The cat that wanted out!

I would never try to escape

Inspectors frequently have to deal with pets left at home at the time of inspection.

I really appreciate it when they are either gone or corralled somewhere in the house.

On a recent inspection the agent had warned me the cat would try to escape and sure enough, as soon at the door opened a crack the cat launched itself at the daylight.

I have seen lots of pets that wanted out, but this one was SERIOUS about it.

The cat was shooed away from the door and we all got inside.  The inspection went without event except for one short term escape accomplished by the cat.

At the end of the inspection, the agents all left and the inspection of the exterior continued.  This is not my normal protocol but this was a large apartment building and we saved the exterior for last.

The cat’s unit was on the 3rd floor, end unit.  The walkway ended at the entryway door and the bedroom window was located just past the end of the walkway guard railing.  As I approached the end of the walkway the cat launched itself onto the window screen and started clawing at the screen with a vengeance. 

Don't leave pets at the inspection

The damaged screen

The screen came undone along the edge and was ripped open vertically.

I tried to push the cat off the screen and into the room but the cat was having none of that and just clung and scratched at the screen even harder.

Eventually I was able to reach between the cat and the screen and pull the window shut– successfully bumping kitty off the screen and into the room.

The cat was not aware of it, but I probably kept it from using up one of its nine lives by saving it from a 3 story fall to the concrete below.

But I want OUT!

I called the listing agent to let the cat’s owner know about the damaged screen and that the window was no longer  adequate to prevent escape of the beast.

Sometimes cats just want out.

Please don’t leave your pets for the inspector to deal with.

Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

WARNING! Barbie will be naked!

I have found all sorts of things in crawl spaces. 

Dead rats are very common. 


As are the skeletons of cats, dogs, birds and mice–and even snakes.


I have seen live raccoons, snakes, rats, and mice.


There is always the spiders and wood destroying insects–termites, Dampwood termitecarpenter ants, moisture ants and anobiid beetles.


Classinspection 037

There can be structural concerns from rotten floor systems and support posts–as well as failing foundations and supports.


All of these things, along with the plumbing leaks from both sewage and water supply pipes, and electrical issues make these places a treasure trove of blog fodder and all things nasty.

moore 060

Crawl spaces of course can be flooded.

Colburn (282)

There have also been the occasional abandoned wells and septic tanks. 


Finding oneself on the precipice of either of these is freakier to me than piles of rodent crap or even raccoon latrines.


I have seen a landfill of stored items from abandoned tires, water heaters, and lumber, to Christmas decorations and kiddie pools.


There have been the lost and forgotten toys, from naked Barbie dolls……


……to marbles, Legos, and the Lone Ranger’s badge.


Of course there are the physical constraints of really low crawl spaces……


…..and even crawl spaces that are so full of vegetation that access was not possible…..


…..or insulation in the way…..


……or even so much dryer lint that inspection was not possible.


Aside from all of these things there is another thing that I don’t like finding in a crawl space.


If you don’t recognize this contraption, it is the fill pipe/cap for an underground oil tank.  These tanks are difficult enough to remove and/or decommission when they are merely along the side of the home.  Hide them in the middle of a crawl space and they get REALLY difficult to deal with.

Sometimes it is difficult to remember that in the context of all the other stuff that is the part of any ordinary crawl space–there is this important stuff to find too.

By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle


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You don’t know your “ape index?”

Do you have a positive or negative ape index?  I guess before you answer that question it might be a good idea to know what an ape index is–otherwise who knows where one’s mind might go.

If you are, or were, a sport climber you most likely would know what one is.  Stretch your arms out away from each other as far as you can.  If the length from finger tip to finger tip is “greater” than your height–you have a positive ape index.  If it is shorter than your height you have a negative ape index.  Most people’s have a negative ape index.

Climbers consider having a positive ape index beneficial for obvious reasons.  I was always amused by this concept because what could one do about it–bone stretching exercises?  Bring back the rack maybe?

Anyway, this post is about long reaches–and what you can do with a long reach–even for someone like me with a negative ape index.

This is a pet door in a garage door (although it could be the door to one’s home).

Pet door

Pet door

The door was locked and no one had a key so I just got down on the ground and reached through to the inside handle and un-locked it.  The buyer and agent were both shocked at not only how possible this was but that I could actually do it so easily.


All you need is an adequate ape index

I think this is good information for a buyer to know about whenever pet doors are installed in doors in homes.

While security of homes is never absolute–lets at least avoid and/or fix the obvious breaches.


By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle


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