Several years ago I was called out to do a wdo inspection for a real estate purchase. There was no realtor involved and I was to meet the prospective buyer at the home. Upon arrival I was met by a sweet elderly woman and I could tell she was quite anxious about the home and it’s condition. She had already had the home inspector out and all that stood in the way of her and the keys to this quaint little home was me and my inspection results.
I’m used to people following me in my job and asking questions as I go but this lady did a little more than most. She pointed out almost every dimple in the wall paper or scratch on the baseboard and wanted a full explanation of why it wasn’t a termite or some other wood destroying bug. We went from room to room and this small 2 bedroom home seemed more like a 10,000 square foot mansion with each step. If there was a dent in the wood or some seam with a little dust in the crack she would practically push me to the side so she could take a closer look.
“What could have caused that?” she’d ask in somewhat of a suspicious tone and her look of disappointment and mistrust each time I told her it wasn’t bug related was beginning unnerve me.
Now normally crawling into a 120 degree attic is not something I relish but this time I was more than eager disappear into the darkness and crawl to the farthest end. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay up there forever but I could hear her calling out directions and I slowly made my way out almost completely soaked from sweat. The hot summer heat and this lady were no less relenting as we went around the exterior of the home and I could feel fatigue setting in as we painstakingly checked the outside.
Up to this point I could find nothing to report on the house but much to my dismay I still had to check the crawl space. At least I could escape her probing eyes for awhile and perhaps it would be cooler underneath and my body might be able to recoup a bit. Just as in the attic I headed for the farthest point but there was no escaping her calls from the distance. Making my way around I came to a familiar trouble spot that most homes have. The floor boards and joists under the bathroom area was riddled with wood rot and my heart sank. In some states this would not be such an issue but in Florida it goes on the wdo report and is considered a wood destroying organism just like termites. Part of me was glad to finally have found something for her but the other part knew this was going to set off a firestorm of questions.
When I came out I told her of my discovery and as predicted she was loaded for bear. She was incredulous to everything I said and almost came right out and called me a liar. I should have been angry or perhaps even taken aback but I simply repeated my findings and told her if she didn’t believe I had an extra crawl suit for her and she could look for herself. Much to my surprise she took me up on the offer. Within a few minutes she was suited up and we headed in to a place that I never thought I’d ever see an 80 year old lady go.
When we reached the spot I began to explain about the damage and what was needed to rectify the problem but this time she said nothing at all. Instead she simply slid around towards the exit and crawled her way out. With my jaw dropped to the dirt floor I watched this fiery ball of skepticism slither quickly away and I was speechless. When I finally made my way out she was unsuited and getting into her minivan ready to pull away. Angrily she said she wasn’t going to buy a damaged house and that was the last I saw of her. With my mind still numb from this strange experience I never gave her a receipt and to this day I’ve never been paid. I’m sure she’s found a home by now that finally passed her inspections but I’m just as sure there’s more than one damaged termite inspector she’s left laying in the drive way with tire tracks on his back while trying to find it.