Did you ever just want to slap an idiot upside the head!

Home Inspector with B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com)

PREFACE:  I know there's good and bad in every field (including mine) so don't go there.  This is about the bad and YOU know who YOU are!

Did you ever just want to slap an idiot upside the head!

When I find outlets that nationally recognized safety standards say should be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected, I always recommend a safety upgrade to my clients. 

I've taken so much flack from real estate agents about this so many times I've lost count.

"Why do you have to bring that up.  It didn't have to have it when this house was built so it doesn't have to be done now!"

WHY??  Well, because I know what can happen.  I can lead you to the water.  I can shove your head under the water.  BUT, I can't make you drink.

But, of course they are right!! 

The house is 100 years old.  Didn't even have GFCI's then.

And there is no law that says it has to be upgraded.
  (well, except for certain circumstances that aren't germane to this discussion, renovation, remodeling, etc.)

Those same agents are always sure to buckle their seat belts when they leave the inspection.  Even though they didn't have seat belts 60 years ago!

I decided to gather up some articles and send em to several recent idiots.

Just thought I'd also share them with you here so you'll be more educated about why home inspectors recommend safety upgrades. 

It is NOT important to us who pays for the upgrade, it's a recommendation for improved safety. 

Girl, 6, Likely Died From Electrocution 

Professor dies from electrocution at Cleveland State University

$30 circuit breaker could have averted electrocution death at concert.

Summer Haven was in compliance with the code when the pool was built," Stocks said.
Sound like someone YOU know?
Two kids died but "it's okay" because it wasn't required when the pool was built.

The above are just examples.  There are tons more.


Kentucky Home Inspectors on safety upgrades


Only you can choose what level of risk your family lives with.  CHOOSE WISELY!!!

And don't forget to test those GFCI on a regular basis.

A short explanation I use with permission from Tom Lauhon, Midwest Inspectors Institute. (as best I remember it.)

A short explanation of GFCI. 

There is a little electrician hiding in the GFCI outlets.  He watches the electricity come in over one shoulder and go out over the other shoulder.  If there's no difference, he just sits there.  If a difference is created, (you drop your shaver or hair dryer into the tub or sink), he immediately shuts down the electricity attempting to keep you from being shocked. 

The problem with your little electrician is that he has a boring job and he likes fishing.  One of these days, he is going to get bored and just go fishing.  When he does, he isn't coming back.  The only way you're going to know if he is still in there is to test the GFCI outlet or breaker every 30 to 45 days. 

Plug something into the outlet, hit the test button and then the reset button.  If it shut down the power and then restored the power, the little electrician is still in there working for you.  If it didn't, your little electrician has gone fishing.  You need to get a licensed electrician to replace your little electrician.


OK, enough ranting.  Choose wisely, grasshopper!



Posted by



Erby Crofutt
KY Lic# HI-2041
B4 U Close Home Inspections & Radon Testing
Georgetown, KY


B B 4 U Close Home Inspections serves Central, Northern & Eastern Kentucky real estate buyers & sellers

with Kentucky Licensed Home Inspections & Certified Kentucky Radon Testing
ppointments available 7 days a week -  7 AM to 9 PM. 
Phones answered during same period.

Call NOW for your B4 U Close Home Inspection appointment!!

Why should you hire Erby to inspect your home?  See what past clients have to say!!

Here's what a couple of B4 U Close clients say: (Clicki the line above to see others)

I think the current owners are a little angry about the thorough inspection you did. They didn't have one done and it cost them $18K.  I, my loan officer and my agent think a home inspection is well worth what I paid.

Nathan, Morehead, KY Inspection  (20101012B)

Thank You for the outstanding job you did on the inspection.  We bought and sold 9 houses and this was the only inspection that was ever done properly.  It was helpful and we will use it to do the repairs with a system, instead of the guess work we usually do.  Thanks again

Mike & Barbara, Stamping Ground, KY Inspection (20050603

See a B 4 U Close Home Inspection sample report by clicking the report picture below


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William Moore
Innovative Realty - Londonderry, NH
Excellent point Erby.  Sounds like shortsighted agents looking to ensure a commission. Keep making those recommendations.
Dec 15, 2007 01:37 PM #1
John Occhi
Mason Real Estate - Temecula, CA
SRES,CPRES.ePRO - Temecula-Murrieta CA Real Estate

Nothing wrong with safety upgrades being acknowledged as long as they are identified that way and identified as not being a required action item.

