Home Inspections – Perceive the Need

I worked at a semi, high-end restaurant while in college.  I started as a busser, moved up to “expediter” (the person who double checks plated food for accuracy before they go out to guests, puts garnishes on, etc.), then became a server, and ended up being a trainer for the servers.  One important piece I recall teaching was, “perceive the need of the guest (before they ask).”  Or when they do ask, you, like a magician hand them exactly what they wanted – that feels good and everyone is happy!  When a Caesar salad is served, bring the pepper grinder and offer fresh ground pepper.  When clam chowder goes out, put some crackers and hot sauce in your apron.  Steak knives go with steaks, straws go with certain drinks,


lemon wedges go on a fork with shrimp cocktail, kids like to color – give ‘em crayons.  Perceive the need.  This can be applied to most everything in life.  This may come natural to some, yet others need to develop and practice this skill – a little forethought and care goes a long way.

Attention Realtors and home sellers (at least in California), inspections and appraisals can go much more smoothly by perceiving the issues ahead of time.  I write this after applying my own advice, which is really just you taking advantage of my failure and experience of having 100’s of inspections done – some I got lucky, and others went badly.  Finally, I started making a mental note… then I made a physical note to self – a checklist of sorts.  Keith Klassen: Before inspection, make sure the follow things are in place…. aka., stop making the same mistakes!  Also, if you are the buyer’s agent, it’s not a bad idea to ask the listing agent or seller to make sure the following are done (Doesn’t not apply to cash offers, but still a good idea).

  • Ask your favorite appraiser for a list of FHA guidelines, if the buyer is using this loan product. Some favorite overlooked items
    • Self-closing hinge on door to garage
    • Peeling paint
    • Low windows (usually to the side of the front door) that are not tempered glass
    • The obvious, smoke detectors and CO detector. Are they there?  If so, do they work?  Test them.  Ask your appraiser for the guideline they use (seems to vary from one to another).
    • Earthquake-strapped water heater


  • Another seemingly obvious one: Make sure utilities are on –  Electricity, gas, water (WIFI with password and a comfy chair for me to keep working while I stand around – ha ha).


Since I deal with a lot of income properties, it’s common for a tenant to move out and the power stays on, floating without a name on the account.  Make sure it goes back into owner’s name.  Recently, a tenant moved out, power was on for months and I assumed it was transferred into owner’s name (good assumption, right?).  We get into contract and, of course, the appraiser and inspector go out and the gas is turned off.   I was just there two days prior!  Both charged $125 for a re-inspection for that error.  Who eats that cost?  Most likely me.


  • Make sure attic and crawl space are accessible. Try to get owners to make open and accessible – take locks off gates; unlock garages, move things away from walls to get to electrical, etc.  Many times garages are so packed with gear, so much so, the inspector cannot even get to the hatch to the attic (same goes with entrance to crawl space if in a closet – no one wants to move dresses, shoes, suits and boxes with party hats and keepsakes).  Then you’ll get the ol’, “I don’t move personal items to inspect.”  That’s a whole nuther topic – don’t get me started!

What’s your #4?  What would you add to the list?  Thanks for reading and please subscribe, share, or leave your comments.



Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker


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