From Million Dollar Estates to the GHETTO!!!!

It always amazes me what it feels like doing a 2.5 million dollar estate one day, then driving to South Central LA and inspecting a home in the Ghetto…

Any of you guys have crazy experiences doing inspections in Ghetto’s? I was a little nervous on my last one, South Central LA can be very scary… especially Hawthorne, Compton, and cities that are close… Gang Bangers every where, especially eyeing you if you have a nice SUV. On my last inspection, I got to the address about an hour early, so I had to wait around…

Ofcourse I bring my “own” protection as well… if you know what I mean. But still man, you are really not thankful for where you live until you see neighborhood at their worst… and I mean bad! The house was a roach infested dump! It had a 1000 square foot addition that was probably illegal, and my inspection report just practically condemned the entire house…

Just wondering if anyone out there has had any crazy or “near” death experiences working in bad areas… I think I am going to start charging “hazard” pay the next time I get an inspection call for a Los Angeles “ghetto” city…


Sounds like it isn’t worth the money…:shock:

I was watching flip this house tonight in Watts, didn’t look that bad (during the day).

I saw that one. :slight_smile:

I also saw another one after that where it didn’t look like the guy got an inspection, or if he did, it wasn’t a good one.

He thought he could flip with only 10k in four weeks.

Ended up tearing off a piece of the roof and having it all fall apart in his hands. Most of his budget went in the first day.

Sad, but a learning experience for him.

Fact is sometimes stranger than fiction…

Recently the BUYERS (Mother and Daughter) began to cry when
I had to explain the foundation of an old house had a problem
with water drainage under the house that is washing out the soil
under the blocking system.

They got angry, cryed, hyper ventilated, had to sit down so
they would not pass out… then cried some more. Later they
thank me for saving them thousands of dollars… but I had
to endure some emotional spewing for a while. I tried to
describe things sweetly, but I am not a wizard.

A very Old Man got mad at me because I showed him the
foundation slab of his BRAND NEW HOME was so shallow
that it was not even below grade in some areas. The rafters
had already developed a 5" sag in some areas. The
contractor put the septic tank at the wrong end of the
house (whoops) and then moved it by cutting a hole
through the entire length of the slab in order to route
the plumbing to the new location. He cut through all
the steel and poured a patch job into the hole. I could
go on and on… it was a joke.

The Old Man said he wanted to move in the new home and
did not care what was wrong with the house (“let the
kids fix it”). He said he only needed me to approve the
inspection so he could get the last draw from the bank
and pay the Contractor. He was so mad that he said I
would NOT get paid for doing my job.

I sent the report to the bank, as instructed by the Old Man,
and then he got happy… and said everything was OK and
he would happily pay me… whoa… what happened?

The fax machine at the bank did not work properly and
the loan officer only got to read My cover page. The
loan officer told the Old Man that they did not tell him
to get a “Home Inspection” but had instructed him to
get an “Appraisal”… so now my inspection report did not

The Old Man got happy and paid me with a smile… and
the bank financed a huge nightmare home without
knowing it.

I walked away in a daze and the kids will get theirs soon.

John, Now that is a tradegy, I had an inspection a couple of weeks ago on a small farm (40 acres) where a young couple was wanting to purchase. The house built in 30’s and had been vacant for the past 18 months, it was a forclosure property that the bank did not take care of. The roof was completely deteriorated, water supply lines were broken in several areas, crawl space looked like a war zone between dead animal carcasses and live critters that were still there. Floor decking was completely shot in various living areas of the house. Furnace manifold was completely rusted out, the electrical wiring in the attic had been chewed through with a couple of dead squirrels close by. Just a freaking nightmare. The young couple went on to look elsewhere, but the crime of this was the location, very beautiful area, located above a valley and looking from the deck at the rear of the home you could see for miles the farmland below and they had fallen in love with that view, but couldnt afford the money to make the necessary repairs to make the home liveable.

Posted last April-

My first inspection of the day was at a $2mill+ house and I found myself thinking how nice it would be to have a home like this. My third inspection was at another house - a neglected rental that listed for one tenth the price of the first house. At the end of the day I was just grateful for what I have. I love this job - I learn something every day.

Take Vic Mackey and Shane with you, Justin.

