What I'm Seeing Now

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Mr. Jay's School Of Inspectology 1.3

Hi boys and girls!  This is our third lesson!

Let's get to the bottom of this thing, in more ways than one!

Remember, we have a loose gutter that dips in the middle.  When it rains hard water flows over and onto the box window and front porch below.

Judging from that caulking, this has been happening for some time.  That caulking is turning brown with mildew.

The homeowner obviously knows there is a problem because that caulk job was very sloppy.  He probably did it himself.  But caulking doesn't solve the problem!

So here are the final clues!  Now it's easy!

 

The photo on the right shows moss on the brick, another sign this has been happening a while.

And the photo on the left has soil at the bottom.  That can't be good.  That also means there is soil under the front staircase that is getting wet as water crashes down.

What happens when water constantly splashes against a house, boys and girls?

Mr. Jay knew there was a problem on the wall under the front door.  That wall is inside the garage.  So he took his client and the Realtor there first!  What did they find?

Yep!  That is really wet!  There is serious staining on the drywall and on the blocks!

What does that mean?  Look closely at the drywall just to the right of the concrete blocks, just at the top.  Do you see it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's right!  A small mud tunnel.  And the other photo above shows the left corner under the front porch.  You can't see it in the big photo!  That's another tunnel!

Mr. Jay showed them how stained everything is!  The termite guys tell Mr. Jay that 90% of the time when termites get into a house it is under the front door!

What Mr. Jay CANNOT do on a home inspection is INVASIVE INVESTIGATION.  He would LOVE to!  But this is serious.  Mr. Jay is worried about the second floor above all this, as well as the structure over the garage door and to the left of the garage door, which helps hold up the second floor!

On the report, Mr. Jay said, "Wood insect damage suspected - call a licensed pest control agent - termite tunnels and mud visible above and to the left of the garage door and under the front door.  The framing beside and header over the garage door is not visible, but it is possible they are damaged.  It is unknown if the termite activity is current or controlled, but an invasive investigation of the framing beside and above the garage door is necessary to properly evaluate what is going on."

The listing agent didn't like Mr. Jay saying that!  She said, "He is a home inspector, not a termite inspector."  Well, she is right!  BUT DON'T DISCOUNT THE HOME INSPECTOR PART!  In the report Mr. Jay used words like "suspected," "possible," "unknown," "current," and "necessary."  He does that for a reason! 

The seller was very interested though!  He consented to an invasive investigation and wanted it right away!  That's because he is smart.  And, listen carefully, HE HAS HAD A TERMITE MAINTENANCE CONTRACT WITH A LOCAL COMPANY (SAID TO BE SUPERIOR IN ITS FIELD) FOR MANY YEARS!  THERE IS NO EVIDENCE ON THIS HOUSE THIS SUPERIOR TERMITE COMPANY HAS DONE ANYTHING TO CONTROL A POSSIBLE TERMITE PROBLEM, EVEN THOUGH THESE CLUES HAVE BEEN HERE FOR SOME TIME, PROBABLY YEARS!!!

So, five days later we all returned! 

It was really fun boys and girls!  Tune in tomorrow!

Mr. Jay's School of Inspectology. Where the learning never stops. You can check out, but you can never leave.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 69 commentsJay Markanich • March 19 2011 06:02AM

Comments

Great detective work, Sherlock.  Can't wait for the finale.  I would be mad too if was the homeowner and being ripped off that way.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay. Do rolling bricks gather any moss? Just curious...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 7 years ago
Jay, thanks so much for sharing great pest info and a company who should have been doing their job all along perhaps...it is the unknown parts of what you suspect but can't see that should worry the buyer....
Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Like the education and appreciate you telling us about it thanks

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 7 years ago

Debbie - this was my second inspection that week on a house with a "contract" to control pests.  They all say the same thing - if termites are ever found, they will treat the home but do nothing about any damage.  Hmmmm....

In this case they were really close to developing moss Michael!  And the new avatar?  Is that your Easter Jester?

Ginny - I am not impressed with those contracts, and with this superior termite company in particular.  And this is not my first experience with them...

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

One more class yet to come James!  It's the best one...

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

Good Morning Jay,

Always enjoy home inspector posts and yours especially. I'm waiting for the sequel.

