Thursday, November 24, 2016

Making your homes value go away in a hurry, scary renovations.

My friend The Real Estate Ninja, says that smoking in your house will cost you $10,000.00 in resale value. Since she was a real estate broker I have no reason to argue with her position on this issue at all.  

Recently I attended to a residence for another friend, (it's nice to have more than one), and what I found was quite impressive. Impressive in a bad way mind you, impressive that everything the home owner had set his hand to was done badly. Not a single repair or improvement was done well, legally or made much sense. Fortunately it was largely contained to the basement, he had virtually left the rest of the house alone, including, I'm sad to say housekeeping and maintenance.

The place was a great house, nice area, nice little crescent and good curb appeal, yet even though the house had been on the market for over six months and every other house in the neighborhood had sold for more, the owner did not understand that his mishaps were keeping his place from being sold.

Staging professionals will tell you that clean and uncluttered sells. A good smell is golden and well done renovations are pretty much a licence to print money.

This house had none of these.

Rather than write a thousand words I am going to let the pictures tell the story:

This is the dryer lint screen, an early warning sign that things might not be quite as good as they appeared. It led me to take a much closer look,  lint is a great fire starter and by having a plugged filter he was asking for a lint related fire in the dryer duct. Major red flag.

The range hood wasn't much better, there was enough grease here to deep fry a turkey. A flash fire on the stove and it is going to set this device on fire too. Another red flag.

So now we know the owner isn't a clean person, or maybe they don't know about such things.

Lets see how this translates into handy work:


This little gem is an attempt at insulating in the garage ceiling, trouble is the pink foam has no protection from fire, it needs to be covered by drywall. The owner went to a lot of trouble to use that board to hold it up there so maybe he's going to come back and finish the job, I have my doubts.  Third red flag.

Onto the basement:
Nice drywall work, there was probably three times as much filler on the walls and needed and  sanding it off is a nasty job so he left it as kind of a random textured effect that paint did not fix.

This is either a bad heat duct install or a bad drywall cut or some new way of having heated floors. There are a lot of good drywall installers in this city who need work, I guess he thought he'd save a few bucks doing it himself,  how hard can it be?

Skills of the owner included electrical wiring. Now I am scared!

This one is funky, apparently no drill was handy when the third wire was run this will make putting the drywall on a bit tricky, one screw into the romex and it's be a shocking experience.  

This, by the way, is virtually impossible to do, the box is too deep and I have no idea how he managed to put the faceplate on wrong, but he did.

There are a bunch of things going on in this junction box, technical enough that this alone  will tell any good inspector that this work was NOT done by anyone qualified nor was it ever inspected.

Next  is plumbing: This is supposed to be a trap for the basement basin and it is supposed to be a P trap, not much P going on here, I bet he paid $20.00 for all the unnecessary fittings in this picture.

I like this one, I find these plastic shower cabinets short too, creatively he solved the problem by installing the shower head sort of in the ceiling, the ceiling BTW was regular drywall which really likes getting wet.

Speaking of getting wet; if you thought this was a heat duct that wasn't hooked up you'd be wrong, this is the vent for the bathroom exhaust fan in the basement, it terminates in the basement, right next to the electrical panel. Nice....

Here we are:  take a pretty house, do bad work and watch it not sell. Personally I'd lowball the offer, rip all the work out and spent $15,000.00  redoing everything right, Then I'd put the house back on the market for full list.  I figure there is a quick $25,000 sitting here to be made. 

My friend is not handy and could not see herself taking on a project like this, so she passed on the deal, it's still out there though.

Do yourself a favour: owning a hammer does not make you a carpenter, nor a screwdriver an electrician. Do it yourself work attracts a lot of attention from home inspectors  as you can see, for very good reason, so if you do it yourself, do it right, get permits and have it inspected. We know when it hasn't been......

Elniski's BestHomes Inspections Ltd.

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