What do you do if you miss checking something on site?

What do you do if you forgot to check something on site, or forgot to get pictures of something? I remember in one of the classes they said never ever go back. Did I remember that right? But I don’t remember what they said to do about it.

For example, I forget to check the exterior outlets. It was raining, I was in a hurry, I meant to go back with my tester after the rain died down, and just plain forgot. Or I forgot to get a picture of the nameplate on the water heater or furnace. Or forgot to check an entire bathroom (the agent was in there when we got to it in the far corner of the house and totally forgot to go back to check the 1/2 bath later), or forgot to go up into the attic (agent was impatient and when we finished in the basement sort of rushed us out the door), or forgot to check the hose bibb, etc. Regardless of the reason, it got missed, you leave and start doing the report, and then…the V8 head slap.

I’m sure most of you have forgotten to check something at some point. I’m not talking about just forgetting to put it in the report, but actually totally forgetting to check something on site so you really can’t even put it in the report. In general, what would you do or recommend doing? Just leave that part of the report blank, or do you ask to go back to the house to check those things, or do you say in the report that those items weren’t checked, or say it in an email? Or ask the client how important it is and if they want you to go back to check it? I know it depends upon what it is, so keep it general.


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Go back and get the info. You won’t forget it again.


Larry is right, go back and get the information. It may be a PIA and you may irritate some people but do not do an incomplete report.
When you do your inspections, develop a pattern/routine and stick with it. You will have less of a chance to miss things. You have to tune out the agent/client/homeowner etc and stick with your routine.
I don’t care if it is poring rain/snow/sleet/locust, I stick with my routine.
Good Luck!


And the best way of doing this is have them come at the end for a review.


Yes like Larry and Joesph said, apologize but go back get the information. Also I set up my reporting software to follow my routine. And I make sure I have inspected everything by doing a quick once over the report before leaving.

Let’s start by referring back to the home inspection rules (the rules that regulate you from your state not an inspection organization).

In my state it tells you what you must inspect and what your not required to inspect and what you must report and what you do not have to report. It also states that if you do not inspect something that is on the list of must inspect, you must explain in the report that it wasn’t inspected.

So, if you are at the point which you are currently at (have not completed the inspection report) you must document it in the report (regardless if you’re going back or not).

There’s nothing in the law that tells me I have to contact anyone or do anything specific if I don’t inspect something other than report it. So if by chance somebody actually reads the report they will contact you if they want you to rectify the situation.

You can elect to do whatever you want to address the situation yourself if it makes you sleep better at night but you still must documented in the report because your follow-up was not part of the initial inspection and that must be documented.

Second half bath: not inspected. Was interrupted and forgot to do it.

If you have not informed your client that there is no possible way for you inspect this house and cover everything possible, you need to address this in your procedures and reporting. The fact of the matter is we have all missed something on practically 100% of the inspections we have conducted. Also there is a large majority of things the client may expect you to inspect which is not part of what is required in a home inspection.

Also, many state rules do not require you to inspect “everything”, rather a representative number of components of a particular system. I.e. not all electrical outlets must be tested in a room, rather a sample of accessible number of outlets. In a half bathroom there is generally no GFCI controlled device rather it is daisy chained to another bathroom. So in essence you have already checked that circuit elsewhere. You’ve already tested functional flow or drainage of the subjects and water supply. You have tested the HVAC system which covers the bathroom as well as the rest of the house. So your answer is to know your state rules verbatim and is helpful the setup your inspection report so that it initially only covers what you’re required to do and then you can add on other things below it.

Don’t make this a bigger issue than you have to.


I do think that arranging to go back to rectify this is a good idea. You will probably be more aware of what forgetting something feels like and therefore a little less likely to make the same mistake in the future. But, yes, missing things is pretty commonplace. Own it and move on. Of course, knowing what you are and are not technically responsible to report (via David’s sound advice) helps the “V-8” moment from becoming a “tail-between-the-legs” issue- and keeps you from sounding overly alarmist when informing the client and/or agent. Chalk it up as a humbling learning experience.

This has happened to me once so far. I called the agent and went back to take more pictures. It wasn’t a big deal at all. I just apologized and didn’t let them know I “missed” something just that I needed to take better pictures of what I “missed.”


I am constantly working on maintaining focus and not getting sucked into yapping too much. When I first meet the clients at an inspection, I stress in my introduction that I need to focus and follow a routine and will do a thorough rundown, walk-around, Q&A, with them when I am done. That said, I will allow myself to get sidetracked during the inspection if they want me to look at something, or for me to take a closer look at when I get to it…but I try to remain on track, follow my routine, and I bookmark exactly where I was pulled away from when I am distracted. Honestly though, I do let myself get sucked in to a distracting conversation because of my genetic “need to please”. Always throws me off my game. But, I’m learning to minimize those, politely expressing how my focus is ultimately to everyones advantage.

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Exactly, develop a routine and stick to it, always. Its difficult to miss this sort of stuff then, and focus on the inspection and if you are inspecting while the client is there for example maybe have them refrain from questions until you are completed with a given space?

Excellent response. Thanks David. I hope I run into you sometime. I’m up in your ville almost daily.

Chase- I’m retired from HI and primarily work from home on aerial thermal imaging analysis but if you need anything I can help with feel free to contact me. I’m 50 miles outside of Nashville but Metro was my primary service area as it grew and developed and I have seen about everything it as it grew.

Thank you David I appreciate that and I might take you up on that to just pick your brain a little. I live in the Pleasant View area down 24 so I spent a lot of time in Clarksville.

Ahh, I have memories when Pleasant View was a pleasant View! :wink: :blush:

Actually the 48/13, I-840 which I used extensively to avoid the downtown bumper cars in Nashville was/is a very pleasant ride (until recently any way).

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George, thank you for asking a great question! You get my vote for question of the week, if not the month.