What I'm Seeing Now


When The Realtor Says, "You Won't Find Anything Here," I Cringe

Sometimes I am met at the door by the listing agent, who has the only key, and when the Realtor says, "You won't find anything here," I cringe. 

Those are famous last words.

Walking into the newly-remodeled kitchen I noticed that they had the laundry appliances in the utility closet.

There was no door.

The first thing to catch my eye was the wide stackable, and the narrow opening between the new cabinet and doorway.

The stackable is 27" wide.

And that doorway opening measures a narrow 20 3/4"!

How do you get that unit out?

And notice the round valve on the wall beside the stackable, to the left?

That's the water main!

How do you get to it to turn off the water in the event of an emergency?  I could not reach it.

Well, it's easy if you can shrink down to 8", but I will never be that narrow again in my life!

And the indoor shut-off valve to winterize the hose is behind that stackable!  Good luck with that.

One more teensy issue is to the left of that 8" opening is the heat pump and water heater!

Notice the heat pump air filter at the bottom of the photo?

Reaching in I could reach that filter.  Notice that it's longer than necessary, that the cover has been removed?

That's so you can pull the filter out and put in a new one!

If, and that's IF, your arm is as long as mine.

My arm span is 6'8", so my arm is longer than the average bear.  That helped me when I played college basketball, and helps me reach to replace this filter!

But most people don't have such an arm length.

However, I notice that the hip bone is connected to the leg bone.

If you want to repair or get that water heater out, or the heat pump unit, the kitchen counter top and cabinet has to come out. 

That's so you can remove the stackable.

That's so you can get in to repair or remove the water heater, or heat pump.

Do the sellers know this?  Of course!  They remodeled the kitchen!

And they want to sell that design to someone else.

My recommendation:  famous last words are famous last words.  This issue is important, but certainly not the only one found with this house!  I go into a house to observe and report.  I don't go in ready to judge or criticize or complain, or even suggest what to do.  My clients were a little surprised to see this.  And my analysis was reported to them.  Where they go from here is up to them.  But remember, the house is the house!  The home inspector finds what the home has ready for him find!  Very few houses say, "You won't find anything here..."  Just sayin'.




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 53 commentsJay Markanich • September 26 2013 02:49AM


I don't claim to know much about what you do but even I can see some of the issues you indicated here. 

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

Well, James, 27" doesn't fit through an opening on 20 3/4" wide!  Or an appliance through an opening 8" wide!

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

Good morning, Jay.... poor planning...they must have lifted the machines over the counter to install!!! wow... and I've heard that statement from agents many times.... surprise!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 7 years ago

Sounds like they were begging you to find something wrong Jay.  And you did!  lol

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) almost 7 years ago

Everything in the kitchen is exceptionally new Barbara, so I suspect the stackable, also new, went in first.  But don't know!

Bob - I never like hearing that from a realtor because it seems to get their hackles up when I find something!  And I seldom find nothing.

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

Seems to me that, seeing the very tight quarters for the systems and applianes, a trip to the county permits office BY THE BUYER would be in order.

With servicing, heat pumps can GO anytime following the expiration of the manufacturor's warranty, usually 2 years.  Then the owner is on borrowed time until the inevitable happens.

I'm wondering where that clothes dryer vents. 

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

Jay One thng is clear , this Realtor did not know youat first, but now they do and will never say that again. Great Post.

Posted by Chuck Mixon, Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR (The Keyes Company) almost 7 years ago

Everyone needs to know their own limitations...or not.

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

Lenn - I don't investigate permits, but that was suggested to them.  The dryer vents overhead and outside.  The vent opening was blocked with a bird nest and the hose inside had been detached, apparently because it could not vent and the pressure blew it off.

Chuck - this wasn't the only thing.  She is going to be upset when she sees the report!

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

I think they wanted another cabinet S&D.  At the expense of everything else.

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

Hi Jay,

 I had to laugh when I saw the title of your blog.  I was at a home inspection where the owner sat on the front porch during the whole time.  He stated that the inspector wouldn't find anything wrong (since he-the homeowner-had done many of the updates himself). The inspector jokingly said "I might as well leave now! Needless to say-there were issues and some of them safety, not cosmetic.  That owner left his home wide open to even more scrutiny. When an inspector has spent thirty years on the job, he knows no home is perfect.

Posted by Barbara Tattersall, GRI (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH)) almost 7 years ago

GOOD MORNING JAY ... cringe and look harder is what my home inspector in Tucson says to that because where's there's obvious like this - there's going to be lots of hidden stuff too!

