Are home inspectors ever completely “off-duty?”
For myself I find it very difficult to walk around with blinders on. Being trained to identify defects to the point that we “allow” them to jump out at us—-how can we really just turn this training off?
I once had a client that called me to see if I could figure out why their windows were “falling out of their house.” It turned out it was not nearly as dire as all that and the fix would not be all that difficult.
The house in the picture was at a house next door to the house I was looking at. Home inspectors routinely see dangers that we don’t have an opportunity or even any authority to say anything about.
At the house with the windows, what did come up was the fact that the porch—some 7 ft off the ground—-had no barrier railing of any kind, the TPRV on the water heater had no drain pipe, one of the exterior doors could be easily “unlocked” from the outside with a credit card, and some of the windows could be removed from the outside. These were just a few of the things that “jumped out” at me. I was not looking for them—-they found me.
While these were not the issues I was called to look at, I did in fact point them out in the course of figuring out the issues I was called to look at. I also recommended that if they would like I would be happy to come back and do a full home inspection for them—-so that they would have a better understanding of the house as a whole.
I wrestle with how best to deal with this issue without sounding like I am just trying to create work for myself.
In the end I feel some responsibility to share what I know—-because it is really not possible for me to ever be completely “off-duty.”
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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