Thanks to all who celebrated National Home Inspection Month with us by entering or voting for our third annual funny home inspection story contest. Inspectors have some hilarious moments in the field, and we’re glad to have the opportunity to share them.
Our 2020 contest winners received $250, $100, and $50 in Amazon gift cards for First, Second, and Third Place respectively. Read the winning stories, including runner-ups and last year’s top picks, below.
Funny Home Inspection Story Contest 2020
First Place: Close Quarters for the Hind-Quarters
I was inspecting a large 150-year-old downtown building in Moulton, Alabama where the foundation walls were two feet thick and brick. When the place was wired and plumbed, a hole had been knocked into the bricks to allow entry. So, the entrance was through a two-foot long, irregular tube. I inspected the hole, but upon exiting, my jeans caught on a brick and I became stuck. The only way to get out: crawl forward out of my jeans. So, I kicked off my boots and wriggled out of jeans.
Did I mention I was going commando?
Once freed, I was only wearing a t-shirt and socks. And I could hear the real estate agent on the other side of the back porch. With the porch blocking my odd condition, I stood up and told her to please go to the front of the building. I was able to eventually get my jeans and boots out of the hole. And I later explained the situation and we had a good laugh.
– Tom Dunnavant, Xpert Home Inspections
Second Place: That Really Got My Goat(s)
Pulling with my elbows as I pushed with my toes, I slowly worked my way through the crawlspace of an over 100-year-old farmhouse, built on stones and stumps. I was determined to give a thorough account of whatever I could claw my way to see.
About 15 feet in, I heard a sound behind me. Maneuvering my body in a circle, I was shocked to see not one but two medium-sized goats squeezing their way into the cramped space. I haven’t been around too many goats, but I had an inkling that, if one were to get trapped or get its horns caught on something, it’d very likely start thrashing. As I contemplated getting beat up by a goat, or worse, having to tell the homeowner their plumbing had been destroyed on my watch, I knew I needed to act.
Strobing with my full-feature flashlight did no good. Screaming bloody murder only caused them to give me a bored stare. So, I took a deep breath and did the only other thing I could think of: I charged at them while maintaining a clear battle cry. My elbows and toes propelled me faster than I thought I could go.
Lucky for me, my desperate plan worked. Those bold little beasts scrambled out from under the house without causing any damage. They left me a little shook up though. Hundreds of crawlspace inspections later, I still sometimes glance towards the entrance and fear I’ll see a bored-looking goat staring back at me.
– Kari Cheek, Rosie Home Inspections
Third Place: Going Batty
After I observed evidence of significant bat activity outside the house, I informed the realtor and clients (a nice couple). The two women—the realtor and wife—clearly expressed a fear of bats. So by the time I was ready to inspect the attic at the end of my process, the two were fairly worked up about the bat issue.
Trying to add some humor to the situation, I said: “Maybe you ladies should stay down here in the kitchen in case the bats come flying out from the attic.”
Both women laughed and said: “Don’t worry. We’ll be close to the door to go outside.”
I replied: “What if we need some help?”
They responded: “We’ll call 911 from outside!”
After opening the hatch, the husband and I discovered visible signs of bat guano. We could hear the bats scratching between the rigid foam insulation baffles and rafter framing. No bats were visible, but they were definitely there.
After thinking how the ladies would not enjoy hearing about the evidence we found in the attic, I had an idea. I said to the buyer: “Let’s run down the stairs making lots of noise like we’re running from the bats.”
He agreed. We started stomping our heavy shoes on the wooden staircase and hollered out like we were being chased by bats. The women screamed, their chairs scraped the kitchen floor, and they scrambled outside as fast as they could.
Both women were still audibly and visibly terrified when the buyer and I ran out the kitchen door. But instead of seeing two men being chased by flying rodents, they saw us red-faced and breathless with laughter. Once they realized what had happened—or didn’t happen—you can imagine the choice words they gave us.
