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Better Safe than Sorry: Home Inspectors reveal the real deal

By: Theresa Pugh

Published On: October 24, 2014

Coast-to-coast, United States or Canada, everyone, it seems, has their own horror story when it comes to Home Inspections.

In most home-purchase offers, it's customary to include a clause making the transaction contingent on the findings of a home inspection. This is included for a very good reason. Without a proper home inspection, you just never know what is lurking beneath those walls.

Abandoned Old House

Blaine Illingworth, an ASHI director in the Philadelphia area, has had more than his share of animal encounters while doing inspections. In the crawl space of one Pennsylvania house, “I came face to face with a 15-foot boa constrictor. It's amazing how fast you can crawl backward!”

The beast had gotten loose a couple of years earlier, and the owner thought it was dead, not residing under his house.

Another time, Illingworth says he saved a family from carbon monoxide poisoning. The sellers thought they had the flu. Instead, he found a raccoon sleeping in the chimney, blocking the flue.

In another case, while inspecting an old farmhouse, Illingworth discovered a colossal hornets' nest, with seemingly hundreds of thousands of the stinging creatures, covering one attic wall.

Some people should not receive a license to build, much less build fireplaces. In order for your fireplace to work properly, it must be connected to an exterior wall of your home. When a local home inspector spotted this problem, he may have actually saved some lives. A poorly built fireplace will not get the proper draft it needs to keep the air clean. After some heavy-duty repair work, the fireplace received proper placement and the home was good to go after $20,000 worth or repairs – definitely a nightmare for the homeowner.

Mimi Bullock, the owner and operator of a small renovation business said:

“My husband and I often get desperate phone calls from homeowners who failed to pass a home inspection.

A report from Alabama highlighted the problem weather: hurricanes and tropical storms. This means that an abundance of moisture, including driving rains and floodwaters often accompanies these storms. Once sheet rock and flooring gets wet, mold becomes a real problem.

Dangerous black mold can make you sick and has the potential to spread throughout the entire home, and painting over the mold or even washing the walls is not a solution. The damaged material had to be removed and replaced. When a home inspector suspects black mold he may test for it, as this one did. After hurricanes Karina and Ivan we were inundated with phone calls asking for help with mold removal. Even after several years without a major storm, black mold is still a problem that can shut down a home inspection approval.”

Older homes are more likely to have problems as things wear out, but new homes aren't immune.

Getting a home inspection is the best money a buyer spends, even if they end up not buying the home. At the end of the day, you can’t put a price on peace of mind.



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