What I'm Seeing Now


A Header Here Would Surely Transfer A Load, Straight Down!

A header here would surely transfer a load, straight down!

Headers over windows and doors transfer loads to each side and not into the opening.
Headers (same word, different use!) off certain platforms should only be made when one can safely land, like into water!

When I went out onto this porch it reminded me of the beach.

As a child we would rent a house on the Chesapeake Bay.

We called it "the beach" because sand had been trucked into an alcove, which was netted off against crabs and sea nettles for swimming.

We rented the same house every year!

The porch looked just like this!

My mother would say the same thing as soon as we arrived, "You and your brother stay away from the screen on the porch!"

She didn't want us playing and taking a header through the screen, off the porch, and into the yard.

I could almost hear her voice here!

On the right the drop is only about 3'.  On the left, though, it's over 8'!

Screens do not handle much weight.

This porch has been like this for a long time!

Can you see that lonely receptacle midway on the long wall?

At least it's safely installed, covered properly, grounded and protected by a GFI.

Okay, maybe none of that is true. 

In fact it had fried a long, long time ago.  And it should have!  It's an old metal box, likely from the 60s, and really very dangerous!

Nothing about this receptacle is safe or correctly done.

And there is not much safety anywhere on this porch.

I was told the previous homeowners were elderly and likely didn't get too near to the screen.  Still, it would be easy to lose one's balance or trip nearby and fall right through that screen!

The buyers have small children, so this porch will have to be made safe with proper guardrails and a receptacle. 

There is an old ceiling fan (the edge of one paddle is visible) which rusted out long ago and is unusable.  That might need some attention too!

My recommendation:  serious attention should always be paid to unsafe living conditions.  And in every way.  What one homeowner might have been used to, even for decades, is still unsafe.  Buyers need to pay attention to the safety of every aspect of a house, inside and out.




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 15 commentsJay Markanich • September 14 2012 02:40AM


Good morning Jay,

The porch will be a wonderful and fun addition, once it has a few safety measures taken...that receptacle is shocking (sorry, I probably need some coffee - weak joke) LOL

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 8 years ago

Maybe weak, Lisa, but I remember the same one from James Bond in one of his movies...

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

Hi Jay.  The safety issues are important.  How did we manage to not fall out out of the screened area in the last 50 years or get shocked by the plug?

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 8 years ago

I thought you were going to tell us about your hearder off the roof.  But a much better post and informative Jay. 

Posted by John F Muscarella, Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast (RIVER FARM PROPERTIES, LLC) over 8 years ago

I don't know Conrad!  Apparently these folks lived in this house for many decades!

John - I did that 15 years ago, shattered my left leg, and haven't yet recovered! 

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

Excellent report, Jay.  More good reasons for all of us to recommend a professional home inspection.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 8 years ago

Yes, safety outside the home (incloding porches) is important.  It's amazing what used to built.  Hopefully, they can make this safe because it looks like it has great potential.

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

Why anyone would play fast and loose with electricity is beyond me!  And having an 8 foot drop that is only prevented by a flimsy screen is just looney!  Ah the things you see....

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

Thanks for stopping by Roy, as always.

Debbie - I see this kind of thing on older homes all the time, and you're right, it's interesting what used to fly.  Not now!

Kathryn - the receptacle may be a small problem!  This is all easily fixed.

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

Morning Jay. 

Not much to say here because you said it all.  So enjoy the day sir

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

Jay, we, many of us, are guilty of neglecting many "small" issues, and after a while we are oblivious to them, and the inherent dangers. 

A home inspection might be a wise move for a homeowner who has lived in a home for a long period of time, regardless of whether they intend to sell or not.

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

Jay -- when you wrote header, I was sure you were going to be dealing with the header beams on the porch.  I just noticed the Propane tanks are right next to the deck/porch.  Is that their best placement?

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 8 years ago

Thanks James.  I picked up something nasty in a disaster of a house a few days ago, so after my morning inspection I have been taking it easy.

I have said that for a while Chris.  That's a market I have never been able to crack.

Steven - they have to be somewhere near to the house.  The go from there into the crawl space and the tube goes up to service the kitchen and furnace.

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

It's always important to know ones client, children, no children, older, younger. It helps us point out the safety concerns. 

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

This is a safety concern for most anybody, as you know Jim.  But especially children.  My brother and I were monkeys and we bounced all over the place.  My mother had to always be concerned!

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

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