I love that show :smiley:

I inspect properties (mostly Section 8 housing) on a fairly regular basis in the South Central area (Florence & Normandie), and to be quite frank, Compton, Hawthorne and Watts are much nicer areas. SC LA is as close to a “third world country” as you can get without passing our borders.

It can be quite unsettling, when walking into a Jack-in-the-Box, to find the employees surrounded by bullet proof Plexiglas, taking your order through a speaker and passing your order through a security carousel.

The key is to get in early (around 9am) before the locals are waking up.

Get in line.

Ever run into any ‘bangers’?

Most of the tenants in these projects are in, or affiliated with, one of the 3 major Los Angeles gangs. I know the area(s) well enough to remain relativley safe.

It’s not about “running into them,” it’s about avoiding them. They’re everywhere.

Yes, I agree with you Jeff… get in early and get out! I try to do my LA inspections early in the morning 8 am or 9 am. In LA anytime, not to be paranoid but the “COLORS” can be seen every where… I see guys on bikes wearing all RED, those are your “BLOODS” and the BLUES are the “CRIPS”… You are right, its about avoiding them, and getting in and out…

For some reason, when they see that you have a tool belt on, and carrying a ladder, you just blend in to the working environment… I notice this a lot in Long Beach, avoid eye contact and focus on your task at hand.

People always ask me why I drive a beater 91 Honda Civic station wagon for a company car instead of a nice shiny truck. New shiny trucks don’t last long when you do inspections in the bad part of town.

Fortunately, I’ve only had to do one or two inspections in the “bad” parts of the SF Bay Area. Like others, I try and do them very early in the morning and get them done ASAP. If someone asks, what I’m doing, I tell them that I’m just trying to get some work done and try and feed the kids.

Thirty years ago, I moved into an apartment in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. Grace Kelly grew up there. The phone company was just introducing modular systems so you had to have an actual company employee come out to your place and install the phone.

At the lower end of East Falls, down by the Schuylkil River there was a notoriously crime ridden high rise project. Since it was just across the river from the tony Presidential Towers, the locals used to call this place the Vice-Presidential.

So, I asked the phone installer whether he had ever had to install phone service in the Vice-Presidential. He laughed and said “No. We have one guy who volunteered to do it.”

He told me that the guy was constantly in trouble with the boss for being late so he volunteered to do the installations in the project. The boss was elated because he didn’t have to deal with the other guys’ kvetching about having to go there and this guy was elated because the boss now left him alone.

Isn’t he, you know, afraid?

“No. They leave him alone. Otherwise, they don’t get a phone.”

Actually, colors are much less an issue these days as compared to the 80’s and early 90’s. Today’s markers are generally in the form of “body art.” GB’s have learned to “blend” so as to avoid any undue contact with law enforcement.

There are more than 1000 “gangs” in Los Angeles alone. Referred to as “franchises,” most are offspring of the Bloods, Crips and/or Chica’s.

Are these things you’re talking about similar to the ASHI gangs

Well, Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore :smiley: …I’ll keep Northern MI, thanks. :wink:

Hey Jeff,
Maybe you have info. on this… I am not sure but does the City of LA require private “inspections” for houses that are sold… Do sellers have to get a inspection, I head something from another inspector, but I wasn’t sure if he was right. Or maybe it is the City that has to do a quick safety inspection before the house is sold…

Let me know if you have ever heard of any type of program like this… in LA cities. Maybe he was referring to HUD/FHA ? Not sure if there is any/much profit in this?

He may have been referring to the HUD/FHA inspections (which I don’t do), but there is no such requirement in incorporated Los Angeles.

The only other thing I can think of is the “retrofitting” requirements of LA. This requires that sellers provide. . .

  1. Working smoke detectors in all sleeping rooms, hallways and floor levels
  2. Seismic straps at the water heater
  3. Low flow shower fixtures and toilets
  4. Seismic shutoff valve at the gas main

These are required to be “certified” by the seller prior to transfer. There are companies that specialize in these retrofitting items that will bring a house into compliance and provide the certification.

Up around Milwaukee and I’ve heard in some Chicago burb they have some type of mandatory inspection when transferring RE to insure minimum stds are in place. Saw the paperwork a couple of years ago from Milwaukee.

I think that Reading, PA has such a program in place.