Do you report no G.F.C.Is in a house over 30 years old

Absolutely not. I agree. Most buyers do not see it that way though.

Unfortunately most of the H-Is in my area are not as upstanding as most of you all here.
I can honestly say the main purpose of a H-I around here is to give the buyer leveraging power to negotiate the price down. Regardless of the facts.
So if a potential buyer drops a grand on a home inspection they expect to make that back up several times with a lower buying price. It is not at all simply about safety, or finding that hidden structural defect anymore.

In Illinois, required to be called out as “Significantly Deficient”, per the state’s HI law. See here:

Section a) 10. and a) 15.

If it poses a significant risk of personal injury due to changes in current residential construction standards, it is significantly deficient.

Had such a house. No GFCIs in basement bathroom (split level). Called it out and the seller had in an electrician that said it was code. Seller refused to fix based on that and buyer never fixed it.

4 months after moving in, buyers 14 year old son shocks himself and is in the hospital for 2 days with electrical burns on his feet.

Buyer’s lawyer calls me to sue. I point out the comments in the report. My lawyer calls their lawyer and I am off the hook.

I even explained the reason during the inspection, but buyer didn’t remember.

Electrician got off because he only has to work to ‘code’ (including grandfathering).

HIs have a higher standard of duty, under Illinois law and with reagrds to issues of safety than electricians or code inspectors.

We cannot “require”, we can only recommend. Then it is up the the client to decide what to do.

Hope this helps;

Remember Will…we have to keep it generic versus being an Illinois thing on the boards…lololol…we already know how weird Illinois is…so in general I would say always call it out…make the suggestion and everything should be ok…atleast something as little as a GFCI should never stop a sale…unless the sale was in trouble to begin with…

As an electrician I am also under many of those laws…if I see something i am compelled to bring it up…if I think it is life threatening I MUST bring it up…you know…I live in a Commonweath as such.

Interesting comment is that I am sure my attorney would have a field day with the term " significant risk "…but I happen to agree that the GFCI not being their does pose a risk…

Report it

We don’t know what the code was in 1932 etc.

It is not a code issue

It is not a safety issue

It is a broke or missing thing - we tested for it and it did not pass - we don’t even know where it is located - might be behind a dresser in another room that we could not find etc.

Create a safety issue page in your report and put it there

How would you report a missing hand rail??? – Is it a code or safety issue or do you just do not report it??

I would report it in the general description of the home – four bed room - two story – frame - with full basement and no GFCI - smoke alarms - hand rails etc.


Totally agree, Paul. Point taken. That is why I preface my remarks with the “Illinois Disclaimer”.

In the context of “We can only recommend, we cannot require”, the law makes sense.

When you figure all the people involved in the sale (seller, listing agent, developer, even (sometimes) the buyer’s agent (if they are smart enough to have one).) there are many people involved who don’t want to “rock the boat”.

I try to remember that I am representing the client (whoever that is) and try to do my best from, sometimes, saving them from themselves.

If there are any new inspectors reading this thread please do not tell a client they have to be changed. Older GFCI’s are granfathered from mandatory replacement. Recommend what others here have said and the client will very likely have them replaced.

Erol Kartal
Pro Inspect

Missed your post above Will about the “requirement” issue. :wink:


I do not know of an electrican that is going to install a GFCI for $12.95.
An I know that you are going to recommend that they be installed by a qualified electrican. I go along the same lines as Brian K and list it
as an Elective Upgrade. When my customers ask if the sellers will install
them I tell them that it is doubtful and then ask them this question.
“If you go out and buy a 55 Chevy, are you going to ask the seller to
install airbags?” But I tell them that they can always ask their agent
because thats why he gets the big buck. “Ask for three, hope for two
and you might get one”.

Good point. I am not (and work not to be) a party to any “negotiations”.

As you say, that is why the Realtor gets between 6 and 2.5 percent and the lawyer gets some fixed amount and the typical home inspector gets around 1/10th or 1 percent of the sale price.

We only state the facts. What people do with them is their job.

