Today I am making a “house-call.”
I want to put a bandage on the common ailment known as: “Upgrades Disease.”
There seems to be a common attitude among some inspectors (and some agents that are referring inspectors) that there is something “wrong” with recommending certain upgrades. After all, the argument goes, if it wasn’t required at the time the house was built—-we have no business calling for any changes. No healing is required—the illness is all in the inspector’s head.
But lets play doctor? Can you imagine any doctor withholding penicillin from anyone born prior to 1928? I think you get the idea.
So why would anyone have an issue with an inspector “recommending” safety upgrades to homes? When the house doesn’t have GFCI protection where “currently” required, or when they don’t have AFCI protection where “currently” required, or don’t have handrails that meet “current” requirements, or don’t have egress windows that meet “current” requirements, or garage door openers that don’t have “current” auto-reversing functions—these are just a few of the safety upgrades that could be recommended.
I routinely recommend all kinds of safety upgrades to homes—-and can’t figure out why anyone would not want me to provide this information to the buyer.
I am also aware of the old tired argument of liability, and how it somehow increases an inspector’s liability to recommend upgrades.
Supposedly, the rationale goes that if the inspector missed one single thing that they should have recommended for upgrade, they somehow have increased their liability.
By that same argument, no inspection at all would be possible in event that one single defect is omitted. It is all about expectations. And just like any part of the inspection, nothing is ever “all inclusive”—-we just do the best we can in the short period of time we are there.
I treat every inspection as a “beginning” of the process about collecting information about the home—-with the understanding that there will always be more to follow, no matter who the inspector is.
Just like our personal health care—-houses need routine check-ups.
Just playing doctor here.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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