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Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 31 July 2012 - 07/31/12 03:52 AM
"What does 'economic justice' mean, except that you want something that someone else produced, without having to produce anything yourself in return?" Thomas Sowell Wow, that sounds like gubment! But I digress... Economic justice. It just sounds good. It really sounds good! What is it? My Oxford dictionary defines "justice" as: treat or represent someone or something with due fairness. Again, the question may be asked, what is "due?" Interestingly, the Center for Economic Justice and Equality defines economic justice as: "Economic justice, which touches the individual person as well as the social order, encompasses the moral principles which guide us (20 comments)
A Home Inspector Who Is In Business To Scare People - 07/30/12 03:08 AM
During the inspection the water was turned off. It is very difficult, well impossible to do a complete home inspection without water. My client's plan was to have me return for their final walk through when the water was on to see what we could and test everything water related. One thing I noticed without the water being on was a severely wobbly toilet in the master bathroom. There are ceramic tile floors there, so I explained to my clients the situation, that the transition between the floor and toilet bowl is a wax donut, how water can leak down and (35 comments)
A Chimney Cricket Needed (Not A Jiminy Cricket) - 07/29/12 03:30 AM
You remember Jiminy Cricket? He was Pinocchio's friend, and a metaphor for his conscience. I never saw him on a roof. Depending on how a chimney is positioned on a roof, and how wide it is, a chimney cricket is the way to go. On a wide chimney, wider than 30"or so, and a steep slope, a cricket really is essential. So when I did not see a cricket behind this chimney, of course I recommended one. INSTALLING ONE HERE WOULD CERTAINLY BE A BEST PRACTICE. Another problem here is that the flashing is very short. When water cascades down a (40 comments)
Uncle Bob The Builder - 07/28/12 03:39 AM
When addendum repairs are promised and then receipts are provided, why do so many Realtors get the gut feeling that Uncle Bob the Builder did the work? In the case of this house, and the numbers of "repairs" done, that gut feeling came through in flying colors. And, frankly, Uncle Bob's work would probably have been preferable to the guy, or guys, hired to do the requested repairs! And all were done with "receipts" of a "professional, licensed contractor." YUMMIE! The Realtor did what was thought important and necessary to protect the buyer. But, alas and alack, and despite all good-faith (53 comments)
"All Repairs Done By Licensed Professionals, With Receipts Provided" - 07/27/12 03:30 AM
Pick your phrase when a sales contract's addendum identifies something and the seller agrees to get it done - all repairs done by licensed professional, with receipts provided." It doesn't matter how you word it. This phraseology is to prevent Uncle Bob from coming over and "fixing" something wrong. SO WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU GET REPAIRS LIKE THIS, WITH A RECEIPT PROVIDED BY A LICENSED COMPANY? Incredibly, you might be thinking you are looking at the same "repair." NO! These are two different "repairs!" This roofer is consistent however - they look remarkably similar to three more "repairs" on (25 comments)
Not Venting Is, Well, Not Venting - 07/26/12 03:31 AM
When it comes to bathroom vents, not venting is, well, not venting. This is after the "repair." There were a number of things on a house that needed doing. The selling agent, and my client, received notification from the other party that "everything on the addendum list was done." One thing to be done was to exhaust the bathroom vents outdoors. On our original inspection, I noticed that they both vented into the attic. Easy enough. During my reinspection, I checked. Neither was drawing air. So I looked in the attic! Both looked like this, serpentine, up and down and connected (33 comments)
My Bad - 07/25/12 03:28 AM
I would say that 99% of the time when a cable or satellite guy goes into an attic space, the insulation is moved, depressed, brushed out of the way to run cable lines, or whatever. It is so common that on a recent inspection I made the insulation was as expected and it was so mentioned on the report. What I did NOT do was take a photo or two. MY BAD. What had happened was that after moving in the sellers had ceiling fans installed in each of three bedrooms. To do that the installer created what I called "hiking (19 comments)
"With our present knowledge, no definition can be given of the latent force, which, possessing all the conditions of attraction and repulsion associated with it, is free of magnetism. If it is a condition of electricity, robbed of all electrical phenomena, or magnetic force, repellent to the phenomena associated with magnetic development, the only philosophical conclusion that I can arrive at is that this undefinable element is the soul of matter." John Worrell Keely (1837 - 1898) In 1872 a carpenter and mechanic in Philadelphia announced that he had discovered a new form of energy. He got the idea from (18 comments)
"There Is No Point In Getting An Estimate. There Is No Problem." - 07/23/12 04:17 AM
"There is no point in getting an estimate," said the sellers. "There is no problem." One area that frequently has problems on an older home is the large window over a front door. The double window, with one square and another rounded palladium window on top is the worst. This is the window over our front door. There is no problem with this installation, and it has been there for 15 years. The problem I find most frequently is that the installation leaks. It leaks between the two different windows.It leaks around the sides.It leaks at the bottom. IT LEAKS! Here (45 comments)
Screwing It Up - 07/22/12 03:38 AM
There is many a thing I like to see installed by screwing it up. Drywall is one.Decking boards would be another.Kitchen cabinets, with the proper screws.Guardrails, support joists, long beams - all screwed, or lagged, or bolted to screws - all good when screwed up. How about when a kitchen cabinet drawer pops off. Should it be repaired by screwing it up?
