Home inspectors see it all – from multi-million dollar mansions to hoarder’s hovels. No matter the size or condition of the home, the inspector gives a thorough examination to ensure buyers know as much as possible about their potential home.
However, it’s not always simple. Homes across Thurston County give Boggs Inspection Services inspectors moments of surprise, shock and even fear. Enjoy these top 10 strang stories from the home inspection front lines.
- Raw Sewage Situation – Inspector Bill Ryan was inspecting a four-plex last year when he noticed a foul odor. The units were rentals and he assumed the smell was from the former tenants’ mess. It intensified in the lower units and when he reached the crawlspace, shimmying under the house, he realized all drain lines had been emptying into the crawlspace and were disconnected from the city sewer. “The crawl was literally filled with raw sewage,” recalls Ryan. He got out fast and let the investment buyer know they had a big problem on their hands.
- Crawl Space Creature – Crawl spaces tend to be the least favorite area for inspectors, and for good reason. Inspector Keith Bowman was nearly done with an inspection last year when he entered the crawl space. He put his hand on the plastic vapor barrier for balance and something moved. A lot. Within seconds a full-grown possum shot out of the plastic, running for the far corner of the space, hissing. Bowman beat a hasty retreat back to the entrance. Needless to say, he didn’t go back under that house.
- Creative Climate Control – Owner Dwayne Boggs has been inspecting homes for over 12 years. In that time, he’s seen some crazy things and recently, he saw something he’d never seen before. “While inspecting a home with central heating, I found a return air duct installed through the front of a kitchen cabinet,” he explains. “The grate was literally cut into the cabinet door with the duct inside.” At least that duct will be easy to clean.
Home Protection Hound – Bowman has been with Boggs Inspection Services for almost two years and cites this story as both harrowing and hilarious. “I got out of the car at an inspection and the seller’s huge German Shephard came racing out from behind the house barking. He was pretty scary and at the time, I just told myself, ‘Be calm. Get back in the car. Don’t run, he can catch you.’” Once in the car, he waited for the agent to arrive and when she did, she hopped out of her car, offered a few Milk Bones to the pooch, encouraging Bowman to do the same, and everyone was best friends. “I think the dog followed me around, wagging his tail, for the rest of the inspection,” he laughs.
- A Family Affair – One of the most challenging inspection situations cited by all three inspectors is when large groups of people attend the inspection. Boggs recalls his largest group – 25 family and friends. “At the inspection they were pointing me all over the place saying, ‘Don’t miss this! Did you see that?’ It got so bad I had to call a family meeting and take control of the group. I handed out paper and pens to everyone, asking them to write down questions and notes, and said if I can’t stay on track I will surely miss something and then we will all be sorry.” The moral? More isn’t always merrier.
“Helpful” Homeowners – Sometimes, sellers stick around for the inspection. While not a common practice, it is their home and they do not have to leave. “It can be really awkward,” shares Ryan, “poking through someone’s home with the buyer, a stranger, when the homeowner is present.” And, if a seller isn’t thrilled with the deal they are striking, it can get really uncomfortable really fast.
- Unexpected Guests – One of the best stories comes from veteran inspector Dwayne Boggs. “I was inspecting a crawlspace, which was over four-feet high. When I turned a corner, I ran right into a living space,” he recalls. “Someone had been living in a tent, in the home’s crawlspace. The person had even disconnected a heat duct so they could be warm in the cold winter months. The home backed up to a greenbelt, so I suppose the person accessed the home by way of the greenbelt without being seen.”
Room to Grow – It isn’t uncommon for inspectors to find a “grow room” set up in a home they are inspecting. They can only speculate about the type of plants grown in these areas, but they have a sneaky suspicion. Bowman recalls the strangest set-up he’s encountered. “I was inspecting the crawlspace, a normal, tight space I had to slide into. But, in the back there was a plastic over the insulation and a light switch. Under the plastic was a little door and behind it they had dug out a small room. There was even a heater and lights in there. No one really expects to find an entire room that you can stand up in buried under your house.”
- “Shadow Dog” – Bowman’s most memorable moment? “I was inspecting a rental and the tenant, who called himself Shadow Dog and only wore underwear, followed me around the entire time. That was a weird one.” Keith earned his fee that day.
Painfully Personal – “A lot of times, the sellers don’t prepare their homes for an inspection,” says Ryan. An inspection involves going through a home with a fine-toothed comb and sellers forget to put away their personal items. “I’ve found loose handguns, rolls of cash, and some, well, really very personal items that I probably shouldn’t see,” says Ryan. People – put your stuff away!
In the process of buying a new home or getting ready to list your own? Call the professional inspectors at Boggs Inspection Services at 360-480-9602. They will get the job done right and, hopefully, won’t find anything to add to their list of home inspection horror stories.