– Dan Zyrowksi, Prestige Home Inspections
A Memorable First Impression
I was doubly excited about this particular inspection. Not only was it of a large, Hawaiian plantation-style estate, it was also represented by a top producing realtor I had yet to meet.
The buyer’s agent opened the vacant home and drove off, leaving me alone to begin my inspection. After crawling my way around the raised foundation, my coveralls were soaked and muddy. The selling realtor was due to arrive for the walk through, and being that I had been in business less than a year, I was eager to make a memorable first impression. I was in need of an immediate wardrobe change.
Thankfully, I had planned ahead and had an extra set of clothes in the truck. Because the only approach to the home was up a long, wooded drive, I knew I would hear a vehicle coming a mile away. So I felt safe changing outside my truck.
With one ear trained on the driveway, I quickly ducked behind my open truck door and stripped down to my socks and underwear. I glanced up to check the driveway and, in my periphery, I caught a glimpse of movement. Someone was headed in my direction, and he had a perfect view of my barely-clad behind.
Just my luck, it was the selling agent, arriving by bicycle. Little did I know, he owned the neighboring estate with a connecting bike path. My plan hadn’t included the selling agent quietly peddling in early from the back yard.
Well, I had wanted to make a memorable first impression—and that I did. Needless to say, I have yet to perform an inspection for that agent.
– Justin Dybul, Paradise Home Inspections
They Insisted “I Do” the Inspection
I arrived at a home to do an inspection and found some 50 people and a preacher in the living room. They were getting ready for a wedding. I told the homeowners I would leave and do the inspection on another day, but they insisted I do the inspection. Which I did.
As luck would have it, the service started when I was in the basement. The only exit was back through the living room. So, after hearing the “I do”s, I joined the reception line, congratulated the couple, and exited out the front door.
– Dave Surette, RAL Inspection Services
Business Doesn’t Drop from the Sky…Does It?
One three-day weekend, I was at my house when there was a knock at the front door. A realtor was standing on my front porch.
He looked somewhere between stressed and excited as he blurted out: “I saw your truck in the driveway, and I need to book an inspection.”
Finding a notepad to write down the address and details, I couldn’t help thinking to myself: What’s wrong with his cell phone?
Once he finished dictating me the details, he said: “Now, can I drive my truck across your lawn to pick up my balloon?”
Sure enough, as I looked out my window, there was a RE/MAX hot air balloon lying on the ground in the back yard. This is one of the only times I can remember my father, a career entrepreneur, being wrong. Yes, business can drop out of the sky.
– Bruce McClure, Bruce McClure RHI, ACI
I was performing a sale-by-owner inspection of a home where the seller had lived for 10 years. During my I was verbal review with both the buyer and seller, I explained there was a trip hazard at the driveway near the mailbox. Since he’d never had a problem with the area, the seller asked me to show him what I was talking about.
So, the three of us walked down to the mailbox. But when I showed them the defect, the seller’s body language suggested he thought I was just being picky.
As we headed back to the house, I heard a thump. I turned around and there was the seller, sprawled out on the driveway. He’d tripped on the defect I’d observed. Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt.
As I reached out to help him up, he said: “Okay, I see what you mean now.”
– Michael Harrison, If Walls Could Talk Home Inspection Inc.
As I was performing an inspection for a young couple buying their first home, the wife insisted on following me around. After inspecting one bathroom, I turned and told the young woman everything looked good in there.
She looked shocked and said: “Aren’t you going to put that in your report?”
“What?” I asked, genuinely not knowing what she was talking about.
Looking very agitated, she pointed to the wall. Still not understanding what she was gesturing to, I asked her what it was she was pointing at.
She exclaimed: “The wallpaper. It’s hideous!”
– James White, Westchester Home Inspectors
Funny Home Inspection Story Contest 2019
Here are our winners from last year!
