Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


Eye Candy - Top 20 Home Inspection Photos from 2011

I post a new home inspection photo on the Structure Tech Facebook page six days a week, and this year I decided to put together a blog post showing my favorite photos from 2011.   I hope you enjoy these half as much as I do.  As with all of my blog posts, click on any of these photos for a larger version.

Ice Dams - Remember ice dams?  They were nasty last winter.  I'm enjoying winter in Minnesota much more this year; what have we received so far, two inches of snow?

Ice filled soffit

Ice Dam-age Control - This is the only photo we didn't take (thanks DKW3).  This was someone's solution to chronic water intrusion from ice dam leakage.

Ice Dam-age control

Hack Ice Dam Removal - We've said many times that pressure washers should never be used to remove ice dams, because they tear up shingles.

Hack Ice Dam Removal from pressure washer

Hot Roof?  Cold Roof?  Not Sure.  - Attics are supposed to be treated as warm spaces or cold spaces.  Someone obviously didn't understand the point.

Home Made Hot Roof

Hockey Puck Fascia Repair - Hole in your fascia?  No problem!  Just use a bunch of caulk and a hockey puck to fix it.

Hockey puck fascia repair

Rotted Roof Decking - The roof decking was in horrible condition at this house, but that didn't stop the roofers; they installed a new roof covering right over the top.  That black stuff is the ice & water shield.

Rotted roof decking

Bad Shingle Repair - No explanation needed.

Bad Shingle Repair

Bad Chimney Crown - We could tell this chimney crown needed repair just by looking at it from the ground, but we had no idea it would be this bad.  This chimney crown obviously needs to be completely replaced.

Bad Chimney

Chimney with Facade Falling Apart - Three sides of this chimney looked just fine from a distance.

Chimney with facade falling apart

One Angry Bird Away... - As I was typing up the insection report for this house, my wife saw this photo on the computer screen and said "Wow, that chimney looks like it's about one angry bird away from collapse."  Good call.

damaged chimney

Downspout Combustion Air Intake - That downspout connecting to the return air duct fed to the exterior of the home and was being used as the combustion air intake.  It's not conventional and it's probably a little small, but hey, it works.

Downspout in to return air

Central Air-ish - This was someone's attempt at cooling a room where the AC unit wasn't installed.

Central air-ish

Creative Heat Register - Interesting solution.

No heat register

Heat Register in Cabinet - While most people would have had to decide between a heat register and a cabinet here, this homeowner decided to have their cake and eat it too.  Can you guess what city this house was in?  

Hint: Look up "cake-eater" at  

Register inside cabinet

Garbage Can Sump Basket - Sump baskets are reinforced on the sides to prevent them from collapsing.  Plastic refuse containers are not.

Garbage can sump basket

Mouse in Panel - Any unused openings in electric panels are supposed to be covered over, not only to contain any potential fire or sparking that could occur inside the panel, but also to prevent unwanted visitors from coming in.

Mouse in panel

Covered Outlet - No explanation needed.

Covered outlet

Missing Fuses - Apparently someone was tired of replacing those pesky fuses, so they replaced the fuses with a couple short lengths of copper tubing.  Can you say fire hazard?

Missing Fuses

Mirror Tile on Kitchen Floor - This might be the most interesting tiled floor we've come across.

Mirror Tile on kitchen floor

Useless Shower Fan - Someone went to a lot of effort to install this bath fan above the shower, but without a duct... what's the point?  I can only scratch my head.

Useless Shower Fan

Water Behind Escutcheon - My personal favorite.  I noticed water leaking out from behind the escutcheon, which is that decorative metal trim ring around the pipe sticking out of wall.  I turned the water off, pulled the escutcheon away, got my camera ready, turned the water back on... click.

Water Behind Escutcheon

Ok, that was twenty-one photos.  Close enough.  If you enjoy these kinds of photos, please click "Like" on our Facebook page.  Thanks!

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Comment balloon 141 commentsReuben Saltzman • December 27 2011 06:06AM


good morning Rueben-always enjoy seeing what you come across-you could start a reality show called when DYI Attacks!

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) over 7 years ago

Oh my Rueben,

These photos are terrific (I'm headed to your facebook page) The with the rat is just digusting.  I would have a total melt down if I saw that!

