Entertaining inspection stories

There has to be a wealth of embarrassing and fun to read inspection stories here. To lighten things up and entertain, how about some stories? I’m going to start with one:

I was inspecting a home well over an hour from town, clients and agent did not attend the inspection. Needless to say no cell service was present. They did have wifi, and I had the code and was logged in. It had a steep pitched metal roof with exposed screws, somewhat worse for wear due to amateur installation and snow slides. Eyes on the roof was important for this roof inspection. Fortunately, there was a second floor balcony, and I could access a low pitch porch roof area off the balcony. That gave me easy access to the rest of the roof and a safe climb up to the low pitch shed dormer located above the balcony. Much safer and easier option than using my long ladder. I accessed a good view of the whole roof and was able to perform a good roof inspection.

Finishing the roof inspection, I climbed down, only to see the door to the balcony was closed and that it was now locked! From experience I know the importance of checking that the lock is released before entering a balcony like this. It was released when I entered the balcony, and I left it wide open. Apparently it slammed shut due to wind and house pressures, and then somehow locked. There was absolutely no other way off this balcony or roof without serious injury. What to do?

I carry a satellite emergency communication device, but that was in my truck. I had my cell phone with wifi calling connected. Hopefully it will work at my location on the balcony. If I call my wife for rescue, I’ll be here well over an hour. There was a contractor friend working near by, and if they had wifi calling set up, I could call them. I did not have their cell number, so some calling to others would be in order. Besides, it was after 4PM on a Friday, and very likely they were already gone. There had to be better options. I could break a window and pay for the repair – not good for my credibility with anyone involved in this property sale. Slipping the lock was an option, but with what? Tear off a small piece of poorly installed flashing? How about the brim of my hat?

In the end, I was lucky the door striker and frame were installed loose enough to allow me to get my hat in there, and that the anti-slip function of the door latch could be disengaged by pulling on the door. I have had this same locked door scenario happen to me and to others during my construction career, but someone was present for the rescue and ridicule. Not this time. Lesson; don’t depend on the lock when solo. In the future I’ll put something in the door opening to prevent it from slamming shut.

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3 weeks ago did an inspection on a SFH in Coral Springs.
The listing agent was also the seller & he was … . I dunno. … just something about him didn’t feel right with me.
When I was in the garage I noticed new supply lines for the water heater.
I’m suspicious 'cause in thre back of my head I’m looking for polybutylene pipes, being built in the early 90’s.

Time for the attic.
There they were in all their glory - found them!
There was a notice of inspection in the attic from 3 weeks ago.

Turned out he was a scumbag liar, knew about the poly, hoping the 2nd inspection didn’t discover it.
When the buyers confronted him about the previous inspection he lied & said it fell thru due to financing. Yeah, no mortgage 'cause no insurance carrier would give coverage.

He called me the next day & made veiled threats.
I told him to stop by anytime, but I’m armed & hung up the phone.
The property has been removed from the market… … .

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This was a few weeks ago. I was inspecting a brick ranch that was built in the 50’s. Some have basements but most of the ones I’ve been getting have crawlspaces. Outside temperatures were in the 90’s but cooling off. Time comes to inspect the furnace and of course it is in the crawl space. So I turn the A/C off and heat on and set it to 80 degrees. Access is inside the garage, after I get down there and crawl to the furnace, the damn thing turns off. Argh I’m thinking what happened and trying to trouble shoot it. Finally I crawl back out and take a look at the thermostat and the heat is off and it is back to cooling mode. Scratching my head trying to figure out what happened, then it finally dawns on me that the thermostat is a Nest and hooked to WiFi. The seller apparently didn’t like that I set it to heat mode in the middle of summer, so they changed it remotely.

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Yesterday the seller was leaving as I was entering his home. I asked if he wanted me to lock up. He said no that he could lock it remotely using his phone and with his cameras he would know when I left. He also said “wear a mask the whole time you are inspecting and pointed up at his camera”

He did have multiple cameras and I did wear my mask . I would have worn a mask just because he had asked me to, however the camera threat irritated me.

As I was inspecting the exterior I noticed his rear door camera was turned up and away from the door and covering the back yard, missing the door.

So, naturally when I left I slipped out the rear door and down the side of his house along the camera blind spots.

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I inspected a house last week that had a security system and a disarming code. I’m always hesitant about security systems, but had no issues with that and no one present except me. Both seller and buyer are from out of town, as is the buyers agent and the listing agent was tied up, but I did have access to the house.

Once in, I checked the water and it was off. I did a check of the service panel to see what was off and sure enough, the well pump breaker was off, as was the water heater. There was no cell service there, but a land line was available so I called the list agent seeking to get seller’s permission to flip those 2 breakers. Got her voicemail and left a message. In the mean time, I continued with interior inspection. The landline rang about 15 minutes later and I answered thinking it was the list agent. It was the seller. Very nice, helpful and gave me the permissions I needed. Thinking the agent probably called him, I went about my inspection. I had noticed cameras in the house and am always under the presumption I being watched.

A day or 2 after the inspection, I get a call from this agent saying she just my voicemail and if went ahead and turned things on. I laughed and told her the owner called and we spoke. Apparently the owner had heard/saw my call to agent from the camera, waited and took it upon himself to call me. Sometimes these “candid cameras” can be helpful.

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Inspected a high-rise high school in midtown Manhattan about 10 years ago, got to the upper-most floor and walked into a room where 9 teachers, none of them younger than 50, were smoking weed with a glass bong.

