What I'm Seeing Now

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Basement Moisture - And The Problem Might Be The Neighbor!

It was the rug folded up and oddly placed in a corner that was a tip off to me that said basement moisture, and the problem might be the neighbor!

It was out of place.

It was obviously put there for a reason.

It was making my antenna go up.

So I pulled away the rug.

What do you know!

Squishy wood trim.

Puckering Pergo, loosely raised up, warped and separating.

And a moisture meter that screamed, "Like it's really wet, dude, you know?"

It was very wet.

Here's the problem - this is the rear corner of a townhouse inset about 12' from the outside corner of the neighbor's property.

There was no reason outside this house for this moisture, and no evidence of an outdoor issue.

It must, then, be coming from the neighbor's basement.

So, what's on the other side of this wall?  A wet bar?  A leak from their kitchen, which would be just above this location on the neighbor's side?  An unknown bathroom?

I don't know, but I don't think this problem originates with the house we were inspecting!  But the homeowner must know about it because of the rug.

The smooshy wood has been painted more than once.  The Pergo is said to be "recent."  So this problem is ongoing.

My recommendation:  sometimes a neighbor's house is causing a problem with the house your clients want to buy - a plumbing leak, a drippy hose, poor grading diverting water from the next yard over to your client's house.  Trees next door can often be a problem, leaning dangerously toward the house or roots that are ripping up the sidewalk.  Any time you have a problem originating in someone's else's house it is ALWAYS a difficult thing to deal with.  Beware.

 

 

 

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 42 commentsJay Markanich • February 16 2013 02:22AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay. Real technical term "Squishy"! Gotta luv it! I must remember to use that one... ;-)

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Yeah, Michael.  If you can push into it, gently, it's squishy!  And if it tastes like chicken it's moldy...

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

I also liked the term "smooshy". I will have to give the next job the "Taste Test". With my luck, it may turn out to be the dog lifting the leg...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Well, I have always heard to be careful of yellow snow Michael, and suppose that principle might cross over to floor molding as well.

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

Oh yes, that can get super tricky with neighbors who might not care of might not have money to fix the issue.

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

Yep, Debbie, neighbors are always difficult!

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

Wonder what else they are hiding or should I say trying to hide from Mr sleuth.  Never mind you are on the job and the case is already determined by the jury.  GUILTY!!! I SAY GUILTY as charged

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

The rug was pretty infantile James.  I don't know what people are thinking sometimes.

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

I have seen a house where the neighbor had the downspout close to property line and the water drained on to the neighbors yard. I heard the neighbor's attorney had sent them a letter  but do not what happened.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 6 years ago

Good catch, Jay.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 6 years ago

Had this happen to me in a TH I owned.  After investigating our property we went over to the neighbors TH to ask them if they had a problem.  BINGO a piple behind their washing machine was leaking.  Fortunately the damage was minimal and didn't require an insurance claim.

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

We all live in our own little world and sometimes even have to deal with our "gasp" neighbors!! Hoping they have success finding the problem.

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

That would be very hard to deal with if it was, in fact, the neighbor's house causing the problem.  How would you even address that?  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 6 years ago

While the moisture may be caused by the neighbor (and should be rectified), I will point out that if they had a moisture issue, they should have avoided laminate which is NOT waterproof.

 

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

Thissi  true when buying attached singles. You can be at your neighbors mercy on items like this.

Posted by Larry Costa, Realtor, Carver MA Real Estate (Century 21 Classic Gold, Carver MA) over 6 years ago

Jay, a discussion with the neighbor would probably have resolved the issue. Then again, maybe the neighbor gave them the carpet to cover the damage.

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

Jay, I always get something out of reading your informative blogs.  My clients sometimes look  at me strangely as I lift every rug, but after I explain they start lifting rugs too. Margaret C.

Posted by Margaret C. Taylor, St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent (Century 21 New Millennium MD) over 6 years ago

Yes to this post Jay. I just went through this with a neighbor to a property I manage. Their sprinkler went on twice a day all over the corner of the managed property for months...Result? Mold, rot and carpet soaked and the tenant did not know because he didn't use that corner of the room. Its only when he moved out that we caught it on inspection....Good one here. BTW...Insurance paid it off

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

Hi Jay,

Never trust the neighbors to tell you anything. Investigate and verify what the issues are .

Just a thought. :-)

Have a good day and weekend in Bristow my friend.

