What I'm Seeing Now

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A Camera Can Sometimes See Where The Home Inspector Can't!

If spaces are impossible to get to and not visible to the home inspector, a camera can sometimes see where the home inspector can't!

On a recent flip I noticed the upper room of a Cape Cod, which in this house was divided into two "bedrooms," looked different.

You know the space - each room is basically pentagonal shaped, with 4' high side walls, an angled ceiling, and here the flat ceiling at the top was about 2' wide.

I saw where some drywall was new and other drywall was not.  There were some new receptacles.

The usual accesses, on each side of the room's 4' high wall there is usually an access.  And also another small one in the ceiling.

But here, there were NO accesses.

Were they drywalled over?  I had to think so.  Intentionally?  I had to wonder.

Tapping on the walls and ceiling the drywall sounded bare.  Could there be no insulation there?

There was a small closet upstairs.

And in the back wall of that closet was a small, covered hole.

It was large enough to get my hand in, along with a camera.  Digital cameras are conveniently small these days!  They are a home inspector Best Practice.

Reaching around, and turning it both directions, I snapped a few photos.

And reaching up I found I could get the camera into the cavity between two roof rafters.

Well, my, my, my!  Shazam!

There was no insulation on the 4' wall in any photo.  And in either direction!  I picked one that showed that clearly.

Similarly, above, and all along the angled ceiling section, there is no insulation!  Um, not to code.

This is a level of the house nearly devoid of insulation!  How do you think those rooms will feel in winter and summer?  Um, not to code.

To top it off, the new receptacles may have all been like the one in the photo above - attached to nothing!  That one is merely stuck into the drywall.  Have they all been?  Um, not to code.

Only one HVAC register existed, in the corner of one room.  The other room had none.  And there was no return on that level.  These are a couple of very hot and very cold rooms!  Um, not to code.

Does the flipper know this? 

I BET HE DOES!  THAT'S WHY THERE IS NO ACCESS TO ANY ATTIC AREA!  MY TRUST LEVEL DOESN'T EVEN EXTEND AS FAR AS I CAN MAKE THIS FLIPPER/SELLER FLIP!

My recommendation:  a home inspection can be invaluable even if it only finds one problem in a house!  The lack of insulation in this third level was not the only problem, but a HUGE problem!  This would have been one very, very uncomfortable space.  Next question - how is the insulation behind the new walls in the rest of the house?  YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT I THINK.

 

 

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 14 commentsJay Markanich • April 18 2014 04:08AM

Comments

Great solution to see where you can't get.  I was thinking of you the other day...I had 2 subpar subfloors.  One is new modular home w/ OSB and they want hardwood on top and the other built in 60's w/ creaking hardwood because the plywood is only 1/2".  I was wondering when they changed the codes to 3/4" plywood.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

I don't know Debbie.  I never see plywood and I never see OSB 3/4"!

And I often see hardwood stapled to the thin OSB without the use of tar paper...

Codes?  We don't need no stinkin' codes.

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

Good morning Jay,

Probably be hanging meat up there without the insulation!

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

That's called taking advantage of a bad situation Raymond!  And in summer?  Hang roses and such and sell them as dried flowers?

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

I'm sure with a little bit more effort, this would have been a nice home improvement Jay. Too bad the corners were cut.

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

The house was a disaster Tom, and this is representative of what those people would have bought.

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

Our code also requires access to EVERY part of the attic space. If the attic space is only accessible from each side of the room then you would need an access in each wall in the room!  Um, not to code    

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 4 years ago

Your code is everyone's code Than.

Flipper knows this.  He covered up the accesses that were there!

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

It's great what technology can help us do in this day and age... I'll bet potential buyers were grateful!

have a great day

Rob

Posted by Rob Thomas, Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954) over 4 years ago

Rob - this was another nail in the coffin of a dead and buried offer...

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

No insulation! How can that be? That receptacle box is designed to be used like you see it. I have used them myself, but I like to put them next to a stud and anchor them. Best practice. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

Of course it should be anchored Jim.  You're a reacher, I'm a reacher, with our cameras we're all reachers, for ice cream.

Okay, that last part doesn't work, but you get it.

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

There is another way you guys use camera: plumbing. There is no way you can look in it personally:) To repair sewer line can be very expensive. If the tree(s) near the plumbing, the roots will find the way in, right?

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 4 years ago

You are right Inna.  But those are special cameras done by people with special training, and who are not home inspectors.

But a home inspector could surely add that to his list of services!

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

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