On recent home inspections, I had the disappearing disposal - twice in one week!
I pay attention when notes are left for me at home inspections. They are usually very helpful. Sometimes they are downright devious.
The most recent was yesterday. The photos would have been very similar to these posted here.
In each house there was a note that said something like, "Since there is a septic system, you will notice there is no disposal."
This is a note left by a "savvy" real estate agent, or a "savvy" seller convincing a not-so-savvy real estate agent that the house has been really well cared for! Somebody knows that it is really best NOT to have a disposal with a septic system. And if there is one, great care needs to be taken with what is put into it.
But in each of these houses with the helpful note, there was a switch on the wall that seemed to control nothing.
Since there was another switch in BOTH houses that controlled the light over the sink, what oh what could the useless switch do?
SWITCHES AREN'T IN WALLS FOR NO REASON.
In both houses, there was brand-new drain plumbing under the sink.
AND UNBELIEVABLY IN BOTH HOUSES THERE WAS A BARE CABLE HANGING THERE, CONNECTED TO NOTHING, WITH THE END SIMPLY CLIPPED OFF!
Not curled up in the corner, no wire nuts over the ends of the bare wires, simply hanging there. And the end clipped off!
AND WHEN THE SWITCHES IN BOTH HOUSES WERE TURNED ON THE CABLES WERE HOT!
I always tease my clients a bit asking them to hold my hand as I touch the end of the cable and they turn on the switch.
For some reason they don't want to hold my hand! Reason unknown...
AND IN BOTH CASES, THE SEPTIC FIELDS HAD PROBLEMS, WITH YESTERDAY'S SMELLING AS BAD AS ANY SEPTIC FIELD I HAVE EVER BEEN PRIVILEGED TO WALK ON TOP OF! GEE, COULD THESE "SAVVY" PEOPLE KNOW THERE ARE SEPTIC PROBLEMS TOO?
Was the Golden Rule tarnished yet again? Hearts truly are growing colder.
My recommendation: I expect there are those who get away with sneaking things past their buyers and/or home inspectors. But it really is low brow and when the inspector does figure things out (not too hard in both cases above) it puts a real kibosh on the sale. The lack of trust created is very, very hard to overcome.
In both of these cases the buyers decided to back out. And not because of anything I said. Just because of the lack of trust generated by such an overtly sneaky act.
P.s. In both houses there was a breaker in the panel box labeled "Disposal." Often it is spelled "Dispozel," but still it's pretty clear... And such notes are really, really not very smart.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560