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Home Inspectors and Crazy Stories
by Ian Robertson, Inspector Toolbelt
I have been a home inspector for many years, and one thing we accumulate a lot of are stories—and we would love to hear yours. Here is how it works: After reading this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your own story!
Stories have to be true and anonymous: don’t add any information that will make others in the story identifiable (i.e. a seller’s name).
Be sure to add your website address, company name, and other things like that for a boost on Google for your website when we repost it at inspectortoolbelt.com.
After we review it, we will send you a notification that your story is posted. To get the ball rolling, here are a few of my own crazy home inspection experiences.
The Dog Days of…January?
I once pulled up to an inspection in the middle of January and everything was covered in ice. I heard dogs barking so I waited in my truck. No one was there and the dogs appeared to be just inside the house. So I walked over toward the door to ring the bell and look for a hose bib. Just then, the door opened, and out came two Dobermans snarling and growling at me. I pulled out a screwdriver (I don’t know…it seemed like the thing to do) and slowly made my way to my truck facing the dogs. Then a third one came out and jumped toward my head. I turned quickly but it clawed at my back and snipped at my head (fortunately I was wearing a thin, tear-proof coat that protected me). At that point I had no choice but to run…and then a fourth one came out and latched into my leg. I then dragged it to my truck and got it off of me and closed my door—and just sat there bleeding. The lady came out and seemed unphased and left her dogs attacking my truck trying to get to me—and left me bleeding. I called the police and an ambulance came. The lady wanted proof that I had actually been bitten; apparently because as I was laying in a pool of my own blood in her driveway—she took out a camera and starting yelling for me to take off my pants so she could take a picture…I still can’t feel parts of my left leg.
No Bones About It
One time a client of mine hired me to inspect a building. He was foreign, but wouldn’t tell me where he was from. He had a proxy sign all his documents and was very secretive. Well, as we inspected the house, we found bones…human bones (it was a 200+ year-old house). He knew a surprising amount about the bones though—like their names and he recognized them as human bones right away. He was about 70+ years old, and as we stood outside waiting for the police to check the remains, he thought that would be a good time to hit on me…so I left and I did not work for him again.
I was doing a pre-listing home inspection for a professional photographer. His home was absolutely beautiful and immaculate—and huge. As I came into one of his two-story living areas, he had a 20 foot by 9 foot enhanced photo of his wife…completely naked…where he and his family hang out. And just as I entered there, I also met his wife…and she wanted to discuss the inspection, next to the naked picture of herself!
Butt of the Joke
There are a lot of naked people stories in the home inspection industry—too many to tell. But this one weirded me out just as much as the last experience. A woman loved to take nude photos of her husband apparently. So there were naked photos of this guy all over the seller’s house. As I was trying not to look at any of them, I went into a speech to my client about defects. I was being long-winded with it, so when my clients and the agents kept giggling, I thought it was them laughing at how long I was talking. But then I looked over and there was a big picture of the husband’s…well…a close-up of the middle of his butt…right there next to my face. The agent took a picture of my surprised face and the hole in question.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Once I climbed into one of the longest crawlspaces I have ever been down. As I crawled through it, I reached over to look at something and then got shocked and thrown to the side. After I came to, I found a buried service wire…it hurt like crazy. At the same inspection, I also found that their well was missing…not their pressure tank, not other equipment—but their actual well (hole in the ground, pipe, etc.) was gone! And no one knew where it was.
Another crawlspace story. I went into a crawlspace of this huge house that had been added on to a dozen times or more—and my client decided to come in with me. It was the weirdest crawlspace I have ever been in. It was a labyrinth—and we even got a little turned around. As we were making our way back, we heard the septic guy leaving and saying the septic system looked good—but he left the water running. A few moments later, something that was blocking a pipe broke loose and started shooting poo water everywhere in the crawlspace and flooding it. We ended up “wading out” instead of crawling out. Yikes!
“The Roof is Fine”
I went to inspect an empty home and the roof was reported to be composite tile and in great condition. I was able to get a better look and noticed that it was just old roofing that had been painted. I went into the home and my clients were in this house eating wings and drinking tequila. So, I mentioned the roof and they said that the inspection is just a formality, that the roof is fine, and there is nothing I could find that would make them think something is wrong with this house. So I go and turn the heating unit on and everything looks fine. I go to the attic and I couldn’t believe it. There were bags of water taped to the roof sheathing. It turns out that when there was a leak, the sellers taped plastic to the roof sheathing and they would just fill up with water. Some areas just had plastic bags. As I was looking at this—I smell smoke and find that the heating unit has caught on fire! I race to take care of it and stop it—and also find the smoke detectors weren’t working. So finally I go to my clients and say “your roof has bags of water hanging from it and your heating unit caught on fire—I think you should reconsider what you told me earlier.” They then put down their wings and booze and took it a bit more seriously.
(story continues below)
Saving My Bacon
One time I was inspecting a home in a city and they apparently had a pet pig, but not a small one like you would expect in a city. This thing was a couple hundred pounds or more and came up to my waist. The pig got out of its pen and started chasing the agent around the house (the sellers told us he was not pleasant). I got the pig’s attention and it chased me right out the door and the agent escaped out the back door.<br /><br />
“It’s Raining Men”
I climbed into an attic and the listing agent insisted on going in after me. I asked him several times not to and stated it was unsafe. He insisted, and as he was telling me how he wants to protect his clients’ interest…he falls through the ceiling. He’s OK (he caught himself on the ceiling framing), but he paid to fix the ceiling…and he was obviously embarrassed.
A River Runs Through It
I once called out a brand new $15,000 patio because it leaned toward the house. Everyone (including my client) got upset at me because they thought I was just trying to make trouble. I told them that in heavy rains all that water hitting the patio would roll back into their basement. They walked away and I continued my inspection. Like something from a movie—we had a freak rainstorm while we were in the basement and, of course, the basement began to flood. The window wells filled up with water, a river began to form in the basement, and we all got buckets trying to help. I still have a video of the frogs literally swimming in the water. Let’s just say, they believed me after that.
About the Author
Ian Robertson is a veteran home inspector, owner of three inspection companies, owner of Full View Home Inspector Marketing, and one of the founders of Inspector Toolbelt. Inspector Toolbelt is simple administrative and scheduling software for home inspectors that makes running your inspection business easy and automated.
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