What I'm Seeing Now

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This Is What You And I See. And This Is What A Thermal Camera Sees!

This is what you and I see.

A pretty basement wall, in a flip, with new drywall, new receptacles, new floor molding and new carpeting.

This is what my clients saw on line.

Along with a couple dozen other photos.

All of the photos were just as spectacular!

My clients are in another state.

We have never met.  We had not even spoken on the phone!

They simply emailed me, based on a referral, reputation on line and my answer to a question - do you know the seller?  Do you have any relationship with the seller?

I did not and do not.  The seller is a local realtor/flipper.  My clients were diligent in asking.  Asking is a Best Practice.

Outside something bothered me.  An asphalt driveway, not new, extended all the way to the back of the house.  It was not this length originally, but was extended many years ago.

I know from experience that doing this can stress a foundation, and hold moisture against the house.

That would be all along this wall you see in the photo above.  Outdoors I also noticed asphalt crack fill between the driveway and foundation wall - ALL ALONG THE WALL.

Inside, in this basement, I noticed nothing amiss, and smelled nothing amiss.  It had been raining all night, and all that morning, sometimes hard, and would continue to rain into the evening.

As I was going up the basement stairs I noticed a pattern on the carpeting.  You can kind of see it in this photo.  When I had previously gone over to test that receptacle I left an odd pattern on the carpet, like the carpeting was laying down.

That pattern usually indicates moisture.  I had noticed nothing however.  So I got my moisture meter and tested the wall.  It registered 26% moisture!  The same with the floor molding.  That's a lot!

Breaking out Mighty Mo, my thermal camera, I saw this!

This is what you and I see.  This is what a thermal camera sees!

The wall is wet, the carpeting is wet (it actually felt wet to the touch) and you can clearly see a warm spot, the imprint of my knee on the carpeting!  That is clearly wet!

Even my knee cap is wet after measuring the wall for moisture!

There were many more things regarding this house, but this foundation moisture certainly stands out.  Is the wall cracked behind the drywall?  Does this happen every rain?

My recommendation:  it is good to ask questions of your home inspector.  I was honestly able to tell these buyers that I would do the same inspection for them that I would do for myself or a family member.  AND I DID.  Surely it's better to be present with your home inspector.  But when that isn't possible, ask all the questions you can.  Pick his brain!  And pick a home inspector with a thermal camera.  Those guys are all really cute.

 

 

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 71 commentsJay Markanich • April 17 2014 01:06AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay. thermal imaging cameras are worth their weight in gold. They can find a lot of concealed defects that are not visible to the naked eye.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 4 years ago

Yes they can obviously Michael.  I am always amazed at the ads from some cameras which say that with them you can "see inside walls."  Um, not really!

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

Good morning, Jay.... nice knee.... I don't think any of our inspectors have a thermal camera.... hmmmm

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 4 years ago

It's not as nice as it used to be Barbara.  The doctors say I need new ones!  Too young, though.

What, no really cute inspectors in your area?  Ashame...

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

Well it sounds like not a big fix but one that needs to be done for sure

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

I don't know James.  What if there is a huge foundation crack?  And with the driveway there the problem will be ongoing.

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

Hi Jay,

Looks like the Infrared camera really paid off in this case. The foundation will need to be repaired or sealed from the exterior of not wanting to remove the materials from the inside. Costly issue no matter what the route they want to take.

Nice find. Have a very good day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

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

Get rid of the driveway and do some quality regrading to divert water away from the foundation.

Fundamental.

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

They already tried the crack seal Clint.  I could see it and all along the foundation wall.

Lenn - it is.  Then there's that pesky, probable foundation problem...

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

Good catch, Jay.  These buyers sure selected the right home inspector.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 4 years ago

Hola Mr. Gabe.  Well, you think so and so do I.

Now, I bet, they think so too!  And the cutest.

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

Consumers are getting more and more diligent in their Inspector selection and more and more going the "unconventional" route... word of mouth from people who don't have a financial interest in the property. A good thing. 

Kudos.  

