Stairs Drain/Real Estate Agent

I am under the impression that these are cracks due to the stairs settling & shifting& that is why the stairs lean to the right. I recommend a sealant be placed along the cracks to prevent further cracking and prevent the woodpeckers from putting more acorns in them. However the real estate agent has told me that it is incorrect & the cracks are for drainage.


I tried to never get in a discussion like this with any one .
Now I do believe the agent is wrong .
Walls like this need proper drains put in to relieve the pressure.

My report would be .
Looks like wall has a sever moisture concern and needs to be immediately evaluated and repaired if needed by a qualified Contractor.

Ok didn’t want to get into this conversation either. The Client sent me an email with an attachment of what the real estate agent had told him. He wants to know what to do next. I thought I would just get further information while still trying to be natural.

I would say OK then. Let me amend my report to:

The stairs are improperly sealed now the water does not drain as intended. Have the proper professional remove all the sealant that is presently installed to allow for the intended drainage. Stairs are not operating as intended and need to be professionally repaired by a licensed tradesman…

LMAO…this is just a joke, but I bet he will change his tune really really fast…

I find it interesting that this is something the real estate agents would squabble over. It seems like a minor point for them to dig in on…seriously, how much does a tub of caulk cost?

Did the realtor supply a copy of their contractors license, along with his/her statement that all is well on company letterhead, including their acceptance of all liability for the improper condition?

Note: Drains typically are installed at the bottom of a wall, not the top!

She claims her husband of 30yrs of contracting is her source.

Irrelevent of the cracking, the stairs “leaning to the right” is cause to call it out, and is not your concern as to prescribe a fix. You did your job, report what you see, being very specific as to CYA, and your client will make their decision as to what they wish to do about it.

Btw… sealant WILL NOT prevent further cracking. Do NOT offer a fix to anything. You are only asking for trouble!

If the cracks were for drainage, the water would run over the brick wall, causing deterioration to the bricks.

If the cracks are sealed good enough to retain the water (they won’t be), then the water pressure would build behind the wall, causing it to lean, fall, or deteriorate.

There should be weep holes near the bottom.

The RE agent and her contractor husband are wrong, it’s all wrong, and the stairs are starting to lean.

Jeff is correct. Just report the observation. Don’t offer the fix, or you’ll be drug into possible liability.

Tell him to put it in wiritng and guarantee his recommendation. And then you write what Russell said.

You are the expert. Do not take crap from these people. That is why they sell real estate and you inspect it.


The drainage holes, if any, should be located near the bottom. Water, like the B.S. that agent gave you all runs downhill. That wall is over 4 foot tall and would technically be considered a retaining wall in most jurisdictions. Every effort should be made to keep ALL water away from any retaining wall.