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