What I'm Seeing Now


Do You Have A Mattress In Your Living Room?

I am not a termite inspector.  There may be some, but personally I don't know any home inspectors in Virginia who are.  The home inspection and termite inspections are usually done at different times in Virginia, by two different companies.

If I see evidence of termites I mention it in the report.  But if I was to see a 300 pound termite, and said so, it would be poo-pooed as "well, he is just the home inspector."

Outside a house recently I noticed this on the front porch, directly under a window.  It is rotting wood siding and sawdust coming from under and through that siding.  This can be a termite indicator.

We had not been indoors yet.  I said we would check the floor of the room just inside this photo.

There were other things outdoors that would encourage termites to this house - gutters that didn't discharge properly, improper flashing admitting water down walls, rotting this and that.

This house was a termite invitation card.

When we got inside we were surprised to see this in the living room:

That is the window under which we saw the above sawdust. 

That is too cute for words.

You should know, when home inspectors see furniture in spots it is not typically found, they wonder.

I wondered about this one.

I said, "Uh, oh, are we trying to hide something?" 

The Realtor giggled. 

I asked, "What's so funny?"

"Well, the seller has put into the contract that they will only be responsible for $200 of any termite damage found."

Well, that's interesting...


So I moved the mattress.  And heah 'tis:

This was hidden under the mattress.

And it's not money.

In front of the client and Realtor, I very gingerly stepped on the flooring.  I could have gone through to the cellar!  All along that wall!

You can even see a previous repair to the left.  This is both a previous and ongoing problem!

And it was "hidden" under a mattress.

Going into the cellar we saw the what was below, with substantial damage to floor joists, the sill plate over the foundation wall, and the underside of the flooring in general.

This is quite a problem!

Looking further, into the dining room to the right of these photos, there were extensive repairs to the flooring, under pinning, support joists and sill plate, and extra columns.  Extensive repairs!  And years ago.

THAT is why they would only take responsibility for $200 of any termite issue found.  That would not even pay for an engineer to come by and smell the house from the outside!

My recommendation:  when you see furniture out of place, or things where they usually are not, send your antenna up and question it!  And don't think people won't try to hide things!  I see that all the time...




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 9 commentsJay Markanich • October 20 2009 04:51AM


Jay - The seller thinks it's a creative approach without realizing they weren't the first to come up with such an idea. They were not very creative : )

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

Jay as you know in this state we can be licensed structural pest inspectors as well as home inspectors---this really helps the buyer in making a decision about the house----one less thing to have to call for further evaluation.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

John - yes, the lack of creativity is evident almost every day!  It is a bit silly to pile a mattress on top of something so easily seen.  The mattress did not even quite cover the problem areas!

Charlie - I am glad I am not both.  My insurance would be further through the roof than it is now!  Here though the pest inspection must be done within 30 days of settlement.  Usually my inspection happens right after contract ratification and further out than 30 days.  So they would have to call me, or someone else, for further evaluation anyway.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, one daughter recently attempting to buy a foreclosed property merely asked the bank why they did not allow inspections. The bank canceled her contract immediately. If that doesn't send your antennae up...

PS Where was Croakster two days ago? He missed his moment of fame on Charles' blog.

Posted by Kate Kate over 9 years ago

Kate - that WOULD send my antenna up!

Croakster has been very busy.  He (and I) don't have time hardly to read the blog posts (we) want to much less put any up on the board!  If I get time later I will check.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

The only thing that could have made that more obvious would be a note saying "Don't look behind here, there's nothing to see."

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 9 years ago

Reuben - "Pay no attention to the [termites] behind the curtain!"

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

In CT an inspector can and many do termite or as they are called here wood destroying insect inspections. Quite a few inspectors have pest licenses with a few even doing treatments (yeah I know). Others like me sub it out to a fully licensed exterminator. They show up during the inspection and issue a separate report.

That mattress must have been for the termites to rest on after a long day of eating the house. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

James - and coffee breaks.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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