What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

What Would You Think At Final Walk Through If Landscaping Was Dead?

What would you think at final walk through if landscaping was dead?

We scheduled the walk through.  We went to the walk through.  The doors were unlocked by the builder for the walk through.

It was time for the grand presentation - the great reveal - of my clients' new house.  And we were there to inspect it!

Walking around the outside we were disappointed to see a 9' Holly Tree that was obviously dead.

The decorative grasses and small shrubs along the sidewalk leading to the front door were obviously dead.

In the back yard the lone Cherry Blossom tree had its small limbs easily break off and looked brown inside.  At the base I chipped off some loose bark to reveal what looked like a dead interior.  My pen went right inside!

Two things are supposed  to happen before planting is done:

1.  The soil here has a high clay content.  It is supposed  to be added to with good top soil and sand to break up the clay so it is more conducive to plantings.  Landscapers are supposed  to know all this!

2.  If it is really cold the builders are supposed  to wait for warmer weather.  In this case all the plantings were done during a really cold snap in February.

So, if you were buying a house to find that your landscaping was dead, what would you expect the supervisor to say?

Here we heard, "We do this all the time.  The plants always come back."

Not so sure!

My recommendation:  you never know what will be found on a new construction inspection!  Inside, outside, it doesn't matter.  You MUST have a good look at the property, and in some instances think ahead.  These clients thought ahead to spring, and wanted the guarantee that anything that did not "come back" was on schedule to be replaced!

 

 

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 41 commentsJay Markanich • March 26 2017 11:11AM

Comments

Perhaps they need to change or update their procedure to avoid costly mistakes

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 1 year ago

They sometimes try to slam things into place to make them work, Harry.  Unfortunately, nature's way of doing things sometimes doesn't fit that model.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Hmmm...come back from the dead ?That's a trick...not always !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 1 year ago

Do it right and guess what, you don't have to come back. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 1 year ago

Apparently the builder is referring to the Easter Bunny hopping over to sprinkle magic fairy dust of the plants to revive them ! You did your walk thru too soon !

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 1 year ago

"always"?....That word is a red flag in and of itself.

Posted by Chris Lima, Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you. (Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise) over 1 year ago

Landscaping are not a part of inspections here but a contract calls for the home to be delivered in the as is condition it was when contracted for.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 1 year ago

If they weren't cautious about the landscaping, what shortcuts did they take with the home?

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty & Management) over 1 year ago

It's been done, S&D, but I've never heard about it happening with plants.

Scott - and guess what?  My clients will be back!

Michael - so what's your point?  That doesn't happen every spring?

Never say never, unless you're saying to never say never unless you are referring to never, right Chris?  Or something like that...  says he with a wink.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Joe - they always do it here, but geez, do it right!

Many in this house, Nathan.  Let's just say the builder did not like my report.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Such a great warning, having sold new homes for years, i have seen when builders throw in the landscaping to be able to get a CO to close Jay Markanich. Checking before closing and a good warranty can go a long way 

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 1 year ago

Good morning Jay. Oh how very sad. I would be thinking oh, the work to remove the dead stuff.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 1 year ago

Welcome to the world of homeowner. Now, get to work

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 1 year ago

That's what happened here too Scott.  They had a waiver until spring to do the painting and did it when it was too cold anyway!  A waiver solves this landscape problem.

That should be work left for the builder, Sheila.  IMO.

Richie - after occupancy yes!  There was a tree in back that was planted too close to the house.  I suggested to the buyers that they move it while small.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

What a disappointment that would be. And the thought of all the work to clean up, and the costs to replace! Our new homes here do not come with landscaping (unless you buy a model), just dirt!

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 1 year ago

Landscaping is a selling point here, Jeff.  And the builders make a big deal of it.  Too bad when they don't follow through with the advertisement!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Such a shame and waste when a little preparation would have protected all those plants.

Posted by Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) over 1 year ago

Giving the Buyer an allowance for landscaping usually works for us if there is a winter sale.

Posted by Peter Davies, Exceptional service, without exception... (Borawski Real Estate) over 1 year ago

If it's a builder, you have a warranty. If it's a seller, it's a small claims lawsuit if they do not make restitutions.

Posted by Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D, & Host of Postcards From Success Podcast (Big Block Realty 858.232.8722) over 1 year ago

Replace it, make the builder do it. Try a hold up at closing for it.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 1 year ago

N&T - there'e never time to do it right the first time, but always time to come back later to fix it.  Sound familiar?

At this point, Peter, I think these folks would have preferred that!

Thomas - this is new construction and the warranty does not cover landscaping!

I am pretty sure they got their assurances, Lyn.  How awful if the builder would not come through!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Dead is dead; obviously something wasn't done correctly!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 1 year ago

Hi Jay - I would say hold on. These plants are gone and the builder does not understand landscaping!

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) over 1 year ago

I have started including a sentence to cover dead decoration plants next to the house.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 1 year ago

I'd be writing an addendum before closing that they escrow money away to replace all the plants if they don't come to life in 3 months.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Bob Timm, Project Coordinator for Tivoli Homes (Tivoli Custom Homes) over 1 year ago

Kat - any of many things!  Maybe planting when really cold and no rain since?

Grant - or the landscaper!  One hires hoping the sub knows what should be done!

William - if you advertise "custom landscaping" you should deliver!  Your sentence is a good one.

They are likely doing something just like that, Bob.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Put $1,000 in escrow for 6 months to protect the buyer and if the builder is indeed correct that the plants will bounce back they can get their money released.

Posted by Randy Mitchelson, APR, First Impressions are made at First Click (iPartnerMedia.com #goipm & Homeland Heroes Home Loans) over 1 year ago

That wouldn't be my end of it Randy, but my experience with the builder who built my home was that the contract was weighted so heavily toward the builder that an escrow of any monies was out of the question!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

It's very common for new plantings to die. I suppose you have to look at the contract but also see if there is a contract between town/village. Our commonly have builder responsible for first round of replacements, at least until subdivision is finished. Now living here, we have to replace any tree that dies if it was planted by the builders. CCR's have our information. It's not easy to keep up with everything these days!

Posted by Corinne Guest, Luxury Home Buyer Specialist (Barrington Realty Company) over 1 year ago

Corrine - in this case there was a waiver to wait until spring to plant anything so this wouldn't happen! That waiver was ignored.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

I would think that the property must be in the exact same condition as the day we wrote the contract. That's what our AZ contracts read. The final walk-through is a contingency in the contract and for closing. Everything else is BS.

Posted by Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR, Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations (AZuRE Team - Realty ONE Group) over 1 year ago

This reminds me of when an EP company offered to buy my white elephant of a house in north Tustin some 40 years ago. They were horrible to deal with all the way through the transaction, and my idiot of a husband had purchased $10,000 worth of indoor plants, mostly around our indoor pool. Half were already dead.

The EP company, just before closing, decided to squeeze us a little more and demanded 50% of the plants. You know which 50% I left behind.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) over 1 year ago

I really hope the homebuilder/owner made this right and dug everything up and replanted.

Posted by April Swenson, CRS and Managing Broker - Ocean Shores Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Ocean Shores Brokers) over 1 year ago

I'd get an addendum from the builder stating they they would replace any dead landscaping that didn't come back in the spring.  That's what is being paid for in addition to the house.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) over 1 year ago

I've has this type of thing in new construction as well.  There was a landscape addendum prepared and the builder had to guarantee the plantings for 90 days AFTER the last frost in the area.  My client purchased at the start of winter, and there as no telling in the new plantings were survive the winter.  It was a mild one, so it was fine.  But had it been this winter -- YIKES!   The other altnerative was to WAIT until 90 days AFTER the last freeze to plant.

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 1 year ago

The contract happened before the house was started Richard.  But the clients were informed of a spring waiver and did not expect to see plants at the walk through.  That the plants were dead was a slap in the noggin.

I'm thinking, Elizabeth.  I bet I know, but I'll chew on it a little bit!

That's the hope, April.  I expect things will be made right.

Mick - the selling materials made such a big deal of the "Custom Landscaping" that I expect no one thought an addendum was needed!

Carla - hence the spring waiver in this case, which was not adhered to!  My kingdom for warm planting weather!  Right about now would have been a much better time to do the planting!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

If the builder was really on top of the situation they would have written into the contract that they would come back when the weather permitted or given a credit at closing

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 1 year ago

Not something we have to deal with much in San Diego. Our cold snaps get down into the low 50s.

Posted by Matt Brady, Lending With Competence And Character (Skyline Home Loans) over 1 year ago

Ed - builders aren't that big on changing contracts but I expect there was an addendum of things to be done by closing and the landscaping would have been one of them.

I expect not, Matt!  But then around here we don't worry about whole neighborhoods burning down along with the landscaping, or mud slides washing it away!  We all have our chicken bones in the throat!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

If the builder or landscaper is saying it will come back, I would want it in writing.  Great post and reminder, especially this time of the year.

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) over 1 year ago

That's what I said, Karen!  Nobody would be willing to put that down on paper, but I think they did agree to come back when warmer.

There's a lot to replace!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments