In the countdown to move-in day comes that final “inspection” day. You and your family have been wading in rooms full of packed boxes, wrapped furniture items with limited access to normal everyday items for weeks in anticipation of moving into your new home.
You meet with your realtor and inspector while they methodically check off each item on the list of their clip board. Two hours goes by and then you are approached with the final detailed document. It all checked out and there doesn’t seem to be anything that needs attention. Everyone smiles and you head over to the escrow office to sign your life away. You are handed the keys and breathe a sigh of relief.
The next day, the moving van arrives on time as they promised. Your two teenage boys and their friends pack their trucks to the brim with miscellaneous and breakable items; while your wife and your new “midlife” baby are in charge of food and drinks for the crews. Within an 8-hour day your whole life changed right in front of your very eyes. And it was pulled off without a glitch!
Not many whole house moving days go this smooth and you are feeling grateful. Aside from the pungent smell of fresh paint and new carpet, the unpacking of boxes, all the furniture is in place, beds made up and you are ready for a nice relaxing night. Your baby is sleeping sound in her new bedroom; your teenage boys are out enjoying pizza with their friends as you pop open a celebratory bottle of champagne with your wife. She gently leans in and gives her hero a big kiss saying I love you.
During the following few days you and your family put the finishing touch on the house and it’s finally exactly what you envisioned the first day you saw the house with your realtor. Then your wife asks you to come into the babies room. She’s in the process of changing your little girl when you look down and see little red bumps all over her little arms and torso. Now it’s been quite a few years since your teenagers were that age so you are unsure what it is. Your wife said “It certainly isn’t diaper rash; I hope it isn’t chicken pox. I’m going to take the baby to the doctor today”.
The doctor assures your wife it isn’t chicken pox and asked if they had changed or introduced any new foods, as it might be a type of food allergy. A week goes by and everything that goes into the baby’s mouth is documented as the little red marks continue to occur. Each day more and more of these red marks cover the baby’s little body.
While at breakfast on Sunday morning with the family, mom looks over at her oldest son as he is wildly scratching at his arm. She asks him to pull up his sleeve and noticed red marks. It is then that a light bulb went off and she said OMG we have bugs of some kind; please Lord don’t let it be bed bugs!
That afternoon she put in a panic call to a local pest control company. They said they had time later that evening and would send over a technician to take a look. She walked alongside of the tech while he carefully examined the two bed rooms of each of the children and then the rest of the house. He wrote on his report that he found “no evidence” of any type of bugs in their home. A sigh of relief comes from her breath.
Two more weeks pass and these little red marks are getting worse. Some were healing as new ones appeared and now her other son is breaking out. Off to the doctor with all three children she goes. Again the doctor says it could be a food allergy. Mom is not satisfied with that answer so the doctor starts to ask questions.
One question being; what have you done different? When she said they had just moved into a new home the doctor asked if there was new carpet? During that Ah Ha! moment they assumed it must be the new carpet. He suggested they have the carpet cleaned with steam even though it was new, to remove any residual chemicals to see if that would make a difference.
So when she arrived back home, she shared what the doctor had suggested and calls a carpet cleaning company. They scheduled the cleaning for the following Tuesday.
A week goes by, the carpet is now cleaned using hot steam to remove any residual and sanitize it. She is feeling a bit of relief.
Two days later her son wakes in the middle of the night and enters her bedroom saying “Mom; something was crawling on my pillow and here it is”; as he held out his hand to her.
The next day she called back the pest control company and they confirmed it was a bed bug.
To make a long story shorter, how easy could it have been to have added a simple bed bug inspection by a trained detection dog team to the mix before they signed escrow? It was obvious that the original pest inspector did not find any signs of bed bugs before he signed off on his little piece of paper saying there were no signs of any type of infestation in the home. They may have painted over the signs of them; the cleaning crew may have sucked them up in the vacuum or the carpet was replaced and no one checked under the pad or around the tack strips first for signs?
Bed bug inspection dogs are known for their accuracy well above a human technician’s ability to find bed bugs. Adding this simple but vital inspection to the list on that clip board can be much more important than whether the faucet in the second bathroom works.
Something’s are obvious and easy to acknowledge and fix; but a bed bug infestation that was embedded in the walls, cracks and crevices of a recent sold home with painted over evidence can be devastating for new owners.
The sad moral of this story is that because this was not addressed as such like a required termite inspection they went back to the realtor and broker with a law suit and won.
Massbedbugbusters.com http://www.massbedbugbusters.com/ has been helping realtors, property owners, hospitality and resident owners for years and can help you too!
By Denise Donovan/IBBRA