What I'm Seeing Now

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"New Addition With Air Conditioning" Truth In Feature Lists.

The "feature" information says, "New Addition With Air Conditioning."  Truth in feature lists.

Yes, the house was built in 1963, and the addition, I guessed from the date in a toilet, was put on in 1975.  So it was new-ER.

And it has air conditioning.

Look at it - that's some fine air conditioning!

Peruse the photo and you can see just how professionally all the work in just this small area was done.

The roof flashing (which looked new to me); the AC size and support; sealing the siding around the AC unit; closing the wall gaps; priming the siding before painting it; matching the siding on the "new" addition to the older house.

The paint was peeling all over and very brittle so it was probably an oil-based paint. 

Oil-based paints always need a prime coat underneath.

I see this kind of work all the time. 

But the feature list on the table listed this and many other things.

And it stretched the truth of everything.

When it is in the 30s outside an AC unit cannot be tested.

This unit is old.  It may be original to this addition, I don't know!

That it hasn't fallen from the wall is a wonder.

Sealing the gaps seen all around it from the inside is everything from newspaper to plastic wrap.

And a curtain over it.

Well, who wouldn't want to be the proud owner of this?

But what bothered me the most was the feature list.  I honestly wonder why people think it is a selling feature to say things in ways that try to make them seem better than they are.  When anyone looks at them the lipstick-on-the-muddy-pig should be obvious. 

When this sort of thing happens, and my clients are first-time buyers, and the agent is new to the industry, and the inspection is conducted in a language other than English, I almost feel obligated to explain why this or that is not what it is said to be.

WHEN IS AN INSPECTION MORE THAN OBSERVE AND REPORT?  SHOULD IT BE?  SHOULD IT EVER BE?

I struggle with that one sometimes.

My recommendation:  a home inspector is hired to try to give buyers an idea as to the condition of a property at the time of the inspection.  Reports will do that.  But I have to confess that sometimes what is said verbally at the inspection (such as all the commentary surrounding this AC unit and addition) might not be reflected as sarcastically and frankly in the wording of the report ("Older window AC unit, not tested due to temperatures outdoors, unprofessionally installed and poorly supported."  Etc.)  And I have to also confess that oftentimes I really hope that my clients will run away from a property.

 

 

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 59 commentsJay Markanich • March 24 2014 03:25AM

Comments

Good morning Jay,

All to get top money for what one deems as a pristine property!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

Depending on what is in the contract, i.e., "As Is" condition, it's difficult to say where the responsibility begins for this disaster. 

In Virginia, the owner has no responsibility to disclose.  HOWEVER, the listing agent does.  The question is, what does the listing agent know??? 

This is a difficult situation.  One thing I do know, home inspectors must report what they see and it doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to know that a home inspectors SEES poor condition, poor installation, perhaps unsafe installation, or worse.

This appears to be an investment grade property.  Investors can afford to take risks.  First time home buyers may not.  This house may fit the buyer's qualified price range.

 

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Top money indeed Raymond!  Top money...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Lenn - I think this boils down lots of times to agents hoping the buyers will not get a home inspection.  This new agent was told by a seasoned agent to call me.  I'm glad they did!  Still, I report completely, but my reporting is somewhat dry (no sarcasm).

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

You guys can only report what you see and know would be an issue just as you did here.  I have had clients completely ignore the inspection report and it proved to be costly

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 4 years ago

HA!  I'm familiar with your reports.  You refrain from sarcasm even when 8 ft. snakes (tasty morsel) appear in corners of crawl spaces. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

James - I have done inspections on houses 5 years after I did a previous inspection on that house only to find that my clients (now sellers) did nothing on the report!

Lenn - in that case I reported "snake infestation," but did not call him Julius Squeezer on the report.  I did call him that in a blog, however!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I find many inspectors here give the walk through summary to the buyers which spells out some things in more detail and with more "emphasis."

