What I'm Seeing Now

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What Do You See Wrong Here?

So often we see things that are wrong, but maybe we don't know why.  Or we see one wrong thing but not another.  Yesterday Charlie Buell had a post about that very idea.

During the think about purchasing this house (a log cabin with lots and lots of problems) the family was divided.  The buyer's mother was vehemently opposed to her daughter buying it. 

After seeing this house, and talking with the neighbor's, I saw many things that were wrong and heard about more. 

So when my client arrived I asked her into my office. 

We sat on a rock together, in front of the family, and I began my litany.  The mother was so excited as I checked off my list she did a little dance!

As we walked around the house the mother pointed to the side of the deck pictured in the photo and said something like, "That's wrong!  Just everything about it.  It's wrong!" 

I asked her what was wrong with it.  While she couldn't put her finger on it all, she just knew it was wrong.

So I had a little lesson with her!  When I was done, she said, "That's more than I thought!  But I knew it was wrong!"

So, pretend you are the mother.

Look at the photo.

What do you see wrong here?

You don't have to mention everything that's wrong, because there is a lot, but you can if you want.

Just mention what you see.

You can even say why!

And I bet you see a lot.

Hint:  don't just focus on the deck!

There is a lot going on here.

Some wrong things will lead to future problems (or already have).  They are a set up for things to come.

And remember, many home accidents aren't accidents at all.  They are practically planned by bad thinking.

My recommendation:  while you don't have to see the entire picture, when things feel or look wrong, like Charlie says in the post above, they might just be!  Hopefully a home inspector can help the process and point those things out so solid decisions can be made.

Home inspectors:  hang off for a while and let's see what everyone comes up with.

 

 

 

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 19 commentsJay Markanich • March 22 2013 02:39AM

Comments

Lots, but the first thing I thought of was doing a 3 beer back-flip off that deck while trying to unlock that door at night and taking one step too many backwards!

Posted by Dennis Swartz, MBA, GRI...experience counts! (Full Circle Property Management) over 5 years ago

Not bad Dennis!  Don't think that cute bench will act as much of a seat!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Guess they didn't have a permit or this deck would be asta la bye bye as you trip down the stairs...

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 5 years ago

Hmmm...  No handrail for steps which are not connected to the deck and are blocking a basement window.  I'd hate to slip and put a foot through the window.  There is no railing behind bemch seat so one could end up falling backwards over and off the deck.  Would like to see it a bit wider in front of door and an overhang over door to prevent water, etc from coming down on deck in this area.  But then I'm just a novice here and probably missed obvious items.  Thanks Jay.

Posted by John F Muscarella, Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast (RIVER FARM PROPERTIES, LLC) over 5 years ago

S&D - I assure you, they didn't have a permit for anything they did on this house!

John - all very well said!  Those are good points - you did great.  Some of the wrong is NOT obvious!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

The stairs is blocking either a window or venting system I can't tell.  Uncle Bob said we was just trying to save them money.  :~)  It also looks like the steps are not connected to the deck.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 5 years ago

Good morning, Jay. Like Schultz, I see nothing! Nothing, I tell you. All is well with the world...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 5 years ago

I think I'll just use the front door.  

I suspect that the reason the steps are not connected to the "deck" is because the steps can be pulled away from that window to permit access in or out of the basement or crawl space.

I suspect that the post supporting decks should be 6X6s rather than what looks like 4X4s.  It also appears that they are set directly into dirt.  They won't last long.  I think the code everywhere requires that deck supporting beams be set into concrete footers. 

BTW, that can't be a seat.  There's no railing.  It has to be a plant ledge. 

Looks like the gray siding on the lower level of the house is in direct contact with dirt too. 

Wonder why that corner support extends about 8-9 feet into the air.  Perhaps they're planning on a second level to the deck. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 5 years ago

James - the stairs are so poorly connected that they could be removed from the deck!

Well said, Sergeant.  Is that the Colonel calling you?

Lenn - I'll bet those steps could be pushed away from the house by someone wanting out of the window!  They are poorly done.  The rest of what you say is all true too!

But there's more yet!

Remember the hint everyone.  The glued-on window is fun too...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

I wanted to mention the horizontal splits in the logs which is probably part of original construction, but I see them so often they are almost acceptable.  That said, they could indicate structural instability, or so a home inspector once told me.

I don't see a gutter on the side of the roof overhanging the deck.  Looks like there is one on the downward slope in back.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 5 years ago

The splits do indicate that Lenn.  Notice how the door is buried by siding?  That door is merely fit into the gap of rotting logs.  Those termite-infested logs are covered with siding to hide them.  There is no flashing over the door or window - they are caulked into place (which you wouldn't see here) but the door and the window are "sealed" with the same slather that they used elsewhere to "create" logs.

The siding is below the soil, which is how the termites got so high into the house - to the roof.

VERY hard to see, but present, is that the window is shut completely with foam and cannot open.

Yes, there is a gutter, but it's completely full of debris.

Bulldoze the house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Well for starters, the steps look all wrong.  The are uneven in height (big tripping hazard), no handrails (either side), not attached properly and have a gap where water can get in and cause more damage.  Bad placement of steps and window.  Steps look like they are sloped and not in ground properly, not sure if rest of deck is secured to ground prperly.  Not sure if that's true or just the way it looks in the picture.

The rail on left side looks like it's too low...or else handrail is missing on that side.

Also, something doesn't look right with the window on the side, but I'm not sure.  It looks too flush or something.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 5 years ago

Is this the same log house you've been blogging about? Man, you should buy it... think of all the material you would have for the next year or so!

I can't bring myself to pretend I'm the Mother...

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay,

There are just too many things in this picture alone. How many times can you use the same photo in the same report? Looks like it's going to be about ten things wrong in this shot alone.

Have a great day 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 5 years ago

Debbie - all that and more!  You did great!  The window is literally glued to the house!  Terrific work, if I do say so.

Fred - I could start my own home inspector training course and just feature this house - "OK, youse guys, let's see whatcha got!  I'll be back later today..."  Yes, you can, Mommy.

Clint - for sure!  This was one wild inspection, which didn't last long.  I curtailed it, saying that I was not going to allow this girl (stuck between sink and range in a previous post) buy the house.  Her mother loved me.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Thx Jay.  I have a wonderful teacher.  Thanks for all your wonderful blog posts.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 5 years ago

I would certainly refer you if your store was near my door Debbie.  Without hesitation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Um, the bull dozer might fall off the hill.

It's a good day when someone's mom is dancing because of something you did. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 5 years ago

It's pretty hilly there Jim!  It might!  The mom was happy and the dad was smiling because he knew what I was going to say and knew he lost.  Maybe next house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

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