All day, every day, home inspectors are in and out of houses — and they have seen it all. From hoarders’ hovels to “lifestyles of the rich and famous,” they inspect each home thoroughly and without bias.
In the 12+ years that Boggs Inspection Services has been conducting Pierce County home inspections, there have been many moments of surprise, shock and even fear. Here Boggs shares their horror stories to make you laugh, cringe and appreciate your inspector even more.
1. A Growing Concern
Surprisingly, inspectors find “grow rooms” in homes quite frequently and suspect homeowners aren’t just cultivating carrots. Inspector Keith Bowman shares his strangest find. “I was inspecting the crawlspace, a normal, tight space I had to slide into. But, in the back, there was 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.
2. Protective Pooch
Bowman was at first fearful in this situation, but now, it’s pretty funny. He had arrived before the agent at an inspection and when he approached the home, a large German Shephard came charging out, 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.’” He waited in the car for the agent, the pooch on alert just outside his door. But, the agent hopped out, offered a few milk bones, and the dog was ready to be friends. “I think the dog followed me around, wagging his tail, for the rest of the inspection,” he says with a laugh.
3. Smelly Sewer Story
Inspector Bill Ryan was challenged with a four-plex in bad shape. The former tenants had trashed the units and he assumed the funky smell throughout was from their mess. When he reached the crawlspace, sliding under the house, he realized the crawl was filled with raw sewage. “The drain lines were literally emptying directly into the space, under the house,” Ryan remembers. He abandoned the inspection and let the buyer know that he had a sewer situation on his hands.
4. Playing Possum
Do you like wriggling into your crawlspace? Neither do home inspectors, but it’s part of the job. During one job last year Bowman entered the crawl — it was the last item on his list. He put out his hand for balance on the plastic vapor barrier. It wasn’t solid ground he felt. Within seconds a full-grown possum jumped from the plastic and bolted away, hissing at Bowman. He hastily retreated to the entrance and called it a day.
5. Haphazard Heating
For 12+ years, owner Dwayne Boggs has poked and prodded his way through South Sound homes. Recently, he came across some “creative” construction in a kitchen. “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.” Creative? Yes. To code? No.
6. A bit TOO Personal
Bill Ryan offers this advice to sellers: Prepare your home for the inspection. He and his colleagues go through a home room by room and closet by closet and sellers often don’t 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,” Ryan says. People — put your stuff away!
7. Hangin’ Out Homeowners
When selling your home, it’s your right to stay on site during showing and inspections, but it’s not recommended. “It can be really awkward,” shares Ryan, “poking through someone’s home with the buyer — a stranger — when the homeowner is present.” Walk the dog, go get a latte or catch a movie. It’s better for everyone.
8. Home Sweet Home
Veteran inspector Dwayne Boggs has one of the best horror stories. “I was inspecting a crawl space, 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.” Roommates anyone?
9. High Heat
Sellers are required to disclose issues about a home they are aware of so buyers and their inspectors have a bit of fair warning. One seller, Boggs recalls, disclosed unusually high heating costs with no explanation. A quick trip to the attic revealed the home had absolutely no insulation in the attic. Remember what your mom said about wearing a hat? Heat really does escape through “your head.”
10. “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.
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.