This can be said for both inspectors and agents alike. With the large increase in foreclosed and vacant properties and the time of the year, we are all running into vacant and winterized homes. I cannot stress enough the importance of having the property ready for inspection by having it properly de-winterized.
My inspection was set for Saturday. On Wednesday, I called both the selling agent and the listing agent to make sure the property was going to be de-winterized. No problem said the listing agent. I am taking care of it tomorrow (Thursday). I arrived at the property a little early and the first thing I checked was the outside faucet. Hooray, water. I could also see the main gas valve was on and there was a light on in the garage. This is great. All the utilities are on. As with some homes, you never know where the main water valve is going to be located so I decided to check the meter box at the curb. I opened the cover, marked the meter and proceeded to walk the exterior of the home. Returning about 10 minutes later, I checked the meter and, hmm, the flow guage had moved. Not a lot, just a little. Water is on the move.
Just then the clients showed up and we proceeded inside. Gorgeous hardwood cherry floors in the entry and down the hall and throught the kitchen in the rear. As I walked into the hall, I felt a slight raise in the floor boards. I decided to try and find the main water valve. I entered the laundry room off the hallway and there under the stairway was the main water valve.....with a constant and heavy drip. Not a stream, but constant dripping. As I stepped forward to take a closer look, I stepped onto the carpet. Can you say SPONGE. It was absolutely soaked. This was right next to the crawlspace access. I opened the hatch and there was about an inch of water straight down. The slight raise in the hallway floor? thats what happens when wood gets wet, it swells. I turned the valve off and called the listing agent, on speaker phone, with my clients and the selling agent present I told them that I would remove the carpet just to get the water off the subfloor and put it in the garage. The listing agent said thank you and was sending someone over right away to see the damage.
It seems the listing agent decided to save the $75 de-winterize fee and turned on the water all by themself. The only problem, they had turned the valve on too far, causing the drip. It had been dripping heavily for almost 50 hours. They also did not do a thorough check of the property. The kitchen faucet was dripping at the connection to the valve. The cabinet had standing water inside.
To make a long story short: The agent saved $75 on the de-winterization. The hardwood floors were replaced, the carpet was replaced, the vinyl floor in the laundry room was replaced, the kitchen island cabinet had to be removed to install the new floors and let everything dry out. Not sure how much it cost but I don't think the listing agent had much left of their commission.
So take it for what it is worth. If the property was winterized by a hired firm, make sure the same firm does the de-winterization. Sure this agent saved $75, but they spent thousands to repair the damage caused by their choice.
Best to all during these tough times. Keep marketing. Keep busy. When I sold real estate in the early 80's, my first broker told me something that is true to this day, regardless of whether you are a Realtor or an Inspector. "If you keep doing what your'e doing, you'll keep getting what your getting". Wise words that I am once again starting to follow, with this, my first blog.
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