I just recently inspected a house on tall piers made of wood with wooden beams for support. The house was approx. 35 years old. It was a very nice home to look at, but there were several issues to consider about the foundation. The wood piers (6x6) had been previously repaired and extra shems added over the years. In some places the foundation needed over 3" of blocking to adjust for the movement.
The piers had diagonal braces added in many areas to help stop the shifting of the house. Several of the piers were leaning and this had caused some gaps in the beams they were supporting. It was not known if the piers had any concrete below the ground level, but it did not appear to be so. The exterior surface of the piers had approx. a half inch or more of decay at the soil level.
The ground had moisture coming up from the soil (apparently from the underground water flow). The drainage around the house had gone through exhaustive repairs to divert the drainage, but it appeared that some of the moisture was coming up from the soil anyway.
The roof and floors showed some sloping, the doors were out of square, the paneling (not sheetrock) showed some diagonal cracks and floor seemed weak in some areas when walking across them.
The wooden piers and wooden skirting were touching the soil and there were indeed signs that these conditions were conducive to termites. Near the lower end of the foundation, the venting was poor, and the house had a musty odor inside some of the rooms. Hmmm? (musty odor is a red flag sometimes, for mold?)
To all the outward appearances, this house looked like a cherry and was ready to live in. It would be easy to look past these flaws and let the deal go through and make everyone happy. Everyone except the poor buyer who would inherit these problems.
What did I do? I did the very thing I am hired to do and it makes people upset with me sometimes. I told the truth to my Client and revealed some issues that will need a very hard second look before closing on the property. This is what a “real” home Inspector is suppose to do, in spite of who is not pleased with his report. IMHO.
I don’t try to make people mad at me, but sometimes we are called the “deal killer” because some deals can’t stand the light of truth.
I do enjoy, however, the thanks I get from Clients that tell me how glad they were to find these kinds of problems, before they bought the house.