What I'm Seeing Now

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The Clues

These are the clues.

The first was a front corner basement room.

The foundation wall and floor in that room were recently painted, likely the day before.

There is a foundation crack filled with caulking.

There is new drywall on the side wall, pictured here, and the other two walls of the room. 

There is new carpeting and paint throughout the basement.  It all smells really new.

The new drywall on the walls in this room were not painted, reason unknown.

This makes a home inspector look further.  Where would you look?

Exactly!  Under the stairs!

Why there?

Because it is hard to cover up staining on the lowest stair riser.  See it?

Staining from what?

Previous flood(s).

Notice the new drywall on the wall to the left?

It is the same height as the new drywall in the front corner room.  Everywhere except the corner, that is.

Shining my flashlight all around the hall wall there, and the larger room, at a very sharp angle, I could see that new drywall that height had been applied all around the room!  And remember, the rooms had all been recently painted.

Now, is recent paint and drywall all over a reason for concern?  Is it untoward that there had been a previous flood in the basement with damage that as been corrected?

No.  Not by itself.

However, Virginia is a non-disclosure state.  Sellers are not required to say anything about anything.

I always suggest that buyers ask history questions of sellers.  But this house is a flip.  The investor/flipper will surely NOT forward any information.

But my problem is the foundation wall in the front corner room.  You can barely see it in the photo, but it runs on the top corner and down into that larger drywall section on the corner.

It is filled with caulking.

THE BIGGIE QUESTION IS THIS:  IS THE PROBLEM ONGOING?  DOES THIS HAPPEN EVERY HEAVY RAIN?  THE HOUSE HAS BEEN ON THE MARKET FOR MANY MONTHS, SO WHY IS EVERYTHING NEWLY PAINTED, AND NEWLY CARPETED?  WE HAD A HEAVY RAIN JUST A WEEK AGO.  WERE THESE REPAIRS DONE SINCE THEN?

These are all valid questions, and crucial for buyers to consider!  The non-disclosure in Virginia makes the buying process caveat emptor (buyer beware).  Home inspections are essential!

My recommendation:   get a home inspection!  The purpose of the home inspector is to observe, report, AND INFORM!  How does a home inspector inform?  By reading THE CLUES offered by the house.  It is a bit of detective work, to be sure.  Really the house is what informs.  In this case, the foundation repairs are not professional, they will not work to stop a future foundation leak, and the clues besides that indicate probable ongoing  problems.  You are the buyer, or buyer's agent?  What do YOU think given this home inspector's observations, and the information offered by the house?

 

 

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 17 commentsJay Markanich • July 24 2015 03:49AM

Comments

Good morning Jay.  thankfully around here a disclosure is required except in some cases.  I'm sure you'll figure it out

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) about 5 years ago

So is the job description home inspector, or home detective?  Or both?  It looks like you are helping buyers be better informed about what they are buying.

Posted by Dan Rosenberger (Harvest Realty) about 5 years ago

James - I already figured it out!  But non-disclosure makes the buying process more tenuous here.

Dan - that is the purpose!  And I have had posts on the detective/inspector angle.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay, without some valid answers to the questions you pose, the buyer should walk! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 5 years ago

This is not an uncommon decision in Virginia, Wayne.  Here one has to be very careful.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Yikes - red flags for sure.

NJ is a full disclosure state so there is (theoretically) less mystery, although we've certainly encountered our share of attempts to deceive.

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) about 5 years ago

W&J - what if the seller discloses incorrect info?  Or claims not to know anything?  A Flipper could surely say he knows no history and knows of no problems.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Hope they are not waiting for he next rain to find out!

As to disclosure from a rehabber here they would just puy unk (unknown) haha!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 5 years ago

I suggested they return after the next big rain, Raymond, but within the contract period it did not rain!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Jay Markanich So many tell-tale signs of concealment of a serious problem. I hope the buyer walked away from this property!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) about 5 years ago

Don't know S&N!  But information is crucial, if it can be obtained.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

I think I may say, "Where was that other house you showed me located at?" Non-Disclosure would make me leary of any problems in the house!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 5 years ago

Then you would be leary of every house in Virginia, Fred!

Kind of like me...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Seller disclosure??  HA!!

MD is a disclosure state too with a 4 page form for sellers to provide.

In all the years it's been around, since about 1994, I have never seen one completed in full or correctly.  

Yet, buyers rely on these things.

I prefer VA process where the seller's disclosure to buyers simply advises to GET A HOME INSPECTION.

Of course, if a listing agent knows of a defect, they must disclose.  How do they think that will work.

I'm laughing out loud.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 5 years ago

There is no disclosure of anything really Lenn, even with a many-page form!  And the agent discloses?  Right...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Good catch Jay.  With this much recent work, you know the basement will be an indoor swimming pool after the next heavy rain.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 5 years ago

Hard to tell Stephen, but I methinks this to be a big cover up.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

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