Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Real Estate Theme Parks


It is hard to not notice that houses seem to have “themes.”

Just like Disneyland, the US Congress or other theme parks, homes too can be united by common features.  This post however is not about the “houses of horrors,” befitting any Halloween night, that have become common with short sales and foreclosures. 

Missing flashingsIt is more about “little things” that are common in homes.  For example if a house has one defective GFCI receptacle it is likely that there will be more than one.  If there is one junction box with a missing cover---there will be many.  If one of the windows has a broken seal it is likely that there will be others with broken seals.  If one door sticks---others will stick.  If one chrome trap is at the end of its expected life, so will others in the home.

Now there are several reason we have these themes in homes.  Firstly, the age of the house is a factor.  If everything in the home was installed at the same time---it is likely they will come to the end of their life at the same time.

Secondly, often work was done by the same person.  If they do something wrong once---it is highly likely think that they will have done it the same way at other locations in the home.  If there are missing flashings in one place there will be missing flashings somewhere else---even if the flashing serves a different purpose.

Take the previous picture.  How many flashing issues can you spot in the picture?

Well of course there is obvious cavernous opening where the top of the brick work at the corner of the home never got completed.  This is on the South side of the home---the direction from which we get a lot of our weather in the Northwest.  There is a pretty good chance this is going to become a water collection point.

In this next picture I have done some overlays to show where there should be flashings, caulk and other seals installed to prevent moisture from damaging the structure.

Missing flashings, caulking, sealing

At “A” there should be a flashing to prevent moisture from getting behind the horizontal trim board.

At “B” the light fixture does not properly cover the junction box cut-out in the siding.

At “C” one can see there is no flashing across the top of the doorway horizontal trim (also the vertical trim is not caulked).

At “D” the wire penetration is not sealed.

And at “E” of course the brickwork is not finished.

Like any good theme park, here we have lots of similar repeating issues that could be conveniently gunny sacked into one photo.  There were many other flashing issues around this theme park.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seattle Home Inspector


The Human Rights Campaign   QR code for Charles Buell Inspections Inc


WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 16 commentsCharles Buell • February 26 2012 06:44AM


I love the break down of the photo at the end...very helpful and educational as well of course.  thanks!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 7 years ago

Buell - While I love these and learning about such things, sure makes me feel dumb.  I only got one before looking at the answers. 

Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) about 7 years ago

Charlie, You are the master of the exposed bad flashers ; ) Looks like someone is going to have a little water issue over time.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Mr Charles,

I believe I could have writted that myself. It is very mucho so like my experiences.


Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Gotta love Smith and his Charles Buell Business Card:)

Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) about 7 years ago

Kristin, thanks---I often use these overlays in the report pictures

Sardi, don't ever NOT hire a home inspector :)

Nutsy, you tread a very fine line between nuts and nutsy my furry fritter

Sardi, Smith also treads a thin line between Nuts and Nutsy.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

Looks like a prefectly done 'do-it-yourself' job. Who needs those overpriced professionals. Besides it is up high and no one will ever see it!  ;-0

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) about 7 years ago

That is bad work all around!  But they're likely to get it after lunch - don't worry, it will be done correctly.

I find that a new-construction mistake by a builder on one house in a neighborhood is likely to follow through to the other houses as well!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Than, you actually could not tell it was open from the ground :)

Jay, yup---right after lunch---and a cigarette.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

It's amazing how much wasn't done in such a small area! I'm with Jason, I didn't get them all for sure, but I did catch the bricks... But, I haven't had lunch yet :O)

Posted by Rene Fabre, Marketing in the Digital Age (First American Title) about 7 years ago

Are these amusement theme parks or zoos for northwest wildlife? Where is the quality assurance inspection? 

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) about 7 years ago

Charles -- it looks like the critters would have been getting in the wiring hole, and all sorts of things could be hiding in those open bricks (maybe the cigarette butts you mentioned in your comments to Jay.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 7 years ago

That may be a theme park, but certainly not an amusement park :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

Rene, never inspect on an empty stomach :)

Paul, all kinds of life would like this habitat

Steven, I should have peered down the opening I guess.

Jim, trust me---I found it quite amusing :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

There is nothing that can replace a good home inspection, no matter how much the buyer thinks he knows.

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 7 years ago

Barbara, it is not hard to find something the buyers didn't see :)


Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago