flipping houses: Uh, Oh. New Roof. New Flashing. And sagging. - 06/22/13 02:57 AM
I saw it from the street and then the driveway when I pulled in - and thought ... Uh, oh.  New roof.  New flashing.  And sagging. 
And the flashing isn't done right, it's really high, it covers the old flashing.
THIS IS A PATCH JOB!
The shingles had been jammed under the siding so hard it was bent.  I could see no evidence of step flashing.
I said to my client that I hoped there was no moisture in the wall of the room inside that chimney.
But the sag is pretty pronounced, and measures 2'x5'.
No, I didn't step … (20 comments)

flipping houses: When A Flipped House Boasts New Windows, Beware - And Look Closely! - 06/21/13 02:42 AM
It sounds like such the tired statement - when a flipped house boasts new windows, beware - and look closely! 
If these windows are new (they are wood VERY POORLY covered on the outside with new aluminum wrapping) it is obvious they were not installed properly or professionally.
Just gorgeous.
Installing a window does not simply stick it onto the side of the house.
Installing a window does not "cut and paste" aluminum wrap over what may be an older wood window.
Installing a window does not fill a huge gap with a poor-grade caulking.  Caulking should not fill a gap … (18 comments)

flipping houses: A Wall Oven And A Range Can't Share The Same Circuit, Even On A Flip! - 03/24/13 05:33 AM
If I can, I like to look behind and under things, especially on a flipped house!  And what I saw this time surprised even me - a wall oven and a range can't share the same circuit, even on a flip! 
Yes, some Flippers try to get away with stuff.  But when it's dangerous and so very wrong a client needs to know!
It started like this.  I tried the anti-tip on a range.  Then I looked behind.  Which lead me to the wall ovens.  I moved the doors on a high double wall oven.  The top one was so … (50 comments)

flipping houses: Intentionally Trying To Hide Problems On A Flip - Chapter 3 - 03/17/13 04:45 AM
This will be the last in a series of unfortunate posts regarding a real estate "investor" who is intentionally trying to hide problems on a flip - chapter 3.
In the last post it had been revealed by neighbors that there was a substantial foundation crack, improperly repaired, and water was found inside the house after a very minor rain storm. 
That, and roof problems had apparently been letting moisture into the house for approximately 9 months while the house sat vacant between owners.
The new owner put on a new roof, on top of the old.  They tried to use … (22 comments)

flipping houses: Intentionally Trying To Hide Problems On A Flip - Chapter 2 - 03/16/13 04:02 AM
This is the second post of a couple regarding a circumstance uncovered during a home inspection - one of intentionally trying to hide problems on a flip - chapter 2.
While walking around a flipped house I noticed the ground quite disturbed and then smoothed out at the top end of the house.
The soil was a different color than the rest surrounding the house.
It was shaped unusually, very smooth where the rest of the yard was erratic, full of leaves and sticks from the trees.
It was perfectly level.
The downspouts had new drain lines attached, running away from … (22 comments)

flipping houses: Intentionally Trying To Hide Problems On A Flip - Chapter 1 - 03/15/13 05:37 AM
Intentionally Trying To Hide Problems On A Flip - Chapter 1
These next couple of posts are to show how investors/flippers sometimes try to palm off problems onto others.  It's disgusting.
Walking around this little log cabin by a local lake I saw so many things that bothered me, but I did not know the entirety of what had happened.  Two different neighbors saw me and asked me if I knew the history of recent work done on this house. 
WHAT THEY EACH HAD TO SAY WAS CONSISTENT, SO THEY DIDN'T MAKE IT UP, AND THEY WERE EXTREMELY HELPFUL!  BY THE … (34 comments)

flipping houses: One Size Doesn't Fit All - 12/26/12 03:59 AM
Anytime you hear that one size fits all, you can be sure that it isn't true.  It simply can't be.  Things, situations, needs and people are all different!
So when I see an old panel box with all old breakers in a flipped property with the sign out front that says, "MUST SEE INSIDE!", I know it will be fun.
Circuit breakers have different numbers for different reasons.
The larger the number the heavier the electrical need of the appliance that the breaker is servicing.
And, since it is a larger electrical need and a "larger" breaker, the cable must necessarily … (39 comments)

