Travis, don’t overthink it bud. You want to do a great job and that can be done with simple processes. You are working for the buyer in most cases and you should have a good contract that explains the limitations clearly. BUILT IN means mounted with manufacturers mounting hardware… not a owner fashioned frame that holds a countertop style appliance up under a cabinet. But if you want to exceed your SOP then by all means test away and note for your client. You decide but remember, you are setting a precedence for your inspections if a claim ever comes up later. YES, you have to be aware of this fact.
As for the microwave you should inspect the ‘mounted’ style not the countertop style. Carry a small rag/microfiber cloth or grab a paper towel and dampen it. Open the door and turn the microwave on while the door is open to make sure it’s working correctly, they have been known to come on. Throw it in the microwave for one (1) minute on high. Inspect the stove while this happens and when done open and the rag should be hot. Microwave is good.
Trash compactor is simple… turn it on and wait for its cycle. You’re testing operation, not effectiveness or you could bring your trash from home to test in it.
Dishwasher, two ways to do this. Test a whole cycle or test operation but if you test one cycle should you test all of them? You decide how much time you have on site.
1- When you enter the house 1st thing is to go turn it on a NORMAL wash IF it’s empty because it takes a good while to run. If it’s full you have to decide “should I run this” or call it a limitation in your report. Let that run while you do your inspection. At the end of the inspection go open and make sure it’s all wet inside and look under for leaks through the cracks on the side and below. You can take off the kick plate if you wish… just put it back on right side up… not that anything like that has ever happened to anyone and they no longer do it…
2- This is how I do it. While inspecting the kitchen, I first look inside for dishes (decide) and turn the dishwasher on NORMAL and inspect kitchen completely. When done place rotating knob if equipped on RINSE or hold CANCEL WASH button and allow to drain. Open sink cabinet and listen and watch for drainage. When done, check around for leaks and make note and move on.
Think about your inspection process and how much time each room or area is going to take you. I take about 4hrs per inspection but I’m a small time guy/newbie as well. I’m working to refine my processes and speed things up a bit now that I’m getting better at inspecting Focus on reading EVERYTHING you can find on inspections. These forums are GREAT to see things it would take you 10 years or longer to come across but don’t ask any question until you have researched it yourself! In other words, don’t use this forum to learn… use it to fact check and get advice on confusions.