Our inspector was “shocked” to find at least three electrical surprises at this home inspection in west Arlington. First, there was a lone wire inside the electrical panel, which should have had no power present, that tested hot for power being present. There was a wire nut protecting the metal parts from contacting the wire, so it was relatively safe. It was unusual, but as we tell clients, no one should be inside the panel unless you have a license and know what you are doing.
As the home inspector continued, he found two more live wires inside the attic. These were not so well protected. In fact, if someone were not careful at the top of the attic ladder, there was a chance that one of those wires could have been accidentally touched, and a shock or electrocution would have occurred.
While we don’t like to see these dangerous conditions in any home, we are glad when we find them, so that folks can be informed, repairs can be made, and the homes can be returned to a safe condition before someone gets hurt. We consider it part of our job to pay attention to how safe the home appears to be. We think it is what our clients want.
Another part of the equation is for us to notify parties on both sides of the transaction of any unsafe or unhealthy condition. Whether our client buys the home or not, the Seller often is still living in the home, and their family should be safe in the home as well. So we inform the Seller’s agent when we find an unsafe or unhealthy condition. If the Seller is there, we inform them directly, and none of them has ever complained about our honesty and alertness.
All licensed home inspectors should be on the look out for such hazards as these. It is what the public needs. It is what our clients and home owners deserve from us. At House Exam Inspection, scores of our clients rave about the way we deliver our information regarding the safety conditions in the homes we inspect. They say that the calm and clear way we explained these conditions was helpful in keeping them focused on the purchase decision rather than some repairable problem. We simply explained that a licensed electrician could assess the condition and provide repairs as needed. Many of these clients went ahead to purchase these homes with confidence.
Every home needs some repairs, some more serious and perhaps more costly than others. But, if we do our job properly, folks can make a calm and rational decision, based on facts and information, rather than emotions. It’s what we would want if we were buying a house.
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