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

I've had listings where the neighbors (in an effort to keep their house dry) put corrugated pipe on their downspout.  Responsible thing to do.  However, the pipe terminated in my listings yard.  Ummmm, no!  

Posted by Diane Donnelly, Anne Arundel County, MD Real Estate (Keller Williams Flagship) over 6 years ago

Good post, thank you. Run off can always be problem. Protecting your own property is a homeowner's responsibility and full disclosure is a must. Thank you again.

Posted by Cliff Keith, Redwood City Real Estate (Today Sotheby's International Realty) over 6 years ago

Jay, 

The darn neighbors!  We hate water problems - but there is usually a solution, although sometimes a bit expensive.  Dealing with it always makes more sense, ignoring it is most typically MORE expensive and not a solution. 

All the best, Michelle

PS - Maybe this is why I LOVE showing homes to Buyers in the pouring rain, hard to mask those challenges then. 

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

Always a good read...

Posted by Rick Phillips, I care about you and your transaction. (Frankly Realty - Old Town) over 6 years ago

It always amazes me what people try to cover up for an inspection.  Like they didn't seem to think you'd uncover that oddly placed rug.  Amazing!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) over 6 years ago

Good post Jay. You just never know where the problem started especially with attached homes such as tandem, townhouse, or condo.

Posted by Wika Hutchinson, Broker, CRIS, SFR, CDPE over 6 years ago

That sounds like a "Lions, Tigers and Bears" type of problem, Jay!  A problem that originates on a neighbor's property, is likely to have some issues not as easily controlled. 

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 6 years ago

Gita - downspouts are easy to extend further from the house!

Thanks Gabe, but it wasn't hard, really!

Cindy - in this case the house next door is vacant and up for rent.  It has been rented for years apparently.

Scott - if they can!  Sometimes neighbors, even in vacant houses, can be a handful.

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

Christiansens - unknown!  I guess contact them, but the house is vacant, between renters.

Debbie - I think laminates are a bad product in basements that are dry.

Larry - if they are the source of this.  But I think that is the case.

Mike - now you're thinking like a Northern Virginia agent!

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

Margaret - it always pays to have a look!  Good practice!

Richie - that sounds like moisture over a long period of time!  Wow...

Clint - the house next door is up for rent, between renters, and apparently vacant for some time.  Maybe it smells bad inside!

Marshall - they are just as water vulnerable!  I had one the other day where the siding on my client's house was being melted by a huge window bank on the house next door!

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

Diane - how polite!  Nothing like being neighborly!

Erica - that is the most disturbing!  And, unfortunately, not rare.

Cliff - in Virginia there is no disclosure.  It is total buyer beware.

Michelle - rain is a great time to have a home inspection!  My buyers sometimes don't agree with me.

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

Thanks Rick.  That is very nice to say.

Jan - oh, there's a rug there.  Nothing to see!  Let's move on!

Thanks Wika.  Never assume there is nothing.  Always assume something.

Mryl - hard to know what's going on next door!

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

Jay, The old pucker pergo syndrome. Got to love that one. 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago
I love it; "Squishy wood trim" and "Puckering Pergo". Ya' can't look that up in yer Funk & Wagnels.* * I know cause I have a copy.
Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 6 years ago

Having experienced puckering in other contexts Don, I thought that might be an explicit image.

I haven't seen a F&W since high school Robert!  I use Oxford, but those terms don't appear there either!

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

Sounds very similar to a problem I was asked to investigate a few years back. It turned it was the neighbors plumbing causing the leak in my clients unit. 

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

Would be nice to be able to get into the neighbor's house in this case, Jim, but no.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago
Puckering Pergo... LOL. That's rich. I shall add that descriptive phrase to my narratives :)
Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

A little alliteration always makes for a more fun post Joshua!

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

Thank you for the reminder to always search for and lift the oddly place rug :-)  That's a tough problem because the current owner has either ignored it, failed to work with his neighbor.

Posted by Ruth Lerner (William Raveis Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Ruth - I am not sure of the dynamics between everybody.  But the rug was "oddly placed" for sure!

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

Jay -- your post reminded me of the issue my neighbor's house has, if I water my backyard too much.  The excess water runs off the "clayey" hill and into their crawl space (fortunately they have a sump pump there) -- unfortunately the house is vacant, and I am not sure the pump is powerd.

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

They need to redivert that water Steven!  Or you do, since the house is vacant!  As to the sump, you might not know for some time!

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

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