Further Inspections- You’re Killing Me!
The dreaded Further Inspection- on our side of the business we just call it an “FI.” But what does it even mean, you ask?
When inspecting homes we come across all kinds of things that have been done to, or have happened to homes over the course of time. Some are funny, some are scary, and in many cases some are puzzling. The puzzling ones are really the ones of the most interest to us- on the inspection side- because they represent the unknown, and sometimes (unfortunately) an opportunity to end up in court or some form of litigation.
So, what is a further inspection exactly? A further Inspection (FI) will be recommended when an inspector comes upon an area that cannot be accessed at the time of the inspection. An inaccessible area (IA) is described by the Structural Pest Control Board (SPBC) as follows: “Inaccessible areas are those that cannot be inspected without opening the structure or removing the objects blocking the opening…” Most commonly, on the real estate side of the business, we find an IA in the garage. Often times when people are selling their home, they begin to pack and start loading boxes into the garage. Unfortunately for us, we need to see the foundation wall in the garage to perform a complete inspection- thus resulting in an IA and the inspector recommending an FI for the garage- the recommendation will state that the boxes need to be moved.
Another fairly common FI is water staining. We commonly find water staining below concrete deck and in sheetrock at the interior of a home. When this is the case, the inspector will need further access or permission to make areas accessible- often times cutting open sheetrock or stucco, or sometimes drilling a hole and utilizing a camera to see behind the stained area.
The last, most common cause of an FI is due to clearance- below a home on a raised foundation or a deck. The SPCB requires 18” of clearance between the structural material and the ground for an inspector to safely navigate. In many older homes this can be difficult to achieve- the common recommendations for a clearance issue can be as simple as pulling up a couple of deck boards to allow inspection from the top side or as physically demanding as excavating the soil to allow enough space (that translates to- on your belly, with a military shovel removing soil to create clearance typically in a substructure of a home).
As you can see there are many causes for IA’s and FI’s, with varying degree of making access. Our recommendation is to always have the conversation with your inspector and get the answers to FI questions as early (quickly) as possible. In the real estate industry, this information can be paramount in keeping a deal together.
Aside from keeping a deal together, getting the answers provides two more things:
1. An understanding of a situation to a potential new homeowner, and
2. Understanding a situation to a current homeowner. In this business, knowledge, and understanding is of the utmost importance.
Nearly (if not) all deficiencies that NAHS and NAT have discovered are fixable, what it typically comes down to is value- meaning to say, is the cost of the fix worth the final value. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to make that decision!