First Place: Teaching Moment
During my inspections, I like to teach clients about their homes. For example, rather than merely describing the size, age, and fuel shutoff location of the water heater, I teach them how it operates. I show them how to adjust the temperature. I explain periodic flushing. And we discuss whether the water heater will accommodate the number of people intending to use it.
On one inspection, rather than asking the husband, wife, and daughter how many people would be living in the home, I observed the wife’s waist was disproportionately shaped, and I said:
“Well, this 80 gallon water heater will be more than adequate for the three—and apparently soon to be four of you.”
The agent’s draw dropped. The wife turned away sheepishly. The husband gently led me away and quietly informed me that his wife was not pregnant.
You can imagine how small I felt. I was a bit of a basket case. Fortunately, the family put my comment aside. We completed the inspection. I sent the report. They bought the house, and I figured that was that.
Then, I received an email from the husband:
I posted several positive reviews regarding your inspection. Apparently you are even better at your job than you may be aware! Remember the comment about my wife looking pregnant? Well, after the inspection I teased her enough to get her to take a pregnancy test and she is indeed pregnant and was about 4.5 months pregnant when you did the inspection. Thanks for the heads-up. We had no idea before then!!
And yes, I’ve felt much better since!
– Mark S. Londner, LBI Home & Building Inspection
Second Place: The Detour
I arrived at the inspection property a little early, and the elderly homeowner is home.
“Great! You’re here! This is Max,” the homeowner said, introducing me to her large and equally friendly husky.
The owner grabbed the leash, handed it to me, and said: “Around a 30 minute walk would be great for Max. He also likes the park.”
I was kind of caught off guard. But, since I consider myself the king of customer service, I took Max for a brisk walk. I even went to the nearby park for a bit.
Upon my return, the homeowner told me that she was waiting for the home inspector, who was now half an hour late. She thought I was the dog walker that she’d hired to walk Max. (She’d also hired the walker to come not on the inspection day but the next day.)
I explained to her who I was, told her I enjoyed the walk, and I apologized for being 30 minutes late. We both had a good laugh over it!
– Chris Drew, Drew Inspection Service
Third Place: The Know-It-All
While performing an inspection, I had the great pleasure of being shadowed by my client’s know-it-all brother-in-law. From one end of the house to the other, he second-guessed me and sprouted his prowess in everything from roofing to making chicken Parmesan.
My last inspection area was the attic, and, you guessed it, my little shadow wanted to follow. I stopped and asked him to not come up because there was limited flooring up there.
The brother-in-law claimed that he had done some tightrope walking as a young man. (I’m serious.) So, he followed me. As he babbled away, he stepped on the end of an unsecured board. Simultaneously, he bashed himself in the kisser and stepped through the ceiling below. I could barely contain my laughter (and my bladder) as I scrambled down the ladder to see the terrified looks of the brother-in-law and the realtor. I would have done the job for free just for that!
– Christopher Merrick, Atlantic Home Inspection
The First & The Last Time
While inspecting a 10-year-old home, I opened the doors under a whirlpool to fill it for testing.
While the whirlpool filled, the seller walked in and said they had never turned the unit on.
With the buyers present, I said: “Well, why don’t you turn it on for the first and last time?”
Standing in front of the unit, the seller turned it on. The pump piping was not properly glued, so it came flying out of the whirlpool and struck the seller square in the privates. A rush of water sprayed up his body and then out from under his chin.
The seller was stunned. His wife was screaming. The buyers were backing up and out of the room. Meanwhile, I was trying to get around everyone to shut it off.
I spent the rest of the afternoon helping clean it up. It’s amazing how fast a whirlpool can drain when it isn’t contained!
– Craig Lemmon, Real Estate Inspections of Texas
She Comes Prepared
About four years ago, I inspected a 980-square-foot home for four hours. It was the biggest nightmare of a house I had seen in 14 years of inspecting. The utilities were on, then off, then on again. Eventually, I had to shut the utilities off all together because of a burst pipe.
