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