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Warning to Realtors

Home Inspector with Home Sweet Home Inspection Services

Warning to Realtors. Do not turn on any systems that are not turned on.

Why not turn on systems that are off in a home during an inspection?  Liability. My insurance coverage does not cover stupidity. When I am at an inspection and a water valve is turned off to a toilet, I don't turn it on. If an AC service disconnect is in the off position, I do not turn it on. If an electrical breaker is in the off position, I do not turn it on. If a water heater pilot is not lit or the water is not turned on to the water heater, I do not turn it on. Why?  There may be a good reason why the system is not turned on and also for liability reasons.

This past week I had an instance where the water supply to a basement bathroom was not turned on. I recommended that a qualified, licensed plumber inspect and test all fixtures for proper functioning and draining of waste water. You're probably saying to yourself that is excessive. No it is not. The waste water drained into a holding tank for an injector pump that removed the waste water to the main waste line that was 6' in the air. The outlet for the pump was electrified but other then that, I do not know if it worked. My guess was that the water was turned off for a reason.  

My client asked me why I am not turning the water on and I explained the reasons. He said that he needed to know and that he would turn the water on and accepted responsibility. He did turn it on. He tested the toilet, ran the sink and shower and was happy that everything worked.

We left the bathroom, turned the corner of the hallway and there it was, a flood. The pump was not working in the tank and the tank must have been filled with water.  The tank overflowed allowing all the water that was run to flood the floor and carpet area. What a mess to clean up.

This issue was not divulged in the disclosure statement. My client and his realtor now understand why I don't turn on a system that was off and why I recommend further evaluation. I have a few more stories like this that I will share in the coming months. Now everybody, repeat after me, "I will not turn on any systems that are not turned on at time of inspection"   



Comments (10)

Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Sounds like fun to clean up...   Did the buyer still purchase the home?

Oct 14, 2008 02:01 AM
Keith Goodman
Keith Goodman - Merced, CA

Louis, some very useful information. Thank you very much for that. many of us would not think before just doing. Thanks, Keith

Oct 14, 2008 02:03 AM
Heather the Realtor Orlando, Lake Mary
LemonTree Realty - Orlando, FL
First Time Home Buyers, Bank Owned Homes

Louis that is a good reason but many people dont listen because they feel they know better or what harm could it do, but there is a perfect reason right there.

Oct 14, 2008 02:12 AM
Christina Strommen Stevens
Southwest Realty Advisors LLC - Galveston, TX
Galveston Texas Realtor, Vacation home expert

Warning to Realtors, YOUR NOT INSPECTORS SO DON'T AT LIKE IT.  Don't comment on what you think is wrong.  Don't touch a thing.  Sorry but this is my biggest pet peeve.  I get calls as a listing agent stating such.  "I'm here with my buyer and I fell the fouhn dation is cracked" says Mr. Buyers agent (in reality it is usually the ladies who are calling offering their expertise).  This is kind of against the law since you are not a licensed professional that can realistically comment on the condition of a slab.  Funny my family has built foundations for 30 years and I WOULD NEVER make the above statement.

Cute blog.  Sorry to rant but agents need to learn the differences in what their license allows them to comment on. 

Oct 14, 2008 02:16 AM
Lee Forbes
Lee Forbes PA, Forbes Property Group Broker in Bradenton - Lakewood Ranch, FL
Forbes Property Group #1 Preferred Agent! CRS, GRI

I found this out the hard way too with a leaking refridgerator!

 Thank you kindly,

 Lee Forbes     CRS, GRI, ABR, E-Pro

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Oct 14, 2008 02:34 AM
Barb Van Stensel
Chicago, IL

When I represent a buyer I tell them flat out that the disclosures are "lies".  I wouldn't believe a thing on them and it's up to them to look and be prepared to ask questions from the home inspector.  If I know that something is turned off before the inspection, I will reach out to the inspector and let him know that we will have a plumber or hvac, whomever that is needed to be at the inspection for just that reason.

Good post. 

Oct 14, 2008 02:34 AM
Louis Agudo
Home Sweet Home Inspection Services - Roswell, GA
Roswell Home Inspector

Stanton- The buyer was still going forward with the purchase as far as I know. He was still doing his due diligence.

Keith- Thanks for the comment.

Christina and Kevin- Nice rant and I couldn't agree with you more. I'm asked all the time"Do you think this is a good value" Hello, I'm not the appraiser or the realtor with a list of comparables for the area.

Lee- Leaking refrigerator? Please elaborate.

Barb- Thanks for reaching out to inspectors.  "Disclosures are lies" I like to read one when available. There may be some half truths to them. Out right lies. That would be unethical:)


Oct 14, 2008 07:15 AM
Christina Strommen Stevens
Southwest Realty Advisors LLC - Galveston, TX
Galveston Texas Realtor, Vacation home expert

I just hate when agents run their mouths about things only an inspector is qualified to know.   This makes it bad for everyone involved.  I had one call me today b/c she thinks a house has termites.  It may but that's not what my license is in so I follow the law and don't comment on things that WILL get you in trouble.

Oct 14, 2008 09:55 AM
Louis Agudo
Home Sweet Home Inspection Services - Roswell, GA
Roswell Home Inspector

Christina- I agree. I will look for signs of termites,insect or pest intrusion but I am not a pest control expert nor can I write a clearance letter. If I see signs of activity I recommend further evaluation. If I see previous inactive damage, I note it in the report.

Oct 15, 2008 12:02 AM
Jen Bowman
Keller Williams on the Water - Holmes Beach, FL
Realtor - Anna Maria Island & Bradenton FL

Wow, that is good to know.  I wouldn't have thought of that.  Thanks for sharing.  That's the reason everyone should hire a qualified inspector before buying a home.

Nov 23, 2008 01:35 AM