Chris' Corner: What is wrong with this picture?

What is wrong with this picture?

Jay Markanich, a home inspector from Bristow, VW shares some good information here about a pet peeve of mine.  Without reading the rest of his post, Can you guess what is wrong with this picture.  I see this issue over and over again and it is so easily preventable. If you want to leave a message, leave it with Jay by click on the link below:

What do you see?

Anything wrong here?

In Mr. Jays' School of Inspectology we teach.  What's the problem here?

The house is very nice, six years old, has a brick facade, 30 year roof and that metal front porch roof is flashed properly. 

This inspector noticed the problems with this house right away.

It is one of Mr. Jay's pet peeves with new construction.

What's the problem?


The "professional" landscaping company put vegetation way, way, way too close to the house.

Number 1 - tree on the left.

That is an ash tree.  Ultimate size 100+' high x 70+' wide.  It is 6' from the corner of the house.

Ash limbs are very, very strong and very aggressive.  They will certainly damage the house in time.  This small tree is already swallowing the street light!  While the roots aren't so damaging, they will hold moisture against the foundation of the house.  A BAD PLAN FROM THE START.

Number 2 - tree on the right. 

That is a Cherry Blossom tree. Ultimate size 50+' high x 40+' wide.  It is 6' from the corner of the house. 

They are beautiful and popular here.  Cherry blossom roots are very, very strong, near the soil and aggressive.  These roots will damage the foundation, lift up and break those front stairs, lift up and break that sidewalk and do the same to the driveway.  The limbs will damage the walls of the house.

In addition, between it and the house is an evergreen bush that will be 20' x 20' in time.

THAT IS THE ONLY DOWNSPOUT ON THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE.  Where is the downspout discharging!  Yikes!  That's a lot of square footage of rain water landing in one small spot.  Together these root systems will hold enormous amounts of water against the foundation.  ANOTHER BAD PLAN FROM THE START.

Only six years old, that front corner of the house contains the stair case that leads from the kitchen to the basement.  There are two 90 degree stairs with a typical 4'x4' landing in the middle.  At the bottom is a closet built into the stair case.  THE BUILDER LEFT NO ACCESS UNDER THAT STAIRCASE AND LANDING.  SO IT IS DEAD SPACE. How do we know that tree and bush are already a problem?  Microbial growth in the walls of that closet!  What's going on under those stairs?  We couldn't see.

I ask you -- is that basement wet?  Yes, but we can't see HOW wet.

It's already a big problem. 

My recommendation:  large trees should be further than 25' from a house, and some trees further than that.  Other vegetation should not be next to the house.  When you pull up to a house, have a look.  If there are trees right next to the house, or a lot of vegetation and vines, you know before you go in that problems are brewing, if not already there.  Be smart.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia

Chris Smith CSSBB
          Sales Representative

Interested in Buying or Selling Real Estate?

  ph: 1.866.936.3500

Chay Realty Inc.,

Comment balloon 0 commentsChris Smith • August 02 2011 12:51PM