What I'm Seeing Now

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It Might Have Been Easier To Simply Replace The Truss!

When I saw so many repairs on this roof truss, immediately I thought it might have been easier to simply replace the truss! 

It's location is second from the edge, in a townhouse.  This is a pre-drywall inspection.

All three corners had been surrounded with large wood gussets on both sides.  And they had been nailed furiously!  They were hard to miss!

When I pointed them out to my client he said that they had been in the house many times and had never noticed them.

Nearly every inch of the rest of the truss was sistered with 2x4s sandwiching both sides.  It's almost a triple truss all over!

These were nailed furiously also!  And these nails weren't shot with a gun.  I could see hammer dents all over the place.  And glue is gooping out here and there.

I don't know what had happened to this truss to demand such a repair.

It may have been dropped by the crane and smashed in many spots.

But the wood gussets have been nailed into place AFTER the truss was installed in the roof as they have been cut to fit around plumbing which runs through the openings.

So, if you are the home inspector, what do you say to your client?

A few of your options are: 

1.  You realize they haven't noticed it before so you don't bring it up.
2.  You discuss what you see, and point out how extensive the repairs are.  You suggest that they get an engineer's report from the builder stating what happened and that this repair is substantial and correct, and that the truss is sound.
3.  You show them the repairs with your great flashlight and say that in your opinion the repairs look really well done.
4.  You explain how sistering wood around a cracked or broken piece of wood is the best way to repair it, and it makes it really strong.  No worries here!
5.  You laugh and say, "That's the craziest thing I have ever seen!  Holy Cow!  Look at all those nails!"  And let it go with that.
6.  You verbally describe how they dropped the truss in the parking lot, accidentally ran over it with a truck, how it took 20 people to pound it back into shape, and then decided to use it anyway.  Then someone got the idea to hide all the problems with other wood surrounding the original truss because it looked so bad.
7.  Get visibly upset and say that this truss has to go.  It must be replaced.

I assure you, multiple scenarios go through a home inspector's mind.  There are inspectors out there who might do any of the above!

Pick your poison - what would you say?  And really, the buyers had NOT noticed this truss before.

My recommendation:  it's all about how things are handled during a home inspection!  This buyer's home inspector (wearing really cool PF Flyers) is not an alarmist, but not a sugar coater either.  The house is the house.  What you see is what you see.  I am always thinking ahead.  Not only are my clients going to live here, one day these folks will sell this house.  They need to know that this truss is okay.  One day a buyer's home inspector might question this, and MIGHT BE an alarmist, scaring his clients.  As sellers, my nice people, who are buying this repair now, will want to have a calm answer for such a scenario.  My report had number 2 on it.  An engineer's report would be a Best Practice.  If an engineer says this is okay and willing to provide a letter in that regard I am satisfied to be sure.  And my clients will not have to face this in the future.  Peace of mind is worth a million bucks.

 

 

 

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 30 commentsJay Markanich • May 03 2013 04:20AM

Comments

Here...the cause for repair...assuming that it was done by the present owners...would have had to been revealed on a condition report....If it was done by a prior owner...guessing no one may know the cause...their inspector was not a detective.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 7 years ago

Does anyone want to lay odds on the likelihood of getting such a report from the builder?? 

This appears to be new construction and probably in Virginia.  Fact is, the contract of sale on new construction does NOT include a home inspection contingency, as it would with a resale home.

TOTOH, depending on the builder, they may be willing to cooperate. 

Bottom line, the buyer will be prepared at resale.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Good morning Jay. I really liked your title and your pictures really drive your point home. Amazing. Enjoy the day.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 7 years ago

S&D - your comment made me realize that it wasn't obvious that this is a pre-drywall inspection!  So I added that line!  If the builder is willing to play, number 2 is the way to go.

Lenn - this is the same American home, but not in Richmond VA.  You catch my drift.  It has appeared in a few recent posts!  This is also the home that the builder tried many times, in vain, to convince the buyers NOT to have a pre-drywall inspection.  Off Gum Springs in Chantilly...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

They really dressed that truss up, didn't they Sheila!?  Ready for the ball.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Thinking it took longer to write the post than they spent deciding to do the hack repair. Got to love contractors. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 7 years ago

I know that community.  I pass it on one of my routes to the range.  I've looked at it, toured the model and believe that it's price that is selling them.  Like almost every new home community in Loudoun County, they will sell.  Sadly, right across Route 50 there ar far more attractive communities.