Posted by Cindy Edwards, CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677 (RE/MAX Checkmate) over 7 years ago

Marco - ha!  I'd love to.

Cindy - thanks, it was tough sorting through them all; I started with about 50 favorites :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Reuben: I agree: I great How Not To  book is in the making. The camera does not lie!

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 7 years ago

Well, there's so much that could be said about so many of them.  At least with the pressure washer they created a nice pattern on the shingles and the sump pump guy was liberal with his use of the all-important duct tape.

Yet you complain...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

OMG Reuben, I'm sitting alone with a cup of coffee and belly laughing out loud...amazing!

Posted by Brin Realty Associates Team At Bean Group, Amherst NH homes and Southern NH real estate (Bean Group | Brin Realty Associates) over 7 years ago

Reuben~Great photos! You often wonder what the thought process was for some of these people, and what they were thinking when they did the repairs. Thanks for sharing.

Have an AWESOME day!


Posted by Michael S. Bolton, MN Appraiser (Michael S. Bolton,Inc.) over 7 years ago

Boy, those photos are really interesting. I think the angry bird and the mouse electrical panel shots win top prizes.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge over 7 years ago

Anne - great idea!  I had over 300 photos to sort through, and that was just from this year.   I could make a fantastic picture book.

Jay - yes, this list would have been incomplete without duct tape, expanding foam, and caulk :)

Rene - good! :D

Michael - the one that really stumped me was the useless shower fan.  Someone went to a lot of effort on that one... but for WHAT? 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Cheryl - those were definitely fan favorites on facebook, judging by the number of 'likes' and comments.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Wow...some were funny and some were scary. It's amazing what people come up with and/or try to hide. I think photo number 2 (the funnel contraption) was the most amusing, but there was a lot of creativity in these "solutions" so it's truly hard to pick a winner. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago

I did not realize the beating your roofs take back in Minnesota, my goodness, it must cost a fortune to keep them in good repair. Just makes me appreciate living were the elements are not so harsh. Have a successful and healthy New Year in 2012.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 7 years ago

Good Morning, Reuben,


Those pictures are great!  You must come across this stuff and shake your head (what were they thinking?!) Funny but really not so funny when the weekend warriors could have burned their houses down.  We've had some pretty upset sellers when inspectors have found problems.  The remedies were often expensive and they thought their homemade fixes were pretty clever.  Please keep the blogs coming!  Happy New Year.

Posted by Barbara Tattersall, GRI (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH)) over 7 years ago

Fantastic photos! The winter ones remind me why I live in Florida!! I wish you a warm winter and many more amazing photos for 2012! Happy New Year!

Posted by Diane Grady (Endless Summer Realty) over 7 years ago

Heat register in cabinet..................San Francisco?

In fact, if it weren't for all the ice, I'd say many of those shots were in sF.

Great stuff, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 7 years ago

Poor mouse. . got the death penalty because the homeowner did not keep his panels covered. .I wonder if he got a last meal of cheese. . 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 7 years ago

Nice stuff. Love the angry bird chimney. High five for your wife :) Those "fuses", I have seen that same trick a few times, scary. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Reuben, this is quite a collection. When is the book coming out?

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

Charlie - I loved that funnel too.  That's the one that made this a 21 photo list; I just had to include it, even though it was something that someone sent in.

Lorraine or Loretta - we replace our roofs every 15 to 20 years... no big deal :)

Barbara - I've definitely upset some sellers with my findings.  While the homemade fixes really are clever... they're usually hack repairs that shouldn't be passed on to the next owner.

Diane - thanks for the warm wishes.  We had a record high of 52 degrees yesterday.  Loving it.  While last winter was one of the harshest ever... this winter is the opposite.

Anthony - Edina, MN.  Anyone who grew up in the Twin Cities metro area knows 'Edinans' as cake-eaters.  It's kind of an ongoing joke. For people buying a home in Edina, they always sheepishly admit that they're going to be a cake-eaters now, and we chuckle about it.

Fernando - I'm sure it was very quick.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

James - I'll be sure to let her know :)  As for those fuses, another inspector in my company took that photo.  I haven't seen that done in person yet...

Michael - as soon as I get a free minute.  My youngest child is 8 months old... so maybe in about 18 years :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Hi Rueben,

Are these the "best of the best" or the "worst of the worst"? Either way it's a great post on what we find inspecting. There are a lot more things out there for us to find. Happy hunting my friend.

