Being in business for over 17 years means that every once in a while something happens that makes you think, "why me?", or "You've got to be kidding", or worse yet, "run!". After looking at 8,000 homes or more, you've seen or heard something that is so abnormal, humorous, idiotic, frightening, or insane that keeping a written log helps you relive those times (or do they need to be forgotten?). I had the opportunity about 10 years ago to write a story to the local HBA magazine about events that I had been involved in. Since then, other cute (or not so cute) events have unfolded. Here are some of them. See link on the right for more.
"EVERYTHING IS 5 YEARS OLD, DON'T FORGET IT" "
This is the story that is never forgotten. And it happened on Halloween, 1997. Go figure. As I approached the front door to meet the occupant, I was greeted by a 6 foot 4 inch tall homeowner (he was wide too), who stated he was a hot headed Italion Union Boss. After introductions, he stated to me in a you better remember this manner, "Everything in the home is 5 years old, don't forget it!".
Great, I thought. I could use an easy inspection. Newer components, less explanations, less concerns to my customer. I'm good with that.
So after meeting my client, a newly hired prison warden in town, I started the inspection. The homeowner (Union Boss), or seller in this case, stayed home and was wandering around the house. His wife was there, as well as two or three equally huge individuals at the driveway area working on a car, or something. Including the real estate agent, and clients family, the house was pretty full. The inspection was going okay until I made my way to the basement. The front wall had a noticeable crack and bow. In fact, it was quite a large bow and had every indication of potential collapse. So as I started to explain the ramifications of the wall issue to my client (the Warden), the Union Boss is intently listening in the background. Nothing was said. It didn't help that he was covering the wall with paneling in order to hide the bow. As I approached the "5 year old electrical panel" I started to become nervous and slighlty ill at ease. I was looking at a fuse panel that was easily 50 years old. The next thought that comes to my mind, as you could imagine, is how do I say the the panel (and wiring) is over 50 years old and in need of updating, in front of the Union Boss who is within ear shot? Well..... no choice. I stated the obvious. The Warden understood and didn't say much. The "Boss" was still quiet, but too near...
So I made my way to the heating system. As I started to evaluate the furnace, with the Warden standing next to me, I hit another bump in the road. The furnace was dated 1975. So my 5 year old furnace is now 22 years old. It had aged 17 years from the time I knocked on the front door to the time I made it to the basement. Ouch. I tell the Warden that the furnace is 22 years old. He doesn't seem that concerned, and heads upstairs to address somethiong his wife needs. Okay, so far a bowed wall, an old electrical panel and wiring, and older furnace, and the Warden is not concerned. Cool. But... (yeh, here it comes), the Union "Boss" is heading over to my direction. Well, the Warden was okay with everything, the Boss should be too. Well, he reaches me and stands about 1 foot from my face and says "Don't you remember what I told you?" Well, "Yeh, I say, but".... "No" the Boss says, "you weren't listening and now I'm going to kill you"..."Yeh, sure", I say and I start laughing. By now he's getting red in the face and agains says, "No, I'm going to kill you". And now his wife comes up besides us. She's been listening the whole time and says, "Yeh, he's going to kill you". I'm now dumbfounded and just kind of stand there. Then he asks,"You got a wife?". "Yeh", I said. "She's dead". "You got kids?" "Yeh"..... "They're dead". Okay. Now what? I'm speechless and wondering what he's going to do next. Well, "Boss" wanders away likes hes going to get a gun or something, and he's muttering to himself. The wife is standing next to me. I ask her, "Is he kidding?". She says (no joke), "No, he's going to kill you".
As I'm standing there wondering what to do next, it occurs to me that the Boss may be going for a gun or weapon and I'm just standing there bewildered and frozen. I'm a pretty big guy myself, and not really afraid of much. But this guy was insane and threatening to kill me. And not only me, but my family as well? I couldn't believe what just happened. So I tell the wife that I would like to head upstairs and would like to get my tools. She tells me I have 5 minutes to get them, and get out. She says I better hurry. I quickly made my way for the outside and see the real estate lady driving down the road. She had already taken the sign out of the yard and was hightailing it away from the house. The Warden was also outside waiting for me. They had heard it all from the top of the basement steps. He then tells me that he could have the guy put away for ten years for what had just happened. I just stood there. I told the Warden we were done for now and that I would be in touch, and that he should also let me know what they were planning. He paid me (not enough. ha.) and I left.
It would have been nice if it were over, but (you bet) it wasn't. I got back to the office and see a message waiting for me on the answering machine. The "Boss" had called and threatened me again. He also contacted an Attorney that would sue me if needed. Huh? Well, I called the police who said they would have to pick him up if I wanted to file charges. I thought no way. I didn't want to make things worse. Instead, I let them know what had happened. I faxed a response to his attorney, kept a loaded gun under the bed for two weeks, and hoped nothing would happen to my family. And nothing did.
Ending: The Warden found another home that I inspected, much better than the first. The Realtor dropped the homeowner (boss). And I survived with another story. The only consolation was that the homeowner could not sell the home for over a year and a half due to no other inspectors desire to enter his house. (Yeh, I called em all.) And, he had it sold that day. The Warden wasn't worried about what I had found. He just wated to know the facts.
Too bad the seller wasn't the same (or wasn't sane).