HOME INSPECTORS: KEEP OUT!

By
Home Inspector with H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties)

Many times, during home inspections, I come upon areas that are locked, or can't be accessed for one reason or another. They might as well have a sign that says 'Home inspectors- KEEP OUT!"

And everytime I see this, it just makes me wonder what they are trying to "hide", and makes me determined to find a way in, if possible, without destroying anything, of course.

But the point is, if you are a realtor, or just someone who wants to sell their house, please make sure that ALL areas are open, AND accessible to the home inspector. Here is a little checklist you can use to help make sure this happens:

1. Remove clothes, stored boxes and belongings that are in the way of attic or crawl space access areas.

2. Unlock any padlocks on things like garages, outbuildings, individual rooms, storage areas, access panels, and equipment panels.

3. Make sure that stored belongings are not close to or blocking: the furnace or boiler, water heater, electric panel, well equipment, water softener, gas, water & electric meters, plumbing access panels.

4. Double-keyed doors should have the key left to be able to open the door.

5. Windows and doors should also not be blocked.

6. Dogs, animals, ill or sleeping people should also not be preventing entry or access to any area.

Having all the areas of the home ready to inspect will keep the home inspectors suspicions from rising, and he will be able to give the best inspection, with no exclusions, or limitations.Ā 

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Rainmaker
1,130,690
Chuck Carstensen
RE/MAX Results - Elk River, MN
Minnesota Real Estate Expert

I would think the buyer would want all areas inspected and the sellers should know that.

Jun 24, 2008 01:04 AM #1
Rainmaker
90,166
MC2 Home Inspections
MC2 Home Inspections LLC - Denver, CO

Yeah the sellers should know that Chuck, but very seldom do they. I cannot tell you how many homes I have been in that have had at least one area not accessible.

I agree Kevin, my suspicion is always raised in these situations. I mean the sellers know when you are coming. Sometimes it seems so deliberate on their part. One example I can give you is underneath bathroom or kitchen sinks. I see this ALL the time, where the homeowner has so much stuff packed in these areas, you cannot see or access the pipes underneath. In one home I Inspected it was like this, and I just moved a couple of things so that I could see the pipes, when I did, I uncovered a pretty good size leak coming from the bottom of the sink along with Mold growing up against the cabinet wall.

Jun 24, 2008 01:22 AM #2
Rainer
12,363
Shaun Wren
AGENTFORLIFE - Lakeland, FL

The buyer would want you to have access. they pay to have the Whole house inspected.

Jun 24, 2008 01:26 AM #3
Rainer
15,360
Glenda and Steven McDaniel
Long and Foster Smith Mountain Lake Office - Smith Mountain Lake, VA

We just had an incident where the Home Inspector could not get into the Attic above the garage because a car was parked in the area where the stairway comes down.   Well sure enough there was a problem after settlement with a leaking area and guess who really got the blame?

Jun 24, 2008 01:29 AM #4
Ambassador
1,333,850
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Kevin, me thinks this list should be the screen saver of every agents Blackberry:)

Jun 24, 2008 01:55 AM #5
Rainmaker
90,166
MC2 Home Inspections
MC2 Home Inspections LLC - Denver, CO

Amen Charles

Jun 24, 2008 03:09 AM #6
Rainer
75,694
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX

There is a section in the Texas code regarding home inspectors and moving objects to inspect areas. Basically, the interpretation is that we are not suppose to move an item, unless it can be easily removed and replaced. During one of my inspections, the seller was an antique dealer who had boxes lined up against a wall, which she forbade me to move, because they had fragile antiques in them. During the course of the inspection, she claimed to never have had her home inspected, but she kept going on and on about how she hated inspectors. That we made things up on our reports. On the otherside of this wall was a bathroom that had the worst repair job that I have ever seen to a plumbing system. I told the buyer that I could not find a leak, but that I bet something was going on. Sure enough, six months later, I get a call from the buyer. Where was all of this water coming from? Well, remember that I told you something might happen here. Oh yeah was her response. We resolved it well.

Jun 24, 2008 03:21 AM #7
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Frank,

I think it is good that Texas law kind of helps protect you in some situations where things may not easily be removed, but it is still the buyer who gets stung in the finality. I always try very hard to gain access to everywhere, and have even gone as far as having the agent track down the homeowner to get a missing key, while I waited an extra hour for her to go get it.

When someone doesn't want ME to move something, I always ask if THEY can move it, and you ARE RIGHT, ... there is always a reason they don't want you to move it, or be in there.

Jun 24, 2008 04:20 AM #8
Rainer
9,227
J. Brandon Roberts
Reveal Property Inspections - Clarksville, TN

I try to access every area I can, but if I can't then I take a photo showing why and I disclaim the area.  Now, I don't use that as a catch-all to not do my inspection.  If I have to move minor things, I will, but I certainly prefer not to.  I know the standards say we don't have to move anything, but we have to apply common sense here.  Try to put the client's best interests first without opening yourself up to more liability.

Jun 24, 2008 04:43 AM #9
Ambassador
2,758,520
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Yeah Kevin, I agree, I often wonder what they are hiding as well... I guess that it is our suspicious nature...

Jun 24, 2008 09:09 PM #10
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

If we weren't Curious Animals, I guess we wouldn't be Home Inspectors. LOL

Jun 25, 2008 01:40 AM #11
Rainmaker
4,432,093
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Great list. I mention the things to the seller when I have the listing. I think I will start presenting to the listing agent with my agreement of sale .

Jun 29, 2008 10:58 PM #12
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Having the proper access is so very important to the home inspector, and the client getting the value he/she deserves for their money.

Jun 29, 2008 11:36 PM #13
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Rainmaker
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Kevin Corsa

H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector
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