Surveying your own unused land or property

May 29, 2022

Surveying your own land is not typically considered as dangerous work. However, if you ask us, personal safety is definitely something to consider when you are visiting any abandoned property or land. We recently researched different Facebook groups and found; what is the scariest thing one has encountered during an on-site property or land surveying. The answers we got from real-life appraisers range from surprising to funny to startling—to downright terrifying.

  1. Encountering Varmints and Hollows
    Mold is one of the common environmental hazards you may encounter when inspecting a residential dwelling. Apparently cats and mice (and possibly other small varmints) are another issue to look out for. Facebook users said they’ve faced an entire interior coated in black thanks to a flooded basement and four years of vacancy. Some also told that a disgruntled foreclosed upon homeowner sprayed the house down with water and turned the heat on full blast and closed up the house. Needless to say, there was ‘discoloration’ or ‘a mold like substance’ everywhere. Others told about hundreds of cats in the master bedroom. And the master bathroom had a mountain of feline feces. The same house had cockroaches running along walls and ceiling through cobwebs—in bright daylight. Moreover, a cute little old lady and her daughter lived there. People telling that mouse infested house was also found. The walls of the basement looked like they were moving, but it was just mice. The owner (yes occupied) had kitty litter boxes full of mouse poison that was replaced daily and traps everywhere.
  2. Hazardous, unhygienic, and simply ghoulish
    As a non-professional surveyor, you may occasionally come across properties with safety and sanitation issues. And you may encounter homes that are just plain creepy. These next comments will remind you to roam around lightly (and maybe wear a safety mask) when entering an unknown or vacant dwelling. Some told that twice I’ve walked into a front door and almost fallen into the crawl space because there was no floor or subfloor. Others told about flooring that crumbled under every step. Facebook users also commented about ‘Biohazard’ on carpet of a very nice house where homeowner committed suicide.
  3. Ominous (or ominous looking) people
    People can also make you feel unsafe during an on-site inspection. Scary run-ins with people include random strangers approaching me at foreclosed houses. Also, a homeowner who proudly proclaimed that their town had no colored people. Others told that a grown man high as a kite was hiding in the basement and jumped out at me as I started to go down the stairs in a house that was supposed to be empty.
  4. Guns and traps
    The presence of guns is another very scary issue that you may run into. Commenters’ scary stories include a house that had guns all over the place. Not in cases or anything, just laying around. The homeowner was agitated and wouldn’t let see several rooms. Others told that when the front door lock didn’t work, they went to try the back door. A shotgun was set to fire if that door was opened.
  5. Drug dealing and illegal activities
    Commenters reported that they’ve seen drug paraphernalia and empty food wrappers in a house that was supposed to be vacant for the prior three years. Others told that squatters making crystal meth in the basement of a foreclosed house. Facebook users also reported that drug dealing in rear yard and prostitution on all four floors of the house next door while inspecting a foreclosure.

Hopefully, these extreme stories haven’t frightened you away from the appraisal profession. After all, there are many reasons to love an appraisal career. Based on the responses above, we think it’s safe to say it’s a career path that will keep you on your toes.

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