Skip to content
Ryan G. WrightJan 11, 2018 4:01:47 PM6 min read

10 Insane Issues Found During Property Inspections

10 Insane Issues Found During Property Inspections

If you ever fixed and flipped a house, you definitely know it can be a crazy adventure. However, the folks who’ve seen the most insanity in the fix-and-flip process are those who provide property inspections. Today, The Investor's Edge is here to give give you a little taste of some of the strangest things inspectors found while assessing a property.

Let’s start off with some crazy encounters of the creature kind…

1. Pet Cemetery

This haunting tale comes to us from an estate sale. The owners recently passed away and realtors listed the home at an incredibly discounted price. Naturally, buyers started to line up around the block to take advantage of this fix-and-flip opportunity. Inspectors found one strange occurrence in the basement: a series of patched holes in the concrete floor. Since the inspectors couldn’t find any reasonable explanation for these holes, they simply noted them as ‘inconclusive’ in the report and moved on. However, when the grown children of the deceased owners saw these notes in the inspection report, they decided to investigate. Ultimately, they found the remains of dead pets in each one of the patched holes in the floor. The owners buried their beloved animals under the house, turning it into their own personal pet cemetery.

2. Roasted Rats in the Furnace

The furnace is not only one of the most important places for inspection, but it turns out to be quite popular among small rodents. With many exciting nooks and crannies (and not to mention warm places to nest), a furnace poses a temptation too good to resist. As many home inspectors checked out the property furnace, they often stumbled upon the roasted carcasses of several rats, mice, squirrels and even bats. Home inspectors advise owners to routinely inspect their furnaces once a year for this reason, among others.

As the infamous Basil Fawlty once said, “…Would you care for a rat?”

3. The Raccoons Moved In

Raccoons pose a common infestation threat to dilapidated houses. According to Jamie Green of WIN Home Inspection based out of Seattle, WA, “It’s not uncommon to find these crawlers during an inspection.” He shared the story of inspecting a home once during the evening. He noticed some strange moisture stains on the ceiling. Upon closer inspection, Jamie also noticed a bit of a noisy ruckus coming from upstairs. He headed up to the attic to investigate and discovered a family of raccoons had claimed the place as their home – nesting, urinating and making a disgusting mess, as raccoons generally do.

4. Rattlesnakes Mating

Jason Jones, a colleague of Green’s at WIN Home Inspection, told the story of a home inspection he performed not long ago. The property had a very creepy old shed in the back yard which had long been forgotten. He had to execute a termite inspection, so he braced himself for whatever was in that shed. As he performed the inspection, he saw a head suddenly pop up near him. Another head quickly followed. Jason got out of there fast and called for his coworker, who in turn, called the fire department. The firefighters soon discovered that two snakes indeed took up shop in the abandoned shed. However, they weren’t just any ordinary snakes…they were rattlesnakes and in the process of mating. Fortunately, the firefighters discovered them just in time before the property owners would have the new problem of a whole nest of baby rattlesnakes on their hands!

5. Ants in the Driveway Gate Control Panel

Check out this crazy ant story! Fortunately, it happened outside of the house rather than inside, but still creepy nonetheless! A gate technician was called to inspect and repair an automated driveway gate as part of a property’s renovation. The sellers complained that the driveway gate had some glitches. Therefore, the technician opened up the panel to check out the problem. There, he discovered a whole new problem. The control panel had been completely taken over by hundreds of ants. According to Matt Prato, the gate technician performing the inspection, “Ants, being so small and quite persistent, they are often able to eat away at normal protective barriers and squeeze into tiny holes. Once they’re in the enclosure, serious damage usually isn’t far off.”

And now, let’s move on to bizarre things home inspectors found which were more inanimate in nature…

6. Deck Hanging by a Thread… And Without Stairs!

Home inspectors agree that the area where they tend to find the most defects are on back yard decks. Often, the joists under a deck pull away from the outer beam or girder, putting the entire structure in danger of falling completely. Other problems lie in seemingly more obvious defects, such as a missing staircase. Attaching stairs to the back yard deck should be one of the first things on the rehabber’s to-do list… hopefully before the open house, where a buyer can potentially fall 10 feet and break multiple bones.

7. Every Furnace Needs a Yogurt Container

We’re surprised more furnaces don’t come with handy, attachable yogurt containers. In this case, a “handy” do-it-yourself home owner decided to seal off the flue vent on a gas-powered furnace with a plastic yogurt container. It’s the perfect fix… except for the carbon monoxide flowing through the flue vent which could possibly fill the whole basement with toxic fumes. No big deal.

8. The Smoke Detector Caught Fire

Now, isn’t that ironic? Don’t you think? This story comes from the AE Home Group, a team of Maryland real estate agents. Apparently, the previous owners of a property neglected to turn off the electricity and air conditioning prior to moving out. It being a hot summer day, the air conditioning was set to high, which one would think to be a good idea. However, condensation started to build in the basement and it caused the basement smoke detector to short out. Eventually, the smoke detector even caught fire! According to Jeff Miller of the AE Home Group who was on the scene at the time, “Ironically, the smoke detector almost burned that house down.”

9. Cellophane Wrap Plumbing Repair

How about this for a disgusting bit of crazy? Property inspectors discovered this interesting piece of DIY work as they were conducting a home inspection in Massachusetts. They discovered the waste line of the home was damaged and the former property owners decided to repair it themselves using cellophane instead of calling a professional to repair it properly. Talk about an amateur job, not to mention a nasty, potential health hazard!

10. Chimney Fixer-Upper

This chimney fix certainly gets points for creativity! Apparently, there were some minor leaks and damage to the chimney of a multi-million dollar home. A handyman was called, and he applied rolled roofing to the top of the chimney and then covered the roofing with an iron grate. Certain this would prevent any rain from coming into the chimney, the amateur handyman soon realized he had another problem on his hands: ventilation. So, he poked some holes into the roofing material to act as flue vents. Creative. We wonder how much he got paid for this horrific “fix.”

We hope this entertaining list also sheds some light on the potential hazards home inspectors look for and often stumble upon. The Investor's Edge is here to help you with every step of the fix-and-flip process, from funding to rehabs and finally, a profitable resale.

Learn how to make money flipping properties with us by attending our next webinar.