What I'm Seeing Now

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Because One Thing Leads To Another

I have the tendency to notice things about a house I am to inspect when I am driving up to it.  When pulling up to this seven year old house I noticed even before I got into the driveway that the front porch roof seemed to incline toward the house.  Looking closer I determined that it did!

That isn't good.  Because one thing leads to another.

Then I noticed the staining on the brick.  You can see it running from the inside corner of the porch roof all the way to ground beside the garage door.  It also caused efflorescence on the brick.

Beside the front door there was staining and rot in the molding.

Inside the house there was staining on the drywall over the transom window.

In the living room there was staining on the floor molding and some damage to the hardwood flooring under and to the left of the window nearest the front door.  And staining and cracking in the drywall.

In the garage, there was staining on the ceiling under that window and in the drywall on the upper left corner of the garage door.  And more cracking in the drywall there.

That isn't good.  Because one thing leads to another.

It had not rained in some time.  There was no moisture to detect, either with an IR camera or a moisture meter.  But there looked like there was stress over the garage door.  Was the front of the house resting on a steel beam for support or a built-up micro-laminate (wood) beam?  The brick would have its own angle-iron or steel beam support.  But sometimes the house itself is supported another way. 

The cracks in the drywall, in the living room above and in the garage below, indicated movement.  And that movement was right where moisture had been getting in from that front porch roof.  Not being invasive during a home inspection, I had little choice but to suggest that it be evaluated by a structural engineer.  My clients took my advice.

After all, by then I had convinced them of that because one thing leads to another.

The sellers allowed an engineer to the house.  He opened up the wood trim covering the support behind the brick work to expose the support.  He called me telling me that I would want to see this! 

This is what that revealed.  The entire front of the house was resting on a triple micro-laminate beam.  While very strong when dry, this beam system had gotten so wet it had begun not only to rot but attract termites!

The engineer said that the house was essentially resting on the one remaining interior beam.  That is testimony in itself as to how strong those things are!  A later termite inspection revealed that the vertical support under those beams was similarly infested with termites!  Yikes!!

The engineer said it was only a short period of time before the house may have collapsed!  Maybe even before settlement.  What a DISASTER that would have been...

And why?  Because one thing leads to another!

Even the sellers were grateful for the home inspection.  It cost them the immediate sale of the house, but allowed them the opportunity to fix it and make their house safe.  But still, they were grateful for the home inspection!

Wouldn't you be?

My recommendation:  recognize that houses are intricate systems.  Things are interconnected.  One thing does lead to another.  If you pay attention to the little things, the big things will often take care of themselves.

And get a home inspection!

 

 

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 49 commentsJay Markanich • August 09 2018 09:31AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay Markanich wow...imagine the unsuspecting soul who was buying that home and not having an inspection....OR selecting the wrong inspector!!!!!  one thing certainly did lead to another in this home.... 

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 10 days ago

I agree with the other comments wow.  Who could figure this might b the real story.  

Posted by Peter Mohylsky, Your Bucket List Broker Along Scenic 30A (BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE) 10 days ago

Jay Markanich 
When we know to spot a big "no-no" -- we become wary of everything there! Because one thing leads to another!

Once asked a Client to leave a home because the brick inside the firebox was laid at a 15-18 degree angle. DIAGONAL JOINTS!!! Didn't want to imagine everything else we would find wrong ...
Hope you are well - Lynn

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) 10 days ago

Wow...your eagle eye paid BIG dividends for BOTH the Buyer and the Seller...Great Work !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 10 days ago

Good morning Jay. A great explanation of how on thing leads to another. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker (Wayne M Martin) 10 days ago

Good morning 

Thank you for sharing your information with us 

Have a great day.

08/09/2018. 

Posted by Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTACONDOS.COM, Associate Broker (Harry Norman, REALTORS® ) 10 days ago

Good  morning Jay Markanich,

So glad to see this post featured! Your eagle eye sure made a difference for this buyer and seller. One things does lead to another because things are interconnected! Always..always get a home inspected!