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 4 years ago

I don't know about that one Gary.  My obligation is to my clients.  What things they ask of the buyers is up to them, not me.  I don't go there, and I never tell sellers what they should do or not do, with or without emphasis!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

In this case, a picture speaks a thousand words.  I will never understand why an agent thinks overselling a property will work.

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 4 years ago

Lipstick is lipstick Susan.  Why oversell lipstick?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Yes, this looks like big problems indeed and many are obvious even to the untrained eye.  Glad they called you.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 4 years ago

Yep I'd say that's one fine unit to make a lot of noise and if you are lucky cool off a small cubicle of air around it.  

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 4 years ago

Jay, I agree you have to report what you see. As far as the listing agent goes, exaggerating a property's condition is a very gray area.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 4 years ago

There were many multiple problems, Debbie, all glossed over by the "feature" list.

That is intended to service the upper level of the house and the addition Cindy.  It's a beaut!

It is to me Mike.  Once a townhouse beside the street storm sewer collection pond, sometimes wet and sometimes dry, was said to have a "water view."

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, I think when I see a house listed as having "air conditioning" I typically expect that to mean an air conditioning "system," not a room air conditioner.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 4 years ago

I am enjoying your little "look at this" series...Good post

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 4 years ago

Precisely Charlie.  And this unit was/is expected to handle a lot of the upper level!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Thanks Richie.  I didn't begin this as a series, but if that's what it turns into good!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

Man Oh Man. I have seen a lot of these homes. A lot of them back in Michigan.

Uncle Bob could not even save this one. Time to start over.

Have a good day in Bristow.

Bes, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 4 years ago

There was so much disaster here Clint.  They removed the stairs from upper to lower level, to create two "apartments" for renting.  Upstairs the spot was covered with a rug and sofa!  Downstairs the drywall made it look like stairs were never there.  I know this house design and where the stairs are supposed to be.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Oh boy...  I hope they ran!  I'm in the process of giving my grandfather some numbers on his house.  The feature he wants to highlight... the original furnace.  Sigh, we all have our work cut out for us sometimes. =)

Posted by Sarah Lynn Jaskowski, House. Home. Today. over 4 years ago

You shouldn't have to explain, our job as REALTORS® is fair pricing and the most accurate description possible. This home is a great example of why in certain cases the seller should get an inspection previous to the home being put into the MLS.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 4 years ago

OMG! That is frightening. I can't believe the agent let them get away with that desciption. Or, I can't believe the seller let the listing agent write that. Smarter heads should have prevailed. Thank for sharing the pictures. 

Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties) over 4 years ago

Well, after stating in one of previous posts you wrote, that I don't sell homes over 20 years old, sure enough, I just had a buyer want to see a home that's over 100 years old!  Be careful what you post! 

Jay, do you service the Atlanta area?? 

 

Posted by Laura Andersen, A HomeSOLD Name (678)462-1191 Woodstock, Georgia (Keller Williams Realty Partners ~ 678.462.1191 agentandersen@gmail.com) over 4 years ago

I'm impressed by the AC installation ;-).  I'd like to see how you reported that section.

Posted by Geoff ONeill (John L. Scott Medford) over 4 years ago

I enjoy seeing all the strange installs and things in houses. I often wonder what people were thinking other than saving money at the time or not knowing what they were doing. 

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

Yikes!  It's crazy to see how some people do things.  This one is beyond scary to me!  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 4 years ago

Hello Jay - It's tough to hold your tounge sometimes in these situations and just Observe and Report.

Posted by Andy Chaudoir, Your Home Inspection Connection in Central Texas (Professional Inspection Services - Georgetown, Texas) over 4 years ago

That is some professional work there!

Posted by Dan Spencer, Your Colorado Home Source (Aspen Lane Real Estate) over 4 years ago

I've seen this done on a few homes in South KC and Waldo. To make it even better, many are placed on the northeast side of the home with inadequate drainage. 

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Chartwell Kansas City Realty) over 4 years ago

Good post!