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Great topic… here’s the first one that comes to mind: I was pretty new inspecting and still a bit, “star struck” when I got a job with a high-powered agent. So, Mrs. Bigshot lets me in a HUGE newer house and tells me to not make a mess and be REALLY careful (as she’s leaving to go do, “Mrs. Bigshot” things). So, I get setup and open the attic access hatch in the master closet and leave my ladder under it. For whatever reason, I go off to do other things and don’t return to the master bedroom for +/- an hour. I open the door and there are at least a dozen birds (presumably were nesting in the attic) flying around the master suite, running into windows and crapping on everything (apparently, birds poop when they are scared?).

It was like a warzone. All I could think to do is shut the door (with me inside), and give them a way out. So, I open a couple windows remove the screens, and get the hell back out of there. After 15 minutes or so I return and, thankfully, all the birds are gone. So, now there is just bird crap all over. Luckily they seemed to just poop as they were hitting the windows trying to escape and there was only minimal damage on carpet or furniture. I grabbed my “emergency towel” and went to work wiping/cleaning/scrubbing. I got it cleaned before anyone returned and never heard a word… but, of course, did report bird’s nesting in the attic :slight_smile:

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Love it! This is a great thread!

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Here are a few of mine: https://inspectortoolbelt.com/crazy-home-inspection-stories/

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A few years back I was inspecting what I remember now as a 1940ish cape cod with an enclosed front porch. I am always leery of porch conversions because they rarely have enough insulation or proper power and heat upgrades. The underside of the porch had been entirely enclosed with CMU and a latching door was provided on the side for access. I entered this crawlspace to observe the insulation and had moved all the ay to the far end of the porch. When I returned I found that someone had latched the door closed behind me. Fortunately I had my phone but I didn’t have the Agents number (the door culprit) so I had to call the client (who had not yet arrived) to call the agent to unlock the crawlspace door. Lesson emphasized: You can’t trust Agents!

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Not inspection related, but I had a bird nest in the wreath on my front door. I opened the door too suddenly one day and the bird exited the nest into the house. I opened the doors and windows and it finally flew out of the house. (I left the nest on the front door because it had hatchlings - but removed it as soon as the were gone.)

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I sometimes want to tell them to sit in the corner with their hands in their pockets. If they really wanted to be helpful they could;

Go thru the house and turn on all the lights, open all the sink cabinet doors, unlock all the exterior doors and drop the attic stairs for me before I arrive and then leave. LOL

Where do I send the memo?

This reminded me of my 1 inside bird experience. This was before being a home inspector. I was working in a two story office building with no operable windows. We had a bird get in through the eave and make a nest above the drop ceiling in the vestibule. We knew it was there, and because of our kind hearts, come winter after it left we were going to close up the access. Well one day after all office staff left except myself and one other manager. The bird decided it was time for an adventure. We heard it flying or flapping around above our offices. Then it makes its way to an open panel. And I see this thing flyby. Like idiots we decide to chase or shoo this bird out the front door. So we’re running around the first floor after a bird and the damn thing flys upstairs. I don’t know if you have ever tried but it’s near impossible to get a bird to fly downstairs. We finally get it into an office on the second floor and close the door. Now what, after some laughs and a little planning. We grab someone’s coat and go charging into the office. The bird flys straight at my face and we throw the coat at it. Somehow it works and we have a bird wrapped in a coat, and take it outside to let it go. After we let it go, it flew to a nearby tree and I think the bird was just as exhausted as we were. But it was one of the more interesting experiences I had at that office.

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Back in the early days, when I was performing wood destroying organism inspections, I would explain to my clients what I found at the end of the inspection.

There were two rather attractive women who were my clients, and I was going over what I found. I was explaining to them what wood destroying organisms were, why certain things weren’t on the report, and other things.
I must have said wood destroying organism about 15 times.

Then they asked one more question and I said wood destroying orgasms…

Looking at me in shock, I quickly replied, and those are the best kind!

We all had a good laugh.

Then there was the time I was inspecting a house and going over what I found wrong with the client and he said I don’t care what you tell me as long as it doesn’t have rats. I told him turn around, there was a rather large rat running across the roof!

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On an inspection I did a couple weeks ago, the owners of the house had a VERY friendly pitbull in the yard. They asked if they needed to put him up, but I’m a big dog lover and told them he was fine.

When I went inside the crawlspace, the dog ran in too and seemed to be having the time of his life. He was crawling on his belly to get to areas that were too narrow even for me. It was hilarious.

When we exited the crawlspace, the dog was so worked up that he immediately jumped up on me and started humping my leg. I kept pushing him off me but he wouldn’t stop.

The lesson here is no matter how friendly a dog is, it’s best to ask the owner to put him up.

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Doggy foreplay!! :laughing:

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I got hired to inspect a small waterfront house that the tenant had bought from the landlords kids after the landlord passed away. While inspecting the home I found a secret panel under the sink and when we opened it there was a box addressed to the previous owner who had passed away. It was very heavy and When we open the box we found seven 100 ounce silver bars that the owner had purchased in the 90s and left in the box they were shipped in behind the hidden panel. The buyer stated that there was a bunch of other things in the house and the landlords children said they could have anything that was there. The buyer had no idea of their value and thought they were lead or iron and worth nothing. I happily accepted one of the silver bars as my largest tip yet. Price at the time was $1500 per bar

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