Romeo Could Be Out of Luck

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Romeo & JulietI confess to have never seen a play, whether in person or on TV, by the renown William Shakespeare. I am familiar, and who isn't, with his characters Romeo and Juliet. The balcony scene is iconic. But suppose the balcony was old and rickety. Would Juliet risk injury for a covert encounter with her lover Romeo on such a tremulous platform?

Looking at this balcony one would be inclined to believe Juliet, in a act of self preservation, would have let pass the eloquent words of her love smitten Romeo unheeded, to fade softly away into the starry night.

Unsafe balcony off a second floor apartmentAnd who would blame her!

This "balcony" was clearly a DIY project as was much of the construction I found in and around this particular house. The ladder on the left would make the most intrepid Romeo think thrice about ascending to his beloved.

The railing system is substantially lower than would be required. It is also broken and very loose. If one were to lean over the edge to say lend a helping hand to their scaling suitor, it would indeed be a tragedy. Further the points where the structure contacts the roof of the garage have been causing leaks. From my estimation, judging by the amount of stains, roofing tar and wood decay found in and around the area, for years. The end board has simply, as far as I could see, been laid on the roof without any means of attachment. The thought may have been to penetrate the roof would have caused leaks.

Unsafe guardrails and ladder stairway

Good thinking.

The door onto the balcony is from the second floor apartment. The reason for the balcony may have been, believe it or not, safety driven. The balcony and ladder could have been intended as a means of emergency egress. Or it was simply an incredibly bad idea.

If Romeo comes a callin', Juliet would be wise use the back door.



Posted by

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

 ASHI Certified Inspector

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Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Romeo..where for art though? Juliet, I am not coming over because it is not safe...Get an inspection, then do repairs and though shall be fair

Jun 03, 2013 12:03 AM #9
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Love the analogy, although in today's day, Juliet would probably have texted Romeo.  I have a neighbor whose balcony is missing all sorts of necessary pieces.  I'm just waiting for the entire thing to crash. Luckily no one would even think of using it.

Jun 03, 2013 12:35 AM #10
Brian Schulte
Allison James Estates & Homes - Sierra Vista, AZ
SFR, Sierra Vista, AZ

Love your article and in response for all the houses out there:

"Buyer, Buyer, wherefore art thou Buyer?"   Keep Smilin'

Jun 03, 2013 01:02 AM #11
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

"I confess to have never seen a play, whether in person or on TV, by the renown William Shakespeare."  And with Stratford so nearby?  I am dumbfounded :)

Jun 03, 2013 01:02 AM #12
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi James,

Looks like another fine add on job by the famous "Uncle Bob".

All you can do is shake your head and write it up.

Have a good day in Connecticut.

Best, Clint McKie

Jun 03, 2013 01:13 AM #13
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886
A very scary balcony indeed!
Jun 03, 2013 01:18 AM #14
Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

Amazing what can look great to a do-it-yourself deck builder.  Thanks for sharing the accident waiting to happen.

Jun 03, 2013 02:36 AM #15
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Nothing like a balcony for emergency egress!  Did you offer an object lesson and bounce up and down on it, just to show motion of course?

Jun 03, 2013 03:57 AM #17
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA

Jim -- Looks like they will need to be removing some things around that house.  And I see that Jay got you thinking about the Bard, so you could come up with this great analogy!

Jun 03, 2013 04:39 AM #18
Kevin Henry
Henry Realty - Fort Wayne, IN

I think both are in for a short ride south.

Jun 03, 2013 04:41 AM #19
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Cleverly written.  It doesn't sound like Romeo would have had a chance. Interesting thoughts.


Jun 03, 2013 05:47 AM #20
Juliette Kim
ActiveRain - Renton, WA

Ah, good to know! I'll keep this in mind next time James. ;) Great post!

Jun 03, 2013 05:53 AM #21
Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Weighing in at over 200 LBS. Self made balconies are not my thing. Hate surprises.

Jun 03, 2013 07:17 AM #22
Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Romeo could have caused Julia to kill herself here instead of taking poison.

Jun 03, 2013 01:47 PM #23
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Andrea, Thanks. One has to have a sense of humor in this job. There is certainly a lot to laugh at, but this is a serious problem. 

Fred, Isn't getting to the ground the ultimate goal ;)

Tom, Ahhh, you may be onto something.

Kent, Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

Harry, That was my advice here, take it out.

Wayne & Jean, Thanks.

Andrew, One possible conclusion to this tragedy. 

Michael, It sure is. 

Brian, Thanks. One must keep a sense of humor in this job.

Richie, :)

Kat, I have to agree, texting. That could have been a fit into the story :)


Jun 03, 2013 09:50 PM #24
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Charlie, Knowing you my friend, I have a feeling you have seen it many times :)

Clint, Yep. Bout all you can do...and write a blog :)

Kathy, Yep.

Edward & Celia, Your welcome.

Jay, Curses. I didn't think of that :)

Steven, Yep, my advice was to remove it.

Kevin, Yep, fore sure.

Betty, Thanks.

Juliette, Thanks. 

Bill, This one would have made you very scared.

Michelle, Another possible twist to the story.

Jun 03, 2013 09:56 PM #25
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

O Jimeo, Jimeo, Wherefore art thou Jimeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or if thou wilt not, be sworn my love and I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Or was that catapult ; )

Jun 04, 2013 12:09 AM #26
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

There's an image for you, Romeo as her "back door man".:)


....lost in translation NOT.

Jun 04, 2013 10:48 AM #27
Annette Thor
Connecticut Homes and Commercial Fairfield Cty,CT - Westport, CT
Residential & Commercial Real Estate Broker in CT

That balcony looks like a booby trap set by Juliet's family.

Jun 09, 2013 02:55 PM #28
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Donnie-o, You know the lines oh to well.

Robert, Interesting twist :)

Annette, That could very well be. 

Jun 09, 2013 08:24 PM #29
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