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Kaplan ITA's Monthly Inspection Tips - Free Electronic Newsletter

September, 2006
Inspecting All Possible Areas of the Home
Issue #53

This month’s tip was inspired by a fellow home inspector in Georgia. Our topic will be the scope of inspection and obtaining access to all possible areas of the home.

As we know, gaining visual access to all possible parts of the home provide us with information to make a professional judgment as to the condition of the home and to effectively advise our clients. To this end, it is important to access all possible portions of the home and to report any areas that are not accessible.

After having performed over 8,000 inspections I know what it is like to be in an attic on a hot summer afternoon on your second inspection. The temptation to just look from the access opening can be great. However, I urge you to get to the other end of the attic if at all possible. My experience has been the defect you are looking for is always at the far end of the attic. If the attic is too cluttered or too small to access I would always specifically report the location(s) not visible. I usually did this by reporting the location and why it was inaccessible, e.g., “the northwest quadrant (approximately 25%) of the attic was not accessible for inspection due to personal belongings blocking access. We recommend that this area be inspected once the personal items are removed.”

The same applies to crawlspaces. Whenever possible I would completely crawl the perimeter; then move in a grid paying particular attention to areas under plumbing. Again, my experience was that the significant defects usually were not visible from the access opening. If any areas were not accessible I was diligent in reporting them specifically as with attics.

Of course the same logic applies to areas inside or outside the home that are not visible for inspection. Often garages are full of storage and the only area visible is the ceiling. Many times certain rooms in the house are unusually full of storage. Once again, it is important to report areas not fully visible for inspection.

I know much of this is information we already know – however, personally, I need to be reminded of the basics occasionally.

We'll talk next month,

Mike Casey
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