Sometimes inspectors just plain get lucky finding the things we find. While training and experience perhaps lead us to discover things that others might overlook, there can still be a good deal of luck involved.
The really is that the notion of being “thorough,” in terms of not missing anything at all, is largely a myth.
The truth is—-we really only see what we see.
Seems obvious, but it is something all inspectors have to come to terms with. Someone is always going to be able to come after us and find things we didn’t find. This can be either from flat-out missing the issue or because the field of vision has changed—for example the furniture and storage having been moved out of the house.
The inspector want to be thorough not so much as to not miss “anything,” but to lower the odds of missing something “important.”
Sometimes I just feel “lucky.” I think experience can create an “instinct” for where to look for things, but at other times I feel like it is just plain dumb luck that I find some issues. It stands to reason that there will be things we aren’t “lucky” enough to find.
Take for example this house that was covered in Ivy. Next to the outside door there was a light fixture (with a loose cover plate).
With a light at one corner—perhaps there would be a light at the other corners as well—-but maybe it was just hidden by the ivy.
Sure enough there used to be a fixture there—-and the exposed hot wires were still there to prove it. What inspector can check all of the ivy? And what else is going on behind the ivy that could not be seen? Surely something.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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