The Call is Coming From Inside the House
Remember “When a Stranger Calls”? If you saw it and ever babysat, you probably thought of that at least once! There’s not much scarier than thinking someone you are not aware of may be in your house – but what about something being in your house?
I am not a home inspector, but I have seen hundreds of home inspection reports and the ONE thing (in Middle Tennessee) that comes up time and time again that can kill a deal is crawl space issues. I have had clients that didn’t even know they had a crawl space, let alone look in it and know what’s going on in there. There can be plumbing leaks, obvious structural concerns, rodents, reptiles and other living creatures. Because I live in a humid climate, I see a lot of organic growth – aka, mold. Mold can grow where there is moisture and oxygen. Think about a shower in a bathroom that doesn’t have an exhaust fan. Eventually, mold will grow. Mold may not grow, however, because, the door or window is being opened to provide ventilation and it is being cleaned on a regular basis. But what about in your crawl space? Is it being ventilated or cleaned on a regular basis? Here is some good info from the EPA about mold growth and some ways to mediate it. https://www.epa.gov/mold/brief-guide-mold-moisture-and-your-home
Critters also love to make their home in crawl spaces. They are safe from the elements and a lot of times, predators. Generations of critters could be making their home under your floor and you may not even know it. This may not be of large concern to you but what happens when they find a hole and get inside your house instead of just under it? You may have a more pressing problem on your hands.
Plumbing leaks can be tricky. You may have one and not even know it because it’s not bad enough to be noticeable even with daily usage. A leak from a commode can be undetected for years but the damage it is causing beneath the surface can be devastating. Subfloor can be damaged or rotted and mold can be flourishing. The remedy can be much more involved than just replacing a wax ring, but it may have been avoided if you knew about it early on.
Structural issues are a huge red flag for home buyers. Even though mold can be scary, and some will walk away, structural issues are almost always something the buyer will not budge on being fixed or they will simply find another house. No one wants to buy a house that is not sound or poorly built. And the kicker is that structural repairs are typically very costly so Buyers just aren’t willing to take the risk or spend the money.
Homeowners need to look in their crawl space regularly – at very least, when the seasons change. Organic growth and critters can both cause illness and disease. Plumbing leaks can be costly if left unrepaired. And structural damage can be both costly and dangerous. No one wants to get the call that is coming from inside the house. So, if you don’t want to ruin a sale by having a crawl space issue come up, open the door, peek in, and get a professional out to look at anything that may look suspicious.
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur babies, Tyler and Livvie, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.