What I'm Seeing Now


Driving Miss Cindy

Coming from a distance I arrived about 45 minutes early to my inspection.

The house is a ranch tucked into the wood, near a large body of water and off the path.  I liked the house immediately.

Nobody was home and my client hadn't arrived, so I helped myself to the outside and the large crawl space.  It was nearly 100 degrees outside, so the crawl space might be a bit more comfy!

I say crawl space, but much of it is belly space.  But I digress.

From the opening I could see lots of duct work with its insulation coming loose.  And I got a blast of cold air in my face!  The system is air conditioning the crawl!  Well, at least it won't be 100 degrees while I'm bellying around in there!  That's good!  It'll be real comfy!

My client will be pleased to know the system she is intending to buy is heating and cooling the crawl space!

I also saw something else.  It gave me pause.

There were four small, metal, telescoping support posts!

Uh oh!  My client might not like that!  I needed a closer look.

It was worse than I feared.  Each of the four columns was haphazardly "supporting" a cut end of two floor joists!

The ends of the floor joists were about 2' apart!

The columns were merely sitting on concrete blocks and not attached in any way to the floor joists.

There was also lots of new insulation shoved into place covering what was substantial previous leaking, and sub floor replacement, and plumbing "repairs."

Snapping numerous photos, I was sure my client would be very interested in seeing this!

Stained and rotten sub floor was abutting newer material.  There were brown wood shavings and crumbs all over the place!  I really, really wanted to see inside.

My client arrived just as I had finished hosing off from the belly space experience!  From the opening I could show my client the bottoms of the posts.  Not good!  She has been on enough home inspections to know what that means!  There were a dozen other problems down there, which I quickly described verbally.

I showed her some photos.  My client was not impressed.

Going inside I found newer engineered hardwood flooring and a remodeled bathroom with new ceramic floor tile.  We could also see that the floor was bending downward toward the bathroom and furnace/water heater rooms, which were side by side.

The famous marble test revealed that the flooring in that area was sinking substantially toward those rooms!  Once it did a complete 180!  The floor actually bounced under my weight (250)!  Not good.

Those cut floor joists were somewhere under the bath tub and water heater, which were separated by a wall but nearly abutted.

My client did not want to go further with the inspection. 

Her daughter arrived and was described the problems, and looked at the photos.  She was not impressed!

While my client really liked the house, as did I, she said that there had been a previous home inspection and the buyers were scared off by not being able to cut down four trees near the house they wanted to eliminate.

Really?  That's it?  You sure?  Get real.

All in all, my client decided to terminate the inspection.  I thought it wise.  Unfortunately the house ended up

driving Miss Cindy

to search for another property to buy!

The home inspector was glad she did.




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 18 commentsJay Markanich • July 21 2013 04:32AM


You never know what you will find under the home in a crawl space.  My favorite is snakes OH MY..  Big Black Snakes somehow are always around old home with crawl spaces.  Not dangerous but scare the crap out of you if you move the insulation and they happen to be inside.

Posted by Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes, Broker in Charge/Owner (Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes) over 7 years ago

Yeah right...those pesky trees...who would want a natural landscape when you can inherit mega defects..YICKS !


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

Jay, good thing you arrived early and was able to start in that nice, comfy cool crawl space! Now I wonder if the seller will make repairs for the next unsuspecting buyer.

Great job, as always!

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

Well I'm glad Miss Cindy had you on her side.  I feel bad for the person who buys this home...because they may not hire a professional home inspector, and then they will be stuck with this.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

I had an inspection terminated last week. I am supposed to go back this week after some repairs take place.

Finding these issues in the crawl space was a very good find. Too many inspectors just look from the access and call it good. Not me or you.

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 7 years ago

What a mess... you were lucky to get out from under there alive! Imagine buying that house without getting a Home Inspection and finding those jacks under there after it caves in? Egg faced big time! Good job master!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 7 years ago

Richard - I actually had a post about a big black snake and another AR agent!

S&D - methinks that agent 'twas not entirely forthcoming.  We found out later the rest of the story, at least some of it...  Those posts were installed after the previous home inspection to solve the problem!

Andrea - by the time I got out I was a mud pie!

Debbie - I was glad too!  This post is just one problem.

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

Clint - I was all over that crawl.  I probably did more investigating for her than I would have done for me!

Thanks Fred.  While difficult to get to (see how some of those ducts are a good 12" off the ground?) I think I saw most of it.

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

Report from first structural engineer concurs with all of your observation and their estimate was $5,000 to do it right.  They are waiting for a second structural engineer to look at it as well.  Owners will have it fixed professionally with all the right work done.  No more lolley jacks or whatever we decided to call them.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 7 years ago



I have seen that piece of engineering before ;) I was on a inspection about 3 month back and was just getting to the kitchen when my client walks up and says were done. I maybe had an hour and half into the inspection. While I was doing my thing the client had an HVAC contractor there that gave him an very large estimate to correct the HVAC. That was just the tip of the iceberg in that home.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay...I strongly recommend homes inspections to my clients. Most of them don't need any urging, they realize the value that a good home inspector brings to the transaction. Fortunately most of the homes in my area are newer and we rarely have major issues to contend with. Nevertheless, home inspections are part of the home buying process as far as I'm concerned.


Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 7 years ago

That's likely just the work underneath Cindy.  It will require more indoors.  And don't forget the beam problems, duct problems, leak problems, et al!

I've had that happen too Don!  And this "engineering" was gorgeeeous!

I do a lot of new construction inspections Kate, every week, and have multiple problems!

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

Jay -- that sounds like they may have had a leaking HW tank or tub unit that just rotted everything out, and they tried to "fix" it all on the cheap!  Though you got muddy, it helped your clients tremendously.

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

I don't know what was leaking, Steven, but it had been for some time.  It was a mess under there.

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

Before I got into the real estate biz I would have never thought about getting an inspection for all the homes I've bought.  Now I do and this is one good case for the reason.  :)

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 7 years ago

I got into home inspections in 1981 whenI bought my first house and thought the inspector did a great job James.

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

FYI foundation work being done but house now being sold "as is."  Guess they are going to pass on all of the other issues that have been discovered in two home inspections. 

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 7 years ago

There were a multiplicity of issues that I did not even bring up Cindy!  Imagine inheriting that house through purchase!

What they plan to do is minimal, but permanent, supports under those cut floor joists.  And offer an engineer's report to "prove" it's alright now.

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

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