February 28, 2011


I learned many years ago when I was completing my field training as a home inspector…never to open refrigerator doors in vacant homes!

It was during my first inspection with my instructor that I realized this to be of the utmost importance. In this little old vacant bank-owned home that had no power, I reached out to open the refrigerator door only to hear my instructor say to me   “I wouldn’t do that if I were you!”   Without stopping I flew the door wide open…took one full breath of the retched smell that came at me…then hit the ground! Yes…this full-size home inspector passed right out on the kitchen floor for all to see!

Learning from that experience, I went forward in my career as a home inspector with the vow NEVER to do that again!  Unfortunately, several of my customers and referring agents have had similar experiences and I have seen many make the same mistake I did!

Near the end of the inspection of an older two-story bank owned home that had been empty for some time, the first-time home buyers, their agent and myself were gathered in the unfinished basement of the house. Along the very back corner of the cold, damp and poorly lit basement sat both an older 1950’s style upright freezer and an older refrigerator unit. I watched as the customer reached out to open the freezer door, I immediately said to him   “I wouldn’t do that if I were you!”   Ignoring my warning, like most people do, he opened the door…only to find that the previous owners had left behind a freezer full of meat! With no power on to the home for sometime now…the rotten meat had become infested with MAGGOTS!

The stench of the rotting meat immediately hit our noses…followed by writhing maggots spilling out onto the concrete floor. Thousands…if not millions of these little off-white, slimy and crawly creatures were everywhere! The pure shock and horror at the sight of these nasty maggots crawling on the floor and the horrible smell of the rotten meat made all of us begin to gag and choke. I shut the freezer door as fast as I could and turned around only to see the rest of the group running up the basement stairs as fast as they could! I don’t think I have ever exited out of a home as quickly as I did on that day!

Needless to say, removal of the maggots and rotten meat was a recommendation on the report. I later found out that it took an additional two full weeks to find someone willing to clean up the mess. I can only imagine what it looked…and smelled like by then! I still get the “heebie-jeebies” just thinking about that day!


February 14, 2011

The Things I See...

You would be surprised at some of the amazing things that are seen during home inspections. As a very busy home inspector I have had the opportunity to see over a thousand homes…and just when thought I have seen it all something new surprises me!

There are the usual and obvious finds during a home inspection such as broken windows or missing gutter down spouts that are seen. Then there are the unexpected and almost laughable finds a home inspector can discover.

I have seen the most amazing foundation breaks and large cracks…even saw a river running under a house one time! I have discovered, on more than one occasion, roof rafters, floor joist and support beams being supported by a car jacks!

My nose knows the smell of mold…and trust me I have seen some mold! I once found mushrooms growing on carpet and granite counter tops with huge circles of black thick mold! I once even threw up on an inspection because of the amount of mold…oh that was not fun at all! The fun and inventive ways people have tried to stop leaks have been fun to see…but when they can’t fix the leaks in the roof they like to put pots…and sometimes kiddy pools in the attic just to catch the leaks!

Oh…the crazy things some homeowners will do! Some of the repairs that unqualified homeowners make can make a home inspector’s head spin! I will never forget the electrical meter I once saw installed along the interior of a bedroom…you will have to be on very good terms with that meter reader! Some homeowners think it is okay to jam as many wires into a breaker as possible…once saw a breaker with six circuit wires jammed into it!

I am always amazed what I see on home inspections. I LOVE my job...I just never know what I will see next! Take a look at the video slide-show of just a few of the amazing inspections pictures from some of my inspections.

Have you had your home inspected lately?

Joshua Roberts

February 7, 2011

Ghost on Main Street...

We have all experienced it at some time in our lives…perhaps it was an uneasy feeling you had at some point in a home…or something you saw out of the corner of your eye…or you just get the feeling there is something not quite right. I have the opportunity to be in and inspect hundreds of home each year and as a home inspector sometimes to experience unexplained uneasy feelings in some homes.

There are many items and systems the inspector reports on during the course of the home inspection. However, there are some things the inspector just cannot report on. This is the tale of just some of those items you can’t put in an inspection report….

It was a beautiful day in the town of Morton, WA. with a clear blue sky and the sun shining bright on the hot August afternoon. A very full day laid ahead of me with my schedule packed with several inspections throughout Lewis County and had begun with an uneventful morning inspection.

The inspection began in just the same way all the others had…I arrived early to find a vacant one and half story little home along Main Street. The agent had met me there and opened the door then returned to her car to work on some paperwork while I completed the inspection. The buyer was to arrive later during the inspection due to his work schedule.

I entered the older nineteen-thirty’s style home and began the inspection of the interior. I enjoyed being able to inspect the home alone and uninterrupted…but soon, during the inspection of the old little bathroom something had caught the corner of my eye.  A dark shadow of sorts, just off the right side of my eyes. The shadow had made me stop and come back into the hallway just to look around into the living room then into the kitchen…nothing.  I returned to the evaluation of the home…with my ears on high alert.

Moving from room to room, suddenly I found myself startled and stunned when walking into the kitchen only to find the exterior kitchen door and some of the cabinet doors left wide open. I specifically had recalled closing each one of them a little while earlier. I suddenly was frozen in my tracks when the sounds of footsteps could be heard walking across the floor above. A cold shutter went through my body as the hairs of my arms and legs raised…a sudden temperature drop in the room was obviously felt and my heart began to race.  Bravely I called out,   “Nancy, is that you?”  Looking out the kitchen window only to find her sitting in her car, talking on her phone. The sound of a slamming door from upstairs jolted my attention to the ceiling above me.

Realizing I was somehow, potentially not alone in the home…all I really wanted to do was leave! Immediately leaving the house and returning to my van in order to regain my composure and knowing full well I had to go back in and complete my duty…I said a little prayer…put a Rosary in my pocket and went back to work. Other odd things that I just am unable to explain continued throughout the remainder of the inspection…but you will have to wait for the book for that!

I completed the inspection…met with the potential buyer and left as soon as I possibly could! As a home inspector, what do or would you say about possible paranormal activity in a home? Of course there may be some rational explanation for everything…but for now I am calling this experience just...freaky! I drive by this house every time I am in Morton…the hair on my arms and back of my neck stand up each and every time!  

"Do Not Be Afraid."
Joshua Roberts