Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


The usual suspects---a detective story.

Inspectors are always playing “detective.”

In fact, in some countries detectives are known as “inspectors.”

We know the usual suspects. Every home has the usual suspects. They are not always guilty, but we have to check them out none the less. We never want to discover that some crime has been missed---only to grow into a crime spree of untold proportions.

There are the nasty stains on the ceiling that have to be questioned.

We routinely use expensive devices to check around toilets and along shower stalls and tubs. It is very common for crimes to be committed in these areas.

Where chimneys penetrate the roof and ceiling are other areas that need to be checked.

Sometimes the perpetrator is guilty as charged; sometimes it is some past condition where the perpetrator has been “rehabilitated.”

Leaking around a chimney

What is really nice is when the perpetrator just steps right up and “confesses.”


Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector


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Comment balloon 33 commentsCharles Buell • March 14 2011 08:07AM


Well THAT WAS EASY!  Didn't even try to plead the Fifth! :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 about 8 years ago

that is an original... wow

Posted by Gloria and Jason Belmonte, (Prudential Fox&Roach The Belmonte Group) about 8 years ago

Good morning, Charles.  Cool post, I thank my lucky stars that we have detectives (inspectors) working in behalf of the good of our transactions.  A good inspector is one of the most important factors in getting our properties closed.  Thanks!

Posted by Barbara Hensley, Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas (RE/MAX Properties) about 8 years ago

Cute story...don't you wish all the "evidence" was that easy to discover?

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) about 8 years ago

Lovely... so they know the roof is leaking, but as long as they go up into the attic after each rain, and empty the bucket... they're okay with the moisture infiltration damaging the wood??


Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) about 8 years ago

Love your pictures, wouldn't believe it if you just told me.

Posted by Anne Hensel, Realtor - Broker - St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island (South Beaches Real Estate Professionals) about 8 years ago


That's pretty funny. I wonder what gets into the minds of some sellers, did they forget home inspection was being conducted?


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 8 years ago

I likes that 'confession', I've gotten a few myself. Did you see my whistling tap?

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 8 years ago

Hah! Looks like the 2nd home I bought... And when the bucket gets full!?

Posted by Rene Fabre, Marketing in the Digital Age (First American Title) about 8 years ago

I don't think the confession was as strong as the evidence.  Thank god that your client had a good detective…

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority! (RE/MAX Northwest.) about 8 years ago

Charles, I don't see the issue here, the bucket catches the water, you just have to empty the bucket. Now a real ingenious and industrious person would have a small siphon hose there so as to never have to go up there to check on it. But otherwise....


Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 8 years ago

Very clever Detective Buell!  Let no crime go unpunished!  A good home inspection (from a professional inspector) is so critically important!

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) about 8 years ago

Hi Charles, the bucket is elaborate multi-purpose portable spill containment device.  Thanks for sharing. Inspector Charles Clouseau

Posted by Dale Ganfield about 8 years ago

Hi CHarles; Great info as usual.. Best, Gay

Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) about 8 years ago

No need to coerce a confession from that suspect, he's caught in the act :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 8 years ago

I heard someone say recently "a good inspector is worth his weight in gold". I say you are gold my friend.

Posted by Carl Winters about 8 years ago

Nice.  That bucket sure makes it easy.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

Hi Charles..just another drop in the bucket as they say for what a detective finds on a routine basis. :)

Posted by Cindy Westfall, ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate (Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon) about 8 years ago


Another one on the bucket list ; )

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Liz and Bill, yup simply rolled over and admitted to the whole thing

Gloria, well I am not sure how "original" it was :)

Barbara, I think it is great you see it that way

Laura, sometimes :)

Alan, apparently so

Anne, it is actually not that uncommon to find buckets collecting leaks in attics

Rich, I wondered that myself----but if it is leaking it is leaking----hard to hide really

Robert, I will check out your post

Rene, it is always a good idea to keep track of ones buckets

Paul, I just hope I would have noticed had the bucket not been there:)

Andrea, yes indeed----that is all that is lacking----a good siphon hose

Donna, I always wanted to be a cop :)

Dale, this device is an inspectors dream come true

Gay, thanks and you are welcome

Jim, yup

Carl & Ceil----and pay dirt too

Reuben, it sure does

Cindy, and there were quite a few drops in it too

Don, this was not one of the things on my bucket list :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago

Apparently one gallon is enough to control the problem!  And then the bucket becomes a humidifier.  Well, at least there's no electric involved so the humidifier is perpetual!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Ha Ha! Pretty powerful photo you have there. True confession!

Posted by Pam Sitterly, CRS Magnolia-Tomball Texas (RE/MAX VINTAGE) about 8 years ago

Mr Charles,

This is a wonderful post that is very thought provoking.


Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 8 years ago


All they need is to add a sump pump to pump the water back outside and problem solved!  The electric is already setup.. just tap into the knob and tube wiring and they are ready to go.

Posted by David Artigliere, ARTI Home Inspections, ASHI Certified Home Inspect (Reading, Pottstown, Norristown, Philadelphia) about 8 years ago

Mr Charles,

I am still lost and you are provoking me.


Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 8 years ago

Jay----perhaps it needs a rage hanging in the bucket to improve the humidifier function?  Or would that be a swamp cooler?

Pam, thanks :)

Nutcase, really?

David that sounds like a plan :)

Nutcase----you will always be lost

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago

Thats funny. "Honey I fixed the leak!!" Seems that with just a little more effort they may have been able to correct the real problem.

Posted by Dean Lovitt (Redfin) about 8 years ago

Have a good St Patricks day Chuck Bee

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 8 years ago

Now that's a nice looking crawl space. Who would have thought those folks would get caught? Good work. Again.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES TUCSON ELITE) about 8 years ago

Charles, truly amazing! Thanks for the post. Have a terrific weekend.

Posted by Janice Roosevelt, OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker ( Keller Williams Brandywine Valley ) about 8 years ago

Dean, they were most likely too scared to go on this very high/steep roof

Steve, I will need more than the saints

Jon---they didn't seem to be hiding it

Janice, thanks---just relaxing at home after a hectic week of teaching.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago

Your life would turn around if you were nice to Nutsy.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 8 years ago

Steve, but it is already going in the right direction

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago