Inspection scenerio!!

You arrive at the property (furnished but not occupied) (no realtor, you have code)

When entering the building you observe garage man door wide open. (entry to garage and house )

No power to garage door opener, lights.

How do you handle this scenario.

See poll.

I am posting to help others that may be newer to the industry or a seasoned inspector that may do differently. This is one of a series.

Call the Realtor that issued you the code and report the situation (prior to entering if possible).

  1. I want somewhere aware in case of theft of possessions,

  2. I want someone aware in case of trouble and I disappear (lot’s of corn fields to hide a body in around here)!

  3. I want to pass as much liability along to others as possible.

That would be my starting point.

Okay… you just edited and added a poll. I am now unclear what your question/concern is.

Is it the power being off?

Is it the service door being left open?

Is it a furnished home being unoccupied?

Need to be more specific!

OK, I meant the man door (entry not service door) correcting in original post. I can see where this would make a difference.

Just wanting to see how others handle this scenario.

I know what I did or am doing (radon test being conducted as well) (Just started test)

Interesting topic.

For furnished homes, it’s my preference to have someone present.

Having said that, if a possible breach has occurred, I would contact agents and let them know that portions of the home were unsecured when I arrived. I would assume they would arrive on site.

I would prefer an agent being at the inspection. If there is a situation I would think one of the agents (most likely buyers) may be responsible.

Now I am giving away the post answer but lets say I go down and reset breaker that was tripped, leave the home, fire occurs, guess whom is liable??

So the first place I went is to main panel, tripped breaker. ( I am not resetting) Noted in report.

I am coming back for a radon pick up. Be glad to recheck opener, safety features and branch circuitry once it is reset but I am not doing it!!

No issues in panel other than the tripped breaker.

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For the record, I do not energize electrical systems for any reason, whether it is a single circuit breaker, or the panel disconnect, ever!

As an fyi… it is common practice to de-energize the garage circuit breaker to minimize break-ins with random garage door openers. This eliminates the use of padlocks on the door that the keys seem to always get misplaced. Some agents like to just unplug the opener, but anyone can kick-in the service door and plug it back in. You would be amazed at how quick a garage full of tools and stuff can be stolen with the vehicle door open!

I would stay outside untill I get an answer from Agent . Most likely Agent or owner left door open, but Im going to make sure of that before I walk in. If they didnt, or dont know why the door is open, Im not going in until they get here. I tell them I will be waiting outside until they arrive we can investigate together. If they cant make it, well then they might want to have the Police investigate, because I am leaving.
I totally agree with Jeffrey, Im not flipping breakers, unless someone tells me that they flipped it off ! And even then, if I do flip it on, I am gonna flip it right back off after I inspect what I need to see.
The scenario Jeffrey described makes a lot of sense, but I want to verify that from the agent before I assume !

I would agree, but the breaker was **tripped, **not just turned off.

Why, this is the door from the house to the garage, not the garage to the outside or house to outside. Seems like a waste of a call. House was secured, locked.

Even more reason to just leave it alone!:neutral:

For the last couple of days, on another thread, a couple of members have been on my arse because I suggested that specificity was a good thing.

This is what happens when people don’t think before they post.

Sorry Dave, (and I’ve always supported you), but even after I asked for clarification, your reply did not provide it.

I appearantly am not the only one who sees this.

You know the old saying… “Measure twice, cut once”? We need more… “Think twice, Enter once” around here!

And that is why my posts remain… so newer members can see how inportant it is to be accurate in everything they say and do.


I was not looking for support, I was just posting on an inspection scenario.

I do not flip tripped breakers, I thought it was unusual the entry door was open. Need to extend radon test an additional 8 hours.

Seems like every time I post something someone has a bellyache.

I am doing extremely well with my business and had some time to post.

I guess I will keep my thoughts to myself and if I need something answered I will calls guys like JP (electrical) Dave A (Hvac) and others.

Make you feel all warm and fuzzy to get some feedback in here, doesnt it? :slight_smile:

I would call the agent if an entry door to the exterior or the garage is wide open. Those doors are always kept shut so the scenario is out of the ordinary. It is not a wasted call if the robber shut the vehicle door to prevent discovery. How do I know if someone is not in the house with me?

I did a home which had two doors and one window kicked in but they had all been shut so I didn’t notice until I had gotten to the rear of the house where the back door had the most damage. I called a police friend who was on patrol after I quickly took the agent by the arm (she was on a call) and escorted her out the front door.

As for tripped breakers, that is a separate issue. It gets notated and I don’t turn it back on. Someone else must turn on utilities for me, I won’t take chances with five children and two mortgages.

I must be missing the problem.

From the situation as described, I would simply inspect the house and record my findings (exactly as you described them). I would leave and provide a report to my client. My report would include mentioning the lack of an automatic door closer for the opened garage man door to the house and an electrical evaluation for the tripped breaker (that I would not energize), since everything looked okay in the box.

And I agree it took all the above responses for me to fully understand the scenario. It helped to get more specifics.

Don’t let it stop you Dave, these are just the kind of posts we need more of.

The home was not robbed.

The door is the from the garage to the house, not an exterior door, house was vacant.

Whatever, this board is a waste of my time, later, much later.

Your scenario will only happen once in your life, if at all. I do not have a pass key, and never will. The key costs a yearly membership fee, monthly dues, daily updates, etc. There is too much liability entering any home without the buyer agent in attendence. If the home is occupied, the owner can accuse you of stealing something. If the home is vacant, anything can be an issue because “you touched it” or “you where the last one there”.

I am also the first to leave. The RE locks up, turns off the lights, etc.; all for a reason.

Wise up guys.

Yes I know in the actual experience you had the home was not robbed, but you asked what an inspector would do if he came upon a locked house full of personal belongings with and open door between the house and garage and power cut to the garage.

I would call the realtor based on the possibility the house had been broken into, then I would proceed with caution until I knew more. When things don’t look as they normally would, protect yourself and your liability first, inspect second.