Inspecting homes is mostly routine and uneventful. We like it that way. However, after 35 years we have seen some interesting things. Some we can learn from, and some are just entertaining. Below are a few of the more memorable.
EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU WAITING FOR AN INSPECTOR?
I had an inspection set for 1:00 p.m. at 123 Cherry St. I arrived on time, introduced myself to the seller who was expecting me and started the inspection. My paperwork noted that the purchaser would be attending. Around 1:30 p.m. I started the exterior and noticed a couple next to a car in the drive across the street at 124 Cherry St, which was also for sale. A few minutes later I walked over and asked them if they were waiting for an inspector. Why, yes they were--me! Turns out they had looked at both houses and had decided on the one at 124! Due to a little confusion they had in fact negotiated and signed a contract on the wrong house!
THE $25,000 TREE
We were performing an inspection on a home with a large addition that was added to the back of the house. It was built around a large tree with a trunk around three feet in diameter. The inspection was going well when one of the family members asked, "What if the tree dies?" This prompted the client to make a call. Because of the size of the room, coupled with the heavily wooded lot, the cost to remove the tree would be $25,000. A helicopter would be involved. I don't believe that deal closed.
THE MOUNTAIN DEW SECRET
We take confidentiality very seriously and consider most things we find in attics and crawl spaces, etc., none of our business. I did, however, have to turn in an 11-year-old once. (And I hated it). He was storing Mountain Dews in the attic off of his closet. I wouldn't have cared except it was winter and they were freezing and the cans were splitting open and damaging the ceiling over the first floor. When I mentioned it to the seller, she said that he wasn't allowed to have soft drinks. He would be an adult now. If you read this, I'm sorry.
I SEE LONDON . . .
Ninety-nine percent of people are honest and will not try to blatantly hide things from the inspector. This was an exception. The house was in less-than-great shape, and the sellers were home and nervous about the process. When I got in the crawl space I could hear them talking about me. (Oh, by the way, we can hear you when we are in the crawl space.) When I got under the family room, a hole about 10" in diameter was present in the middle of the floor. One of the kids was sitting over the hole. He never moved during the inspection.
A SINKING FEELING
While performing an inspection with the purchaser in tow, we noticed that while the basement was dry that day, there were many signs that it leaked with the lightest of rains. It was a wet basement. As we were wrapping up, the neighbor walked through the front door and apparently reacting to the "Sold" sign, yelled to the seller, "Finally sold the old boat, huh?!" His expression was priceless.
Written By: Phil Thornberry