I often wonder what motivates a buyer to select that community.  They'll realize their mistake when they go to resale.  Those home about 15 feet from Gum Springs Rd. are going to be tough to sell. 

What happens if Gum Springs Rd is widened????

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Hopefully my clients can get an engineer's report Scott.  We'll see!

Lenn - it's Gum Spring or Route 15 for you to the range!  This is the back way.  And if Gum Springs is widened, and it looks to be underway for that, they will be closer than 15'!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Good morning Jay,

I do not sell many new builds here but tell the client to go every day and take pictures of the work and if they have any questions to ask.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 7 years ago

Builders figure that once drywall is installed, no one will ever notice. I thought trusses were guaranteed for 10 years in VA on new construction? We had to do a similar repair on a broken trus on a Richmond American house in Purcellville, but the trus wasn't as bad as this one you show.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 7 years ago

Photos are the way to go Raymond!  I say the same thing to my clients.

Jeff - and they're right!  Drywall covers a multitude of sins!  Repairs on a cracked truss are not uncommon, but this repair was so extensive I wondered.  Yes, the 10 year warranty is still there, but that won't diminish any fear a potential buyer might have.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, now is the time to have it checked out by an engineer before the drywall goes up. If they let it go and it has to be replaced, they are probably looking at a pretty big job when it comes time to sell.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

If this repair fails it would be a big repair Mike!  So, this home inspector went with Number 2!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

Man Oh Man, It really needs to be certified by an engineer in order to justify the changes to the truss.

It wuld be my rcommendation to do so.

Have a good day in Bristow and keep up the great work.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 7 years ago

Jay, I figured #2 would be the way to go.  And that engineer's report becomes the basis for refuting any alarmists in the future....just in case the new buyers happen not to hire you!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 7 years ago

Clint - I thought about laughing and saying, "Holy Cow!"  But I went with Number 2 instead.

Bliz - not likely that I would be hired in the future, but maybe by then I will be a real alarmist!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

The buyers really need to ask why all these repairs were done. The current owner SHOULD know the answer.

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) over 7 years ago

It's new construction Donald, and yes, the buyers need to know.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

When in doubt, get the engineer's involved Jay. I don't know what happened but structurally this may have been an exceptable (though ugly) structural repair. It is missing the duct tape and expnding foam .... hmmm....

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) over 7 years ago

Another lesson learned. .amazing that upon careful observation what you see..  .That is why we need good home inspectors like you. . 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 7 years ago

Exactly Tom.  For both points.  Personally I think #6 is right on.

Fernando - just looking around!  It's not hard!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Good eye Jay.  I was wondering how you knew they were put in place afterwards, then I read the next part of your sentence.  You really see some amazing stuff out there.

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 7 years ago

Thanks Gary.  I'm just hoping the engineer says it's okay!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, Wow, another instance of a builder trying to save money. Who are these guys!

Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay -- obviously they only ordered enough trusses for the specific need, and to go back and get another one would have taken much more time and money and the time and nails it took to patch this together. (Having worked, as temp laborer, at a truss factory, it is easy enough to set the jigs and turn out all the same trusses, but doing a one off is not very cost effective.)

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 7 years ago

I would think option two would be the best way to present it, and in fact, how the inspector that looked over my new home presented it to me (before I knew you, of course.)  The field repairs were determined, upon further evaluation, to be improper, but were later done properly.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 7 years ago

Hello Jay,

Another job well done for Super Jay and his PF Flyers!  I have to say, I've never seen that many nails in such a short span before...wow.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 7 years ago

Mark - yes, they are into saving money, but who can fault them for that!  But, still, an engineer's report is very relevant, no matter the savings!

True Steven.  But they order these by the gross and certainly can order one extra the next time, borrowing for now from Peter to pay Paul.

Number 2 was what I did on my report too Chris Ann.  But as to where it went after that I have not heard.

Lisa - there were a zillion all over!  I never like to see so many nails.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

yes and once the infomation is in the hands of the buyers who knows how they will take the information as well, some may take heed some may bury their head in the sand

Posted by Mark Loewenberg, KW 561-214-0370 (KW of the Palm Beaches) over 7 years ago

Maybe Mark.  But I doubt this buyer will bury his head!  He's pretty circumspect.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

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