Now Have a Blessed Day, and

Remember the Reason for the Season!

John Occhi, Hemet REALTOR®
Mission Grove Realty

Dec 15, 2007 02:01 PM #2
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY


I don't mind agents working to ensure a commission.  You bust your butt, you deserve to get paid for it.

But, geeze, safety is safety.  Live with it or die!


Home Inspectors have no authority whatsoever to "REQUIRE" anything.  None, nada, zip.

We are consultants hired for our opinion.  Period.  We have no authority and are NOT part of the negotiation between sellers and buyers.  That's your baby.

I don't care who pays to have it fixed.  It just oughta be fixed. 

Merry Christmas to you too!  I hope you get all the goodies you need.


Dec 15, 2007 02:31 PM #3
Scott Patterson, ACI
Trace Inspections, LLC - Spring Hill, TN
Home Inspector, Middle TN

Erby makes a very good point that most folks don't get.  That is a "home inspector can not require anything".  All we do is report what we find and what should be done.  It is up to our client to decide the next course of action.

Many times the inexperience of the agent(s) can be the downfall of the transaction, not the items in the report.


Dec 16, 2007 02:45 AM #4
David Helm
Helm Home Inspections - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp
Just thought I'd chime in here with my agreement with Erby and Scott.  We home inspectors do not require anything, we recommend based on our opinion (which for this inspector is based on a lifetime of industry experience).  Any realtor (small r emphasized) who balks at Safety upgrade recommendations is doing his/her client a major disservice.
Dec 17, 2007 02:13 AM #5
Jim Ellis
Ellis Home Inspection Services - Pensacola, FL

I couldn't agree more guys. It goes a lot further too, safety items, fire related issues, smoke detectors,etc...

None of these items were around years ago either.

We are the messenger, please don't shoot! 

Dec 17, 2007 06:07 AM #6
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Erby I always deal directly with my clients and have never had that problem yet.

Sorry you gotta deal with those kind of comments.

Maybe you should do a presentation at these offices so that these representitives learn their resposibilities to their clients.

Dec 17, 2007 01:39 PM #7
Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
Hi Erby,
People are so foolish at times--personal safety has no price!
Dec 17, 2007 10:01 PM #8
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Thanks for swinging by and commenting Scott, David & Jim

Bob:  My client is usually at the inspection.  Those comments usually come later in private or over the phone.    I'm not sorry about dealing with them.  I view it as an opportunity to educate the agent.  I lead them to the water, I shove their head under, but it's up to them to drink.

I don't do real estate office presentations.  I'm usually too busy inspecting to mess with that.  I did try it.  Donut's and all.  (ONCE)  I get paid for my time and experience.  Real estate office presentations didn't pay.  When they are ready to pay for the education I provide them, I'll consider it again. 

I donate my time to a non-profit that does first time home buyer seminars and a few other things I have an interest in.  Don't get many, if any, inspections out of it, but the buyer's get some education and I enjoy it.

Yes, Cynthia, people are foolish.  But then, we've all done foolish things a time or two. 

We live and we learn.  Or we don't.



Dec 17, 2007 10:53 PM #9
Boston, MA

Personally, I don't see any reason NOT to make the necessary modifications to protect your family besides money.  That's what it basically comes down to.  Now can you let my head out of the water!!!

Dec 18, 2007 12:08 AM #10
Frank Ross
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection of SW Utah - Saint George, UT
I always recommend upgrading to GFCI protection. Agents now and then ask "Was it code in 19XX?" I say I don't know but we are smarter now!
Dec 18, 2007 07:16 AM #11
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

I think Frank that when you gt these kind of questions the Agent asking may somehow think a recomendation to upgrade systems is in some way threating to the sale .

It is not and should not be looked at this way.

The pro Agents know whats up, and what to expect.

