I was doing an inspection on a large house yesterday. My clients had told me the listing agent had tried to tell them the house had just been inspected for the seller and they didn't need one. A builder they had met gave them my name as a "good inspector".
When I got to the house, I was told that a termite inspection had been done and some treatment completed last Tuesday (4 days ago). I had noticed a spot where an old mud tube had been scraped off, and signs of a few drillings in the slab.
The crawlspace in this house was pretty interesting. 1. It had a poured concrete floor., 2. It had some areas where the clearance was pretty small. 3. There were lots of little nooks and cranies where the foundation walls created a maze.
From the main part of the crawlspace I could tell there was a lot more that I just couldn't see very well. It looked like it was going to be next to impossible to get to it, however after I looked more, I could tell that if I went under some ducts, it opened up again. So in I went. I will call this "The Hard Part".
1st clue. The property owners have been traveling and have not been in the house for several weeks. On with the story.
As I got to "The Hard Part" I noticed the dryer was not vented to the outside. So I was greeted with a large amount of lint covered spider webs. LOTS of webs! Off in the distance ahead (about 30 feet) I could see some staining on the foundation wall. I needed to get there. So off I went. I had to go over and under pipes and some ducts, and sweep webs and lint out of my way.
When I finally got there, I could see a lot of termite tubes. What was really cool (for an inspector anyway) was one of the tubes went from the concrete slab up 32" to the floor joists. There were also some on the front foundation wall. STRIKE 1 for the termite inspector. He didn't go back there.
I was under the master shower, and as I pulled the floor insulation away, I found EXTENSIVE wood rot and damage on the sub flooring and joists. STRIKE 2 & 3 for the termite inspector, STRIKE 3 for the home inspector (I skipped strikes 1 & 2 for the home inspector).
I am not usually one for pointing fingers and saying stuff like "That guy should have caught this", because we don't know when they were there. However, I do know when they were there, both of them. I can pretty much bet they did not even attempt to go back there. Remember the 1st clue? There would not have been as many spider webs with dryer lint if they had gone in there. There may have been spider webs, but since no one has been in the home doing laundry, NO LINT!
I don't bring this up to imply that I am a "super Inspector" or did anything out of the ordinary to get into that area of the house. I was just doing the job I signed up for. Yes it was hard, for about 15 seconds when I squeezed under those ducts. Yes, I had to go over and under some pipes. It WAS hard. I didn't like brushing all those webs out of the way.
But this is the job I signed up for. I knew it involved going into these tight places, with spiders, and snakes and unpleasant things. And this is the job that my clients are paying me for. They hired me to do this job. I owe it to them to do my best.
When I was showing the listing agent the photos in my camera, it became obvious to him that maybe the guy he recommended was not committed to doing the best job they could for their client. Especially when he noticed there was over 30" of space between the floor and the joists.
I have a feeling there might be some angry phone calls first of next week.
Here's the photos....