Scene of the Crime

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This past Wednesday I went back to the house I’ve got in escrow, the one where we released our contingencies last weekend. I was there to meet a fellow who has got quite an interesting job. He works for Crime Scene Cleaners, aka Decon Specialist – whose website banner reads, “First call 911. then call us.” This fellow has found himself quite an interesting niche – cleaning up the scenes of murders, suicides, “unattended deaths & human decomposition” and the like.

Well, that’s just half his business. The other half of his business is decontamination – where they do more pedestrian work like odor removal, high pressure washing, and of course, biohazard remediation, like sewage spills and other fecal matter.

Which is why I was meeting the gentleman from Decon Specialist (George) out at the property the other day – the basement area had a colony of rats living underneath it, who had torn out most of the subfloor insulation and spread generous quantities of fecal matter all over the subfloor area. My clients didn’t want to have that kind of filfth underfoot, and so it was something they wanted taken care of. After poking his head into the subfloor area, George and I took a walk around the house looking for ways of ingress into the property. We found a spot where the sewer pipe exits the concrete foundation – a small gap in the concrete around the pipe. George explained to me that even 1/4″ is enough of a space for a rate to squeeze through.

George also told me something interesting: if a home fire is deemed to be caused by rodent infestation (i.e. the rodents chew up the wiring, and that causes a fire), that most insurance companies won’t pay off the claim. I don’t know if that’s true or not – I just did a bit of reading on the internet, and a couple of pages I read say that most insurers do pay for rodent-caused fires – but it’s something you might want to ask your insurer about if you are concerned!

After our meeting, George gave me an estimate for the decontamination: $1700+. Wow, that’s a decent chunk of change. He had told me they charge only $150/hour – so I was figuring like $1,000 or so. Well, he quoted me for five hours ($750) – plus about $1,000 worth of other add-ons too numerous to list. Whatever – it’s a nasty problem, and I want my clients to be happy. Of course, they wouldn’t be happy faced with a $1700+ bill – so I’m paying for it. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, I wouldn’t want any rumors to get out that I’m in the habit of giving up part of my very hard earned commission. As it happens, though, I love my clients, and I want them to be happy with their new home; the purchase was stressful enough, and taking this worry and expense off their shoulders is well worth the price.

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