What I'm Seeing Now

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Sneaky, Just Not Sneaky Enough

Sneaky, just not sneaky enough.

Some sellers who move out of the house and have it painted and nice leave the place looking nice. 

And some sellers do things to try to hide problems that are being pushed off onto someone else.  When I see sneaky in one spot, I suspect sneaky elsewhere.

In the corner of the main level, under the master bathroom shower, I saw a painted area about 6'x4'.  The paint matched, just not close enough.  You can see it for the most part in the photo beside.

So I ran the water in the bathroom for a while. I like to run warm water so any thermal image has a more pronounced signature.

A little stain developed!  And it grew.  And the moisture meter measured 100%.

This was not unexpected.  I had seen a couple of other things that piqued my attention.   Plus the information from the seller that they "will not fix anything" found during a home inspection.

Looking at the area with Mighty Mo the moisture becomes visible.

That little brown spot on the left side of the photo above, which was growing, can be seen in the image on the right as the darker blue spot.

And the moisture fanned out from there.

We have a leak coming from the master bathroom shower above!

This is something I see often, unfortunately.

People want to knowingly sell a problem to someone else, priming and painting carefully so the problem is not so visible.

My recommendation:  recently painted areas, or particularly painted areas, are usually done for reasons.  It might take a home inspector to figure out what the reason might be, and things go from there.  And a home inspector with the ability to show a problem not so visible to the naked eye is an even more important part of the buying decision. 

 

 

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 62 commentsJay Markanich • June 21 2016 04:03AM

Comments

Jay Markanich " recently painted areas, or particularly painted areas, are usually done for reasons.  It might take a home inspector to figure out what the reason might be, and things go from there.  And a home inspector with the ability to show a problem not so visible to the naked eye is an even more important part of the buying decision. " Always have a home inspection. Always! Right on target and Re-Blog!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty (Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay Markanich,

It's a shame some sellers are sneaky like this..they don't know what they are up against when you are inspecting!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) about 4 years ago

Thanks Marriotts! 

Dorie - hopefully, and I think, most home inspectors are exceptionally diligent.  But not all have the thermal imaging capability.

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

Good morning Jay. The ability to show a problem not visible to the naked eye is reason enough to get a home inspection! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 4 years ago

Good catch Jay Markanich  - and other reason to make sure buyers have a reputable inspector!

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) about 4 years ago

There are old-school techniques too, Wayne.  But not as sexy as a thermal image.  I remember when moisture meters came out and inspectors were afraid they would increase liability.  Silliness.  And I have been using thermal cameras for 13 years.

Jennifer - another of a zillion reasons.

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

A trusted home inspector is worth their weight in gold when inspecting homes.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) about 4 years ago

Thanks Harry.  At least worth the weight in water, in this case.

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

Good morning Jay, buyers should always have a home inspection done regardless of the age of the home. I'm sure we all have stories to tell about what was discovered during a home inspection. 

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) about 4 years ago

Wow. Shows just how important a home inspection is. Unfortunately not all inspectors are created equal. We had one that found many small issues and some of them we did get the sellers to resolve. But, there were some things we found much later, after moving in, that I really wish had been caught by the inspector.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 4 years ago

Huge difference between kids scuffing up a wall,..pictures moved...and the poor attempt at camoflague...

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

I will share this one.  Thanks for posting, Jay.  I have had a few buyers use "handy" family members for inspections.  I cringe when I hear that 500 dollars is too much to invest to ensure that a buyer knows what he or she is getting into. 

Posted by Chris Lima, Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you. (Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise) about 4 years ago

Hi Jay... more and more of my clients are paying for an upgrade with the infrared inspection. The good news thus far is that we haven't come across any material issues!

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 4 years ago

I have had a couple issues similar to this. I think certain sellers do not think a problem will be noticed. Problem is they are just creating more suspicion on the part of the inspector, the buyers, and the buyer's agent!

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) about 4 years ago

Burned! LOL, that was sneaky... that was worse than most, sometimes it's just caulk filling in a rotted area and painted over... I wonder what the percentage is for sellers that try this kind of stuff... I bet it's high!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 4 years ago

I have recommended painting over water spots when the seller assures me that the water issue was addressed.  In those cases, the spots look old and dry.  That wouldn't be covering up a problem - it's just that sometimes sellers don't bother to paint until they're ready to sell.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) about 4 years ago

Covering something like this would be lawsuit city in my fair state.