BTW: How many times have the Realtor and/or the client followed you around and asked that you make sure that every little crack or bad caulk joint of picture nail hole or “isn’t this paint color just tacky. Make sure that you note that in your report and take a picture.”

They are just fishing for give backs.

I just write it as I see it.

Talk soft, write hard, miss nothing.

I used to note them as missing, but, after reading one of Jeff Pope’s posts concerning verbiage, I changed my wording. As Jeff said, something can only be missing if it were originally there. Since GFCI’s were not originally there, or we don’t know if they were originally there, I use the words “not present,” i.e., “GFCI or GFCI-protected outlets not present in kitchen, two bathrooms, laundry, garage, and exterior.” Now what I’ve done with the “not present” verbiage is state that, regardless of whether or not they originally were there, they are not there now. And since they are life-saving devices, they should be there, notwithstanding when the structure was built. Not only are they life-saving devices, but they are inexpensive life-saving devices. Home Depot sells a set of four for $19.99 (note the Power of Nines there).


I use “Ask for the Universe, hope for Earth, and settle for California.” It creates a little better perspective of magnitude.


Want specific location’s adoption dates? One of Norm’s many legacies.


Glad to see you’re back fishing instead of sitting on the bank cutting bait.

You totally missed the point…the fact it is an item that costs $12.95…the point is the buyer can install it themselves for that price so it is a no brainer…it should NOT be a deal stopper is my POINT !

But for you…I will replace it for $12.95…just pay my Flight, Hotel and Buy me a BEER…ok…slightly more than $12.95…AGREED

This is also another issue I have when H-Is make it seem mandatory that “upgrades” be made.

I have seen, and many times had to replace, work done by homeowners wanting to sell. An “inspector” came in and said these things “had” to be done.
So instead of hiring it out as they should they try their hand at their first electrical project and install GFI devices in every kitchen receptacle because that is “what they we told”. On top of that they are usually done wrong.
This is just one examply BTW.

If I were the buyer I would rather see it as a suggested upgrade after the sale. This way I can decide what gets done and how. As opposed to a bandaid fix to satisfy a report.

Again, I really like the way many of you say you write these issues up. It puts it into perspective and does not give a false sense of urgency.
Like I said, far too many folks feel these reports are “official” and the items written up mandatory.


Now you know very well the Homeowner can change or do anything they wish in their own house…they can even wire their own house without a license if they choose.

The point is…YOU nor the HI can control what the buyer and seller want…they can only suggest…but in the end if the seller puts their own GFCI in…it is a strong statement that many buyers are getting HI’s in before it is even listed…then find out what it wrong and then doing it themselves…

Now they have EVER right to try…does not mean it is right and while I would like to protect my profession…fact is in most states the homeowner can do their own work…so it begins to become a moot point.

Oh, I totally agree they can do whatever they want in their own homes. That is not the issue.
The point was that many folks attempt this with no prior experience and many times leave the situation worse than before. Only now there is a shiny new cover plate and everyone thinks all is well.
I think everyone in the trades has experienced this more than once.


The lack of GFCI receptacles is a required correction (in many municipalities in this area) in order for the Seller to obtain a CO and/or U&O Permit.


Let’s clear some stuff up. Hope this is the last time.

Hope this helps;

BTW: I include in my report that if any work is done:

  1. I come back and include in my inspectos a ‘free’ (read: higher initial fee) pre-closing walk through to check that the work done is done professionally.
    *]State in my report that the client (and their lawyer!!!) require copies of any invoices for the work done (again, with license numbers and insurance certs on the written documents) be obtained before the close of escrow. I recommend, but cannot require that my recommendations be followed.
    Guess that clears that up.

If I write it up as repair or replace it is a serious safety concern .
If I miss it and some one dies you can be sure who they are going after me.
Example some day they are going to put a veranda on the second level . The sliding door is there and it opens to a ten foot drop you can be sure I have written it in my report .
The new people move in have a party and some one goes out and falls I want to try and protect Roy .
If they have not taken my advice to peg the door so it will not open more then 4 inches then too bad for them they where warned strongly.
I have found at least 8 of these and it is simple to fix a wood screw in the frame stops the door at 4 inches .
Roy Cooke