I don’t do Re-Inspections very often.
I like to maintain the illusion that it is because my reports are so detailed and well written. I can only hope my reports describe so completely what is necessary, that everyone “lives happily ever after.” Of course, I really don’t have any idea why, but it likely has more to do with the fact that most people don’t want to pay the additional fee to have me back.
Re-Inspects can be tricky for the inspector because what if the inspector finds something the second time that they didn’t see the first time? Ouch!
In addition to this, we are being called back to check on the work done by a “Higher Power” (Licensed XYZ Contractor) and then we are asked to sign off on their work.
This reason alone is why some inspectors won’t do Re-Inspections at all.
First of all, lets discuss finding something the second time that we missed the first time.
While no inspector likes to admit that they miss anything—-we all do. We are only there for a small amount of time and site conditions can be vastly different at the time of the second visit. (For example the house has gone from completely furnished and occupied to vacant and empty.)
Rather than seeing the inspection as an “End” in itself, the inspection can (should?) be seen as a big first step toward “building an understanding” of the home—–with additional info likely (or should I say “guaranteed”) to follow. So, the Re-Inspection might be seen as an opportunity to add to that overall body of information. That said, the things discovered the second time better not be of the “Deal Killer” variety or something of consequence. That could certainly be a problem.
The second issue, regarding checking up on the work done by contractors with supposedly more “authority” or “credentials” (regarding their particular trade) than the inspector does. If this was a realistic argument we couldn’t justify doing any new construction inspections, because all of the work was supposedly done by contractors with qualifications that trump ours.
When contractors come in to make the repairs we call for, there is no way to know who’s interests they have in mind—-sometimes it is obvious that it is only their own. It is a little different matter if the buyers are hiring the contractor and paying for it themselves.
But even so, I see no reason an inspector can’t do a “visual” inspection of the completed work the same way they look at work done 1 year ago or 100 years ago. Why would anyone think we would be responsible for declaring the work was done “properly?”
We often cannot tell whether the work was done properly no matter when the work was done.
All we can really do is state what we can see—-“repairs are evident”—-or, that there was “no evidence of repairs.”
I know that people would love it if we could just wave our magic wands or turn on our x-ray vision and make “categorical” declarations about things. This just is not possible—-all we can do is tell the story of what we see. What people do with that story is up to them.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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