.

Sandy - I didn't know what was there until I saw it!  Then I had a little fun!

Than - now that is thinking outside the box!

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

Oh mNa, that is a good one.  Unbelievable.

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) almost 7 years ago

I am happy that you are happy Gary!  We love to please others!

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

Jay:

Too bad the seller and their professional contractor did such a poor job with the repair.  Makes you wonder about the rest of the house and what repairs may have been mad.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) almost 7 years ago

Jay, nothing to say that hasn't already been said here but I never miss an opurtunity to learn.

Posted by Charles Stallions Property Manager, Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services) almost 7 years ago

I wonder if there is a Jenga Construction Company that is getting a bad reputation out there Jay.  :)

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

It did Evelyn.  The inspection report was huge and so was the addendum.  This was the follow-up after the addendum list was said to be satisfied!

Charles - that's the idea!  We inspectors post often on AR and I love to read other inspectors' posts.

Yeah, Tom, but they are in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and probably don't see AR posts!

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

All I can say is, I bet they had the best price on repairs. Oh, and your picture is leaning, that support looks plumb.

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

Jay, I looks like "licensed contractors" must have different requirements to get licensed in different parts of the country.

Posted by Wayne Jackson, North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake (Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109) almost 7 years ago

OOOOOFAHHHHHHHH Jay!!

 It was a great idea of the buyer to pay your fee to go out and investigate again and verify the repair. I would imagine most people take the receipt as verification and close the deal.

Posted by Robert Amato (Bob Amato of Empire Home Mortgage Inc) almost 7 years ago

I was the one leaning Jim!  It was hard to position things to try to get an accurate shot of that "column's" angle!

Wayne - it is easy here to get a minor license.  I explained the process a couple of posts ago - here.

I think so too Bob.  People are doing that more and more, especially when the seller or seller's people are not entirely forthcoming.

 

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

Hi Jay,

I am actually at a loss for words on this one. Well maybe not, how about unbelievable...

-Brent

Posted by Brent & Deb Wells, Prosper TX (LivingWell Properties) almost 7 years ago

Brent - we inspectors see this sort of thing every day!

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

That's just nuts.  I need to gat a list of "stay away" contractors from you to give to me clients, lol.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) almost 7 years ago

Good looking stuff, huh Justin?  Don't know that I could compile such a list - I bet it would be too long for paper.

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

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