When you finish a basement, add an addition, raise the roof and add another level or whatever the remodel, and if you have pulled a permit, there are things you can do and things you can't do. For sure, you can't do this if you have pulled a permit.
Walking into the laundry room advertised in the kitchen list of home features, which also said, "Be-sure-to-see-the-newly-finished basement!", I saw what appeared to be a sump pump discharge tube right in the corner.
No way, I thought, it must be something else.
So I pulled away the carpet to have a look. It's a sump pump!
The carpet is a little disturbed. After I pulled it up to see the top I put it back somewhat for the photo!
I have been doing home inspections for a long time.
We inspectors tease that we will never see everything.
And we won't!
Just when one of us gets smug and thinks we have, something like this pops up!
Can you believe the builder put a pesky sump pump right in the corner where the wall needs to be!?
Well, this "professional remodeling company" couldn't either!
So they walled over it!
Even cuter, the wall receptacle ostensibly installed to service said sump pump is no where to be seen.
And whaddya know, no matter how I contorted myself to look into the convenient hole in the wall, I could not see it.
That means the hole was created prior to hanging the drywall, and a piece was cut for only part of the wall, so that the pump could be plugged in, and then the rest of that wall could be finished!
The receptacle is there, but who knows where!
And good luck getting into that pit to replace the sump pump!
Oh, see that white cap? It was glued so well that nobody could get in to disturb anything inside. Silly, silly me for thinking I could look in and, well, you know, like, um, inspect the unit.
Don't think this was the only teensy hint that there was no permit pulled for the basement! There was more fun!
I am told by the local county inspection offices that when permits are pulled to do any work, and that simply can't be for a lot of the work out there, but when a permit is pulled about 70% of the time there is no final inspection rendered, and the permit has not be closed.
Closing the permit means that the county returned for a final inspection, had their say, and approved the work.
Contractors pull the permit to be "within" the law, but then somehow don't think it important to call the county in for that annoying final inspection. And the oftentimes unsuspecting homeowner is left holding the bag, or in this case, the basement!
AND SOMEONE GETS TO BUY IT WHEN THE HOUSE IS SOLD!
My recommendation: there are ways to insure that your clients are protected when the home inspector runs up against unprofessional work. And there are ways to get the county back to approve work that has been done. But always make any work that follows proper, if possible, and/or to code. Unlike this little sump pump here.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560