What I'm Seeing Now

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Intentionally Trying To Hide Problems On A Flip - Chapter 2

This is the second post of a couple regarding a circumstance uncovered during a home inspection - one of intentionally trying to hide problems on a flip - chapter 2.

While walking around a flipped house I noticed the ground quite disturbed and then smoothed out at the top end of the house.

The soil was a different color than the rest surrounding the house.

It was shaped unusually, very smooth where the rest of the yard was erratic, full of leaves and sticks from the trees.

It was perfectly level.

The downspouts had new drain lines attached, running away from the house.

In a phrase, the area looked out of place.

When I was approached by some neighbors telling me the history of the house, I found out what happened.

It was found that the house had foundation cracks all along the masonry-block wall on the chimney side of the house.

The ground slopes toward the house above it, and water had been getting in for a long time.

The "repairs" involved a couple of guys with shovels, and a couple of buckets of tar.

One neighbor actually watched them fill one sizable gap with tar, and then they painted the rest of the wall with it.

BUT ONLY DOWN ABOUT THREE FEET!  EXCELLENT...

The neighbor assured me the two workers were NOT engineers.

We did go into the house, but only for a while and only because I was curious.

At this front foundation wall I found it to be covered with some form of Styrofoam panels covered with a foil.

They were glued on so that none of the wall was visible.

There is no reason for such a product to be there, except to hide the wall.

It adds nothing structural, it adds little to no insulating value, and was cut to fit entirely over the wall.

About two days prior to the inspection there was a small snowfall, about 1/4". That represents very minor precipitation. 

Entering the basement room at that wall there was a puddle of fresh water on the floor.  It did not photograph well, so I have outlined it here.

The floor had been recently painted, likely to cover up mud stains from recent inundations.

You can see that the floor was painted AFTER the walls nearby, which were painted to cover up mold.

I have to wonder if the gray paint we see now is not a coat over a PREVIOUS paint job on the floor!

If this much water gets in during such a minor precipitation event, do we not wonder how much gets in EVERY time it rains?

In unison you say "We do!  We do!"

My recommendation:  I started bowling at 7 and as a result can add really well.  And things are beginning to add up here!  Obvious is obvious, and I am just as disgusted seeing this as I was seeing the termite damage in the previous post! 

 

 

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 22 commentsJay Markanich • March 16 2013 04:02AM

Comments

Sounds like the only sound resolution for this property is to sell the property as a building lot.

What I can't figure about this one is why it's even listed for sale as a habitable house.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 6 years ago

You can find out a lot from neighbors...they will spill the beans every time.  Glad they were there to help tip you off!

Posted by Shawna Green, The key to your real estate needs! (Keller Williams Realty-Fayetteville) about 6 years ago

The selling agent told me there were problems with how the seaming of the small surrounding lots was done Lenn.  I could not see how they were, but apparently this house combines many addresses.

Well, Shawna, I sure found out a lot on this house!  See the first post.  It's just as much fun!

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

I would venture a guess you are saving the best for last and can't wait to the the post tomorrow.  Should be something to see. 

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

Jay, I have seen one recently that was sold 2 times by the bank and a realtor...has major structural issues now hidden by the last flipper...the agent selling it is experienced and I can't believe he took the listing.  Since it is in my neighborhood the word has been passed around about it and I hope that whoever buys it has the right home inspector...just amazing what 'cover up ' can do.

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 6 years ago

James - I would have thought that a house that is completely structurally unsound would be the best, as in the first post!

Ginny - you all need to be more proactive than simply waiting or hoping for the "right" home inspector!  Who would you want to move in there?

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

P.s.  I already know the answer to that!     ;>)

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

Good morning Jay,

The group that purchases flip houses with me have done three homes in the last year repairing foundations. I watched from start to finish of digging out the foundation, jacking the the house up and tearing down walls and one even the footers. All three are now solid homes and when we thought we would not find another poof it pops up.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 6 years ago

This whole house is screaming Run! Everything new seems to be covering something bad!

The fact you learned to add by going bowling... priceless! At age 7 those numbers got up there pretty high huh?

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 6 years ago

Hi Jay,

In the first place I would not had wanted to get involved with a log cabin flip.

Those are just trouble waiting for the buyer or the flipper.

Have a good day and a very good find.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 6 years ago

Good morning Jay.  Once again, you were able to see through the attempted "cover-up".  Guess those years of bowling really paid off!

Posted by Linda Blumenthal, NYS Licenced Real Estate Salesperson, CBR (Hampton Crossing - Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - 631-466-4087) about 6 years ago

Again Inspector Jay, you are not expensive, you are PRICELESS

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 -) about 6 years ago

Nah... he's expensive. :-)

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 6 years ago

That's how you do it Raymond!  Good for you!

It was the big coverup Fred!  I can add 7s, 8s and 9s all day!  My first year I led the league in high game, high average and high series.  My team won the championship.  They couldn't let me get all the trophies at the banquet, so they let me pick what I wanted.  Our team got the first place trophies, but I picked high game thinking it was the more significant.  It was 171.  Not bad for a 7 year old!  I still have those two trophies.

Clint - I did not know until I got there!  But I am glad I did.  I learned a lot.

They did Linda.  Knock'em down!

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

Thank you Ken.  Your words mean a lot.

Fred - you too bub...

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

Jay -- they were trying to bring the basement into the "space age" with that foil covered foam.  ;-)  It is good that the buyers got you for an inspector, things could have been really bad, if the inspector that was hired was less capable or observant.

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

If you are going to hide something, at least do THAT well.

My stomach turns when I hear these types of stories 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) about 6 years ago

It's that new space-age radiant barrier, trying to keep the cold in Steven!

Tom - it was not hard to see behind the stuff.  What a disaster this house was.

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

You have to wonder was this blatant or just plain ignorance it's so bad. 

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

The neighbors tried to talk with the two guys with a shovel who expertly repaired the foundation Jim.  Neither acknowledged that they understood English.  Either they couldn't or they were told to pretend.  Does that answer your question?

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

Jay, I have had neighbors give me some great information also. It really is worth being friendly to them, you never know what type of tid bits you will receive.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

In my experience, Don, seldom do neighbors come over simply to be nosy!

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

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