Wait… What was that address again?

By Jamie Dunsing, Veteran Home Inspector and Head Inspection Nerd

Recently, I came across a news story about a demolition company in Dallas, TX that tore down the wrong house in February 2020. This YouTube video describes how the company made an honest mistake. Luckily, nobody was hurt in this incident.

This reminded me of a time when I made a similar mistake.

When we are busy, we do not always have time to verify all the conditions at our inspections prior to the start time. Normally, we usually like to verify certain things about the home. Size, roof access, general location of the property, etc. This is helpful when we arrive at the home and are prepared to get to work right away. It also ensures that we are at the correct house. Read on!

for sale signs

When I visit other cities, I like to connect with local home inspectors in my destination town. Most frequently, this happens when going to an educational conference, but I have been known to visit other home inspection companies when on a family vacation. What can I say? I am a home inspector nerd!

Are you at 123 Main Street?

One such visit occurred when I was in Indianapolis, Indiana for a business conference. I went down to Indy a day early and connected with one of my old home inspector friends, Randy Surette from Cornerstone Inspections. The plan was to ride with Randy on all 3 of his inspections that day. We arrived at his first inspection and things went along fine. We met with his clients and their real estate agent. It was a small home, so we finished in about 2 hours. We then proceeded to his 2nd inspection of the day. We parked Randy’s inspection “rig” in the driveway of the next home. In this case, the client and their real estate agent were not going to be meeting us at the inspection, and we had a combination for the lockbox. Great- we could dive right in.

Let’s Roll!

We were about 1-1/2 hours into the inspection when somebody rang the doorbell. The man at the door inquired if we were inspecting the home at 123 Main Street (made up address to protect the innocent). We told him that yes, we were the inspectors, and we were almost done with our inspection. We were sad to find out that he was the homeowner at 123 Main Street and that we were actually inspecting 125 Main Street (also a made up address)! It turned out that we were at the wrong house. The lockbox had the same combination as his home’s lockbox.

“We told him that yes, we were the inspectors, and we were almost done with our inspection.”

Lost Home Inspectors
wrong house

We cleaned up all our tools and high-tailed it over to the right house and completed the inspection. Talk about an embarrassment?! In the end, things worked out fine. It turned out that this was a neighborhood where there were for sale signs on about 1/3 of the home’s front lawns. Talk about turnover!

Randy and I have laughed about this over the years and are sure to double check the address before we start inspecting. I have turned this into a teaching moment when we are training new inspectors!

So, lesson learned. Check, check, and triple check your address.

Have you ever walked into the wrong house?

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