Posted by John McCarthy, Realtor - Seacoast NH (Bean Group Portsmouth NH) over 7 years ago

Jay - a good home inspector points out everything that is of concern, and it is what I expect from inspections. I have another one this morning!

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) over 7 years ago

Good detective work - nothing gets by you...

Posted by K.C. McLaughlin, Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC (RE/MAX United) over 7 years ago

Thank you John.  The series (classes) should end tomorrow, with, um, kind of a bang!

Carol - one thing leads to another.  In this case the sagging gutter in 1.1 was a big, big problem!

K.C. - I wish that was true!  We never know what gets by us!  Oh that I could have X-ray vision...

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

Well, that is interesting! I see that I failed the class totally, I guess I am not being promoted. But I can assure you that I look at homes in a whole different light after all the education I get here from you, Mr. James, Mr. Charles and Mr. Steven, and of course, Mr. Nutsty.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

The final result here Andrea is a bombshell.  But you probably already guessed that.  And as to your teachers, you will get an education from three of the above...  pick your three.

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

Jay, you must need new glasses. I suggested FIVE of you... :D

I will wait for the bombshell... and hope I get promoted to the next class. So far, I am not doing so well. Maybe I need a tutor... I have one in mind...

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

Again Mr. Jay;  you are priceless!

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) over 7 years ago

Jay, good detective work. The mud tunnels are usually a dead give away and the owner listened.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

Interesting stuff Jay and superior work.  Now you've got me wondering about my termite company and the lack of any work they've been doing while charging a fairly hefty sum. 

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 7 years ago

Jay, I hate to wait for the results of a post.

But, I will be back. So the homeowner had a contract with a termite inspector, should be an interesting ending.

 

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 7 years ago

Mr. Jay is "suspected," "possible," "unknown," "current," and "necessary" a very smart guy!

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 7 years ago

Jay-Very good post.  Nice and clean job. 

Posted by Timothy Mattingly, Louisville Homes for Sale (Louisville Homes Team Louisville KY louisvillehomesreport.com) over 7 years ago

Jay,

Good fun in the post and such a great example of how you can have one issue if not addressed can lead to many other issues. I always give my clients the water talk on how it can effect your home. 

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

Very interesting.  I'll bet the pest inspection company will find "nothing".  After all, they are the ones responsible for inspecting and insuring all these years.  I've seen it many times.  I can't believe though that the homeowner, even with caulking, never thought to look or notice the tunnel. 

Posted by Sherrill Gooch, Residential, Luxury Home Specialist (New Hope Realty Group, LLC) over 7 years ago
Its fun and edifying to learn this stuff. Great way to present it and teach as you go. Thanks for the post.
Posted by Brian Dandy, Real Estate Broker (Crye-Leike Realtors) over 7 years ago

Good Inspection, good post. It just shows that controlling water is one of the most important things to keeping a home is good shape. I'm surprised there were no signs of organic growth.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) over 7 years ago

You have helped reinforce the "Golden Rule" that I tell all my clients. Do not fall in love with it, until you get the inspection report.

Posted by John McKernan (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 7 years ago

An awesome, well written post.  Informative and fun and now I can't wait to see the finale.  I am also going to talk to my dad about his contract with the pest control company he's been using.  I like the reference to the Eagles in your tag line.

Posted by Roger Davidson, Maumee, Ohio Real Estate (DiSalle Real Estate Co.) over 7 years ago

Great episode and thanks for sharing your knowledge.

I have to say, i have learned something at every single inspection i have attended.

Posted by Virginia Dean, Real Estate Done Your Way (Keller Williams Tulare County) over 7 years ago

Hey Jay, I can only assume that when you went back out, it turned out to be nothing an everything was perfect.  

Ok, I couldn't say that with a straight face.

I'll stay tuned for the next one.  

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

I think I see a lawsuit waiting to happen with the PCO

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

Jay - This is getting interesting; I can't wait for the next class!

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 7 years ago

Hey Jay Great post. I had one yesterday that had a Pest control company out when I was there.

He kept "knocking on the walls" and ended up not finding anything. I saw termite damage above the front door. He said it was old.

Gave the buyer the "CERT" of inspection. How long are those good for anyway?

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 7 years ago

Andrea - it's been a while and I probably DO need new glasses!

Ken - Mr. Jay is what he eats - nuts...

Well, Michael - the end result is a bit more than tunnels!  I think the owner is smart.

