January, 2005
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Never & Always


45 Tips from an Experienced Home Inspector (Some Learned the Hard Way)

NEVER stand, sit or squat directly in front of the heating system’s burner waiting to watch it ignite. Always stay to the side.

NEVER put your ladder on a slippery, sloped or uneven surface even though you’re sure it’s safe.

NEVER go on the roof when you think the frost has melted.

NEVER go into a crawlspace that has wires lying on the ground and the ground is wet. Duh!

NEVER assume the dog is friendly.

NEVER be looking up the chimney when you open the damper.

NEVER turn on the water in a house where the water is turned off at the shut off or main valve. Let the real estate agent or your client do it because if/when water starts leaking and ruining the ceilings or flooring, you don’t want to be the one held responsible.

NEVER test the T.P.R. valve on a water heater.

NEVER pick at the rusting plumbing pipe to show your client it was caused by a small leak.

NEVER turn on the air conditioning system for testing when the outside temperature is below 65-degrees unless the system is equipped with a crankcase heater.

NEVER release the latch on a double-hung window without being prepared for the upper window to fall down on your hands or fingers.

NEVER get distracted and forget to write something down. Your client won’t remember you told him or her about the problem unless reminded by the report.

NEVER answer a question with a guess. If you don’t know something, tell clients you’ll find out and let them know.

NEVER forget to reset the thermostat.

NEVER be rude to a client or real estate agent.

NEVER park your vehicle on the property you are to inspect if it leaks oil.

NEVER rush the inspection or your client. If you’re going to be late for your next appoint-ment, pardon yourself and call that client to let him or her know you are running late.

NEVER keep your cell phone on when you are with a client and inspecting a house.

NEVER enter a house when only the seller’s children are at home. Wait for the real estate agent and/or client before entering.

NEVER leave a door ajar (or let your client) unless you are positive there are no dogs or cats in the house that could get out.

NEVER allow your client to start fixing something you found to be defective.

NEVER take a hammer on an inspection. If you need one, you probably shouldn’t do whatever it is you want to do with it.

NEVER lose control of your inspection or let anyone distract you.

ALWAYS trust your instincts.

ALWAYS use your nose to smell the basement when you first get to the top of the stairway as well as when you go down the stairway.

ALWAYS keep your eye on the garage door opener, lift arm, and the top of the door, as you test the safety reverse mechanism.

ALWAYS look into the attic and crawlspace for animals and snakes prior to entering the area.

ALWAYS go on the roof to inspect it, but only if it’s safe to do so.

ALWAYS touch the back of your hand to the electrical service box cover prior to grabbing hold of it.

ALWAYS keep your cell phone with you when you are inspecting a house and no one is accompanying you on the inspection.

ALWAYS point out to your client any circuit breakers that are in the off position or fuses that are blown prior to removing the box cover.

ALWAYS inspect 3-way light switches for proper wiring and operation. Have your client help you.

ALWAYS probe and inspect windowsills and wood trim for rot even (and especially) when it looks freshly painted.

ALWAYS move items on the kitchen counters to look for concealed burn marks or damage.

ALWAYS inspect ceilings by holding and shining your flashlight with your arm extended up to and along the ceiling. You will find every leak and patch made since the house was built.

ALWAYS look carefully for water stains on the sill plates and joists at the top of basement walls. If you see staining, always pull the insulation to the side to investigate.

ALWAYS get in the habit of putting your tools, jacket and ladder in the same place in every house. That way, you will be less likely to leave or forget something.

ALWAYS keep a spare flashlight, batteries and bulb in your car or case.

ALWAYS keep a couple of extra 15-and20-amp fuses in your car.

ALWAYS verify that all the circuit breakers are in the original setting after you replace the service box cover.

ALWAYS make a mental note as to what the thermostat is set at before you
change it.

ALWAYS wipe your feet, remove your shoes or put booties on prior to entering a house.

ALWAYS dress professionally and clean.

ALWAYS remember your client, not the real estate agent, is the purchaser.

ALWAYS remember you are a professional.