What I'm Seeing Now

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Mr. Jay's School Of Inspectology 1.4

At Mr. Jay's School Of Inspectology we never forget our motto:

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

Do you know why we can say that boys and girls?  Because the sort of things found during a home inspection are the same over and over.  It's the ground hog day of home inspections!

Another thing Mr. Jay hears a lot is this - "Oh, there aren't termites here.  We have been on a maintenance contract."  Sometimes they've been on one for years!

Lenn Harley had a very-well written recent post spoken from experience about this and also about a recent post that was spoken from experience.  That post really set her off!  I like it when Miss Harley is set off!  She can come to my class anytime! 

Maintenance contracts are only as good as the "professionals" who honor them.  Her well-said post proclaims that you must choose very wisely!  If not the consequences are expensive and gut wrenching.

Mr. Jay had two inspections in one week where the house had been under many year's worth of maintenance contract!  And yet while on both termite damage was denied, both houses had them!

When we went back to this house, because Mr. Jay was in the area at the time everyone else was there, but only to remove drywall we suspected hid active termite activity.  Mr. Jay is still worried there is damage beside and over the garage door, where a large header is located and is the main structural support for the house above!

Given the amount of staining in the drywall in the ceiling, do you think there might be termites there?  If so, do you think they might be going upstairs too?

Very good boys and girls, you would be right!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are there and have been there for a while!  Even during the contract when a "termite technician" from a superior termite company had been coming by for years!  Remember, Mr. Jay predicted this while on the porch, even before coming into the house!

There is nothing special about what Mr. Jay does boys and girls!  He is merely following logic!  And experience...

This is what it looked like when only a small amount of the ceiling was removed! They are going upstairs!

And look below!  That is a termite!  Those little buggers move quick and it is really hard to get them to pose for a picture.  These were about 1/4" long and VERY active!

See the little circle?  THAT'S the little termite!

Did you know boys and girls that a termite colony can have many queens?  And that each queen can lay lots of eggs every day, some species as many as 2,000!  And an established termite colony can have as many as 50 BILLION termites in it!  And an acre of land can have 400 colonies in it!  That's a big yikes, kids!

We could have a review of our class and its many lessons.  It could begin like this:

This is the gutter that splashed water down, staining wood and brick, making the owner frown.
He caulked to stop the water flow, but that didn't help what he didn't know...

Well, we're too out of time to bore you with any more!  We'll have another class soon!  Well, THAT'S for sure!

What's the moral of the story?

There are two -

1.  Water has to be controlled.  If not it will kill your house, inside and out.
2.  You shouldn't have to know everything.  That's why people hire professionals to help.  But pick the right professionals!  And when a company says it's "superior," it might not be!

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

And don't forget to tune in to see Mr. Jay's Neighborhood!  It's always a wonderful day in his neighborhood!

 

 

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 29 commentsJay Markanich • March 20 2011 05:56AM

Comments

Those are scary pictures. I am glad you saw the activity . It is important to hire a good home inspector.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 7 years ago

This has been a process Gita.  I hope the lessons were useful!

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

Knowledge is powerful and over the last few days you have given us some more to work with

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

Yes, water can be devastating to a home.  What happened with the termite company?

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

I'm glad you enjoyed it James.  Sometimes things follow other things!  I guess that's where education comes in.

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

Good morning, Jay. I guess the moral of the story is that termites will eat you out of house and home...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 7 years ago

I am sure they will continue doing what they are doing Debbie, and NOT doing what they are NOT doing.

Michael - every time.  Which do you think they prefer, the Jimmy Buffet or the Warren Buffet?

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

I sometimes believe that home owners believe that if they don't think about a problem it will go away. 

Or, they take the advice of someone who is selling them something.  Like a termite inspection company THAT HAS BEEN PAID FOR A TERMITE MAINTENANCE AND WARRANTY but which has NOT performed as expected.  The home inspector isn't selling termite treatment or repairs. 

The purpose for the termite maintence contract is to pay in advance for regular inspections with the guarantee that, if a pest infestation is found, the termite company will treat and repair as necessary.  NO COMPANY CAN GUARANTEE THAT TERMITES WILL NOT ENTER A PREMISES.  The critters CANNOT READ the guarantee. 

Just because a termite maintenance contract says you are protected, home owners must make sure that the contract provides for regular inspections so that the treatment can be accomplished at a cost of $500 rather than an eventual treatment of $3,000 plus repairs to the damaged part of the home.

There is a real disconnect between a Termite Maintenance contract and the reality that it doesn't protect the home from an infestation.  I suppose it's the home owners' wish that it be so, i.e., if I have a maintenance contract, termites can't get into my home.  It's nonsensical, but wishful thinking is the home owner's security blanket. 

Those of us in the real estate business know better, OR SHOULD.  When I hear a listing agent poo-poo a bad termite inspection report, I wonder whom they are trying to protect.  Surely, they don't expect the buyer to take possession of a home riddled with termites and the concomitant damage. 

OR DO THEY??

I don't expect anything but a self protection mode from a home owner/seller.  However, I always expect better from a licensed REALTOR.  Sadly, I have often been disappointed.

YES, the first report of possible termite infestation is often from the HOME INSPECTOR.  It is their job?  Of course, it is.  Can they prepare a termite report or treat??  Not without the appropriate license.  That doesn't mean they can't identify the problem.  Since the HOME INSPECTOR is often the first inspector on the scene, it is logical that they be the first to see a potential infestation.  A quick follow-up to schedule the termite inspection is then necessary. 

