Exterior Home Inspection

I inspected a home today that had stairs that lead to what used to be a door, but it has now been replaced with a wall. Would this be considered a defect, and if so would it be a material, major, or minor defect. Or would it just fall into cosmetic? Thank you.

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Welcome to the forum Ariel, Have fun and enjoy. :+1: :grinning:


How does it affect or detract from the usability of the home? Is there a safety hazard? Missing Egress?


Looks like simply poor design from here. :cowboy_hat_face:

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I’m not sure how new you are, I am still fairly new (2 years in the game) and I had done a lot of reading in the “major minor” defect category. You might want to consider doing some research on that specifically. In my opinion, I found that it’s up to the client and not us what is considered major or minor. For me, I write up things are a safety hazard and things that are deficient. There’s no major or minor.
That being said, what I would say for that picture is “an old entry way was observed on (which ever side of the house that is.) Although this area is no longer in use, there was rotting wood observed which can pose a safety hazard to occupants, especially children, who would seek to use this area. I recommend that a qualified carpenter evaluate the extend of cost and repairs.”


No, that’s why I was wondering because I didn’t want to report it as a problem. I never seen this before.

Ok and thank you for replying. I’ve been doing this along with rehabbing since 2017, but when I started doing theses courses, they mention it a lot, the minor, major, and material thing. So i was trying to be professional. But I will note this. And thanks again.

Nice, good for you. I meant it in a constructive way not saying you’re doing anything wrong by categorizing it the way you are. I did the major minor thing for a while and it was horrible for me. I switched to safety and then defective.


The rotted wood that make up the stairs would potentially be a safety issue. What was the big hole below the bottom step and what structural elements were exposed? Blocking off a doorway wouldn’t be a defect as long as the home had more than one egress on that floor such as another door.

It’s a home that someone is looking to rehab, so it had a lot of rot and problem areas from the eaves on down. But other than rot I didn’t do the interior because everything was boarded up, so I don’t know what’s on the other side. That’s why I was wondering how other people would see it. I’m going back tomorrow, so hopefully I learn more.

Morning, Ariel.
Hope this post finds you well.
Look at the feature and not what WAS presently there in the past.
Currently there is an architectural feature called an Alcove. What constitutes an Alcove? Alcove is a small recessed section of a room or an arched opening (as in a wall).

1: Look at the materials on the exterior wall. Write up defects in the exterior section of your report.
2: Look at the steps. Look at the materials on the exterior steps. Write up defects in the exterior section of your report.
3: Look at Lot Grading. Write up defects in the exterior section of your report.

Observation: Abandoned Alcove.

1: Siding. Aluminum Vertical Lap Siding. Exposed Fasteners. Oxidizing/Rust/Corrosion on fasteners. Fasteners not corrosion resistant. Staining on siding above and on the underside of the Alcove ceiling.
2: Steps. Stringers in contract with soil. Missing step, tread and riser. Landing too small. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension of 36 inches (914 mm) measured in the direction of travel. Uneven step height due to soil erosion.
3: Lot: Poor lot grading surrounding the foundation. Soil erosion.
4: Masonry. Too close to grade.

Recommend: A licensed general contractor improve the abandoned Alcove to prevent accidents.

Step back and take in all the components and surfaces you are looking at. I start from the grounds and work my way up one side at a time.
Build your reporting style by unfocusing on a singular. Remember, there are many components to a wall assembly.

Hope that helps!


Ariel …

Forget MAJOR / MINOR defect. Thats what the commissioned used house sales people think.

To you its a defect or safety concern, etc. NOW the covered alcove by itself is not anything EXCEPT there

BUT in your report you would tell them the wood is rotting, needs paint and the gap under the stairs provides a home for pests AND will allow water to flow TOWARD the foundation versus AWAY. Recommend Service or Repair AND you will keep moving

Awesome thank you.

Thank you this is some good insight.

That’s the raccoon entry. I’d mention potential pest entry beneath the stairs and comment on any decay weakening the stairs. Other than that, it just looks kinda weird.

…and Dan’s right about the water.

Morning Kenton. Hope this posts finds you well and feeling much better.
Your thread in the spring hit home with me, big time. I to put up with the serial affects to the onset of COVID-19 virus back then. Onset Conditions: Blurred vision, dizziness, loss of orientation, confusion, irregular heartbeat and palpitations, loss of energy and appetite, extremity numbness, extreme muscle loss, extreme fatigue. Although I have had suffered illness before this was a real kick in the pants to recover from. Wow is all I can say.

I concur. 'Other than that, it just looks kinda weird."
But when you think outside the box. … that little alcove can be renovated to a useful feature.
1: Plumb in a domestic water supply for a hose bib and attach a hose reel.
2: A nook for a BBQ or Lawn chairs or Patio set.
3: It can easily be turned into a useful outdoor weather resistant nook with a little imagination and increase the value of a home.

Often think of you.
Keep well.

Auxiliary pet entrance…:smiley: Got it.

Wow Robert, it hit you a lot worse than it hit me! I hope you’re over all those symptoms.

Just started to recover last month thanks for asking. Now I am referred to as A Long Hauler by front line doctors and virologists, to which I have as my GP. That’s why I worried about you, Kenton. What a punch in the gut experience.

To top it off, I was just starting to recover from a strain of pneumonia I cough from Mother just before she passed last July. MY GP said she was happy to see in in her office. She was worried and had doubts about a recovery.

Anyway, they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Hm. …:thinking: I have not recently experienced a near death experience to be able ask anyone on the other side if there’s anything to that saying so for now I hope its true.LOL :wink:

Keep well.
Yours truly.

This is how I would handle it. And the reason why… Speaking only of the stairway to nowhere, I would note it in my report only as information so that my client is aware of it. Why would I put something in a report that is not a defect? Minor or major? Because like most clients, most likely they have visited the home once for a total time of about 30 minutes before putting in their offer.
In my area I do about 3-4 every month where the client has only seen pictures on a website. It does not hurt to give your client added information about their home. SOP is minimum, anyone can do that, Go the extra mile…That is what leads to referrals and good reviews.

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