Best, Clint Mckie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 7 years ago

Nice post. Hope that you and yours had a safe and happy holiday. Looking forward to more blog posts in the upcoming year!

Posted by John Davison, Raleigh-Cary-Triangle NC (Coldwell Banker) over 7 years ago

Clint - good question :)  I think a good home inspection photo either makes you gasp, laugh, or scratch your head.

John - we had both, thanks.  Same to you.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Reuben, some of these "solutions" are just ingenious!  Can I get a hockey puck at Home Depot?  :-)

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) over 7 years ago

Silvia - I'm sorry, but the hockey puck fascia repair method is an 'advanced' technique.  These types of repair methods aren't available to any homeowner.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Those photos are hilarious! I am always amazed at how some people decide to "quick fix" some things!

Posted by Jo Olson, HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt - Stevens County (HOMEFRONT Realty) over 7 years ago
I laughed out loud at the hockey puck! And a mirrored floor? Yikes Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, over 7 years ago

That mouse didn't stand a chance!  Great pics!

Posted by David Artigliere, ARTI Home Inspections, ASHI Certified Home Inspect (Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, Philadelphia) over 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing Reuben, I couldn't resist going to your website to see if you had an archive gallery... you had a few but you should consider doing a page for each year. This is entertaining stuff and you could get a decent agent following in your area!

Posted by Mike Woods (M.S.WOODS REAL ESTATE, LLC) over 7 years ago

I keep going back to the one with the hockey puck! Talk about inventive! I suppose they didn't have the cash to fix it properly and took matters into their own hand. So did the puck at least temporarily solve the question is what I wonder!? Happy New Year!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Very interesting photos, I guess you do what you gotta do, right?  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Arizona Focus Realty) over 7 years ago

Hi Reuben.  Thanks for sharing the photos.  You have a great collection.  I can't decide which is my favorite. 

Posted by Delores Campbell, Your St. Louis Real Estate Resource (Keller Williams Realty - Chesterfield) over 7 years ago

LOL... These are great! Though, I'm sure they were't funny to the prospective home-buyers. I'm especially struck by the ice coming through the soffet vent - and that downspout used as duct work is priceless.

Happy New Year!

Posted by Anthony Gilbert, REALTOR® - Issaquah, Sammamish & Snoqualmie (The RealFX Group) over 7 years ago

This presentation should be taught in college or for continuing education classes in Real Estate well done and valuable information...thank you

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing these photos.  I think the creative heat register was my favorite.  I'm sure that 2012 will bring lots of opportunities for you to add to the collection.

Posted by Tamara Inzunza, Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living (RE/MAX Executives) over 7 years ago

Great post Reuben!  Most folks would not believe what you find on a daily basis in this profession but your photos certainly paint an interesting (and realistic) picture!  They also point out an even more important fact: Job Security!  I hope you have a fantastic 2012!

Posted by Toby Karlquist, Home Inspector in Mesa, Arizona over 7 years ago

Rueben ... Pretty interesting!  I sort of enjoyed looking through these photos!  Thanks for sharing them!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 7 years ago

Oh wow.  This is NUTS!!!  Thanks for the laugh!

Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago

A picture is worth a MILLION words.  I once saw a RAT short out the refridgerator motor and boy did it smell!  Good thing here in Hawaii we don't have ice problems and chimneys are rare here and mostly decorative items.

Posted by Bruce Hicks, Your Lifetime Friend/Helper! (Best Homes Hawaii) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the photos. Started My day with a laugh.

Posted by Anonymous over 7 years ago

Great photos Reuben. Let's see how creative we can get, just to do a bad job. Why don't they do it right to begin with?

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the chuckle!  With the electrical panel, I guess they were lucky they didn't have a "mousefire."  Sorry, just couldn't resist that one.

Posted by Bill Rozek, NMLS #214260 (Embrace Home Loans, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Ha! Seeing is believing - even though those are unbelievable.

Posted by Dawn Maloney, 330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio (RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist) over 7 years ago

The "mousefire" comment was priceless.  Reuben will have to add that to the book for sure and give you credit.  This blog has been the most exciting thing to happen on my vacation day so far!!!

Posted by Barbara Tattersall, GRI (Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH)) over 7 years ago

Reuben, that is an awesome collection of pictures---there is no more shortage of creativity in MN than there is here in WA :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago amazes me too that people knew they were going to be having their home inspected & still left some of these "creative solutions" in place!

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - over 7 years ago

Great photo collection!  I love seeing these insane solutions to construction issues.  The vent in the cabinet is my favorite.

Posted by Bryan Robertson over 7 years ago

And this was just one year? Not fair, you inspectors have access to SOOOOOO much fodder! Hockey puck???

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA over 7 years ago

Hey!  I'm from Edina!  :)

But I escaped to CO in 2000 and never looked back.  Great photos.  Part of me wants to retire from Mortgages to do Inspecting, just for the laughs!

Posted by Eric Peltier, Mortgage Lender in Boulder CO (Eric Peltier - Premier Mortgage Group - Boulder Colorado) over 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing your "best of 2011".   Most of these are just so unbelievable!  Laughed out loud at the Angry Birds chimney!

Posted by Lisa Cromwell, Realtor, CRS, Loudoun, No. VA (RE/MAX Premier, Northern VA, Loudoun County) over 7 years ago
Did you put the mouse on the electric panel before you took the picture? :) Wow, makes me grateful for my homes. THanks!
Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) over 7 years ago


Great photos.  I especially like the action shot of the last one.   My money is that the hockey puck will be the only thing worth keeping on that roof.   Here's to 2012!

Posted by Mike Reyman, Delaware County Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors) over 7 years ago

I love the 'sled' catching the roof leak and funneling it into the bucket. Genius if you ask me.

Posted by Sibley Poland, 15 Years of Professional Experience (RE/MAX Stars Realty) over 7 years ago

Hi Reuben,  Wow, those are some amazing inspection issues.  Still shaking my head !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 7 years ago

Ditto about some interesting photos and agree that the hockey puck was my favorite. cheers in 2012 cvc

Posted by Curtis Van Carter, Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire (Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group) over 7 years ago

Reuben - I can't imagine what the reaction would be seeing them in person. The mouse in the panel is priceless!

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 7 years ago

Wow! these photos remind us how important it is to have a home inspection.

Posted by Nick Smith, Boise Idaho Real Estate, We Love Boise (Silvercreek Realty Group) over 7 years ago

We see many interesting things in our line of work.  When I see some of the stuff rigged this way I tell my clients to run.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 7 years ago

Reuban - I love the heat register solution ..... very creative ..... ideal for a person who hates those ugly metal floor registers that are always getting bent or don't function properly.

Posted by Kathy Clulow, Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results (RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage) over 7 years ago

Great Photos, Reuben - You inspector guys have all the fun. Most of our "special" moments from 2011 weren't the photogenic type.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 7 years ago

Great stuff, Reuben. It is hard to imaging a thought process that leads to these results.
Thanks for sharing and best wishes for a fantastic 2012!


Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) over 7 years ago

Just about the time that you think you have seen it all, you see a new wonder!

Posted by Jerry Morse, BBA,GRI (The Morse Company) over 7 years ago

Reuben- These crack me up. I can relate to the hockey puck- sort of. My son shot a hockey puck in my garage and it went through and got stuck in the drywall. Of couse I removed it though!

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 7 years ago

Great shots! I could probably throw a few more at you for your collection, if you're interested.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) over 7 years ago

One Angry Bird Away! I am always surprised by photos like these! Thanks for a few good laughs!

Posted by Ben Blonder, Buyers, Sellers, Investors! (Broker/Owner, Keller Williams) over 7 years ago

Reuben, thanks for a great laugh. I've never seen anything like this!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) over 7 years ago

Oh man - the things people do to their house!  I'm off to look through my photos, maybe I have a blog post in there!

Posted by Joetta Fort, Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder (The DiGiorgio Group) over 7 years ago

And I thought I saw it all!!!  My all-time favorite is the sled-water-catcher on the ceiling!  Happy New Year!

Posted by Jayne Esposito, SRES, GREEN (Coldwell Banker ) over 7 years ago

WOW!! This is amazing!  Truely frightening that these homeowners would have their homes on the market with crazy jacked up issues like this.


Posted by Ron Henderson, Realtor in Kansas City (Keller Williams Realty, Kansas City North) over 7 years ago


I love the creative heat register!  That is smart.  The rest is horrible!  An inspection is so very important.

