I'm a new CPI with a question

Hello, my name is Mike and am newly certified. I did my first inspection last week and couldn’t gain access to the attic hatch because it was in the bedroom closet with clothes in it. The buyer wants me to go back if the seller moves her clothes out to inspect the attic. What is SOP for this situation. Any info would be appreciated.

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You can read it hear, but you should know that by now.

Hi Michael welcome!

IMO ~ this was your first inspection (or new business starting out),
I would tell them happy to return to benefit my client at no fee.
Horay for me! I’m the nice guy who wants the buyer to be fully satisfied AND hopefully spread your ways around.

The attic entry was blocked for safe access.
Now if they clear all the stuff out you will be the judge it is OK the next time.
I remember one where the closet access was above packed shelving & clothes hanging posts. It was near a perimeter wall so when I went back you could hardly get your head & shoulders in there. Make sure your client has reasonable expectations from your communication.

Yeah sure… some here may be insistent on charging a return fee, but come on, you’re a new guy so I say no fee & try to make sure everyone including the agents know how wonderful & helpful you are, part of your marketing. :wink:
Good luck! :cowboy_hat_face:


I have to agree with Marc. Yeah, it goes beyond the SOP, but it is great customer service. I have to think we all exceed the SOP at one time or another.
Good Luck!


Thanks everyone for your input! I appreciate it. Stay safe!!

I also agree with Marc.
Going forward, be sure to disclose in all communications to all parties involved, prior to the inspection, your company policy regarding inaccessible areas, such as attic or crawlspace access. Basically I inform/remind everyone that all areas must be readily accessible, I do not move items to make them accessible, inaccessible areas will not be inspected, and any return trip to inspect such areas will incur a nominal fee. Be sure you also have a disclaimer within your Inspection Agreement to make it legal and enforceable. If it’s not in your Agreement, it don’t mean squat (including if in your Report only)!!


Marc’s advice was spot on. You will get nothing but good return on your good deed.

If the seller is present, ask them to move the items or help to move them. If not present, move the stuff (within reason) to gain access. Report to your selling agent if you do move stuff and put items back when finished. Otherwise, you may be scheduling another trip back to inspect the attic. Then, if you charge for it, you need to invoice the seller for the inconvenience. It’s much easier to keep everyone informed and happy. An extra 20 minutes to move and replace stuff happens. Don’t sweat it. Agents and clients appreciate when you go the extra mile and exceed their expectations.

Happened to me once and the seller agent said she would help to move the clothes and when finished, nothing got dirty and we put everything back in the same order. She did not want me to come back.

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I will ask the agent(s) to move any items blocking access in closets. I also carry a blanket that I can drape over the belongings to protect them from insulation and debris.

David, old sheets work better and are lighter to take outside and shake off the insulation.

Just a though…:grinning:

And the sheets take up less room in my tool box. I always throw one down before I pull down attic access stairs or push open a hatch.
Larry knows all the tricks!

I had a similar situation on my 3rd inspection… couldn’t for the life of me find the water heater… long story short, it was in the master bedroom closet behind a panel of drywall… closet was filled with clothes AND guns… once we figure out where it was I explained to my client that I could not move the owners property, but if the buyers agent got permission and wanted to move it I would complete the inspection… I had to take out half-dozen drywall screws to remove the panel… but everyone was happy… well, except the seller… house was a MESS… an inaccessible water heater with no TPR pipe was one of several things wrong with the home… buyer ended up backing out of the deal… BUT… they hired me again 2 weeks later to inspect another home… it’s all about customer service…

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I was at a thrift store today checking out all the different sheets they were offering, until I realized…
I didn’t know what size sheets I should be using!! HELP!!


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Queen size, baby!

Free & clean size! :joy:

Only da best


So, wait until my neighbor hangs their laundry out in the yard to dry?
(Yes, small town America)!!

Well don’t get the large skivvies by mistake! :rofl:

I often check the attic area first to see if I can get in. If the owner is there when you arrive remind them to move their stuff right away before they leave. If the owner is not there nicely ask the agent to do it while you do the rest of the house. They will remember to relay the info next time if they have to do it. It should be no surprise that the attic needs to be accessed. If all else fales I would come back for free while still starting out. I also email a message to the client “what to do to prepare for a home inspection” one of the bullet points is, ask the agent to tell the clients to make sure attic is clear or you may not be able to enter the attic. If they read it and choose not to then don’t feel bad for charging.