Most inspectors will tell you that they don’t move things during at an inspection and yet I would be willing to bet that most inspectors do. No inspection is ever truly just a visual inspection, even though most Standards of Practice say that it is.
Most Standards of Practice even give guidelines for moving certain things—-like opening readily accessible electrical panel covers and access hatch covers etc. Few inspectors however would move a refrigerator. Most I would be willing to move a garbage can out from under a sink, but probably would not move a heavy sofa to check electrical outlets or see the heat register.
Every day inspectors must make judgment calls as to where the boundaries are for what they will move and not move.
A fairly simple item I moved the other day gave me the idea for this post and how important it is for inspectors to be able to move things as they deem necessary—and safe to do so. While this item is purely “symbolic” of the point I am trying to make, finding similar and actually consequential defects are just as possible. Even this defect is something that could easily upset a buyer to discover after the fact.
I like for my buyer’s to be as informed as possible about the property. Whether it is missing tiles behind a towel on a towel bar, or missing/damaged tiles under a soap bottle, seemingly “cosmetic” conditions can take their toll on a buyer when they start to move in.
While it is not possible to discover “everything” about a home at the time of inspection—-it is always nice to do what one can.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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