HOME OWNERS MAY BE ABLE TO BURY THEIR HEAD IN THE SAND, but licensed REALTORS cannot.

head in sand

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Very well said Lenn.  On the Beauty and the Beasts inspection, that house had had a termite maintenance contract for 8 years.  My inspection on that house was on 3/11.  On 3/3 the company paid to "maintain" the property came by for a pre-listing inspection and left a "warranty" that there were no termites or damage anywhere on site.  His report included the basement, apparently under that patio staircase. 

Seeing the patio on that house we talked about it and went to see the doors first and then into the basement first thing thereafter to investigate.  I found evidence immediately.  This isn't open-heart surgery!  It's not that complicated.  It is only logic, and experience.  Where was the "experience" of this termite company "technician?"

This same on this house in my Inspectology posts.  This poor homeowner will be left holding a huge bag.  The "maintenance" contract excludes so much and absolves the company of any liability or responsibility.  It is basically useless.  AND, on the house above, there had been NO previous treatments, according to the guy who came later.  So what does the homeowner do?

Bottom line - a home inspector is looking at the whole body and how all the systems function together.  One things leads to another.

Thanks for your involvement with these posts Lenn.  It was more than useful to all who read your input(s).

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

Jay, very bad business for the not so superior pest company. I know that termites can be hard to find. Mr. Jim always brings a pest inspector with him. And termites are more than pests, aren't they?

I have to admit, I worry when the buyers bring in Uncle Jimmy's third cousin five times removed, who just became a home inspector.... I worry big time.

Thanks for the class. I didn't pass, but will certainly be keeping my eyes open as I show a house. Years ago I lived in a rental... moved in, moved out... as the termites swarmed .... inside...

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

Good morning Mr. Jay;  You have become the "go to guy" every morning for new words of wisdom.

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

The home owner should file a complaint with the entity in the state in which the house is located, I'm assuming it's Virginia. 

http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/forms-pdf/cp/oca/complaint/oca1complaint.pdf

Pest control companies are licensed by state departments of agriculture.  It's basically a license to apply the pesticides involved. 

This is a start for these consumers.

 

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Jay,

Most of the maintenance guys that I see do not really inspect. They apply a perimeter treatment, easy squeazy, and hope for the best, not really checking effectiveness.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay - Now didn't you open a can of worms/termites.  Far too many, including some inspectors might just accept the termite contract and forget it. 

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

Andrea - you did fine!  Jim "brings" a pest guy with him on inspections?  You are right to wonder when the unknown inspector shows up!

Thank you Ken.  You seem to enjoy these posts more than the average bear!

Lenn - I will pass that along to the selling agent.  Thanks.  Yes, Virginia - in Sterling behind the Dranesville Shopping Center.  You know the area.

Steve - isn't there a way to do a perimeter treatment well?  Doesn't Termidor last a long time?

I don't think I did John!  The house opened up quite a bit though...  Wow, look!  The worms are getting bigger!

And I couldn't care less about a termite contract.  Or the previous "inspection" the sellers sometimes want me to use...

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

Mr. Jay, Thanks for the lesson, and hopefully you educated a seller and a buyer. One may have gone away and the other one would have gotten out that contract for the pest treatment and maybe a lawyer's number as well.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 7 years ago

I don't know how it will end up Ed, but this is a mess, that's for sure!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago
Great info Jay. How is the best way to determine which termite company and which method of control is best? I'm sure these people thought everything was fine with the company they had.
Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) over 7 years ago

Jay,

Such a good example of how one thing really can lead to another and with grave consequences.

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

Jay,

In reply to Steve's comment. I did an inspection with no pest inspection because it had been performed, or it  was said it was done. I enter the crawl and it was very obvious that the crawl had never been entered. I had to cut may way through the cobwebs, had a cotton candy wand when I was done. I told the Realtor that he should get his client to ask for the money returned. (That was not all that was missed just as in your case)

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

I'm sure they didn't after this was found Karen!  As to finding the best companies, the consumer sites are very good, but I would think the best way is word of mouth.

It is Donald.  People need to realize that a house is a huge system, with lots of things interacting all the time.  And how often do we follow another company that said it did something they obviously did not do?!

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

Poor Mr. Seller has wasted a lot of money it seems for a contract for 8 years.  Do most contracts absolve the company of everything??  

Posted by Stephanie Williams, Realtor Murrells Inlet (Seaside Properties) over 7 years ago

I would think so Stephanie.  But when it is so ongoing and this problem is so evident, it would seem to me they should have some liability, if not all.

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

Thanks for illuminating the need for a thorough inspection from a professional and reputable Home inspector Jay.

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

Glad you enjoyed the little series Chris.  One thing usually leads to another, as you know.

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

Good stuff.  Somehow I kinda knew this is what you were going to find!

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

And it's huge too Reubs.  The structural stuff still hasn't been investigated and I really feel for this homeowner.  The homeowner's end is the most difficult - the house was under a "maintenance" contract!  And he's trying to sell this place.

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

Hey Jay-

Nice inspection. When ever there is a water leak, there is the possibility of termites since they need moisture.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Thanks Eric.  It took Mr. Jay four blogs to get to this one, but I think people learned a lot about how a small thing becomes a bigger one!

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

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