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

There is no such thing as not finding anything on a home inspection.  There are minor issues but never "No Issues."  

Posted by Marc McMaster, Putting my clients before myself (RE/MAX Centre Realty) almost 7 years ago

Fer sher Barbara.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase, you and I could go to an expensive dinner together at a fine restaurant.

Gabrielle - my antenna surely go up, but it doesn't make me look harder.

Marc - and there were MANY issues in this house!

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

I love hearing those words... funny! I always say "Ok, that's good."  I would love to be there when they try and replace that washer/dryer... LOL

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

Also leaving the filter slot open is in so case against code and in all cases schmuck work. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago


The listing agent is HOPING "you won't find anything here."  Bad presumption on her part.  I like inspections because then the buyers do know what they are buying.  There is no perfect house, but are the things that are found things the buyer can deal with?

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) almost 7 years ago

The other good one I hear is the roof looks good. Maybe it does from the ground but look closer and it might not be so good.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) almost 7 years ago

It would never dawn on me to say that to an inspector. What? Is that a challenge?! HA!

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (101 Main St. Realty) almost 7 years ago

Gotta love those "plan ahead" moments :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Good Morning Jay,

An attitude like that by the realtor is a law suite waiting to happen. They should know better. Just because their agent inspection didn't have anything written on it doesn't mean that they were qualified to make such a wide sweeping statement.

Enjoyed your post.

Posted by Brad Rachielles, REALTOR, CDPE, Upland, CA (CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453) almost 7 years ago

Best ever. I had a dishwasher that could only be loaded with the door fully opened if the refrigerator door was opened. So while you're loading up the dishes from dinner, the frig is standing wide open. All for the want of a 3" cabinet filler. Seller's look I was told was priceless when asked about it later. And they did the kitchen. 

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

I am a real estate agent, but I am also a home owner.  Planning ahead takes time, and often there are too many moving parts.  When I remodel thoughts of that utility room and cabinet position create nightmares.  I tell my clients that when they remodel don't hesitate to get another opinion of what they have planned.  It is great to know people that know more than I do.

Posted by Dwight Puntigan, Dwight Puntigan (DRP Realty, LLC) almost 7 years ago

It's interesting that the agent said that - she was thinking of problems like leaking roofs, or corroded pipes.  There are so many other things that are off-kilter about houses and they need to be reported as well.

That stackable would give me nightmares - 

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Hi Jay,  One is suppose to change air filters?!?  That wasn't in my pre-licensing course to get my real estate license...  Don't you wish you had a nickle for every agents who has said "you won't find anything here" to you?  We get "I don't want to give it away!".  

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

Jay, saying that to you is like waving a red flag in front of a bull!  Um, stupid thing to say.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Jay -- looks like I might be able to get to that filter also, but don't know about that water main - and even I would have problems levering that stackable out over the counter.  Obviously someone wasn't thinking ahead.  BTW -- how many people are going to appreciate only 20" of clearance to get back and forth to the washer/dryer?  Isn't that some sort of discrimination against part of the population?

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

It seems as though someone got ahead of themselves by telling you that... ha I truly wonder if the owenrs did not think of this fiasco when remodeling or if they decided they just didn't care.

Posted by Trisha Bush-LeFore, Providing Realtor Services in the Walla Walla Area (Preferred Properties Land & Homes) almost 7 years ago

Jay I looked up the word contortionist in the dictionary and I didn't see your photo by it.  Another kitchen remodel done without the 6 P's considered.

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

Hey Jay.  Maybe they use their really smart dog to wedge in and shut the water off.

Posted by Jay & Michelle Lieberman, Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos (Keller Williams World Class) almost 7 years ago

Jay - Talk about poor planning... or sellers just hoping to pass it off onto the next buyer.  Either way, one of the poorer DIY jobs I've heard about.

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Yes, those are famous last words, and I have a hunch you hear them too often.


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

A situation like this would be a massive red flag for me.  I would NOT recommend buying the home and would only reconsider if remediation of the issues were done at the seller's expense.

Posted by Bryan Robertson almost 7 years ago

Jay, the sad part is that the seller recognized all these problems and proceeded anyway. Did they have a permit? Shouldn't an codes inspector catch these things?