All the best, Mcihelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 7 years ago

These are some incredible pictures! Thanks!                                                                        

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 7 years ago

Jo - me too!

Kat - I didn't even realize I was taking a photo of a hockey puck repair until I got home and looked at the photos.  I laughed out loud when I saw it.

David - no way ;)

Mike - great idea.  I'll do it.

Rosalie - I'm sure that hockey puck will last a long time.  It will never rot, that's for sure.

Brian - thanks for reading.

Delores - it was tough just narrowing it down to 20!

Anothony - it's funny, home buyers appreciate the humor in these photos just as much, possibly even more.  I frequently tell my clients "this photo is going on my web site."

Richie - as always, thank you.

Tamara - there is never a shortage of these.

Toby - "job security"... no doubt.  Thank you, DIY Channel.

Lisa W - my pleasure.

Emily - happy to share.

Bruce - I can only imagine what that smelled like... but I'd rather not.

Sandy - I'm sure some people much think they are doing it right :)

Bill - ha!  Good one :)

Dawn - I can't make this stuff up.

Barbara - when I post these photos on my image gallery, I'll be sure to do that.

Charles - just part of what keeps this job interesting, right?

Christine - I often wonder if people know how wrong some of this stuff is.

Bryan - I love that one too. It actually closed quite well.

Cynthia - I know, right?  It also helps being part of a team of four full-time home inspectors; the other guys send me their photos.

Eric - and you're proud of it too, right?  ;)

Lisa C - thanks, that was definitely a fan favorite.


Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Joy - ha!  It almost looks like a staged photo, doesn't it?

Mike - I gotta admit, that last one was my favorite.

Sibley - better than a ruined floor!

Bill - me too.

Curtis - pretty creative, huh?  Personally, I wouldn't have wasted a perfectly good puck.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Mike - I didn't personally take that one of the mouse, but I'm sure I'll see one eventually.

Nick - that's the idea :)

William - It really makes you wonder about everything else, doesn't it?

Kathy - agreed.  I'm sure there aren't nearly enough holes for proper air flow, but it's a nice concept.

Dick - don't we?  

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Bruce - especially the mouse's, right? ;)

Jerry - these photos never end.

Kristi - I did the same thing at my parents house growing up :)

Dave - Always!  Send 'em my way, thanks.

Ben - that was the only photo I 'touched up'.  

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Connie - thanks, I'm planning to make this an annual feature.

Joetta - you definitely do.  I'm sure of it.

Jayne - last winter seems like a distant memory.  It would be really nice if we didn't have to resort to those tactics again this year in MN.

Ron - no doubt!

Michelle - I think they could have put a few more holes in the register... but still, great idea.

Eric - thanks!

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Reuben, duct tape with a few angry birds about to go nuts!  I like this!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Reuben, I remember some but not all of these... you have the making of a HGTV show here

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 7 years ago

Hi Reuben...It's amazing that more houses don't fall apart from the look of these photos.  You've managed to entertain us but I'm sure not the buyers hoping to purchase these homes.  Thank goodness they had the good sense to have a home inspection done.


Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 7 years ago

Patricia - they're all in there.  Thanks for reading.

Chris - and even if you remembered all of them, hey, it's fun to reminisce :).  I'd love to do a show with HGTV.

Kate - a large portion of my clients find me online and they're well aware of the photo gallery and facebook page; people get a kick out of it when I tell them a photo is going to be posted on the web site :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Great idea posting a new pic on your FB page each day. Hope you don't mind if I do the same. Great pics. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 7 years ago


That photo of the mouse in the panel box is absolutely shocking! Neat pics and very informative!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 7 years ago

Bradley - please do :).  It's a great way to interact with customers / fans, and I think it helps to show how much you love your job.

Richard- the mouse was thinking the same thing... for a second at least ;).  Thanks. 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

OMG Reuben. I am going to have my buyers to go this blog post if they say to me ... no home inpsection. Since we are in Colorado I cannot use you but ... great, informative, scary shots!

Posted by Paula Bradfield, Your Salida Colorado area Realtor Team (Bradfield Ramsey Group) over 7 years ago

It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'm going with the hockey puck over the cabinet vent.

Thanks for the smiles!

