Does a home inspector move things during an inspection?
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
The Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations and the State of Florida give an inspector plenty of leeway as to what they are willing to move or leave alone during an inspection. The key phrase is “readily accessible.” Anything that is not, in the inspector’s opinion, readily accessible can be disclaimed. Here’s the definition used by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).
The State of Florida’s standards of practice are the most specific about what is not required to be move. It says that “the inspector is not required to move furniture, appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, stored items, wall decorations, floor covering, clothing or any items that block the view and access to components or structures."
A Home Inspector’s Predicament And Limitations
To understand the situation a home inspector faces when deciding whether to move things in a home to get access to the electric panel, for example, picture him standing standing between a buyer who wants the carpet pulled up and the all paintings off the wall so every surface can be examined, and sellers who have their collection of tiny crystal figurines lined up shoulder-to-shoulder on the window sills and the garage piled to the ceiling with packed boxes ready for moving day.
Every inspector has their own limit of how much they will move. Things that will take too much time to move and put back, are too heavy, or fragile, stay where they are. Also, the inspector’s previous experience with complaints about items that were, or were not, moved frame their attitude. Ironically, it is in houses where the interior looks like the photo at the top of the page that home inspectors have the most complaints above moving and/or damaging belongings while trying to examine the house. Go figure.
If an inspector can’t get to a component, or get the seller to move things for access, then it gets disclaimed. We also take photos of disclaimed areas for clarity if there is a dispute about what we should have seen. Because things left uninspected make buyers unhappy, some realtors try to head off the problem by giving the seller a list of key areas that must be clear and ready for the inspector, such as the attic access hatch, doors and windows, plus a working space in the front of the electric panel, water heater, and HVAC system.
While the Standards of Practice set minimum standards, a home inspector may choose to exceed them, or the inspection may be limited to less than what is outlined in the standards when agreed to by the homebuyer and specified in an inspection agreement. A four-point insurance inspection would be example of a limited inspection.
Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:
AFCI •• Air conditioner •• Ants •• Appliance recalls •• Appliance testing •• Attic •• Awnings •• Barns and ag blgs. •• Bathroom exhaust fan •• Bonding •• Carpet •• Ceiling fans •• Central vacuum •• Chimneys •• Chinese drywall •• Clothes dryer •• Dryer exhaust •• CO alarms •• Code violations •• Condemn a house •• Crawl space •• Detached carport •• Detached garage •• Dishwasher •• Docks •• Doors •• Electrical •• Electrical panel •• Electromagnetic radiation •• Fences •• Fireplaces Furnace •• Garbage disposal •• Generator •• GFCIs •• Gutters •• Ice maker •• Inspect in the rain •• Insulation •• Insurance •• Interior Finishes •• Grading & drainage •• Lead paint •• Level of thoroughness •• Lift carpet •• Low voltage wiring •• Microwave •• Mold •• Move things •• Help negotiate •• Not allowed •• Outbuildings •• Paint •• Permits •• Pilot lights •• Plumbing •• Plumbing under slab •• Pools •• Questions won't answer •• Radon •• Range/cooktop •• Receptacle outlet •• Refrigerator •• Reinspection •• Remove panel cover •• Repairs •• Repair estimates •• Retaining walls •• Roaches •• Rodents •• Roof •• Screens •• Seawalls •• Septic loading dye test •• Septic tank •• Sewer lines •• Shower pan leak test •• Shutters •• Sinkholes •• Smoke alarms •• Solar panels •• Specify repairs •• Sprinklers •• Termites •• Toilets •• Trees •• Troubleshooting •• Wall air conditioners •• Walk roof •• Washing machine •• Water heater •• Water pressure •• Water shut-offs •• Main water shut-off •• Water softener •• Water treatment systems •• Well •• Windows •• Window/wall air conditioners •• Window blinds •• Wiring
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To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:
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