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 7 years ago

Jay, Wow. It sounds like a bad joke: how many people does it take to move a water heater? Let's see, the answer is... a whole bunch!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) almost 7 years ago

Oh, there is always SOMETHING that's not right.  Not being able to reach the shut-off valve?  geez.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) almost 7 years ago

I always enjoy reading your discoveries on home inspections.  Please continue to write more blogs! After taking a 2-day residential inspection course, it helps me make sense of the errors detected.  People need to tap into their left brain (logical reasoning side) more often before embarking on an expensive remodeling project.  By the way, if my parents need a home inspection, I will refer you to them.  They live in Arlington, VA off N. Glebe Road....I miss Northern VA having been born and raised there. :-)

Posted by Rosie Moore (Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City) almost 7 years ago

Fred - they know that unit does not come out.  And have probably not had to turn off the water main...

Jim - yes, and so noted on the report!  But the seller could not get in there, so he needed a filter he could manipulate!

Michelle - thank you.  And you are right, hope springs eternal.

Rob - there was a roofer replacing another roof just up the street.  I noticed all the sheathing panels on his truck.  This house had many, many bad sheathing panels.  I see that in the future too...  Oh, did I tell you I bring a crystal ball to inspections too?

Joni - while my antenna do go up, it does not make me work harder to hear that.

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

Measure once, install kitchen twice Charlie.

I think it was a proud realtor saying she thought her sale was a good one Brad.  Won't bring out a lawyer from me, for sure!  I think she is a surprised lady now.

So, hey, what's unusual about that Scott?  They found nothing out of the ordinary.

Dwight - it's never a bad idea to consult a professional!

Margaret - so would the water heater or heat pump if they needed emergency repairs!

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

Gary - I have heard it before.  The lady just below (Pat) you had me back to do a re-inspection on a property that had had substantial repairs.  We were met by the contractor on the porch who said he personally had fixed everything and we really didn't even need to look at it. 

Oh, he had fixed NOTHING...

Pat - I always smile politely, suck on a Rolaids, and go to work.  As you know.  OK, maybe without the Rolaids.

Steven - you're right, there may be federal discrimination laws broken here.

Trisha - I never know what thinking was involved, but suspect they just wanted another cabinet.  At the expense of everything else!

Cindy - I would have had to be The Incredible Shrinking Home Inspector!  That would go viral on YouTube.

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

J&M - I had a previous post about a chihuahua cam that I needed in a crawl space.  And a chihuahua showed up!

AJ - it's okay to do that to yourself, but don't sell it to someone else!

Debbie - hump, what hump?  Oh, you said hunch, not hunchback.  Yes, I have heard that before!

Bryan - the only way to remediate this is to dramatically alter the new kitchen!

Tammie - doubt there was a permit and the code inspector probably would have caught it!

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

In this case, the whole team Tom! 

Or reach anything else Kat! 

I go there all the time Rosie!  And NOVA has changed dramatically, as you probably know.

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

Jay, What the Hell were they thinking? The stuff people will do is unbelievable.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) almost 7 years ago

This just cracks me up.  What's the matter with people?

Posted by Janna Scharf, Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene) almost 7 years ago

Jay, we are trained to say those famous last words....(just kidding).

Home inspection is an important part of purchasing a home - and believe me, what you found out here, a few inspectors would care for!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) almost 7 years ago

Jay, you must be dumbfounded every day when you find outrageous, glaring violations like this.

Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) almost 7 years ago

That is one crazy design Jay, major demolition just to get behind the stackables or shut off the water.

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) almost 7 years ago

Sure, but is there anything major?  You may here that walking out the door ;)

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) almost 7 years ago

Tom - they were thinking I would not find anything!  Um....

Janna - TV is full of people who crack other people up!

Praful - we inspectors are trained to find that!

Ralph - never dumbfounded but always wondering!

Tom - all of which gets done really quickly when something needs to be done quickly, like shutting off that water!

Joshua - right!  That's not a problem!  Why, it's been like that for years!

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

Stackable washer dryers usually indicate space is at a premium. I don't think I have seen anything like this but it does not surpise me.

Posted by Tanya Van Blake-Coleman, Improving the Quality of Your Life (Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com) almost 7 years ago

It seems like you always find something different to talk about! Always educational. This is a good reason to pay for permits although that is not an absolute guarantee it definitely makes a difference.

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) almost 7 years ago

I show up at every inspection with coffee, donuts and a great book.  I stay out of the inspector's way, answer any question that I can and then wait for the autopsy.  Sometimes it is a simple fix, sometimes major surgery, but one thing is for sure.  I am not the expert and I am here to learn.

Posted by Marnie Matarese, Showing you the best of Sarasota! (DWELL REAL ESTATE) almost 7 years ago

Tanya - and it was fine there, until they buried it with the new kitchen cabinetry!

Gerard - well, with the permit the county does check and tells people what is not right.

Marnie - many realtors I work with do that too!  But some want to be right there with me.

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

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