Gabe - find out what they do on your behalf!  They claimed to have treated this house, but we could find no evidence.

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

Sorry, Missy.  It will be up soon.  This was my SECOND house this week with termite damage "maintained" by that "superior" company.

Alan - I have to say that stuff on the report.  But after the drywall came down, well, there was very little to "suspect."

Thank you Timothy.  Stop by again!

Donald - water is THE killer, isn't it?  And in so many ways.

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

Sherrill - the "superior" company that has been "maintaining" this house was not there the other day.  We met with a company selected by my client!

And you are welcome too Brian.  I tend to have a little too much fun with this stuff...

Robert - there was once the drywall was removed.  And between floors too.

John - there is some serious stuff going on here.  Even the selling agent was concerned - he actually complimented me!  The listing agent pretty much dismissed me.  Well, wait until the next post!

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

Roger - it's easy to get a little help from my friends.  You must have missed my Beatles post a few days ago!  And you'll love the finale.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2174068/hello-goodbye

Virginia - and so do I!  And at the school we are always learning - like Michelangelo.

Reuben - when I predicted the problem before we even went inside the agent and buyer looked at me like I had horns coming from my ears.

Don't know Charlie!  The engineer is still scheduled to go out!  This is the second inspection this past week where I have found damage while the house has been under contract with the "superior" termite company.  They really have a bad rep around here.  Once a client told me that the "tech" from that "superior" termite company went to her house and put termite eggs under her downspout splashblock.  I said, "Eggs?"  "Oh, yes!  I know he put them there because there were none before he showed up."

That's what I mean by bad rep...

What color are those eggs by the way?  And do the colors change around Easter?

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

John - as you know you can stop in any time and come as you are.  The finale is fun, to say the least.

Clint - he only knocked on the walls because people were there watching.  They don't usually go to all that trouble.  Those "certs" usually last for one year around here and in my opinion are worthless.

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

Jay, I must say that the termite eggs thing activates my "bulldar"  :)

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

It's amazing.  The queen lays from 100 to 1000 eggs a day, but comes to the surface to put a few under a splashblock, just so they can be seen by the termite guy!  Pretty convenient...

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

PahPah, I am gone for a month and return to THIS guy? Where is Billy Jays? Nana

Posted by Kate Kate over 7 years ago

Jay - Just came by to read this very interesting termite post after Lenn Harley referenced it in a post of hers.

Posted by FN LN over 7 years ago

Hi Nana - Billy interestingly ran into a couple of wonderful new products he is working on even now!  One may be ready for the market as soon as tomorrow!  You haven't seen Mr. Jay before?  You'll love this one...

http://activerain.com/blogsview/1851343/mr-jay-s-neighborhood-back-yard-wiring-

Yes, Marc, this one really turned Lenn on!  That post speaks from experience.

Hey, so does this one!

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

Great instructional - Thank You!!

Posted by Beverly Femia, Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 7 years ago

Great post!  It's intresting how the "trail of evidence" starts so small at the top, but by the time you get to the bottom, it has gotten so big!  Water is never a good thing, especially when it "invades" a home!  And it doesn't have to be a flood.

Posted by Woody Edwards, A Realtor® Who Answers His Phone! (First Choice Realty, Inc) over 7 years ago

Educational, interesting, humorous and well written, I am looking forward to continuing my education, just as soon as I go check under my front door

Posted by Steve Barker, Steve Barker (Movement Mortgage) over 7 years ago

Interesting! It's amazing how detective like we must become to identify possible red flags to hire an expert to explain!! Great post, thanks!

Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) over 7 years ago

Nicew work.  Looking forward to hearing how this resolves.

Posted by Chris Nguyen (Full Realty Services, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay, great post and interesting. While waiting for the next one, I am going back to read the first two I missed.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty, Martha Hilton, Broker) over 7 years ago

Jay, that termite tunnel was pretty easy to spot 'with no invasive investigative' work. That termite company is ripping them off.

 

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 7 years ago

Even in the desert, subterranean termites are a big deal.  They say we have 2 kinds of homes here; those that have termites, and those that will. 

A good home inspector is a wonderful thing to have!

Posted by Patricia Paul, Broker, GRI (Patricia Paul Properties, Tucson, AZ) over 7 years ago

Loved the post!  And your web site placement. Domenic would be proud. Way to go.

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Great post especially because I have my own problem gutter by my front porch.  I'm afraid to look underneath the porch to see the possible dry rot and termite friends.  You have motivated me to get it fixed!

Posted by Ann Wilkins, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA (Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago

Beverly - I am glad it served you well!

Woody - little beginnings typically don't get smaller!  But in this case it contributed to many other things.

Good idea Steve.  I don't know if the 90% rule works where you live, but it may!

Sylvie - you are right about the detective part.  Every day!  Thanks for your kind words.

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

Chris - I am too, although sometimes I am not told and the buyer calls me for another one!

Well, enjoy them Rebecca!  This has been a fun series to share.

Lyn - just sitting there!  I don't know how long it takes to create one of them though.

I agree Patricia.  You must have enough moisture there to attract the termites.

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

Thanks Jayson.  And enjoy!  I hope anyway...

Thanks Marshall.  When I started with Dom I was a complete dope.  Still am in many ways regarding the site!

Ann - oh no!  Well, take care of it now!

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

I agree that wasn't very hard to see!

Posted by Brenda, Ron, Lee Cunningham & Tara Keator, Realtors, Homes for Sale - Phoenix Metro (West USA Realty) over 7 years ago

B&R - there was so much moisture down there, apparently for a long period of time, it was no shock!

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

Back to read former posts before I read the grand finale!

Posted by Debbe Perry, 828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC (Real Living Carolina Property ) over 7 years ago
I look forward to the finale! I am going back to read the former posts, so I can be up to date. Thanks for the knowledge you share through your posts. It is great!
Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) over 7 years ago

Very informative and well written post. Thank you. I can't wait for more classes.

Posted by Kasia Zajac, GRI, SFR (Baird & Warner) over 7 years ago

That was sure a fun post to read.  It is amzing some of the things my inpsector turns up.  All you have to do is expect to find things & look carefully.

Posted by Jirius Isaac, Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA (Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage) over 7 years ago

Glad the seller had sense enough to pursue the invasive inspection!  With even a suspect of invasive species on the inspection the Realtor® had the responsibility to make sure it was disclosed.

Posted by Robert Courtney, Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS over 7 years ago

Well, Debbe, I hope you enjoy them!  You'll see how one small thing can become very big over time.

Same with you Karen.  And I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

Kasia - as we have circumstances that permit moving from one thing through to another I can create classes like this!

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

Jirius - a house is a big system, so everything interacts generally.  And home inspectors have to look at the whole and see how the parts are working together.

Robert - there is no disclosure in Virginia when a house is listed.  And almost certainly the realtor did not know about all this.  Besides, they had a maintenance contract to rely on.  But, after something is discovered it does become necessary legally to disclose it.

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

A good inspector is worth every dime you pay him.  I would have never spotted it.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 7 years ago

You might if you were looking Gene!  I am looking.  But secondly, I know what kinds of things I am looking for too...

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

Thanks for the great information delivered with your unstoppable wit. P.S. Love that pic of you.

Posted by Dennis & Terri Neal, Your Home Sold in 45 Days or We Se (RE/MAX, Big Bear) over 7 years ago

Jay, I have heard of incidences of termite infestation in Toronto.  It will only be time before they travel north to my primary market.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 7 years ago

Thank you D&T!  If you like that, you'll like this:  

http://activerain.com/blogsview/1851343/mr-jay-s-neighborhood-back-yard-wiring-

I heard that too Chris.  They are adapting and getting really widespread!

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

Around here some of these superior termite companies fish for termites using bait. The techs check the bait a couple times a year. If they don't get a "bite" everything is pronounced hunky dory. Have you ever gone fishing? Sometimes the fish like something besides your bait much better. In the case of termites the big old wood house looks much more appetizing than a few small pieces of bait.

I know a contractor who is working on restoring an antique home, which is his specialty. This particular home had been fished for 17 years and no bites. So far the termite company has paid for $17,000 in termite damage. Looks like your "superior" company will be dishing out some dough as well.

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

Wow Jim.  Those bait thingers have lost a lot of favor recently.  Gee, for a reason?  Your fishing analogy is perfect.

Google superior termite company Virginia and see what pops up!   There was a little swipe there (with a history of experience with that company), without the possibility of being blamed for swiping!

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

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