The client should also know whats up.

I do not think any Inspector is going to hand in a report that reflects these type items as mandatory to the sale.

This is why I may start doing office presentations in the future if it helps the part timers understand we are not there as adversaries.

Dec 18, 2007 07:30 AM #12
Frank Ross
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection of SW Utah - Saint George, UT

You know, I have had Realtors say, well that (say a defective GFCI or a missing handrail) is just a minor thing but yet you wrote it up in your report. I reply, well that GFCI may only cost $20 to replace and the handrail may cost $200 to replace and those may be considered minor as far as expenses go but if a person gets electrocuted or trips down the steps and breaks their back who is going to pay for that and those fees WILL BE major. When asked "what should I fix" I reply, I suggest fixing or replacing first things that will hurt someone, such as a bad GFCI or missing hand rail or missing P&T discharge tube, then second replace or repair things that would hurt the home, such as a leaking roof, or plumbing leak then third replace or repair those things that do not really matter such as a broken window screen, cracked counter top, worn out carpet etc....  I don't give prices for repairs but this is always my priority list I give them. First what hurts people, Second what can hurt the home and Third what really does not matter. www.pillarposthomeinspection.com



Dec 18, 2007 07:43 AM #13
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Martin:  OK, OK, here's a towel.  Did you drink the kool-aid?

Bob:  I agree, it's not about the deal or how minor the defect is.  It's about death and serious, life altering injury as indicated in the links above.

Frank:  I like your priorities.  I use them to.

What are the chances of something actually happening.  Given the number that's not been upgraded to the number of incidents of death & injury, probably about the same as winning the lottery.

BUT, people do win the lottery and people do get hurt or killed by these defects.

I roll the dice in favor of giving my clients all the information I can AND in favor of protecting my liability ass-ets.

To each their own!

Dec 18, 2007 11:59 PM #14
Debbie Malone
Londeree's Real Estate & Property Management - Lynchburg, VA
From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369
"Penny wise pound foolish" (has to be a British saying).  We sold a rental this year and the home inspector flagged the Federal Pacific panel box. We paid to upgrade and closed the deal. Right after he finished, I sent the electrician up the street to my mother's house and had him upgrade hers too. Rather pay a few dollars than have a tragedy and be safe not sorry, just my opinion.
Dec 20, 2007 12:06 PM #15
Rick Harrington
Patch Independent Home Inspections, LLC - Columbus, OH
Specialist--Infrared Residential

All good points, that is why I believe we do as much education and training as we do inspecting.

And for the most part most of our clients have not had home inspections before and would want the info.  It's some of the realtors that don't want to here these things.  The good ones do! We all should have the clients and our fellow earth occupants well being at the top of our list.

have a safe and happy holiday season.

Dec 21, 2007 02:15 AM #16
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Debbie:  I share your opinion on both the "Penny wise, pound foolish" and the FPE Panels.  Glad to see you also changed out your mother's panel.

Rick:  I've never had a client say I gave them too much information.  Remember, there's good and bad in every crowd, including ours.  Educate and train is a good theme to follow!

Dec 27, 2007 02:13 PM #17
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate
Often when that is in the report the buyers always want it done on the home inspection report.  I always tell my buyers if they put it in it probably won't get done.  The ones I get from other agents expect it to be done because the home inspector flagged it. 
Dec 31, 2007 10:50 AM #18
Chris Duphily
A2Z Home Inspections - Stroudsburg, PA
Stroudsburg PA Home Inspector

Great post Erby! It happens to me a minimum of once a month. 

A lot of peoplehave the mentality that it's only a problem if something happens to one of their loved ones.

Keep educating my friend! 

Jan 01, 2008 08:22 AM #19
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Gene:  An Inspector's job is to educate the client about the physical condition of the house.  We don't have anything to do with the contract or what is or is not repaired or who pays for it.  That's your bailiwick.  I leave it to you.  I do point this out to you though. 

If I ask you for something, the very worst thing you can do to me is say no.

If I don't ask, you won't even have the opportunity to say yes!

Chris.:  Thanks, same to you sir.



Jan 01, 2008 12:11 PM #20
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