flipping houses: The Buyer Got That Sinking Feeling, Before We Went Inside - 10/11/12 03:22 AM
I am not a fan of greeting a buyer and then showing them bad news from the parking lot, but in this case the buyer got that sinking feeling, before we went inside.
It was the sinking stairs and stoop that caused that feeling!
To make it worse, Flipper FIXED it!
This is the view I got from my car as I pulled up to the house.
I knew from my conversation with the buyer that this was a flip.
They felt there were some things "just not right with the house."
When the buyer says that, you know you are … (29 comments)

flipping houses: Finding Fun Flipper Fodder - 07/15/12 04:26 AM
It isn't hard to do and it's always something to post after finding fun flipper fodder.
Going downstairs I immediately noticed that the staircase was sans handrail.
Mentioning that to my clients they said when they asked about one, Flipper (not his real name) told them he had looked up the code.
The code told him that the requirements said this staircase was not "wide" enough for a handrail.
To that I said, "Ummmm..."  Direct quote.
This staircase is actually wider than a lot at 38". 
It certainly requires a handrail.
So I had a little fun with it.
On the … (40 comments)

flipping houses: The Good, The Bad And The Smokey - 07/09/12 03:44 AM
How often do we home inspectors see something that is correct and incorrect at the same time? 
In this case, it was the good, the bad and the smokey.
Every gas appliance should have access to its shut-off valve within 4' of the unit and on the same level.
Oftentimes I see this kind of installation on a flip and the valve is in the basement ceiling just below.
The valve cannot be on a different level of the house.
In this case Flipper, not his real name, put the valve behind the range, and inside the island into which the … (61 comments)

flipping houses: Flip List - 03/02/12 04:03 AM
On this house, the selling agent, FOF (Friend Of Flipper) created quite the little disclosure issue for him/herself.
A Flip List was left on the kitchen counter.  It left for the buyer all the things done by the Flipper to "improve" the house.
I am sure the list is true.  And I am sure the "improvements" were not done with any permit whatever.
"New roof and roof flashing" was on the list.
No permit is needed in Virginia to put on new roof shingles.
And everything was new - shingles, plumbing penetration sleeves and chimney flashing.
Obviously the previous roof covering … (26 comments)

flipping houses: Don't Fall For This Trap! - 02/29/12 04:01 AM
It was a dark and stormy night, um, it was a very nice morning and a terrific couple buying a house.  The husband had called me a couple of days prior to the inspection with some very circumspect questions.   This was a house with a lot of "remodeling," but he was told that the "$100K or so" put into it was only "cosmetic."   OK...
Well, you know me - that sent all of my radar dishes pointing in the same direction.
We had a nice conversation and he heard all my typical spiels.  The biggest issue, as always, is getting a … (61 comments)

flipping houses: Flipper Fodder 3 - Foaming That Flashing! - 08/19/11 05:30 AM
Seeing this flashing "repair" from the outside, I could hardly wait to see what was going on inside to warrant such an over-the-top "solution!"  Just remember, things aren't always repaired by foaming that flashing!
I think Flipper noticed that water had been coming in and wetting the firewall between units.
This is an older neighborhood, built in the 70s, so the firewall between townhouses is masonry.
Apparently some really good Internet investigation revealed some products new to Flipper - shingle drip edges, fascia boards, counter flashing and poly foam!
Yes, the wonderful poly foam!
And he went to work!
There was … (15 comments)

