Should I have been able to answer this question

I did a home inspection on Sunday, then the clients wife who was not at the inspection had just asked me a question today, and by the way I did tell the client to bring a list of their concerns so I can specifically crack down on their questions and they did not. I just wonder if I did not do a complete job because I did not know the answer to her question, so I wonder how many of you inspectors out there would have been able to answer this if you were asked. The question was simply how many outlets were in each room of the house? I felt like I let her down as being the home inspector, should I feel this way?

No. I could probably take a guess but I do not run around counting outlets. Sometimes I take walkthrough videos or lots of extra pictures but it all depends on the home. If it is a newer build in good condition I have not found videos or excessive photos needed. If the client is super needy/nervous then I take more pictures because I know I am going to get asked questions. In an older home in good shape i take extra pics, in rough shape I take a detailed video to cover my backside.

Greg, it is not our job to count outlets, we check a representative amount of them to see if they are grounded and wired right and that is it. And if there is a lack of in places they should be at times.
How did you respond to her?


No, you did not let your clients down. Like Marcel said, it is not our job to count the receptacles in each room. It is not part of our Standards of Practice.

On old houses, I do keep track of no receptacles and 1 or 2 receptacles.

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Just so everyone knows where I stand as a home inspector, I don’t like to jump into things until I feel I am confident so I only do one or two home inspections a month, yes I look forward to the days when I have one lined up for every day but at this point in time I am not ready for that I feel I need to sharpen my skills. I have been in carpentry and home repair and maintenance for the last 15-20 years so I feel my strong points are spotting what was not done correctly, my weak points are rushing myself through a home inspection because the realtor is sitting upstairs in the kitchen waiting for me, or the client is following me around the house so I lose focus. also I think this concern may come with more experience but I want to know what I need to know to keep my clients feeling good about the home inspection I perform. For example just like this recent question I was asked how many outlets were in each room of the house

I had responded to her “at no point in the inspection was I alarmed by a lack of or a missing outlet in a certain spot, and I also told her for each bedroom I could remember looking at atleast two possibly three outlets.

Would a question like that about how many outlets are in each room fall under a question for the realtor because they should know better a layout of the house than I would

I did just reach out to them and I am willing to go back to the house with her so we can look over her concerns. Sunday just the husband was there easy-going, she seems to be the one that wants things precise and she should.

If you go, be sure to charge them a nominal fee for your time and travel, as you are running a business, not a hobby or charity!!


That is an odd request, especially if the home was occupied (furnishing) during the inspection. An outlet could easily be behind a bed or a dresser. You job is to inspect not inventory. What you told the client seems to make sense.
If you are going back I would charge them for your time or it could end up just being a re-inspection.


I agree with the above and I would not return just to appease her count of receptacles either for free. Time is money and the report should be satisfactory to tell her the condition.

Correct this house is occupied, I did not look for every outlet behind beds and dressers but I did look for air returns. I had the report done Monday but she said she cannot meet up with me until this Friday and that’s where we will exchange the report for the payment but it we will just meet at the house I inspected and realtor will let us in. Then we will discuss the outlets and probably everything else I reported as an issue. Do you inspectors give the report and move on or do you take time to discuss in person, I have always taken the time to meet in person and discuss, I have always felt that would work out better so things don’t get twisted in the report and we were seeing things the same way.

You don’t have an electronic report?

Edit: You didn’t get paid at or before the inspection??


Always get paid after the inspection before the report.

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I do take credit cards but not until the inspection is done and before the report, I do not email the reports I hand it over as I get paid

The only time I can tell you how many outlets are in a room is when there are way too few. Typical 1940s build in my area might only have two outlets in a bedroom and they’re probably un-grounded. Earlier row homes in the city or county might only have one, and on one occasion it was in the closet! (closet added after electricity obviously - OLD homes had wardrobes weren’t built with closets).

Anyway when the outlets are woefully few it goes in the report and usually indicates the entire electrical system needs upgrade.


That’s how I’d be looking at it. It’s basically a cosmetic question, like how many closets or bathrooms, or what kind of baseboard. If a revisit is necessary, the realtor can escort them to count outlets. She might have just asked you thinking that since you examined the outlets, you might have kept a record of how many there were. Reasonable enough logic, and now she’s finding out that it’s just not something home inspectors keep track of.


Karen you could be right on with your thinking

That is not a reasonable request. She may believe so but do you count windows?

May I suggest that you simply ask your clients if they have any special requests or concerns at the beginning of the inspection.

PS - nothing wrong with saying that you do not know. You can always research answers for the client.

EDIT: outlets and receptacles are not the same. If you are new, now is the best time to start to use precise terms. As you know, licensing is new. Watching an attorney from the AG’s office interrogate two inspectors on Monday is not something that you ever want to have happen to you.

You can download the RCO
then go to Chapter two and study the definitions used.

You can’t download the NEC but you can read it for free.

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That was a reasonable response, Michael. Good job. :smile:

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