What I'm Seeing Now

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And This After The Proclamation Of "Termite Free"

My clients, Marine friends of my son, are being transferred to Quantico VA from California.  They were unable to come to be present at the home inspection.

I am very uncomfortable when clients aren't present.  It means I have to be more careful with photos and explanations that would not be necessary if they were present.

And necessarily, since they aren't present I have to be extra careful.  They aren't present!

The house features a screened porch off the master bedroom.

Very nice feature!

But inside it I noticed some weird moisture, and could not determine where it was coming from.

Plumbing?  An oddity inside the attic unseen during my search?

So I crawled underneath the porch.  It wasn't a fun crawl.  A little bit like the proverbial camel going through the eye of a needle...

And saw this.  It's very wet.  And why I don't know!

But wet nonetheless!  That is not good.  Especially when the property abuts so much woodland and a lake.

From the crawl space scuttle hole I saw something odd on the foundation wall behind the photo above.

It was over 30' away and my view was along the wall.  You had to really be looking for it to see it, but the foundation wall was wet.

Not good when there is a masonry-block foundation.

With huge knee pads on, I made the trek to go see.  I was going into the crawl space anyway.

Truly wet, and given the staining I could see it had been wet over time, I pulled the insulation away so you could see from afar what is up close below.  But to see this I HAD TO PULL THE INSULATION AWAY!

 

Clearly there is rot and termite activity here.

They actually scurried when I touched the mud.

I did not want to disturb it much so the next termite guy can see what I see.

The "next" termite guy?

After the inspection a car was parked out front.  The listing agent.  He was "just passing by and happened to see [my] car."  When I suggested there was moisture in the framing and foundation wall under the screened porch, and apparent termite activity, he said that just the day prior the house had been proclaimed "termite free."  So not to worry.

Did the termite guy go onto the screened porch and see moisture?  Under the porch to see the wet framing?  I know he did not pull the insulation away from the rotting spot because it had been undisturbed.  Had he crawled around under there?

If I had a dollar for every time I have found termites after the termite inspection I could go downtown for an evening including a nice meal and theater.

I politely dismissed myself and with the report, photos and phone call suggested that the buyers have their own termite guy investigate this.  It should be easy to find.  The insulation has already been removed!

My recommendation:  many hands make lighter work, and more eyes see more things!  So, hire a home inspector to check your house out!  I hope you see  the benefits of doing that!

 

 

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 20 commentsJay Markanich • February 01 2014 04:18AM

Comments

Hi Jay,

Good find. I had a home about a month ago that was termite free. or so the termite guy said. When I was inspecting the home I found termite "Live" in the closets of the home. Did the termite buy even look at the home r just drive by like a lot of the JH's do? In fact I may post about it today.

Have a great day in Bristow my friend.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 5 years ago

Clint - termites here, termites there, here a termite, there a termite, everywhere a termite!

I hear the come in colonies...  On the house I posted about today they were colonial pilgrims having a Thanksgiving feast!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Clearly, the termite inspection company wasn't accompanied by your son's friend or a buyer's agent representing the buyer.  Sad, sad.

The termite inspection that performed the original inspection should be reported to the licensing board, but we know they won't and will continue their shoddy work to satisfy the buyer's agent that selected them.  Or, by the listing agent which is the usual case in Virginia.  Of course, that doesn't mean that the buyer's agent can't select the "by buyer's agent" on the form to select the termite inspection company.

Beyond your excellent as always service, I see nothing but "get to the closing table and collect a commission check" in this narrative. 

And the beat goes on.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Twice I have called for termites in a house and the location they were in before I entered the house.  One of those times the termite guy came back later and I have a photo of termites on his hand.  The company that had the house under contract for many years (!), said to be "superior" in the industry, of course said we were wrong.

We weren't.

This looked to be a serious problem to me Lenn, because so much of it isn't visible without removing things!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Good find, Jay.  But, does this mean they have 2 issues? termites and moisture?

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 5 years ago

Jay.  Over the years, I've learned of many serious termite infestations in homes that were sold and settled and the pests discovered when the new owner started to remodel. 

I used the same termite company in MD for about 10 years until we got a clear report when the buyers discovered a serious infestation after moving in and began removing the moldings in the living room.

They reported the company to agriculture, the licensing authority, and the company lost his license.

Not a good situation all round. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Imagine this is a VA loan which means the seller has to pay for the termite inspection...right?  Anyway I'd be all over it as the buyer agent.  Not only does it need a new inspection but it needs treatment.  

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 5 years ago

Yes, Debbie.  The moisture invites the termites.

Lenn - but their investigation is "visual."  So behind moldings and such would be on their disclaimer, no?  However, I have heard the best termite companies use beagles.  They smell the methane!  And the beagles are interested on in what?  Treats...

Iyayi to both Cindy.  I hope so!  I observe and report.  And photograph.  By the way, a Dustin called about an inspection and wanted a particular slot.  He said he would call right back and did not, and the slot is booked over now.  I think he went with someone else...  saving money?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Possibly a road side inspection!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 5 years ago

Jay, so many Virginia agents don't get that they really do need to be more careful about hiding material facts.  Yes, I know.  It's a "Cavaet Emptor" state, but when you know something big, I'm not sure that don't ask, don't tell will keep you or your sellers completely out of trouble.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Jay, you missed what he meant, that the termites are free---come with the house---no extra charge :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

Raymond - just another drive by in the country!

Pat - not sure if he was aware or not, but to say to me that there was nothing to worry about flew in the face of what I saw!

Charlie - well then!  Maybe they clean up and cook too?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Chocolate covered and they don't need cooking

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 5 years ago

En masse, I hear they're really good sauteed in butter, with a bit of fresh garlic Charlie.  Don't over garlic because it makes them burn.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

 Good morning, Jay. I often find signs of the WDO's after a clear letter has been written. Most these guys are in and out of the house in 10 minutes. Talk about a racket!

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Michael - I kind of enjoy finding them after the termite inspection and saying to my clients that they need to get their own guy.  Then it's dueling banjos...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

"many hands make lighter work, and more eyes see more things!"

So very true! I use an exterminator on every job, unless for some odd reason the client declines the service. Inspected a house a few weeks ago. It had gone through two inspections prior, but no sale. Guess what my guy found? No, not a pile of gold. Termites. In an obvious location.

Last week got a call from the buyers agent for a property we had inspected for her client a few weeks prior. Seller says there are no termites, the house was pre-inspected and that inspector didn't find any. Hmmm, lets see an untrained home inspector versus a licensed and experienced exterminator. Yep, I can understand the reason for doubt. 

And the stories gone on....

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 5 years ago

Bummer on the gold, Jim.  But, I guess the termites at least salvaged things...

I understand the reason for doubt too, but photos are photos.

Let me know when the gold strike happens!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Wow!  The things you discover and some of them the creepy little crawly things that eat wood and destory homes.

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 5 years ago

Looking on my map it seems like OK does not have a lot of termites.  Is that correct Judi?

You might like my Redskin blog.  You are right in Chief Allen Wright's area.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/3799252/should-the-washington-redskins-change-their-name-

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

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