A story and a list for your clients
The other day, I was doing a home inspection and found five rifles and a pistol in a closet which were blocking access to the crawlspace hatch. Home inspectors are not obligated to move personal property, according to the Standards of Practice, 308-408C-030,16. I especially do not want to have to move firearms–no judgment, guns just are not my thing. Fortunately, the real estate agent was willing to move them out of the closet. And the client, who had seen how the guns were originally in the closet, offered to put them back. I was grateful. I always try to leave no trace.
Then there was the cat. The cat was allowed in and out, so no problem, right? As it turns out, this was a very friendly and social cat, which followed me around during the inspection. This meant he was under my feet as I was working, creating a trip hazard. It also meant that I had to take extra steps to keep him out of the crawlspace while I was in there, so he wouldn’t get trapped. I was also very surprised when the cat climbed up my ladder, and joined the client and me in the attic! Okay, so now it was my responsibility to get the cat out of the attic, so he did not get trapped up there. The cat ended up scratching the client as I handed him down through the attic hatch. My client was a good sport about it, but really? These two events inspired me to make up a checklist you can give to your clients when their home is going to be inspected. You can download a PDF version of the list to give to the homeowner.
Tell the homeowner that on the day of the inspection they should please:
- Expect to be gone up to 4 hours.
- Have all animals out of house and yard or contained.
- Provide clear access to furnace, electrical panel, all doors and windows, and as many outlets as possible—especially GFCI outlets.
- Remove personal belongings that block clear access to the crawlspace hatch and attic hatch—especially if they are in a closet.
- Have all sinks clear of personal property so faucets and drains can be tested.
- Have all firearms and other weapons secured in a location where the home inspector will not be in danger, or be responsible for moving them.
- Leave all gates unlocked.
- Make sure all utilities are on and pilot lights are lit.
- Have all window coverings open so windows are accessible.
- Know that you may need to reset some clocks, because testing GFCI and AFCI circuits interrupts power.
I want to inspect as much of the house as possible for my client. So I do end up moving personal possessions and doing my best to return them the way that I found them. But it is best for everyone if I do not need to.
In regards to pets, an inspector I know in Olympia has been bitten twice by dogs that the owners said have never bitten before. A home inspector is a stranger in the house, and dogs may already sense big changes happening and be extra nervous. Dogs and cats should be removed or kenneled during a home inspection.