The clients, a young guy and a much older woman, showed up about an hour into the inspection. The woman kept farting as she walked. They laughed. I laughed.
As I was talking to the guy, trying to wrap up the inspection, I realized the woman was gone.
I asked where she went.
He said to the bathroom.
I said the water was off.
He said: “She’s fine. She comes prepared.”
Fifteen minutes later, the woman walked out of the house with a five-gallon blue bucket full of her feces. She put it in the trunk of her car.
– Todd Engle, Good Eye Home Inspections
Excuse Me, Ma’am
A few years ago, I was inspecting a mobile home. When I removed the exterior cover to the water heater, about 200 cockroaches came flying out.
I tried backing out of the way, but many of them landed on me anyway. One landed on my shoe and started up my pant leg. I tried to hit the roach but to no avail. So, I jerked off my toolbelt, unbuttoned my pants, and dropped them right there. I killed the roach, looked up, and there was the lady homeowner, staring at me standing in my underwear.
Very calmly, I pulled up my pants and said: “Excuse me, ma’am, but they were your roaches!”
– Dave Powell, Around the Town Inspections
While inspecting an older and foreclosed house, I set up my ladder to go into the attic. I opened the hatch and started to climb when I saw a woman’s body lying in the attic.
“Yikes!” I screamed like an 11-year-old girl.
In my shock, I stumbled and scrambled off the ladder as fast as I could. I tripped and fell on my booty.
The realtor came running into the room. I told her there was a woman’s body in the attic. She screamed. I screamed.
I climbed back up the ladder. And I realized. It was a mannequin.
– Tim Sanders, Precision Home Inspection
After finding some rot nearby, I inspected the back of the bank-owned property for damage. Between the band board and the insulation, I found a little red box.
I grabbed it and showed it to the woman that was purchasing the home. We were both hoping it was going to be a bunch of money. So, we called the realtor, who was on the way to the property, and told her what we’d found.
When the realtor arrived, we opened the box. It was filled with love letters, nude pictures, panites, and condoms from various women from the 1980s. They read some of the letters and looked through the pictures. We all had a good laugh. You just never now what you will find on an inspection!
– Kurt Lampert, KDL Home Inspection
Upon entering the attic of an inspection property, something immediately caught my eye. It was a saggy, king-sized mattress, fastened to the underside of the rafters with tow straps. I had to get a closer look.
The mattress was full of water. Behind the mattress was a huge hole in the roof. And the sellers were actually expecting the inspection.
When I talked to one of the sellers about it afterward, he just kind of laughed.
“Well, it’s better than nothing at all—right?” he said.
I’ll never forget that attic!
– Scott Denslow, Safe At Home Inspection Services, LLC
Funny Home Inspection Story Contest 2018
To our surprise, our first funny home inspection story contest in 2018 resulted in not one but two Grand Prize winners—a tie for First Place. So, it’s not a typo. We have four winners listed below.
First Place: Enough to Make a Cat Laugh
For one of my home inspections, it was noted on my work order not to let a white cat out of the house. After I finished the inspection, I realized that I hadn’t seen a white cat once. As I was leaving, there was a white cat on the front porch. So I chased the cat down, picked it up, and threw it in the house.
Later that evening, I got a call from the realtor asking about the cat. I said, yes, the cat was in the house when I left. The realtor said: “Yes, we know, but the cat in the house isn’t their cat. It’s the neighbor’s cat.”
– Roger Roseberry, HOMENSPECT
First Place: Language Barrier
I was scheduled to do a home inspection on a small, tenant-occupied home. I arrived right on time and was greeted by an elderly Hispanic woman, who I told I was the home inspector. But she couldn’t speak a word of English. Unfortunately, I couldn’t speak Spanish either. I explained my process to her, which she couldn’t understand, and then I got started.