Posted by Michael Collins, CDPE, SFR , Wisconsin Short Sale Specialist Realto (*ROCK REALTY|Broker|Realtor|Real Estate|WI Short Sale Agent*) over 7 years ago

I loved the Creative Heat Register photo!! I HATE VENT COVERS!! :-) Can a homeowner get away with that??

Thank you for sharing!!

Posted by Paige Wajsman (Keller Williams Jacksonville Realty) over 7 years ago

Reuben- And these are the obvious ones.

I never get tired of thinking about how much time and money people spend on incorrect fixes, instead of paying someone who knows what they are doing.

I appreciate these people who support the importance of home inspectors.



Posted by Dan Sandweg, Inspections Complete 314.277.4982 over 7 years ago

Wow, I can't tell.  Was that mouse dead or alive?  Love the year of photos.  However, I think it might scare any prospective buyer out of their purchase!!  

Posted by Kate Akerly, Manhattan Beach Residential Sales (Kaminsky Group) over 7 years ago

And they wonder why we tell them to get a home inspection before purchasing a home??

In my 25 years, I have seen home inspectors find the most hazardous fixes and the owners tell the buyers that it was professionally done, well at least some of it!  Amazing we don't have more house fires with the electrical blotches I have seen in my career.

Keep up the good work, so that others can see the way homeowners do repairs, make sure to ask for work to be completed by professionals and receipts provided at settlement.

"Making your Home Dreams come True"

Nancy Wert

Re/Max Realty Centre

DC Metro Area


Posted by Nancy Wert over 7 years ago

Good stuff! Why did you have to pick out my home as an example?

Thanks, for the share!

Posted by Ben Yost - 303-587-4297, FHA, VA, Conventional - Mortgage Loans in De (First Time Home Buyer, Mortgage Rates, Pre-Approval) over 7 years ago

I believe I short sold that home!

Posted by Jim Miner, Loan Modfication & Short Sale Specialist (Miner Noh & Associates) over 7 years ago

Reuben - Great Shots! A terrific way to end the year with this best of the best pics post. We do see a lot of these types of problems in our travels and we are very thankful for inspectors that point these things out. Great job! Have a Happy New Year!

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) over 7 years ago

That's so funny, I especially like the gutter/duct.

Posted by Ellen Dittman, #1 Stop for NE FLA-JAX/OP 904.535.1199 (TEXT OK) r (Watson Realty Corp.) over 7 years ago

I am not an inspector and have never played one on TV, but even I can spot these as a no-no. Very dangerous.

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) over 7 years ago

Certainly love these "art" photos.  Yeh, the "art" of How Not To . . .  Way cool.  In fact, I had a listing with those holes in the floor like the photo "creative heat register" - could get no explanation of what they were from the owner, so thanks for clearing that up for me.  Especially fond of the ice dam-age control.  And the chimneys look familiar, too.  Seen a lot of the angry bird type around here, but once in a while spy the type with the wavering facade.  

Recently had an inspection on a property I was shocked my buyers were seriously interested in (they found it on line and . . .).  The above grade basement was not a poured slab but wood on dirt with no barrier.  Of course it was rotting after more than 100 years.  But the owners before it became REO had decided to pour a partial slab OVER the rotting wood so they could install a new water heater and zoned boiler.  Did they attempt to fix the floor for the dining area or kitchen that was down there, too?  Of course not.  That was really a fun one.

I just love tagging along after home inspectors, it is a real eye-opener and I always learn something new.  Thanks to all of you for your patience and the education you give us realtors! 

Posted by Yvonne Wilder (Halter Associates Realty) over 7 years ago

Absolutely love it, dude.

Posted by Alan Morris, Raleigh Durham Home Loan Pro - 919-906-1373 (Sierra Pacific Mortgage) over 7 years ago

Great photos!  I'm always amazed at what home owners will do (or not do) to save money.  And, when they sell, they end up having to fix it or, at least pay for it, after the inspection to make the sale happen.  "Penny wise, pound foolish" is the old English saying - true!

Posted by Sharon Tudor Isler, TWO Generations Serving ALL Generations (ERA Landmark Real Estate) over 7 years ago

I have a room that needs air, and I think I have some extra downspouts in the garage.  That's ingenuity for ya.

I love the idea of sharing these finds on facebook, and hope you don't mind if I use your idea.

Great post!