BTW, the TI pics are always cool, but the wet knee pic works just as well ;)

 

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

This is a really good blog that taught me a lot with great pictures.  Thanks.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 4 years ago

Oh gosh, that doesn't look like it's simple to solve at all. - Debbie

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

Jay - Your reputation is well deserved, as shown by yet another example of catching something that isn't visible to the eye... and knowing that the driveway may cause an issue. 

Posted by AJ Heidmann ~ CRS, YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert (McEnearney Associates, Inc.) over 4 years ago

I bet they we're glad you and Mo detected that moisture! it's really annoying that this aa hidden, but since it's a flip, maybe the agent/flipper didn't know about the leaking problem? I would call Miss utility, then bring in a backhoe and dig down along the house until I found how water was getting in even if I had to go all the way down to the footer, then parge and/or seal the wall, maybe add new drain tile, etc.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 4 years ago

They need a structural engineer to inspect.

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

You inspectors have all of the coolest gadgets!  I sure wish you were in my area Jay...  

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

Jay, what a great demonstration of the value of a knowledgeable (and equiped) home inspector.

Posted by Joe Manausa, Tallahassee Real Estate (Joe Manausa Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Jay, someone is going to have to look behind the drywall.

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

Looks can be deceiving. Good use of your Thermal Camera.

Posted by Keith Lawrence, ABR, CDPE, SFR, 203K Specialist (RE/MAX Properties) over 4 years ago

I was thankful for the inspector we used when we bought our house whipping out his thermal camera. Helped us realize that we had picked the right house. I now recommend that my buyers use inspectors with the thermal imaging.

Posted by Kristin Hunteman, Escrow Closing Officer (True Title Company) over 4 years ago

Wow, good thing that cute thermal camera guy was available Jay. The average inspector may have missed this.

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

Well jay , It did not pass the knee test that is for sure ;)

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

Start your day with Jay...The man literally knows all and now...can see all!

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

Nothing like have a good Inspector!  Spending a few hundreds can save you thousands!  Thank GOD for all this new technology we now have!

Posted by Graziella Bruner, Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County (NCS Premier Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Excellent article. I don't think I have seen any inspectors with thermal cameras. I now know that before hiring anyone, I have to ask if they have this camera. Some inspectors just don't seem to care. They want to get in and out and make their money. It is good when someone goes the extra mile to care and it helps people in another state make a wise decision. Thank you.

Posted by Myra Gouger, RRG, ABR, SRES, CPDE, CPRES, Realty ONE, LV. You are my most important client. (Urban Nest Realty) over 4 years ago

Those clients were very luck to have you on their side.  Quality inspections with all the new gadgets were a save for these buyers!

Posted by Karen Mathers - Vero Beach FL, When it Matters, Choose Mathers! 772-532-3221 (Keller Williams Vero Beach) over 4 years ago

Such a great tool for everyone to see exactly what the issue is with thermography !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 4 years ago

An experience, quality home inspector is the best thing for any buyer.  Someone with the knowledge and experience of what to look for, and to notice those things that others might now, will save a lot of headaches down the road!!

Posted by Tg Glazer - The Right Realtor® for the Right Results!, Westfield/Cranford, NJ area (Coldwell Banker, Westfield, NJ) over 4 years ago

Hello Jay,

No one can fool you!  With your vast experience and trusty Mighty MO (love that tool), there is no hiding "flipper faults".    Your clients are so lucky to have you!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 4 years ago

I love the kneecap photo. In Oklahoma I can't think of one inspector who uses a thrmal imaging camera. I think that they may feel like that this exposes them to liability and our inspections as dicatated by state law does not require them. I have had inspections where they detect some unusal water usage even when everything is turned off which may indicate a leak in the slab or walls. In that case in Oklahoma City there are only two plumbing companies to my knowledge that use thermal imaging.

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

Mighty Mo to the rescue! You demonstrate the kind of customer service we all should aspire to. Well done, Jay!