flipping houses: Flipper Fodder 2 - Trapless In Virginia - 08/18/11 07:40 AM
Something like this post is about would in fact keep you SLEEPLESS in Virginia, if not checked!
One of the advertising points of a recent flip was "Gorgeous New Powder Room."  And it was gorgeous!  But in looking around, first with my nose, I discovered more Flipper Fodder - trapless in Virginia.
New flooring, very nice cabinet and sink combination, granite top - this is a very pretty piece to see when you walk by the powder room.
Okay, the receptacle is too close to the sink and no, it is not GFI protected.
Did I expect it to be?  I … (54 comments)

flipping houses: Flipper Fodder 1 - A Hose With A View - 08/17/11 06:24 AM
I can usually tell when a house is a flipped property.  In this case it was the "jewel" in the crown of this particular townhouse neighborhood.
Well, a jewel until you have a look, that is.
I have so much fun with flippers that I thought I'd start a series called FLIPPER FODDER!  And the series begins with today's post - Flipper Fodder - A Hose With A View.
In this neighborhood all of the houses have a shed protruding from the back.  It is 4'x8' or so, and contains the electric panel box and room for garden things.
Looking over … (33 comments)

flipping houses: "Stunning Professional Patio And Stairs" - 08/03/11 06:55 AM
Thus read the Flipper's Fantastic Features list.  Impressive list too.  You already met the fridge.  Now would you like to see the stunning professional patio and stairs? 
It is all very stunning.
Level, square, and sturdy.
OK, the new aluminum wrap is getting a little stepped on under the door.
But that is only a slight oversight.
But all is not as it appears.
The patio does have some sinking areas in spots and some loose pavers.
But that is not what I focused on.
Looking at the stairs from the outside, before everyone arrived, it didn't look right.
I noticed, … (39 comments)

flipping houses: Mommy, I'm Hot. Then Go Stand Behind The Fridge... - 08/02/11 03:35 PM
Flips always provide so much fun.  I run into things on every inspection of a flipped house that I have never seen before.  And never before imagined!
Take this fridge for instance.
It's not the best, but not the lowest quality either.
It was moved from the other side of the kitchen to this side.  It looks great!
You can see that the wall was changed to accommodate this new location. 
And you can see that this opening was created specifically for THIS PARTICULAR FRIDGE!
That's never good thinking.  When the time comes to buy a new fridge, the owner better … (68 comments)

flipping houses: Don't Trim Those Toe Nails! - 06/03/11 07:35 AM
Toe nailing is a valid carpentry technique.  But for the most part it is a temporary tacking of one thing to another by nailing two things together at an angle.  Then proper attachment can be made.  Toe nailing is seldom, if ever, intended for long-term attachment or support with heavy material.
Walking around this deck, only about 4' high, I noticed that every single guardrail post had been toe nailed to the decking!
Don't trim those toe nails!
You can see how substantially attached that post is to the deck (he sarcastically notes).  Many wobbled a lot!  Rock on dude...
Despite … (54 comments)

flipping houses: When An HVAC Register Blows No Air - 05/26/11 02:42 PM
Nothing unusual on a flip to find a new heating and air conditioning system.  And such a new system often has new duct work as well.  Such was the case in this house.
So, in this bathroom ceiling, I saw a new HVAC register.  Looking inside I also saw new duct work.
But after turning on the system, and I checked again, there was NO air flow.  Zip, zero, nada, as they say.
What do you say when an HVAC register blows no air?
Looking around further, there was not another single HVAC register in the ceiling.  This was the only … (32 comments)

flipping houses: Gas Shut-Off Valves - 05/23/11 06:41 AM
When a house has gas appliances, the gas shut-off valves should be easy to get to.  And you should know where it is!  The idea is to have it nearby should it need to be turned off for repairs or emergency.  All codes reflect this!
Walking into a recent inspection on a flip, before I put my bag down, I noticed that the very nice granite counter top was cut to accommodate a much larger gas cook top!
That was funny in itself, which the Realtor and buyers had not noticed on their previous trips to the house.
The Realtor looked … (33 comments)

 
Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) Rainmaker large

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bristow, VA

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Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Address: 12315 Sherborne Street, Bristow, VA, 20136

Mobile: (703) 585-7560

Office: (703) 330-6388

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