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"We don't move personal belongings"


chrisprickett
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I know a lot of inspectors who have a steadfast rule of not moving any "personal belongings" or whatever you want to call the homeowner's stuff. While I'm not going to drag a dresser across the floor, sometimes taking a second to move things around may (as stated by our illustrious host) "save your bacon"!

Five year old home, standard piddly crap I find on most homes of that age. House has been spruced up for the sale, but housekeeping was about what you'd expect for a working family with two kids. I do the kitchen last (start the DW first). So I'm just about done, and get to the refrigerator. There is a folding tray table wedged between the frig and the base cabinet next to it. I make an "executive decision" to yank the tray out.

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Could have been just some garden variety spill that didn't ever get cleaned up, but I figured I'd look in the cabinet, which was crammed to the hilt with "personal belongings". I had to pull a bunch of stuff out to see the side of the cabinet.

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Uh oh! Walked around to the dining room wall behind the frig, and moved an upholstered chair that was against the wall.

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The plot thickens... I new I had a leak, likely the ice maker line. I went back to the kitchen, got on my knees and looked at the cabinet toe kick. It was a little loose, so I pulled it back.

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Holy subterranean termites, Batman! I watched my E&O flash before my eyes! Bottom line is, if I hadn't moved some stuff, I'd have missed this. All the "splainin" in the world about standards, disclaimers, etc, wouldn't have made a bit of difference. I would have been eating a cabinet, drywall repair, plumbing repair (who knows how much) and possibly a MOLD claim. I don't think the sellers were trying to hide the damage, but I'll never really know.

Just thought I'd throw it out there.

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Chris,

Three cheers for intuitive methods!

My termite man, with whom I huddle each year as he inspects my crawl space, has told me that thru time govt. regs have, in the interest of safety, moved the allowable treatment chemicals away from toxicity thru time. That's fine for safety, but not fine for effectiveness.

He tells me that finding infestations in five-year old homes is common now.

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Ah, the excitement of the hunt and the thrill of bagging the lion. Gotta love it. Like Mike, I have no hard and fast rule about this. I say I don't move stuff in my contract, but I go with my gut on the job. So far so good.

I had one instance where termite damage was discovered after the sellers moved out, because it was behind a huge dresser w/mirror. I couldn't have move that thing if I'd wanted to.

Brian G.

In the Termite Homeland [:-indiffe

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Originally posted by hausdok

Funny thing about subs in the Seattle area. We have 'em over in West Seattle in legions, but they're pretty darned rare outside of there.

Maybe there's a subterranean termite passport authority and most can't qualify to leave or get visas to visit greater Seattle.

Mike, I think it was West Seattle subterranean termites that voted for the damn monorail! Anyway, I have a very nice (at least from the MLS photos :) ) Craftsman over there this afternoon. Would you like me to give some subs a lift to Kenmore?

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After I spent a grand on new sheetrock, tub and shower surround, I move stuff if I have to!

Like most, my contract says I don't do it. However, when 2 and 2 are coming up 3 1/2, I'll move what I have to. For example, kids toys don't go in a linen closet behind a tub and shower. I knew that and thought it odd the day I was there, but I didn't take the toys out. 2 weeks later I found out why they were there, to hide the mold and water damaged sheetrock!

Nice catch Chris and good lesson for all of us to remember!

BTW, where did the termites come up from...drain pipe or crack in the slab?

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Smooth work, Chris. I don't like to move stuff, either, but always try to check out closet walls and floors when they're behind bathrooms, kitchens, etc. I loathe getting up close and personal with someone else's gym shoes when I move them, but two or three times a year I'll discover stained baseboards and/or damp carpet.

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Originally posted by Donald Lawson

BTW, where did the termites come up from...drain pipe or crack in the slab?

Just a guess, but likely from a slab crack or around the icemaker water line sleeve. I'd love to get in there when they tear out the cabinet, but from what i understand, I'm not on the seller's Christmas card list[;-xmas]

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