Apparently, screwing it up really tightly is very important too. And don't forget - ALL FOUR CORNERS! When you're going to screw it up, you want to screw it all up! This drawer front apparently came off somehow. (51 comments)
Rounding Up Or Rounding Down, An Accounting Still Needs To Be Made - 07/21/12 03:32 AM
All of the houses on this block have the same situation at the rear door - it is about 4' high from the ground. So something needs to be done - stairs of some kind, small deck, maybe a patio. When buyers want to do their own thing the builder will leave some form of barrier so the rear door cannot be used until the rear exit is accommodated by the homeowner. Coming around to the back yard, what did I spy with my little eye? What I call the "ice cream cone" staircase! My first problem with this kind of (20 comments)
Thinking Too Deeply - 07/19/12 03:55 AM
When someone is thinking too deeply, they can get trapped in an idea. And what was imagined ends up not becoming exactly what it should, and isn't right. Getting trapped in an idea is exactly what has happened here. Turning on the water in this sink to test it I noticed that it drained very slowly. VERY slowly. The pop up drain maybe could have opened a little higher and needed an adjustment. But still, it drained VERY slowly! Hair? Goopy clog? Looking underneath I think we know why! Ideally a trap under a sink is about 4" deep. That's deep (35 comments)
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 17 July 2012 - 07/17/12 04:57 AM
"The Founders knew that the role of a moral government is to create the conditions of liberty and opportunity so that each of us can define success as we see fit and then work with all our might to attain it. Their visionary insight was that allowing us to earn our success is precisely what gives each of us the best chance at achieving real happiness." Arthur C. BrooksPresident, American Enterprise Institute The Founding Fathers knew this because they were scholars and circumspect as to the prevailing cases for free enterprise. If you are going to establish a nation based on (13 comments)
Cracking Under The Pressure - 07/16/12 05:15 AM
Cracking under the pressure. You hear that story all the time. We all have our cracking point. No matter the context, and no matter how strong we are, there is always a breaking point. And we feel badly! This house demonstrates an architectural, or other design, flaw. This photo looks at half of the rear roof. Look carefully. Virtually all of the rain water (that's a LOT of water) for that half is directed to one little gutter and one downspout. See it now? That gutter is about 5' long! And it is the narrower 5" gutter and smaller downspout. You (36 comments)
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)
I Had A Slip And Fall Client, And He's Not A Lawyer! - 07/14/12 04:44 AM
In order to completely finish the pre-drywall inspection I wanted to see how a space would be completed at the end of construction. That required we go to the model home of this particular elevation. This is a row of townhome condos, with designs that leave no room in front or behind for the AC compressors. That puts the compressors on the roofs. You can see the trap door to the spot in the photo on the left. This is fine. Difficult to get to for service or periodic inspections, but doable. So, during the inspection and learning this fact, I (49 comments)
If What You CAN See Doesn't Ring True, What About What You Can't See? - 07/13/12 03:40 AM
If what you CAN see doesn't ring true, what about what you can't see? That's a pretty good motto on a home inspection. It is an ESPECIALLY good motto on new construction. If something isn't done right in one place, why expect it to be right everywhere else? If something was not installed the way it was advertised in one place, why expect it to be installed as advertised elsewhere? Insulation advertised to be of a certain R-value, with vapor retardation and ALL stapled into place should be. The insulation that was visible in the attic space behind a tall cathedral-ceiling (20 comments)
Don't Bump The Poor Plumber With Your Car Door! - 07/12/12 04:58 AM
Here is an interesting installation! I have never seen this before! Don't bump the poor plumber with your car door! This is new construction. That is a plumbing clean out. You've seen them. They have a cap with a square head, and the cover can be twisted off so the plumber can send a snake down to clean out a clog. Depending on the size of the house there are 1 or 2 or 3 indoors, and one outdoors. Sometimes in townhouses they are buried in the driveway behind the house. Flush to the concrete or asphalt, the cover can be (22 comments)
So, Was There EVER Basement Water Or Was There Not? - 07/11/12 04:46 AM
