The phone rings and a loud noise blares straight to my eardrum via my blue tooth insert. No introduction, no hello.
"YOU SAY THERE'S MOLD IN THE ATTIC AND EVERYONE KNOWS THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS MOLD IN AN ATTIC!" At the same time a finger came out of my phone and poked me on my chest emphasizing every syllable. And I felt some spit on my cheek. I recognized the voice of Myrtle McGirdle (not her real name), a well known real estate cutie, unpleasant on her best days. She is the demure listing agent of the house I had inspected that afternoon.
This was going to be fun. So I played along. "Excuse me?"
"YOU DID AN INSPECTION ON MY LISTING ON PLEASANT PLACE (not the real street name) AND SAID THERE IS MOLD IN THE ATTIC!!" The finger moved to my nose and the spit a bit heavier. It was accompanied by heavy breathing. The breathing did nothing for me.
Still playing dumb, but being very polite (remember the Scout Law - courteous, kind, cheerful, friendly), "Oh, Myrtle? Actually I did not say there is mold in the attic. I said ' there are conducive conditions in the attic space, including a complete lack of ventilation and a bath vent that blows air into the attic space, that are contributing to the substantial evidence of the amplification of molds and/or fungi in the attic structure, sheathing and insulation.' "
"THAT'S JUST HOME INSPECTOR MUMBO JUMBO!" That time the spit flew into my eye. I really hate that.
"Actually, as you know, Myrtle, in Virginia I cannot say that something is definitively mold unless there is a mold test which identifies suspected growths as mold. So that is why the report reads as it does. But just between you and me, what's up there is mold. And a lot of it. You do remember that the house is surrounded by large, high trees and it does not dry out. That, combined with the lack of attic ventilation and humidity from the house, really contribute to that problem. And your client covered up the gable vents!"
"THAT'S RIDICULOUS! I HAVE NEVER IN ALL MY YEARS HEARD OF MOLD IN AN ATTIC!"
"Really? Gee, I could be wrong. Can I email you a couple of photos for you to look at? You are very experienced, and maybe you could tell me what it is. Would you do that for me?"
"YES, SEND THEM TO ME! I'LL HAVE A LOOK AND CALL YOU RIGHT BACK!" That softened her. The finger stopped. So I selected a couple of photos and sent them along.
Now, of course I can be wrong and am willing to be corrected. If any of you can help the situation, please call me directly so I can get your diagnosis right to Myrtle.
I don't know. What do you think? There are more photos. It is really bad up there.
Please help. I want some solid suggestions for when Myrtle calls back.
She still hasn't called.
I don't know why.
She said she would call right back.
For sure she will call any minute now.
I'm hearing crickets.
My recommendation: Before you ASSail a home inspector to rip a report, don't ASSume anything. Be sure before you make any ASSumptions. ASSiduous care to proper information is an ASSet during a business conversation. Doing that, I ASSure you, your ASSociations with others will improve and fewer adjectives will be ASSigned to your name. Gee, I hope the photos ASSuaged her curiosity... She'll call any minute now, most ASSuredly. After all, we know what happens when we ASSume.
Mold - it's not just for basements anymore! Got mold?
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560