Her house was very clean and, though I couldn’t understand, Spanish I could tell she took pride in her modest home. I could tell she loved her home and didn’t want to leave. She seemed to like me because she followed me around the house and would not stop talking to me. Even while I was on the roof, she stood on the ground talking. Although she was slowing down my process, I acknowledged her and nodded my head “yes” and smiled.
After an exhausting two hours, I called the realtor. I thought that maybe the tenant could talk to him since he was Hispanic as well. So, I asked him to speak to her as maybe she had important information about the property that could affect the report. I handed her the phone and she spoke with him for about a minute and handed the phone back to me.
The realtor said, “Joe, I am so sorry. Didn’t the buyer call you?”
The deal fell through and I was never notified.
The realtor continued: “The tenant said she has been trying to tell you that you were not supposed to be there and to get off her property, and that you kept nodding your head and smiling at her as you were snooping around her house.”
He then told me to get out of there as soon as I could or she would call the police. I immediately packed my bag and left.
– Joe Rosso, Joseph Rosso Home Inspections
Second Place: Not What It Looks Like
Before an inspection, I was told that the front door would be open so I could go right in. But when I arrived and tried the door, it was locked. I tried some of the other doors, and they were all locked, too.
So I called the agent to find out what happened. The agent said there was a window unlocked and that I should try to open it and get in that way, sending me walking around the house trying to pop open windows.
I finally found the unlocked window and, as I was trying to climb into the home, the neighbors arrived nextdoor. Mind you, my feet are dangling in the air! I got into the home successfully thinking I just committed a breaking and entering crime. Luckily, the police were never involved!
– Julian Cofer, Cofer Real Estate Inspections, PLLC
Third Place: Gobble Gobble
On Halloween morning, I went to inspect a semi-rural ranch style house. The homeowner, a nice, little old lady, met me upon arrival and then departed.
While examining the heat pumps on the right side of the house, I hear something approaching through the woods. I look up and it’s two full-size tom turkeys. Not wanting to scare them away, I stood motionless to see how close they would get to me. The 4-foot, 25-lb turkeys got really close, getting into my personal space and craning their necks to study me.
Now I’m uncomfortable, so I shake my hand a bit to get them to back off. This startles them, and they step back a foot or two. I wave an arm at them. This time, they don’t back off, but approach and start pecking at me, trying to get me with their beaks. So now I start waving and shouting at them to scare them away. They really took umbrage at that. Both birds come at me full force—two beaks pecking, four wings beating, and four spurs trying to jab my legs.
I pretty quickly deduce that sweet little old lady has been feeding these turkeys, and now I’m trespassing on their free lunch territory. They want me gone. So with my clipboard, I start slowly batting the turkeys away from me and talking myself out of eating them. (What would a sweet, little old lady do about me killing her turkeys?) I gradually back around the corner of the house, batting turkeys all the way. I back up the deck steps and try the exterior door. Of course it’s locked. But now, the turkeys can only get to me by coming up the three-foot-wide deck steps, which I could defend.
As I hold them at bay with my clipboard, the buyer finally hears the commotion from inside the house. He graciously opened the other door for me. By the time I proceeded to the garage to continue the inspections, the turkeys had decided that I was defeated and had went on their way.
– Bob Still, Pillar To Post
I was inspecting a bathroom in an occupied home when I lifted the toilet seat cover and found a floating brown log.
I thought I was talking under my breath when I said, “Oh, man. Who did that?”
But then the homeowner’s four-year-old daughter peered around the door.
In a Jimmy Durante voice she said, “Left it for ya.”
– Kevin Jones, Quality Home Inspection Service
The Moral High Ground
The afternoon temperature was warm when I finished doing a home inspection on the outskirts of Seattle last summer. My clients—a husband and wife and their 7-year-old daughter—having recently moved to the area from India, were eager to hear the inspection results. As I often do on hot days, I retrieved some bottled waters from my truck’s cooler to refresh everyone. I also brought in a new bag of gummi worms to share. I passed around the waters and then offered gummi worms to the adults.
