I am a Realtor not a home inspector, so I love all the information we get about a house. Things that can be wrong or go wrong. Home buyers and sellers can benefit from it.
The seller is an elderly widow, and wants to move south to be nearer to children and grandchildren. She has been living in her home for 47 years. She has been single for 4 years, during which time maintenance slipped a bit on her house.
To prepare it for sale she had recommendations from various “real estate consultants,” and many new things were added to the house. There were many “improvements.” And many associated problems therewith. The words unscrupulous contractors come to mind.
One such improvement was to add air conditioning to a house that previously was heated only with electric baseboards. There was no central air conditioning. To sell the house such an improvement would be very worthy.
The house was warm and there was a new compressor outside.
Thinking the heat exchanger must be in the attic I looked there first.
Not finding it there I thought it must be in a closet.
Finding it no where, this was the last closet I looked in. I heard it, I just couldn’t see it.
After gently sliding a couple of boxes, I could see the fused knife switch on the wall. >>>>>>>
I thought it might be in there!
But where, oh where, could the access be?
It wasn’t on the side in the hallway.
But I could hear it running through the returns on the wall.
Could it be around the corner?
Not there either!
But the wall was vibrating behind that clothes hanger! >>>>>>
So I knew I was close!
So I went back to the closet in the first photo and pulled back the side wall.
Peek a boo!
There’s the unit!
No, you can’t get to it from there. And the wall to the left of this photo is paneling. That paneling seems secure.
When the many boxes are removed I suspect there is some clever way of removing the paneled wall to get to the unit.
But it is covered with boxes and I DON’T MOVE BOXES! I learned that lesson a long, long time ago.
The Realtor and seller are out to lunch. They won’t be back for a while. I will have to return to check out that heat pump and its installation.
When I do, maybe I can also check out the electric panel box!
I think it’s in there, behind those boxes, in the corner!
Peek a boo to you too!
What angered me was that this heat pump installation was put into an empty space and, perhaps, hidden with a paneled wall. THIS IS NOT CONVENIENT OR EASY FOR AN ELDERLY WOMAN TO BE ABLE TO GET TO THE UNIT TO REPLACE THE FILTER!
I wonder if she was even told she needs to replace that filter! The ducts were EXTREMELY filled with accumulated dust. The heated air was blowing hard. Is there even a filter in there?
Don’t get me wrong. I am NOT blaming this agent. It isn’t her job or purview to make sure something gets installed to code, or properly, or professionally or with convenient access.
There were other things done to bring this house up to a sell-able condition. A new laundry room, a new deck, new plumbing for a wet bar and even a roof repair. These were all disasters.
My recommendation: If you are going to have improvements made to an older house to make it more modern or sell-able, why not employ a home inspector to have a look at things before you put it on the market? That way, if things are installed, um, funny, you have recourse to the “contractor” to make things right before you list the house!
And if your listing has a home inspection scheduled, make sure things that need to be accessed are accessible!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia