As soon as I drove up to the house I suspected hidden foundation cracks.
Home inspectors are detectives of sorts. We combine information, experience and deduction, and attempt to arrive at a series of conclusions, good or bad. Buyers and sellers view the home inspection process differently. Some sellers and even listing agents see it as adversarial.
The home inspector's job is to observe and report. Speculation might go on during the inspection, but while such things are part of the deduction process, speculation is usually not reported. The inspector may suggest further evaluation by a specialist though!
Home inspectors are often hired without any previous interaction with the client. So a lot of trust is built into the process. Home inspectors respect that trust greatly!
One thing I do when I am hired to inspect a property is to investigate that property on line. Google photos are usually interesting because they show the house at a previous point in time.
I LIKE TO COMPARE AND CONTRAST WHAT I HAVE SEEN ON LINE
WITH WHAT I SEE WHEN I GET TO A HOUSE.
My client was a single, first time buyer, and female. She is not interested in buying a home that would require a lot of work. And she was attracted to this particular 1979 vintage house because it had substantial remodeling. To her that meant she would not have to do much after moving in.
What I saw on line was a house with a very large Cherry Blossom tree in the front yard. That tree was gone when I pulled up to the property, and there was fresh sod on the front yard. Where the tree used to be was a substantial dimple in the sod. That tree was only 10' from the house. Cherry Blossom trees have very aggressive roots. The sidewalk in front was very chewed up, lifted and cracked.
Dropping off a radon devices two days prior I saw a newly-finished basement furnace room, with a freshly painted floor and plastic sheeting covering the front foundation wall.
Teensy holes had been cut into the plastic to allow "access" to the water main, seen on the right, and the hose bib shut off valve. Neither could really be accessed. But insulation was stuffed into each hole so nothing could be seen of the wall itself.
To me that spoke volumes and said cover up! I have antenna which raise by themselves. Knowing it would rain in the next two days, I was anxious to see this wall afterward.
And I was not disappointed. The masonry-block foundation wall had leaked. And there had NOT been that much rain! My suspicions were verified - there was evident cracking, and it was hidden.
This was not the only thing we found! The house was a pig, and a disaster laden with LIPSTICK on as many "remodeled" piglets as lipstick can be put.
My recommendation: beware the remodel! Beware the Flipper! Beware the house with new work not done with a permit that has been closed by the local jurisdiction. Closed means finally inspected and approved by that jurisdiction! And be sure to hire a home inspector with deductive antenna. They are on your side.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560