I did a home inspection in Hudson for a stilt home that was furnished. I was under the assumption that we are no longer able to move the owners furniture, etc. I did something stupid and didn’t move a garbage can, so I asked my client to do it. He asked another inspector if I should have moved it. I know now that I should have done it. What exactly are the guidelines when a home is furnished?
Stacey, regardless of what may or may not be in the SOP, personally I would move the garbage can. Now a wall unit, dining room table, other heavy furniture or articles that can be damaged in doing so, I would politely ask the owner to. But, a garbage can seems like something anyone should be able to, of course providing the owner is in agreement.
Once, years ago, I did a home inspection in my own neighborhood and slightly knew the seller. He did not know I was going to be the one inspecting his home and was not there when I did. I moved his big garbage can outside which was next to the side exit garage door. When I did the interior of the garage that door was blocked by a lot of his personal stuff and equipment so I was NOT going to move all that for obvious reasons but it peaked my suspicions. The outside garbage can was up against the door on a concrete pad. When I moved the can I discovered the door frame and adjacent framing was badly rotted out. Did the usual, took pictures, noted the damages, then put the can back approximately in the same place. May have been off by a inch or two. I got word later from the agent that this guy came off the spool that “someone” had moved his garbage can. Everyone in the neighborhood thought this guy was a fruitcake, including his ex-wife, and was wound about as tight as a banjo string. Anyway, he found out it was I, who had done the inspection and he stopped his BS. He also found out the contractor who did the WDO / WDI inspection would and did find the same thing. He had done all kinds of weird kooky things to this house, eventually lost it in foreclosure because it would not sell, still sits empty to this day. One thing he did was put in a swimming pool thinking that would help sell it. Everyone tried to tell him that it would most likely have the opposite effect. In short, do what you have to so you cya but be careful, there a plenty of unhinged people out there.
When homes are occupied or furnished take 2 or 3 photos of each room. They do not need to go in the report but the report should note limited access.
I did one recently, an elderly couple who have lived in the home for 30 years. Every room of this home was FULL of furniture…no professional staging here. Under all sinks were packed solid with years of stuff.
I inspected what I could see, moved way more stuff than usual and generally disclaimed everything else.
I did also explain at length (Verbally) the limitations of this inspection to the buyer.
If the buyer understands the whole (visual inspection thing) it goes much better.
Gentlemen, thank you.
The client didn’t understand why I didn’t want to move the garbage cans. It’s such a touchey situation at this point. I am running across alot of interesting home inspections lately. I got cursed out by a realtor that I know that said, “you killed my deal because you smelled mold in the upstairs A/C handler” Am I wrong? I don’t want to lose my FL license because of this smell. I cannot go ahead and say everything is okay when it isn’t. I did 3 stilt homes in Florida in the last 2 weeks. Two of them were legit, you could see the plumbing, electrical and so on. This last one had finished the bottom level, covered the vents to let water out and the realtor tells me this is their little secret and everyone does it. Bull, I got reamed out because I called her out. Forgive me, I really want your input, was I wrong?
Thanks John, The to be owner moved the garbage can and there was drywall at the bottom that did have moisture damage. I know what you mean, you have to cover your butt, no matter what!!! Thanks so much!
It is call you will have to make often. I never moved boxes of stuff or anything like that as if anything turns up broken, it may very well be blamed on “that stupid home inspector!” whether you broke it or not. If the area is not readily accessible take photos and move on. Do the best you can. Sometimes you find you can maneuver around well enough to see what you need to. Again, take a lot of photos just for yourself. In six months if someone comes back you have a photo record of what you did and couldn’t do due to obstructed access. That is exactly how I put it in the report summary and if I include the photos in their report I put it right on the photo (I use Whisperlite to write text on the photos…its free) that way the buyers will know exactly what, why and how. If they are there with me I explain why I am not moving furniture, boxes, etc. If old Aunt Tillie’s flea market vase gets broken it didn’t happen on my watch. If you can say flatly, “I never touched the box as we do not move things due to our insurance requirements” then they got no one to blame. If you establish your own internal rules and never violate them you got some cover for your SIX. I also tell the customer, once they have moved out and you want me to come back I will but there is a trip fee for coming back. We don’t run a charity business here. Too many inspectors try to be a “nice guy” and get taken advantage of by customers who will have you come back multiple times if you do not charge trip fees. You got to be as wary as a serpent.
Thanks. I take tons of pictures at home inspections. I am a bit smaller than most guys so I can sneak in and out of spots in attics and so forth. I do try my hardest to cover my butt. I like when the to be buyer is at the inspection. If they have any question, they can move rugs, etc.