So, was there EVER basement water or was there not? My clients have had a history of floods in their house. Some people seem to attract lightening. These people seem to attract basement water! This house is occupied since 1976 by the same people, who are retiring and moving elsewhere. During their first visit my clients asked if there was ever a flood or other water in the basement. They have sensitivities and just don't want to deal with it. They were told no. Entering the basement "rec room," I noticed minute mud stains in the seams of what looked to (64 comments)
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 10 July 2012 - 07/10/12 04:12 AM
"My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren't so because of what they know, but because of their exceptional need to know more." Milton Hershey (1857-1945) In his late teens and early twenties Milton Hershey traveled with his salesman father on lengthy trips. Paying attention and learning, but knowing he did not want to be a salesman, at 27 he established the Lancaster Caramel Company utilizing a recipe he had picked up during his sales travels. Impressed with the machinery to make German chocolate at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, he bought it! He (38 comments)
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)
Is YOUR Stud Supportive? - 07/08/12 03:23 AM
Well, the question remains - is YOUR stud supportive? Studs sometimes have to be jacks of all trades! They should be long, tall, strong - everything you want in a stud! This steel beam is a MAJOR load point under one side of this house. It continues from here behind the photo to anchor into a foundation wall. And it continues from here forward another 10' or so. Looking into the gap, that span is supported by, yes, 2x4 studs! And part of that 10' is a six foot opening for a double door into a bath/laundry room! The load point (22 comments)
Max Headroom Or Minimum Headroom - Which Would YOU Want? - 07/07/12 03:07 AM
So, take your pick, Max Headroom or minimum headroom - which would YOU want? This is a flip. A previous, small house was razed in favor of a large, expensive house. Everything was made newer and larger - from the foundation to the roof. Pulling up to it, from the street, it gives every appearance of being a wonderful house! After spending many hours there one fine day, there are many, many things that make themselves obvious that much of the house was put together by people who are not professionals in the trade they worked on. Name your system - (44 comments)
Obviously, when there is so much healthy stuff to choose from, and I mean, literally, a couple of dozen really, really healthy items, it is hard to write a blog post about healthy eating. Healthy eating is essential! In today's world, with so much abundance and food creativity, it is hard to not make your daily allotment in each of the health-eating food groups. We have those groups represented above - from left to right - solids, fats, chocolate and candy! Four and five servings in each of the healthy-eating food (18 comments)
"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves. The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable." Sir Roger BannisterThe first man to break a 4-minute milePhoto taken in 2009 How many of us have done something previously thought to be impossible? It was thought to be physically impossible for a human (26 comments)
See Something Not Thought Out Completely? Bring It Up! - 07/02/12 04:34 AM
The HVAC system on a house is just that - a system! When installers are not completely thinking the sytem is much, much less efficient. The exterior wall of a house is composed of an exterior "skin," (some form of siding) to shed water and wind, an exterior sub wall (plastic wrap and something basically structural), structural framing composed of wood or metal studs (2x4s, 2x6s), insulation, sometimes a vapor retardation indoors, and drywall. Basically that is it. There are variances, of course. However, if the outside wall is composed of 2x4s, the space is narrow. There is not much room (39 comments)
Jumping Jack Flash, It's A Gas, Gas, Gas! - 07/01/12 04:49 AM
During a pre-drywall inspection, one thing very important to look for are sturdy, metal plates covering any electrical or plumbing installation that could possibly be hit by a nail. The last thing you would want is to hang that beautiful painting and have sparks or water spewing from the wall when your nail punctures something you did not know was there! Imagining what it would be like to do that with a gas line kind of sticks in my craw (if I had a craw that is...). One thing we can't have enough of in life is peg board. You might (43 comments)
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