Most real estate agents will tell you that home inspectors are essential to closing a deal. Inspectors are hired to thoroughly examine a house and point out any flaws. Everything from cracked and shifting foundations to HVAC problems will be listed in the inspection report. It is also not unusual for inspectors to find water damage, aging roofs and nonfunctioning ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) reset buttons. In older homes, especially in rural areas, the wiring is often a problem. Other common issues include:
Home inspectors are hired to thoroughly examine a house and point out any flaws.
Mustafa Aktepe is a franchise owner with National Property Inspections (NPI) Northwest San Antonio.
• Poor grading and drainage
This house had the panel used to disconnect the air conditioning mounted between an outside column and an exterior wall.
• Inadequate gutters
• Faulty plumbing
• Substandard ventilation
• Poor upkeep
I recently talked with two San Antonio home inspectors about some of the typical — and not so typical things they’ve come across while inspecting properties.
Mustafa Aktepe, a franchise owner with National Property Inspections (NPI) Northwest San Antonio, said one issue he’s seen a lot since he began inspecting homes in San Antonio this year is penetrations through wall siding. Insufficient insulation, missing smoke alarms, loose faucets and P-trap problems also top his list. Among the oddest things he’s seen was a house where the panel used to disconnect the air conditioning was mounted between an outside column and an exterior wall. “Whoever installed this was a genius, I don’t know why he put it there,” said Aktepe. “I’ve seen plumbing leaks and stuff like that, but this kind of stuff is very odd.”
Odd doesn’t begin to describe some of the things Reginald Turk, president of Forensic Home Inspections, has seen in his 15-year career. His company inspects homes in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Turk said he often sees older homes that have been renovated for flipping and look great on the outside but have many structural problems such as galvanized piping that rusts from within.
Reginald Turk, president of Forensic Home Inspections, has been an inspector for 15 years.
When asked about the most unusual thing he’s seen during an inspection, Turk had more than one story to tell. Early in his career before coming to San Antonio, he inspected properties in Chicago, Detroit and Georgia. “I have discovered two dead bodies in a basement, one in Detroit another in Chicago,” Turk said. “Of course, I was shocked.” He said it was winter in both cities at the time of the inspections, so the vacant properties were very cold. After calling the authorities and explaining why he was there, in both cases, Turk was able to complete the inspection at a later date.
While examining the sub-basement of a historic property in McDonough, Georgia, Turk said he saw chains and locks used for slaves still attached and embedded into the walls. “Initially, when I saw it, it didn’t dawn on me what they were there for,” he said. “Being Black, it was rather sad; it was a feeling where, Oh my gosh! This really happened.” Turk said he has no doubt that the chains and locks he saw were used to restrain slaves.
This P-trap (curved pipe) is not functional.
Not nearly as shocking, but still surprising was the time Turk ran into squatters living in a house that had recently been sold. And while on the job in Atlanta, he quickly figured out that the large, old house he was inspecting had once been a funeral home. Again, he found something unexpected in the basement; this time, it was several rotted caskets and morgue tables. Turk said he recognized the morgue tables because his family had owned funeral homes. He thought he might have to call the authorities, so he opened the caskets — but this time no corpses. “These were properties that were not ordinary inspections,” he said. “We kind of do the extraordinary things.”
Insufficient insulation is a common issue found by home inspectors.
While homes in the San Antonio area generally don’t have basements, some do have crawl spaces. Turk said all he’s ever found in a crawl space is a snake or raccoon.
For more information about Forensic Home Inspections, go to www.forensichomeinspections.com
For NPI Northwest San Antonio, visit npiweb.com/nwsanantonio.