Posted by Chris Barnard (INTERCOASTAL INSEPCTIONS, LLC) over 7 years ago

Love it.  This is why I love being a home will never see it all!  I'm building my list now so much material it's "hard" picking the best.

Happy New Year!


Posted by Stephen Gaudet (Gaudet Inspections) over 7 years ago

Great pics!

People's inginuity seems to know no bounds. Even though I write up and condemn their mistakes, I sometimes admire the fact that they had a problem and devised a solution all on their own. At least they gave it a shot right?

One of the funniest I saw this year was a basement bathroom exhaust that terminated into the return air duct for the whole house. Just a bad idea, lol.

Posted by Andrew Shick (Home-Wise Inspections) over 7 years ago

Dear Reuben,

Pretty cool pics. One house I showed several times some winters ago had an electrocuted squirrel hanging from the overhead wire by the front door. Nothing says welcome home like that little mouse in the panel or the roofing showing through from below, although the sled system for catching the water may take the cake. It probably took a while to rig that up. A while that could also have been used to do it right.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) over 7 years ago

Hey Reuben, exactly what kind of load would it take to "blow" those two pieces of copper pipe?? :-)  I think I smell smoke.....  thanks for sharing!

Posted by Michael Winger (REMAX Tropical Sands) over 7 years ago

WOW! I've seen a lot of what I call "Harry Homeowner" repairs, but these rival anything I've seen!

Thanks for the laugh today!

Posted by Rhonda Patterson, Waterfront and Preferred Homes, LLC - Central over 7 years ago

These pictures are unbelievable!  I hope that mouse was dead! And copper tubes for fuses?? What are they thinking?

 I read all about ice dams, but I'm still not sure I know what they are.  Are they just melted snow that collects in the gutter?

Posted by Kathy Opatka over 7 years ago

Amazing pictures! You never know what you are going to find in your business. 

Posted by Ronald S. Accornero (OC Signature Properties) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the great pictures!  I'm dealing with a BAD short sale, and sure needed a good laugh......Keep up the good work!

Posted by Anonymous over 7 years ago

Are my eyes deceiving me or is that a sled on the ceiling?  WOW, I must say I haven't come across anything like hwat you've seen.  And to think, these were just pics from 2011?  Oy!

Posted by Chanda Barrick, in referral (Keller Williams Indy Metro Northeast) over 7 years ago

Hi Reuben.

You have collected so many great photos.

Look amazingly terrilble to me Reuben.

Just so many photos in just one year.....


thanks for sharing

jimmy phan

Posted by Jimmy Phan, Phan real estate group in hickory (KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY IN MOORESVILLES, NC) over 7 years ago

Oh no, the picture won't display on my computer, but I imagine what they look like.

Posted by Denise Watkins, Realtor Serving DC and MD (Tristar Realty, INC) over 7 years ago

Hi Reuben,

Was that mouse dead or alive? Have a great 2012!!

Posted by Dimitri Matsis-REALTOR® (818) 599-6083 (Troop Real Estate Inc. Westlake Village CA) over 7 years ago

That is a terrific collection.  Happy New Year.

Posted by Ric Mills, Integrity, Honesty, and Vast Real Estate Knowledge (Keller Williams Southern Az) over 7 years ago

Unbelievable. I've never seen anything like that before. Thanks for expanding the bandwidth.

Posted by Denise Watkins, Realtor Serving DC and MD (Tristar Realty, INC) over 7 years ago

The heat register in the cabinet and the hokey puck roof fix were my favorites:) All the best in 2012

Posted by Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070, Opening the Doors to California Homes -East Bay (Golden Gate Sotheby's International) over 7 years ago

Reuben, by far is one of the best this week/month/year. The ingenuity of idiots is priceless. Love the post and quotes. My favorite for some reason is the gutter/duct.

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 7 years ago

I don't even know where to start.  We do not have ice dams around here, but I did some insurance claims in the mountains and learned when I was an adjuster.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 7 years ago

You should send this to David Letterman!

Posted by Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos (Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois) over 7 years ago


There's some pretty scary stuff here, but not all that surprising. Wonder what HGTV would have to say?


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) over 7 years ago

These are great photos of honey not to do's.  It is interesting to see things that started out as good ideas...

Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) over 7 years ago

Hi Rueben, thanks for sharing.  Some scary, some almost funny like the outlet!

