You have an appointment with a home inspector, and up rolls a guy looking like a 21st-Century Buddy Holly, driving a 1959 Chevrolet panel van, his name emblazoned on the side, black-and-blue glasses above his smile, and his pompadour coifed up front with a rolling curl like a tubular surfer’s wave.
The first thing people think of when looking for a home inspector is not great hair and a great car, but this is East Nashville, where a genial 40-yearold, Dave “Inspector Dave” Crumpton, works his trade of nine years and seeks to make an ordinarily dry-as-dust piece of business into something fun and revelatory.
“I got into home inspection because I wanted to help educate people about homes before they bought them,” he says. “And I wondered, ‘How can I make this a creative, involved, interactive experience for people, and not just some boring, stoic exercise?’ ”
Crumpton grew up in Franklin, where he spent his teenage summers working for his grandfather building houses. “I really enjoyed that,” he says, “learning what quality craftsmanship is. And then my grandmother was also very creative and artistic.” He carried the lessons he learned then into his first professional venture: designing and building furniture.
“I went to UT Knoxville, studied art education and philosophy, and then traveled a bit, went to Europe for a while, then New York, then came back down south and wound up back in Knoxville, honing my skills designing and building furniture. I spent a decade doing that and really enjoyed it. Then my grandfather started having health problems, and I moved back home.”
There was a school in Nashville teaching home inspection for the requisite 90 hours, and Crumpton signed up. Then he found “Bessie,” a cream-colored ’59 Chevy Apache panel van that was sitting in singer Tommy Keenum’s garage. A new engine, new brakes, and a new radio later, his name and phone number big as life on the side, Inspector Dave had a mode of transport that could hold a ladder, serve as a shingle for the world to see, and function as the closest thing he has to an office.
His job itself is fairly straightforward. “I show up and look at the outside of the house, take time to see if there’s any cracks in the foundation, mismanagement of water, see how the heating and cooling is installed, then I get up on the roof and look around. I go inside, check all the doors, windows, outlets, appliances, heating, cooling; and then comes the fun part, getting under the house.”
This is where things can get chancey. Possums under houses don’t like interlopers, as Crumpton has discovered on occasion. “A homeowner once offered to loan me his shotgun if I would go back under the house and shoot the possum,” he says. “I declined.”
Voted “Best Home Inspector” in the Nashville Scene, Crumpton has been in the business long enough to have repeat customers. And with Nashville booming, business is nonstop. “People I helped eight or nine years ago are looking to buy again, and they’re reaching out. East Nashville, North Nashville, 12 South are all seeing such a rush of new people. I read a statistic that a 1,000 to 1,200 people are moving into town every week.”
He does two or three inspections a day, with no employees. “I’m a one-man show,” he says.
“Everything in the buying process is contingent on the inspection,” Crumpton says. “I’ve seen so many buyers feel overwhelmed and just need to know what’s going on with their property. I look to help people be part of the process and make it as fun as it can be in what can be a stressful time. I try to bring some lightness to it, some excitement.”