Posted by Drick Ward, "RealtorDrick" - Experienced Representation (NEPTUNE REALTY) over 4 years ago

By the lack of paint on the wall I would say at some point it was replaced. Just another nightmare. Maybe some rot there also.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 4 years ago

This is quite the AC system, I can imagine what the heating looks like!

Posted by Vanessa Saunders, From Manhattan to the Catskills of New York (Global Property Systems Real Estate) over 4 years ago

In my mind that would be called lie-ing.  If you can't puff a listing, can you un-puff it? Enter at your own risk...

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Not good at all and it was a selling point!

My grandmother could do a better installation.

Posted by Pete Xavier, Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide (Investments to Luxury) over 4 years ago

My favorite part is that beam of wood they nailed to the side of the house to hold the AC unit up. Genius. 

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 4 years ago

Sarah Lynn - that is the harder side of the job.  I just show up and look at the place!

Joe - I have tried to crack that market nut for many years, without success.

Dana - it was comical, but I don't know the history of the "feature" list.

I don't Laura, it's just a tad too far.  But thank you.

It's in the post Geoff!  I am bland and straightforward, in reports.  In blogs no.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Scott - they were trying to satisfy a need, perhaps the cheapest and quickest way possible.

A&J - it's scary to me too!

I get it Andy.  Sometimes I just want to shout. 

Well put Dan.  It's a beaut!

Maria - the smart just keeps adding up!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Thanks again Drick.

I think that addition was put there a long time ago Bill.  And the paint has reached its normal life span.

Well, that was beautiful too, Vanessa.  There were two systems, one for upstairs and one for down.

This is one of those risks Evelyn!  I had to enter though...

Pete - she must be the bomb!  I'm not suggesting she would do this though... you understand.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Suzanne - the smart was dripping everywhere in this house.  Just dripping.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago
Jay, I love your comment about a muddy pig with lipstick on it. Clearly the AC unit is not "brand new". That's obvious. It's new-er. But not exactly worthy of being listed under a feature item. The whole house should just be listed a possible fixer upper because that wood beam isn't fooling anyone.
Posted by Jack O'Neal (Conway Real Estate) over 4 years ago

There was a lot of frightening stuff about this house Jack.  And nothing new!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, some sellers list everything that was done to the home since 1900! Even when they bought the home in 2010!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 4 years ago

Wow, I'd hardly call that a 'feature'. More like a deficiency.

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 4 years ago

There are certainly some problems there Jay; not exactly the feature that one would expect though.

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 4 years ago

Thorough is as thorough does, Praful!

Karen - the "feature" list was, in my opinion, a list of deficiencies!

Tom - I still want to see a feature that is out - "Mr. Peabody and Sherman."  I really like cartoon movies.  Nobody will go with me.  You available?  My treat.

Oh, you meant...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Holy window unit batman!  Seems like embellishing to the nth degree.  It's always amazing what that type of marketing does to a listing AND inspection. 

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) over 4 years ago

Oh my...definitely an investor special! Think I would've said that!

Posted by Deborah Newell (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty) over 4 years ago

Jan - the process is the process!  Sometimes what we see is all we need to see!

Deborah - for sure.  This is not something for the first-time buyer!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

We are kind of trained to put the best face on things.  But you are right.  When putting lip stick on a pig you still have a pig.  Be realistic and sell it as a fixer.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Agreed Gene.  This sort of house should not be a first-time purchase for a young couple.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I'm glad to hear that this isn't a first-time purchase for a young couple. This sounds like an "investor special" to me!

Posted by Jordan Gouger, Helping you to achieve your housing goals! (Keller Williams Realty Inc.) over 4 years ago

I like the support brace slapped on the side of the house too. Great post.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 4 years ago

It was their first purchase Jordan, and the agent was new too.  Truly an investor special here!

Lyn - that really sets is apart, right?  Who knows how long that's been like that!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, New is a relative term I guess. I wonder what people think when they see the home after what was represented.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Home inspections prove the theory of relativity Don!  Like here.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I guess the agent's Broker is also new to the business too, don't you think?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 4 years ago

Don't know Kimo!  But this is something that got washed away by my report!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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