Before offering the treat to my clients’ daughter, I looked to the parents for approval. They nodded their permission. Turning to the little girl I asked, “Would you like a gummi worm?”
Without hesitation she replied, “No thank you. We’re vegetarians.”
– Kim Nutting, Reliable Home Inspections
The conversation between my client and I was going well as I inspected their newer ranch home. I went to access the attic through the closet, with no plastic cover since it was a newer build, only to push the cover with no luck. I was puzzled for a second and tried again. Nope, didn’t open. Hmmm…why? I found another access door. Head on up. Same thing, couldn’t get in.
After completing the rest of the inspection, nothing stood out except for the attic. I was determined to get in. Well, to my surprise, the current home owners arrived earlier than expected. So, of course, I asked them about the issue with the attic access points. To my surprise, they said they had the covers secured because the wind would whip around and rattle the covers. They also said I could use the fourth access door. Fourth access door? Sure enough, there it was in the laundry room above a drop-down ceiling.
I was ready to go up. Remember: I had no plastic down to cover anything. My thoughts were blown insulation, some of which might fall down. I slowly opened the cover, and a few small pieces of insulation started falling. I peeked in, and just as I turned on my flashlight. BAM!!! Blown insulation hit me like a wave.
I was still standing on my ladder with about four feet of insulation around me. The client and the homeowners first gasped, then laughed. In the end, we cleaned it all up, the client bought the home, and the seller has since used my services for another home they purchased. I have received a Christmas card from both of the client and the sellers the last two years.
– Kenny Pizzurro, KTS Home Inspections
Testing the Waters
Our newest inspector encountered a bidet for the first time a couple of months back.
We were inspecting an elegant home on the water. He was messing with the knobs and looking it over. As he bent over and turned one of the knobs, he found the pressure to be sufficient. Water from the bidet hit him right in the mouth.
All that to say, he wrote it up as fully functional with good pressure.
– Stephen Swanson, Love Pensacola Properties, Inc.
About six years ago, I had to do a water flow test for a client. It was a three-hour flow test at 5.5 gallons p/m. I got there, set up the drain hose in a ditch, then went to my home 20-minutes away for a couple hours.
When I returned, the water was not running and I could hear the pump running empty. The lock box number given to me did not work. It was dark, and I decided to walk out back to find the well with my flashlight.
While in the backyard, my foot hit a low spot. I stumbled and pulled my cold hands out of my pocket. With my hands came my cell phone. The next sound I heard was a ka-splash. I looked down and saw a four-inch open pipe to the septic system. My phone went for a swim.
I never did recover it—nor did I want to. When I relayed the incident to the client, he laughed, and said: “Next time I’m in the shower I might hear the phone ring.”
– Stephen DeCosta, Yankee Home Inspection
More Than You Can Chew
Standing in the living room of a very beautiful and expensive home, I casually visited with the prospective home buyers—husband, wife, and their two teenage daughters—the realtor, and the sellers. We were enjoying getting to know each other before the real “inspecting” began, and I had introduced myself as the most professional and experienced inspector in the area. That’s when it happened. Without warning, I let out a very hard, uncontrolled sneeze that went unchecked. My gum—yep, my chewing gum—flew out of my mouth and onto the pristine, off-white carpet right in the middle of our conversation circle. The gum stuck right on that carpet.
I was mortified and couldn’t believe what had just happened. One of the nice ladies present immediately asked if I was okay, like I had some sort of illness or condition that caused this rogue sneeze. I said that I was fine, of course, but my pride was surely forever damaged.
The two teenagers broke the ice when they both started to laugh. I retrieved the gum, and the adults in the room started laughing as well. The inspection went on after that as scheduled, and many jokes followed. Fortunately, everyone saw the humor in it at my expense.
– Christopher Drew, Drew Inspection Service, LLC