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 7 years ago

Wow, there is some creativity with some of these, some lack of completion thinking on others and some that do just make you scratch your head. I like the sled and plunger ice dam solution!

Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) over 7 years ago

Creativity and ingenuity abound, but most seem to have not really thought the whole thing through. Thanks for the laughs!

Posted by Todd Anderson, Park City | Deer Valley Real Estate (You In Park City group - KW Park City Keller Williams Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Oh my gosh! Thanks for sharing! These look like much older homes and folks have just done some really bad patch jobs in a hurry!

Posted by Sandy McAlpine, Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC (RE/MAX EXECUTIVE) over 7 years ago


Posted by Dan Pinson, Broker,ABR,GRI,RSPS,SFR,TRC (International Realty Partners) over 7 years ago

Yikes!  Those are making my head hurt...  Btw- NICE job over-delivering on the "20" photos!! :)

Posted by Jennifer Prestwich, Madison & Co Properties (Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster) over 7 years ago

Reuban ~ It is amazing the kind of imagination some homeowners have when it comes to fixing things in their own house!  I am sure you see everything!

Posted by Dawn A Fabiszak, The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience! (Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado) over 7 years ago

I LOVE these pictures - even the ones with ice.  Having lived in MN, I can certainly appreciate the Scandinavian creativity of problem solving.  As for the others, wouldn't be uncommon to see a mouse in the electrical panel box here in SC.  You must have fun days when you discover such amazing circumstances.

I especially love the mirrored floor tiles - think I should mention that to my team member who does home staging - maybe would make a tiny kitchen look larger :-)


Posted by Susan Jacobsen, 20 Years Providing WOW Real Estate Service (The Alliance Group Realty) over 7 years ago


Very nice pictures and they tell us as well as buyers how important it is to hire extremely experienced inspector. Can I show these pictures to my stuborn buyer clients who do not take inspection seriously?

Posted by Nima over 7 years ago

Hi Reuben,

These photos should be a required material for any home buyers, especially those first-time owners.  Some people should never work on houses!! (I personally know a few of them)

Posted by Marzena Melby, Realtor, Twin Cities Minnesota Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Burnet Realty) over 7 years ago

I love the photos :)  The 'creativity' of people is fantastic (and sometimes dangerous).

Posted by Julie Babcock -Nook & Cranny Home Inspections (Nook & Cranny Home Inspections Tonawanda, NY) over 7 years ago

Great pictures, Reuben. Of course, in out-state Minnesota they never do things like that. NOT!

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Reuben, That was great. Made me think of all the crazy stuff I saw this year. Must of been fun culling just twenty ; ) Happy New Year and belated X-mas.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Reuben - Wow - these are some interesting photos. You seem to have some issues we don't see here in North Carolina. Nest of 2012 to you!

Posted by Carla Freund, Raleigh - Cary Triangle Real Estate 919-602-8489 (Keller Williams Preferred Realty) over 7 years ago

These are great, Reuben.  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) over 7 years ago

To the people who left the last 50 comments or so - thank you!  I plan to respond to any questions within the next day or two.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

Oh, my!  Amazing what people will do!

Posted by Sue Ellett, Marble Falls, & Austin, TX, Lake Travis, Lake LBJ (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate ~ Paragon Property Group) over 7 years ago

I missed this one, Reuben! These are awesome!  I have seen a few head-scratchers but not like these!

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) over 7 years ago

Reuben - You could have supplied a years worth of "Postcards from the Field" for the ASHI Reporter.

Posted by Hank Spinnler, Atlanta Home Inspector (Harmony Home Inspection Services of GA) over 7 years ago

Wow, I bet sometimes being a home inspector you just shake your head and have to laugh at the terribly stupid things that you find in homes...-Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - over 7 years ago

Great blog!! Nice information here. Indeed, Home inspection and home repair knowledge is a must to have when investing in rental property. It helps to know the basics of what is involved with many repairs for you can save a lot by doing so.

Posted by andrei over 7 years ago

Wow!  I bet you guys really see it all.  My favorite is definitely the mouse in the electrical box, but the mirror tile is definitely a classic as well.

Posted by Matt Robinson, (Professional Investors Guild) almost 7 years ago

Great photos that show the value of a home inspection! Sometimes you wonder "What were they thinking?"

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) almost 7 years ago