Tales From The Flip; Have You Seen The Plumber Or What's Wrong Here?

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

The flip house, usually pretty on the inside, bad where it most matters. It's no secret what a house flippers goals are; buy a low priced "distressed" (POS) property, pretty it up for as little money as possible and then sell it for the most money possible. A simple plan, but in actuality it's often a recipe for construction disaster.

What's missing from these pipesThe whole process of the flip is, as with most business ventures, bottom line driven. Costs must be kept on budget and over runs to a minimum. A small construction budget or unexpected expenses will often result in creative solutions for saving money.

Take a look at this new waste piping. Looks good with the exception of the sagging pipe in the fore ground, BUT there is something missing. Actually several somethings.

Because of what is missing it leads to think that a licensed plumber did not put in the pipes. It also makes me think there either there were no permits or there are permits, but they haven't been closed (inspected).

In my experience general contractors in order to save money will sometimes instead of hiring a plumber, electrician or HVAC professional do the jobs themselves. My theory is they believe they can do what they have seen done many times by the real pros. This is plumbing is an example of, if you don't hold the license, you shouldn't be doing the work.

Can you tell what's missing?



James Quarello
2010 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.


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Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

I'd guess it's missing some hanging supports, as well as a "clean out".

Sep 24, 2010 03:55 AM #1
Suzanne Snyder

I'm not seeing any pretty purple glue.

Sep 24, 2010 05:23 AM #2
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Clearly not done by a licensed plumber or a licensed chimney pro.


Sep 24, 2010 07:37 AM #3
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Not having a licensed plumber can be a recipe for disaster, esp when it comes to more major items.  Reinstalling a toilet is one thing.  Fiddling w/ gas, water or waste lines is a completely different matter.

Sep 24, 2010 07:58 AM #4
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Well, starting at the floor level on the left, there is a bottleneck where waste is going to collect.  They used a rubber emergency clamp instead of a pvc fitting.  Can't see whats going on at the top of that stack where the reducing Y is, but it doesn't look good. The line running horizontally by the ceiling has a cleanout that should be at the base of the stack. The 2" line running horizontally has another rubber coupling that is used for a 22.5 bend (or angle is close to that).  Oh an by the way the 2" pvc should be supported every 5' or more.  That's a start.

Sep 24, 2010 08:44 AM #5
Carra & Shae Riley
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!

James.....I'm with Alan - hanging supports.

Sep 24, 2010 08:53 AM #6
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Jim, looks like Jack has it pretty well covered, but that's what an inspector would do. It looks a bit touchy for venting as well, many a sink will back up, or worse, toilet

Sep 24, 2010 11:41 AM #7
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I was going through my list and then read the boy from Ohio's post.  He beat me.  Then Ed jumped in there, beating my next thought, but the vent may be elsewhere, who knows!

But as to other missing somethings - I see a "Y", but a "J" and an "A" are missing...  just saying...

Go team!

Sep 24, 2010 01:28 PM #8
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

What jumps out at me is the missing vent for the bath tub or shower.  Supports too, but those are simple fixes.  

Sep 24, 2010 03:00 PM #9
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Alan, Yes cleanouts and hangers.

Nutsy, Clearly.

Debbie, That's why plumbers have long training an a license.

Jack, I'm sure you could have gone on for a while. It's a mess.

Carra, Yes, that is one thing.

Ed, There is a vent behind the insulation.

Jay, I have them look for those missing letters :)

Reuben, Yep, some of the ixes are simple, some not as much.

Sep 25, 2010 05:59 AM #10
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jim there are lots of things wrong in the picture----and I am supposed to be working :)  But I love the 2" vertical running to the 1-1/2 in coming out of the slab?  What is thepipe coming out of the foundation to the right----maybe 3" into 2"?  There almost has to be venting issues as well as support issues.  Also PEX is insulated

Sep 25, 2010 08:46 AM #11
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


I think that you will have to agree that, in fewer words, Nutsy nailed this one. Now, take Chuckie Bee, he went on for a paragraph versus Wallenda the Wise.

Sep 25, 2010 02:23 PM #12
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James Quarello

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