Leaving the Home in the Same Condition that you Found it Prior to Home Inspection
COMPLAINT FROM THE CUSTOMER: After completing a home inspection there was call from the listing agent with multiple complaints. They said that we left both the front door and back door unlocked, that we tracked dog poop into the home, and that we didn’t properly replace the attic access hatch.
It is important to remember to ALWAYS make sure all of the doors to the home are locked and secure after you leave the property. While you are inside inspecting the property make sure to always wear shoe covers and if others are in the house and not wearing shoe covers you should take a picture of them to prove that they weren’t wearing shoe covers. After inspecting the attic access hatch we should always take a picture in our report after we have inspected the attic to prove that we placed the hatch back in the right position.
Please review the information below for more information on how to leave the home in the original condition that you found it so you can avoid complaints like these in the future.
When you are finishing up the home inspection there are procedures that need to be followed in order to help protect you from getting blamed for doing damage to the home.
One of the most important things that we do at the end home inspection is operate the furnace. The reason that we do this at the end of the home inspection is because we want one of the last time stamped pictures that we take to show the thermostat after we have turned the heat down and the furnace is off. This helps to prove that when we left the property the heat was turned off. The other reason that we want to do this at the end is because as we are going through all of the rooms getting our heat source temperatures we want to check to make sure that all of the lights have been turned off and we didn’t leave any water running in the bathrooms. The other thing we want to do while we are getting our heat sources is give one last look at the ceilings, walls, floors, and windows just to make sure that we didn’t miss any defects. Once again, make sure that one of the last pictures you take at the home inspection is of the thermostat, showing that we have turned it back to the setting we found it at before operating the furnace.
Just the other day we had an issue with water being left on at a property and flooding the lower level of the home and the basement. The furnace was operated at the beginning of the inspection a full hour before all of the bathrooms were inspected. This means that the heat source in the bathroom was not taken at the end of the inspection. If we did leave the water on we would have caught it at the end when we were going through and getting our heat source temperatures, and we would have the time stamped proof that we were back in that bathroom at the end of the inspection. Since we were not able to definitively prove that we did not leave the water on, we ended up having to pay $500 to help the homeowner pay their deductible to help keep everyone happy in the transaction. This is just one example of how important it is to operate the furnace at the end of the inspection.
Another important picture you need to get at the end of your home inspection is of the garage electrical outlets. When we are inspecting the garage we will skip the electrical outlet section and come back to this at the end. This is important because we want to have a timestamped photo at the end of the inspection that proves we reset the GFCI. We have had multiple occasions where we were not able to prove that we reset the GFCI and ended up paying for an entire refrigerator/freezer of spoiled food. If the GFCI outlet in the garage (or basement) is connected to a refrigerator or freezer we also want to take a picture of the doors open showing that the lights are on and the refrigerator is still on after we tripped and reset the GFCI outlet.
Some of the last things that you want to do when you are finished with your home inspection is make sure that all of the lights have been turned off and that all doors/windows are closed and locked. When we are ready to leave the property we want to make sure to lock the front door and secure the key in the lockbox. You also want to make sure that you have all of your tools, briefcase, and ladders. One last check you can do is walk around the exterior to make sure all of the gates have been closed and the garage door is closed. They should always be closed right after you open them, but it doesn’t hurt to walk around and check one more time. If you follow these procedures it will help you in the future when clients call to say that you did not leave the home in it’s original condition.