Should a home inspector have to move things to be able to inspect properly?
The gate was locked and I had not been able to see the back yard of this house.
We started inside and began looking around.
It occurred to me that the panel box was not where it usually is in a townhouse - at one rear corner or the other.
I could not find it!
The basement room in the center of the house was the seller's office.
From the door the panel box was WELL HIDDEN by a map on the wall, a desk with a computer, with a filing cabinet and shelf beside the desk.
On top of that, the cover of the panel box had been painted over multiple times, which glues it to the wall and makes it hard to get off.
Taking the cover off can damage the wall. But worse, and this is MY EXPERIENCE, taking it off can be dangerous. The home inspector can think that his knife has cut everything off around the cover and has not. The cover can snap back trying to take it off the wall and bad things can result.
But in this house, I would have had to clear off a desk that was IN USE, and move it, or move the shelf and filing cabinet, to get to the box. They were full of things, heavy, and moving them would have been difficult at best.
Again, in my experience, when I get involved in doing things that are outside the norm, or try to be a Good Samaritan and repair something to see if it works, Murphy springs to life and bites me in the shiny hiney!
So what is Cool Hand Jay to do? What would Cool Hand Jay do?
He passed. I said that if I am back in the area before closing and the seller cuts the panel cover off the wall I would be amenable to coming back to inspect the box. Better - ask the seller to have an electrician examine the box. Yes, that would have another fee involved.
My recommendation: houses should be made ready for a home inspection. Something like this was obviously beyond the seller's thinking. A lot of sellers don't know that the panel box has to be accessible and its accessibility is probably beyond the normal To Do List of the agent who is trying to prepare a seller for a home inspection.
BUT, SHOULD A HOME INSPECTOR HAVE TO MOVE THINGS
TO BE ABLE TO INSPECT THOROUGHLY?
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560