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) 10 days ago

This would have been a home that should have been inspected before listing. 

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) 10 days ago

Jay, there is seldom only one issue when you find a problem

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) 10 days ago

It is amazing that this listing agent didn't insist on a home inspection prior to listing the home (or maybe they did and the request fell on deaf ears).  

Posted by Shirley Coomer, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az (Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living) 10 days ago

When a professional gets involved...expect problems to be uncovered BUT with solutions...

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) 10 days ago

I am a firm believer that home inspections protect the seller as much as they do the buyer.  

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 10 days ago

Jay Markanich  Those dirty little termites!!! And water can be no friend at times... It giveth and it can a taketh 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) 10 days ago

yikes!!  Hey, a termite's gotta eat, too... but not on my home.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) 10 days ago

What a nightmare but so glad the owners were able and willing to get that fixed.  Yikes!

Posted by Francine Viola, Realtor, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) 10 days ago

Jay I wonder how much the fix for this problem cost the seller?

Posted by Mike Frazier, Northwest Tennessee Realtor (Carousel Realty of Dyer County) 10 days ago

Barbara - imagine what would have happened to the home inspector who did not see this!  And then the house collapsed!

'Twas, Peter, 'twas totally true!

Lynn - that could have been a problem!  Gee, you think?

Thanks, S&D.  This was a big deal and a big problem averted just in time.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 days ago

Thanks Wayne!  And I will!

Glad you could stop by, Anthony.

Thank you, Dorie.  I'm glad this worked out so well for everybody.

Joe - I've been trying to crack that pre-listing market around here for a long time, without much success!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 days ago

Usually not, William.  And sometimes the list gets extensive.

Shirley - see my answer to Joe above!  Around here people seem to want to wait to see what a home inspector will find so they can decide what to do, if anything.  Virginia is a non-disclosure state, so nobody has to say anything about anything when selling the house.

Richie - the solution here was extensive, but they did it!

Me too, Myrl, but around here I am told only about 70% of sold houses have inspections.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 days ago

It do at taketh, Don.  Water is THE killer of houses!

Alan - for every human there are 1000 pounds of termites, and termites create 15 times more CO2 than all human activity every year.  Don't tell that to the carbon tax people...  what a crushing blow that would be!  Then they'd say we need to pay for the termites too!

Francine - methinks they had no choice!  I bet the engineering report was frightening.

I don't know, Mike, because I'm not in that loop.  But I bet it wasn't cheap!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 days ago

Wow, Jay, how frightening for the sellers to learn their house was ready to potentially collapse! I am glad you saw the signs of damage and the buyers and sellers listened to you!

Posted by Marney Kirk, Towson, Maryland Real Estate (Cummings & Co. Realtors) 10 days ago

It's amazing that the homeowner never saw the initial damage that started the domino's falling and leading to structural issues.  A home, like any building is a living, breathing organism that needs to be maintained properly.  If not nurtured and cared for it will fall into disrepair and as you pointed out "One thing leads to another!"

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) 10 days ago

Marney - when I heard the engineer's verdict I was surprised too!  It was worse than I thought.  But, of course, during a home inspection I am not able to be invasive or take things apart to see them.

Stephen - I saw the initial problem at the roof and from there it was just a matter of following the bread crumbs.  And yes, the homeowner probably saw it all too and did not know what it was.  Sometimes people don't connect one thing to another like I do.  For instance, the stains in the garage ceiling could be connected to the front porch roof?  Really?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 days ago

Hmmm... sounds like houses are a lot like bodies - all things are interconnected.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) 9 days ago

It's a great story - good enough to be a horror show!  You have a good eye for the worst case scenario.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) 9 days ago

Marte - years ago I had a blog post on that very metaphor!