Posted by Suzanne De Vita, Online Associate Editor (RISMedia) over 4 years ago

Your clients are so lucky to have you! Great post!

Posted by Laura Foreman, Copywriter, Buffini & Company (Referral Maker Real Estate CRM) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay~ Those buyers were smart in many ways. Asking the right questions and hiring the right guy! Glad you were able to find out the facts so that they could make a good, educated decision.

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 4 years ago

Jay, I am going to ask my home inspector if he has a thermal camera.  It would be invaluable!

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

Jay, I could not sleep at night if I did not push home inspections pretty hard to my buyer clients.

Posted by Mike Frazier, Northwest Tennessee Realtor (Carousel Realty of Dyer County) over 4 years ago

Jay, I do have to note however, that you did find it without the camera

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

For all interested, Mighty Mo was the name given to the big hamburger served by the Marriotts in their first business interest in the Washington DC area - the Hot Shoppes Restaurant.  It was best when eaten with a five-gallon bucket of fries and a frozen mug of root beer, brought to your car by girls on roller skates.

This was long before the Big Mac or Whopper.

It was one of my family's favorite things to do. 

Hence the fun name for my camera.

 

 

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

And, Charlie, let this lend testimony to anyone interested in the value of a home inspector making snow angels on basement carpeting!

Worked like a charm.

Camera?  We don't need no stinkin' camera, when we can do snow angels!

That's how we do it on my planet...

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

The camera does bring it to life, thought, right Charlie?

It's aliiiivvveee!  Boohahahahaha!

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

Thanks Joshua.  I did the knee thing because my clients are in another state!  But it worked great for the blog too!

I am glad you learned something today Barbara!

I no tink so Meese Debbee.  I got an email today saying my clients backed off this purchase.  I kind of thought they would.  There was much more going on here.

As soon as I saw the driveway my antenna went up AJ.  Inside I didn't catch it until seeing the carpet.  (Doing snow angels down there didn't hurt either...)

Jeff - or back off completely and let someone else inherit this problem...

How many Mighty Mos have you eaten in your life?  Me - about two dozen.

"They" do, but not my buyers Lenn!  You have probably heard of this flipper.  Maybe Jeff too.

 

 

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

Thanks A&J.  I have had that cool gadget for over 10 years.

And thank you Joe.  I think my camera is the sharpest arrow in my quiver.

And that someone will be someone else Mike!  Not my clients.

Keith - THAT is the bottom line of the flip!  Looks!

I'm glad Kristin.  But I don't whip out Mighty Mo.  He demands respect and I do it carefully, almost prayerfully, and turn him on after a little pow-wow dance.  He likes that.

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

He knocked on the door and I let him in Tom.  I'm hoping a 6' tall rabbit knocks on my door this weekend, with lots of goodies.  I'll let him in too.

That rabbit won't be as cute as that thermographer, though.

It didn't Don.  You should have seen my back after all those snow angels though.  I wasn't able to get a good camera shot, being along and all.  You understand.

Richie - I have had the camera ability for over 10 years.  Mighty Mo sees more stuff than I do!

I have said that for a long time Graziella.  I love that camera.

 

 

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

Myra - very few inspectors have them.  For years I have been wrong in saying that in a couple of years all home inspections would come with thermal imaging.

They were saved by this one Karen Anne.  And I am glad for them.

That really brings it to life S&D.  It's worth it's weight in chocolate bunnies.

Tg - experience rules.  It really is everything.  Having advanced expectations when you see one thing often leads you to the next down the road.

Thanks Lisa.  I am sure Flippers get away with lots of crap, however.

 

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

The knee cap photo sealed the deal, for sure Joe.  I am not sure how a cool, definitive, cannot-argue-with thermal image exposes anyone to any liability though!

Thanks Suzanne.  If we don't take care of our customers, someone else will.

Thanks also Laura.  If I could, I would do home inspections for free.  I truly love it.

Donna - they did ask the right questions.  I feel better when buyers are circumspect.

Evelyn - if any inspector did, you would have been informed.

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

That is because you are a wise realtor Mike.  Find a good one and stick with him!

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

Well, that's a case of water on the knees being worth a lot to the buyers. It won't do much for the seller, however. I also remember the Hot Shoppes from my travels and stays in Marriotts, as well as the Champions lounges

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 4 years ago

They kept a Hot Shoppes around until a few years ago Ed.  It was very nostalgic.  That last one was in a mall though - no roller skates or eating in the car!

That's a cute knee when wet!

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

Thermal cameras, something that all home inspectors should have, in a lot of sense, in a lot of uses, in a lot of ways. Pretty great post.

Posted by Michael Ha Elmhurst, Woodside, Maspeth (Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Corona, Middle Village) over 4 years ago

These thermal cameras are really quite impressive. I have not run into an inspector here who uses them.

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

I had a buyer in escrow on a flip and the inspection took five hours discovering so many things that were consealed. The Buyers felt grateful that they vacated the contrac. The Buyers offered the neighbors a copy of the report to give to the next buyer. They felt the $500 they paid would then be put to good use.

Posted by William Johnson, San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE (RE/MAX Associates) over 4 years ago

Thanks Michael.  Easier said then done - they ain't cheap!

See comment above Gary.  But they are great tools - the sharpest arrow in my quiver.

Would that all neighbors would be so neighborly William!

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

I have not found a Dallas inspector who uses a thermal camera.  I am impressed by what you can see.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 4 years ago

Jay, that is one impressive piece of equipment! I'm talking about your kneecap!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 4 years ago

Might Mo might be the name of the burger but it looks like Mighty Mouse saved the day with these buyers using that camera. Do you inspect in the Baltimore area?

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 4 years ago

Jay, wow! great to know that thermal camera reveals lot more. Next home inspection, I'll suggest my buyers to go for it!

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

They are expensive devices Sharon, and the training is similarly expensive and it is super important to get training.

Tom - sometimes the low tech and high tech combine to reveal the problem!

I don't have a license in Maryland, Margaret, but Balmer is a bit far!  I used to live in Reisterstown.

It's good to do if you think there's a problem, Praful, but sometimes the camera helps find or define a problem!

 

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

Thanks, Jay, for sharing this experience and your photograph. Home buyers should ask if the recommended home inspector is using a thermal imaging camera.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay, A thermal camera really tells a lot about the moisture condions of a home. Pick those cute home inspectors with a thermal camera for sure! Thank you so much for sharing these pictures.

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) over 4 years ago

Very few do Roy.  But all who do are really cute.

S&L - the images are definitive.  And yes, the cutest.

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

Do home inspectors have thermal cameras as a rule?

Posted by Jeff Jensen (The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states) over 4 years ago

Jeff - my understanding is 3% or less.

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

Hi Jay,

This is fasinating and glad you found it out for the buyers. Perhaps the sellers/contractors did not know but so glad you detected it. Moisture can cause all kinds of problems like the M.....word.

Posted by Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor, (909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning (Sun Lakes Realt) over 4 years ago

Thanks Kristin.  Mold is not the problem but a symptom of the problem.  The problem is moisture!

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

Yicks...wet is never a good thing....and now to get to the source of the problem and get Flipper to fix it !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 4 years ago

If they want to S&D.  That wall has to come down!

They will probably just try to sell it to the next person, who hopefully will not have a home inspection, or at least one that does not include a thermal camera.

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

Jay, great detection. You saved the buyers from having so many problems in the future. A Thermal Camera seems to be a necessity for all inspections. Thanks for sharing, great post!

Posted by Tamra Lee Ulmer, FORCE~NRBA ~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD! (Arizona Resource Realty) over 4 years ago

Thank you Tamra.  I like to say my thermal camera is the sharpest arrow in my quiver.

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

that was certainly an issue that the buyers were lucky you found for them.  How did it turn out? Did they void the contract or did the flipper take the wall down and fix it?

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 2 years ago

Lise - in this case the Flipper knew he was busted and took the house off the market.  I did another inspection for those buyers a week later.  We never met!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

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