During his more than 20 years of home construction and inspections, HGTV host Joe Mazza says he’s seen some seriously creepy stuff left behind by homeowners — including a collection of buried teeth. In a new interview, the host of “Home Inspector Joe” revealed some of the most disgusting discoveries he’s made over the years.
Mazza Reveals Grossest Things He’s Found
As a home inspector, Mazza helps homebuyers check problems in the house they’re considering purchasing. In a new interview with Houston Culture Map, he said sellers are “very, very” sneaky about trying to hide problem areas, like putting boxes or furniture in front of a moldy wall.
“I love it when they try,” he said, “because I’m going to catch them. If I go through a basement and it’s freshly painted, that’s a red flag right there. ‘You just painted the basement. Why?’ I start digging deeper, not just inside the basement, but outside to see what’s going on. A lot of problems in the basement start on the outside.”
Mazza, who’s appearing at the Houston Fall Home & Garden Show on September 16 and 17, said sellers who know of him have started to fear him because he doesn’t miss anything.
“I inspect every house as if my wife and daughter are moving into it. If you go into an inspection with that mentality, you’re going to kick butt,” he said, revealing that sometimes what he finds is completely disgusting.
“The grossest thing,” he said, “besides dead animals, people leave stuff out in the open — inappropriate personal stuff. I just keep working around it.”
Mazza has also inspected more than one house owned by hoarders, with wall-to-wall junk.
“Usually I’ll just turn around and walk out. There’s nothing I can do,” he admitted. “I will tell the real estate agent that the house is a fire hazard and you’re putting people in jeopardy. If the house is just dirty, yeah, whatever, that’s fine. I’m okay if they have a lot of junk around. But a hoarder’s house, like on that TV show, that’s disgusting.”
The worst hoarder situation he could recall was a house that had “15 cats and like 12 dogs.”
“They didn’t clean anything ever,” he explained. “I walked in and the hit of ammonia slammed me to heaven. I got dizzy and started gagging. I went outside and the owner wanted to know what was wrong. She was scratching her arms. I told her, ‘for one, your arms are bleeding. Your animals are crapping and peeing all over your house. The house needs to be condemned.’ I told the buyer to get the hell away from this house.”
Meanwhile, he’s also had sellers get so upset over his findings that they got really upset. According to Realtor.com, when Mazza told a homeowner she had termites, she slapped him with a piece of paper. When he grabbed her hand, she then punched him. Mazza said he called off that inspection and left.
Mazza’s Creepiest Find Was a Collection of Teeth
Out of all the disgusting things he’s discovered, Mazza says nothing tops the collection of teeth he heard crunching under his feet in someone’s basement in 2018.
“I was in the crawl space and as I walking around, the floor was crunching,” he told Houston Culture Map. “I looked down and the floor was covered with teeth. There were thousands of teeth down there. It was gross and terrifying. Was I going to find hundreds of bodies in the backyard? It turned out the guy was a tooth manufacturer and threw teeth in there a hundred years ago. No one warned me about that.”
Mazza posted a video on Instagram right after discovering the teeth, assuming at the time that they were all real. Though they were actually fake, it’s not clear why they were scattered on the ground inside a crawl space.
The no-nonsense inspector also must deal with awful odors on the job, since he has an incredibly sensitive sense of smell. Mazza lost his eyesight in his early 20s due to a condition called keratoconus, per HGTV, and it also impacted his sense of smell.
Keratoconus occurs when the cornea — the clear, dome-shaped front surface of your eye — thins and gradually bulges outward into a cone shape, according to Mayo Clinic. Mazza had two cornea transplants, thanks to donors, but the condition caused his hypersensitive sense of smell. He has claimed he can smell mold from a mile away.