In the super-heated housing market that's been the hallmark of the Lower Hudson Valley for the last two years, home buyers have been faced with challenges ranging from bidding wars to waiving a home inspection.
The last one, said Joe Mazza, a licensed home inspector from White Plains, should be a deal breaker and one he freely shares with prospective buyers.
“I treat every home like my own family will live there,” said Mazza. "I will leave no stone unturned. I’m not a typical inspector.”
That passion, coupled with an engaging sense of humor, common sense advice and a loyal Instagram following, has made Mazza the latest Hudson Valley HGTV star. His new show, "Home Inspector Joe" premieres Jan. 19 at 9 p.m. on HGTV.
In each episode of "Home Inspector Joe," Mazza works with first time homebuyers, walking them through two or three potential homes and pointing out issues that will help them decide whether to buy or walk. Once the couple decides on a home, Mazza and designer Noel Gatts then work to remedy any issues and renovate the place into their dream home.
"All of them are first time homebuyers so everyone is super, super nervous," Mazza said. "The goal of the show is to walk them through and educate them as a whole so they know what they are getting into. My clients are going to know more about the house than the people who are selling it."
Mazza, is passionate about finding and righting the wrongs that have been done to these homes, everything from uncovering shoddy electrical and plumbing work to sleuthing out misdirected dryer vents and the sources of water damage.
He packs each episode with cautionary tales, checklists and information useful to any home buyer, or seller for that matter.
"I love helping people, have done it my entire life, always did," he said. "It's a passion of mine, so I took that and my knowledge of construction and knowing how things are built the right way, and the wrong way, and combined those into the show."
“Joe is the fearless superhero we all want when we’re buying a house,” said Jane Latman, president, HGTV & Streaming Home Content, Discovery, Inc. “It’s easy to fall in love with a home’s potential, but with his signature humor and heart, Joe makes sure his clients’ eyes are wide open as they look to create their dream home.”
He chronicles many of these issues on his engaging Instagram account, which caught the attention of producers at HGTV who soon came knocking.
"It all started on Instagram," said Mazza. "On July 26, 2019, I opened up my email, and one of the team reached out to me and said, 'Joe we have something we're planning, and we love your content on Instagram.' I thought it was a hoax at first, but I stalked them all out and discovered, it was real."
The production team flew Mazza and designer Gatts, who he had never met, to Knoxville, Tennessee for some preliminary filming to see how the two might complement each other in a series. "Everyone loved it," he said. The series is filmed locally, with the majority of the properties featured from lower Westchester and Connecticut.
"We break each one down, what's really wrong, and then expense-wise what it will cost to repair what's there, and then Noel comes in and says you can do A,B.C."
A word to weekend warriors
Mazza has been a home inspector in White Plains for 22 years and knows his way around a home renovation. But even he admits there are things he just won't touch, and neither should most homeowners.
"Let's just call them weekend warriors," Mazza said. "These are people who don't know what they are doing and they can't really do the major stuff and it's big stuff."
The show is mostly about education, he said, so he points out over and over that some issues require hiring a professional, especially when it comes to electrical and plumbing work. "I also make the point that a lot of work that I can do myself I am not 100% comfortable with doing myself so I hire it out. And I do this every day."
The issues he sees the most in the show and his everyday work? "A lot of water damage," he said, followed by mold and asbestos.
Juggling his business with filming and his family — he's married with a daughter — is a challenge, Mazza said. "I sacrificed a lot to take this on, in terms of giving up some clients, but I think it (the show) will be huge. It's something that I am passionate about and I want to pursue it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Mazza makes sure to include real-life experiences into each episode; his daughter has made an appearance in several shows.
"I'm funny, that's my main thing," he said. "I joke around, I make the scene chill but yet I am serious, as well and I educate people. What comes through in the show is that I love my wife, my daughter, I am into fitness, I am into motorcycles and I repair houses and bring all that into the show. That's going to draw people and it won't be boring."
Karen Croke is the features editor for lohud.com and poughkeepsiejournal.com. Find my stories here. Reach me at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: HGTV's newest series features a White Plains home inspector