Georgie - I have been doing this for 38 years and know where the first clue can ultimately lead.  And in this case it did!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 9 days ago

What a crisis that could have been. Can't help but think of lives saved. Perfect title for the post!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) 9 days ago

So much for the old saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff."

Posted by Allen Lomax, WNC Mountain Homes & Horse Farms Specialists (Steed Talker Realty is with two hours of Tryon International Equestrian Center and we offer the best properties in the area.) 9 days ago

It is always interesting how these problems tend to snowball.  We got a new AC installed at one of our properties and because the old unit was not pushing out enough cold air, the new unit was able to do double the output.  Well this led to condensation forming on one of the interior ducts.  Something you would have no way to predict.  

Posted by Kevin Mackessy, Dedicated. Qualified. Local. (Blue Olive Properties, LLC) 9 days ago

That's quite a story. Fortunately this was all uncovered during the inspections.  I enjoy reading blogs from inspectors--always an interesting post

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) 9 days ago

You are absolutely correct. One thing leads to another, and water is not a house's friend.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) 8 days ago

Possibly Sharon.  But imagine if someone had been hurt and I had not identified the problem!

Allen - a roof slanted the wrong way may seem small, but obviously isn't!

Kevin - is it an older house?  Older ductwork was not intended to handle the amount of air newer systems demand and put out.

Thank you, Mary!  I enjoy reading them too!

Water is THE killer of houses, Kat.  And will always be!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 8 days ago

Well done, Jay Markanich. A professional inspection is a must and common practice in our area. I'm surprised an estimated 30% in yours don't do one. This story should be proof to anyone doubting the importance!

Thanks for sharing,
Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) 8 days ago

Thank you, Bruce.  I think it's a must no matter what!  Pre-drywall on new construction is just as important (despite what the builder says...)!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 8 days ago

Jay Markanich - DO you go as far south as King George? I have a sale there (I hope) - it is a Ryan home - new construction - and if the owner gets his loan approved he will need to do a home inspection 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) 6 days ago

I was there just a few weeks ago, Lise.  It's about an hour and a half drive.  I do hit the buyer up for an additional fee, but not huge.  We can talk about it!  New construction is the perfect candidate for thermal imaging to see the insulation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 6 days ago

Congratulations, Jay, on your feature recognition. This is quite a story to share.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) 6 days ago

Thanks Roy.  The story had a good ending.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 6 days ago

Good morning Jay. This is very very scary but thank G-d you saw it and the house was able to be fixed.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 6 days ago

Like I said, Sheila, the story had a good ending!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 6 days ago

Jay- I'm so glad that this was featured!! And yes, one thing leads to another but in this case thankfully it was not someone getting hurt. Just think if you had not discovered this, the sellers might have had serious injuries. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 6 days ago

Thanks Kathy.  This could have been a real disaster.  Some things I really do see driving up to the house!  And they scream for further investigation.

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

Wow!  Great catch Jay.  This saved a huge issue for the buyers.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 5 days ago

It was very important, Gabe.  The sellers fixed it and the house sold at a later date.

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

That's a good instinct to have, I have that also.... sometimes a curse and hard to turn off! How many stores or malls do you go to and see that stuff and can't stop looking at it... lol, help!

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

Fred - when I went to Disneyworld I walked into every building and inspected it!  That place is built like a brick funhouse!

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

Wow! That's some story and yes, one thing leads to another.  Good thing the sellers were okay with the beam being exposed.  Good for them for hopefully making the needed repairs before the house shrunk, literally!  Congrats on this well deserved feature!   Buyer beware1

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

The sellers could have painted and covered up a lot of the damage.  Good thing they didn't.  As a visual inspection how would you have found the problems without all the stains on the paint?

Posted by Susan McCall, Everyone needs a home, Quickly, professionally and with a little fun! (Compass Realty Solutions, Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA) 4 days ago

I was glad they were amenable to that too, Jan.  And they were glad they did!

There were still the stains outdoors, Susan.  And they were the more indicative as they led to the thinking about the area over the garage trim.

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

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