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) about 4 years ago

You might be able to fool the human eye at times but you can't escape Mighty Mo!

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com (Zion Realty) about 4 years ago

Your clients are lucky that you have the knowledge and tools to uncover these things during a home inspection!

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) about 4 years ago

I always pay attention when showing a home to notice these sorts of things. That way I have it in my head to tell the inspector to really look closely at that particular issue. Home inspections are essential!

Posted by Pam Orzan ~ Delray Beach Mizner Residential Group, Selling Delray, Boca Raton, & Boynton Beach (Mizner Residential Group at Compass) about 4 years ago

Jay, Great way to show the value of a quality inspector with the right tools.  

Posted by Dan Tabit (Keller Williams Bellevue) about 4 years ago

Yes, Beth, I have a few stories!  Wait til you see my mucho sarcastico post tomorrow.

Sharon - I honestly say that I try my best.  Do I discover everything?  Likely not!

Hard to scuff a ceiling 12' high, S&D.  But they tried the camo!

Chris - most states have rules against that "friend" home inspector.  And for really good reasons.

 

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

Nina - I find material issues with mine every day!  But then I am 13 years experienced.

Jeff - I can sometimes pull up to the house and see things that make my antenna go up.

Fred - these people also tried to cover a structural issue in the garage (roof leaking that caused rot) by putting a board over something with a box in front of the board.  Again, nice try.

And that is fine Margaret!  So long as it is actually a resolved issue.  Why not make the repair look good?  I'm in favor of that.

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

Doug - Virginia is a non-disclosure state.  The sellers have no reason to tell about any problem.  But covering up a known problem is a bit different.  In my experience lawsuits are rarely profitable.  Except for the lawyers.

Nicole - I am so wary of painted areas that I look for them from different directions.  However, if we had been later in the day, or if it had been cloudy, I might not have seen this.

Maureen - experience is the key to most any trade.  But the cool tools are great too.  A thermal camera is the sharpest arrow in my quiver.

Pam - that is circumspect, and a sign of experience!

Thanks Dan.  I think AR is a great forum for this sort of instruction.

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

Just wait.  They'll blame the leak on you!

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) about 4 years ago

Alan - I once had a seller call me at home once telling me I got on his roof and pushed his chimney away from the house just so I would have something to report.  He said he knew my address and was coming over to get me.  I said I would be waiting on the front porch.  To please come.  And to hurry.

Gee, he never showed.  Not sure why...

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

100% moisture is a doozy! Glad you spotted that defect.

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) about 4 years ago

Things worked together and I had the right light, Pat.  The moisture was going to be there during the inspection or after their first shower!  I'm glad I spotted it too!

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

These little tips are great... looking out for poorly painted walls and moisture issues or places where someone might just be trying to cover something up is huge.

I always have my clients use a licensed inspector but I like to try and look through the house to see things like this so they can have the opportunity up front to not spend money on an inspection for a house that they might not buy once the defects are pointed out.  Nice work!

Posted by Chip Morgan, LSS, LSE, LMS (Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ) about 4 years ago

This spot was very well painted, Chip.  Poor jobs stand out a bit more.  And you're smart to look for things before an offer is placed!

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

Oh, how I have a love-hate relationship with this post. What is sad? When they spend more time and effort cosmetically "repairing" (AKA HIDING) a prob when it's really simple to fix a leak, remedy the mold and move forward... GEEZ!

Posted by Kristen Correa, Broker, I love coffee & real estate. I am out of coffee! (Kristen Correa Real Estate & Reedy Creek Realty Services) about 4 years ago

Just wow.  That looks a little like the lipstick on pig house that my daughter didn't buy after a home inspection.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 4 years ago

The showers are the culprit all the time. That rubber seal can be an easy fix too.  I always get suspicious when there is new paint and funny textures going on.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) about 4 years ago

Sometimes the sneakyness can be subtle.  We were reviewing disclosures for a house where the owner had lived there for 23 years.  The roof was a very old wood shake roof that hasn't been allowed in our fire zones for years.  It looked  to be 30 to 40 years old...was in bad shape.  However, they said the roof was 15 plus years old...Not a lie but...because it is over 15...by about  20 plus years!  Red flag that made us re-think the house.

 

Posted by Ann Wilkins, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA (Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty) about 4 years ago

Jay Markanich - I know, we are fooled at home inspection several times because if this ---

"recently painted areas, or particularly painted areas, are usually done for reasons. "

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

Dear Jay,

Just get it fixed! And then paint it over. It is the right thing to do.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) about 4 years ago

Kristen - I have a sarcastic post now and then!  See my post today!

Tammy - lipstick is exactly that!  But isn't some better than others?  Says he, with a wink.

Rob - I told my clients the fix was likely through the ceiling.  But I would never say that on the report!

Ann - sometimes on a house built in the 40s they listing info says "Updated Kitchen."  And true!  It was updated in the 60s...

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

Praful - painted spots need careful investigation!

Exactly right, Dorte.  Nothing wrong with a repair AFTER the fix!

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

When jay gets his way....its a good day.......for all

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

Life would be sooo much easier if people were just honest and did the right thing!

Posted by Lesley Wilson-VanGoethem, Residential Real Estate Broker Associate (Innovative Realty Solutions Group) about 4 years ago

To me new paint, full or partial, can be a red flag.  That is part of the reason why I hate flips!

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

I'm with Lesley Wilson-VanGoethem - all people do is make trouble for themselves (and others) when they lie and cheat. 

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 4 years ago

Richie - please tell that to my family!

Lesley - will that day ever arrive?  Or the day when the Golden Rule is golden?

Gary - that is always something that gets my antenna to go way high.

Marte - one of those things we are supposed to learn in kindergarten.

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

You're the man Jay. Another one caught.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) about 4 years ago

Thank you Lyn.  And the thermal camera makes it a fun, and definitive, thing to see.

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

There's a special place in hell for someone that would intentionally sell a defective home and try to hide the defect ---- does VA have sellers disclosures where sellers must spell out if they're aware of any water damages?

Posted by John Meussner, #MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852 (Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA,) about 4 years ago

John - we hear about all those people who employ thousands and yet must "give back."  These people are in the group of those I think should give back.

Virginia is a caveat emptor state - no disclosure.

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

Great job finding tha tleak Jay!  Your suspicions were corrrect, great detective work!  I do that as a realtor, but by looking at old listing photos versus new ones.  Looking for a missing window air conditioner in an "Arizona" room tells me they sealed up the wall, and with no insulation!   Following your gut proved you right!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) about 4 years ago

Jan - a wall without insulation is an easy find with a thermal camera!  They light up in summer heat!

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

And yet another example of why inspections are so critical!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) about 4 years ago

It sure does describe the problem visually, Kat.

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

Good thing for moisture meters. Jay Markanich 

interseting profile pic. Following you now to get more inspec. Info.

Lauren Selinsky 

Posted by CA COASTAL ESTATES Lauren Selinsky Perez CRS, "Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren (California Coastal Estates) about 4 years ago

Thanks Lauren.  My thermal camera, Mighty Mo, caught me in a contemplative moment.

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

Congratulations on your feature recognition.

This is good advice to share.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) about 4 years ago

Thanks Roy.  Glad you stopped by and reblogged!

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

I have the same moisture meter, 10 years and going strong.  Just found two of those wet spots today myself.

Posted by Rafi Footerman, Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More! (Mid Jersey Inspections) about 4 years ago

I have two, Rafi, and when one breaks I ship it back to the seller who fixes it and sends it back to me.  So my moisture pants are never pulled down!

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

Hi Jay... I've seen this happen from time to time. The last time, sellers painted under a leaking window, which even the inspector said had been done so well it would never have been found at a basic inspection.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. This is a scary story but not an unfamiliar one. Too bad but a good inspector, like you is essential.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 4 years ago

This was very hard to see too, Nina, but it can't hide from Mighty Mo.

Sheila - in Virginia there is no disclosure required, and to hide something makes buying houses even more difficult.

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

Looking beyond what you see is sometimes called experience.  You have it! Thanks for another great post!

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

'Tis, Madame Evelyn, 'tis.

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

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