A Groundhog Happened

A Groundhog Happened

Written By Jamie Gilpen | Owner - Proxy: Your Home Watch Company

Imagine walking into your mountaintop luxury second-home to find it completely town apart, with shards of trim ripped off of windows and sliding glass doors, all the blinds ripped down, bloody footprints traced all over high and low services, and carpet ripped up in the corners with curious aromas emanating from those rips.

What happened? A groundhog happened, just before we started working with the homeowner.

Luckily the once-a-month cleaner discovered the horror before the homeowner arrived, and called us asking for help. We had actually just started a discussion with the homeowner a couple of weeks prior about starting services and were planning to meet when they were in town next. Unfortunately, the meeting didn’t happen quite soon enough.

I actually received the call myself from the homeowner, and had a wildlife professional at the house within the hour, evicted our unwelcome oversized rodent, and assessed the damage. After the ServePro deep-clean, carpenter work, blind replacement, carpet replacement, and much more the total cost ended up being well over $50,000. Since a groundhog is a rodent the damage was NOT covered by insurance. Oddly, if a bear did the damage, it would have been covered.

Previous to this incident the homeowners did not have a home watch service providing a professional eye on maintaining and protecting their multi-million dollar asset. It is standard practice for us to inspect all of our clients’ homes each week, looking for problems and potential issues. It’s also standard for us to manage all maintenance on those homes, ensuring that the homeowners arrive at a beautiful, hassle-free second-home.  

In the “groundhog incident,” the animal found its way into the house through an open foundation vent into the crawlspace, through a cut in the HVAC ducting, and then up through a floor register. The floor register fell back into place after the groundhog passed through, trapping the poor guy. To remedy the long-term issues we closed up the foundation vents, closed any compromised locations in the HVAC system, and fixed any damage that the groundhog caused. We also learned that groundhogs like to bury their poo just like cats (under corners of dug-up carpet in this case). In attempting to hide its shame, the unfortunate animal cut its paws up on the carpet nails, and then proceeded to run around the house with bloody paws. It also ripped down blinds and chewed through wood trying to get out of the house. We’re not sure how long the groundhog was there, but the only person visiting was the monthly cleaner.

Ultimately, this unfortunate incident serves as a cautionary tale for homeowners with valuable properties—and for groundhogs crawling around crawlspaces…. Investing in professional home watch services and entrusting the management of maintenance tasks to experienced professionals is a proactive approach to safeguarding one’s second-home investment. By prioritizing regular inspections and prompt action, homeowners can enjoy a beautiful, hassle-free retreat, knowing that their property is well-maintained and protected from unexpected visitors like the ill-fated groundhog.

Since 2006 Proxy has specialized in home watch and concierge services for second-homeowners of high-end residential real estate in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. With a portfolio valuing over $150 million in aggregate, the Proxy team is the area’s only choice for home watch services for owners of multiple luxury homes.

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