December 28, 2023
This blog post is intended to benefit home sellers and realtors. The discussion is specific to carrying out home inspections in occupied and/or furnished homes. Home inspectors are not supposed to move personal possessions during their inspections due to liability; if we break or damage anything we are liable for repair or replacement. Disclaiming items due to inaccessibility or lack of visibility in an inspection report provides no beneficial information to potential home buyers.
In following is a list of items to be mindful of to assist a home inspector with their inspection:
Home inspectors check many items in a short window of about three hours. It is often challenging to carry out an inspection with residents that are at home during the inspection as we are slowed down trying to work around their locations and activities. Sometimes it is not possible to work around their locations. I had one situation where a family was in the living room while I was doing an inspection. There was very little that I could report on in this area.
Clothing in washers and dryers: Most home inspectors test these for operation and for leaks. When clothes are inside or if they are unplugged (for whatever unknown reason) we do not run these due to liability.
Cutlery and cookware in dishwashers, ovens, and microwaves. Same comment as above.
Breaker panel – When these are located outside of utility rooms, it is common to find that they are covered with wall art for aesthetics. Please have these accessible and not hidden where we waste time trying to find their location.
Pets. Most home inspectors love pets but we are under time constraints to complete an inspection in the time that we have told everyone. Often pets will follow their new friend around for an entire inspection, if allowed. We are also concerned about accidently hurting pets because they are often near us when we are working waiting to be petted and we are not paying attention to their location.
Vehicles need to be removed from garages during an inspection. They immensely restrict access to our viewing ability of the inside of garages and are often parked underneath attic hatches. When they are moved it’s best to be parked off the property; if they are just moved onto a driveway, we can’t look at the condition of the driveway.
Attic access hatches need to be accessible. They are often in closets and most of the time clothing, suitcases, and sometimes even shelving needs to be removed. A ladder needs to be able to fit into this small area to allow for access to the attic.
Home inspectors need to be able to have an accessible area in front of the water heater, heater, and breaker panel to inspect these. Utility rooms should not be used for storage.
Furniture and appliances often greatly restrict a home inspectors’ ability to assess the conditions of walls, flooring, windows, countertops, electrical outlets, and when we do our infrared inspections. Bookshelves, beds, and sofas take up a great deal of space in a home and there is little a home inspector is able do to look at these locations. If they can be moved temporarily, a home inspector will be able to do a better job.
Plumbing pipes in cabinets below sinks in bathrooms and kitchens need to be visible to inspect for leaks. Quite often a great deal of homeowner contents needs to be moved to allow for viewing.
If rooms in a home are intentionally or unintentionally locked, a home inspector can’t do anything more than report these as being inaccessible.
If items are damaged and not working properly before an inspection, they should be disclosed to the inspector beforehand to prevent further (unintentional) damage. Example: blinds, windows, and cupboard doors that don’t open or close properly. We will discover the condition of these during our inspection and are not there to intentionally damage anything further.
Sequence Property Inspections is Calgary's premier home inspection company. It would be a pleasure to help you out with your real estate transactions. We can be reached at 403-926-9025. Feel free to give us a call anytime to discuss how we can assist you.