I was visiting a friend in a new house and he was giving me the grand tour. I try not to notice the little things but as a real estate inspector I couldn’t help myself.
After hundreds of hours of training and review of codes and best practices and then taking the 4 hour national and state tests it kind of becomes part of you.
We walked past the french doors into the study..beautiful, but the glass was not safety glass as it should have been in this case. He didn’t ask, so I didn’t say anything. I also didn’t say anything about the extension cord winding from one room to another because the builder had neglected to put in enough outlets. When we went past the stairway where the balusters were clearly too far apart. I still held my tongue.
I felt I was doing well and being casual but then it happened. He opened the closet under the stairs and there it was… The underside of the stairs had no plywood backing. You could see the backs of the risers and treads….I hesitated at the wrong time and he saw me. And the words came out like a dark shadow slipping past you in a dark hallway. “What’s wrong?” “What did you see?”
And so I told him. His stairway would possibly become a chimney if there was a fire downstairs and upstairs would be inflamed quickly. He closed the door and looked away. I think I heard him say, “hmmmph.” We moved away from the stairs. …Quickly.
The grand tour was now over. I would not be seeing upstairs. I was escorted back to a sitting area and the subject was changed. I was being quarantined.
The rest of the evening we chatted about the usual subjects. Other guests had joined us and the conversation never went back to the stairway. I was glad. I hadn’t meant to say anything.
After a while, I think my host relaxed and I pretended not to be an inspector, just another guest and I just enjoyed the evening. The food was great, the conversation fun and I am certain I was doing a much better job of masking my observations.
I said nothing about the wood burning fireplace hearth extension that was too shallow and made of WOOD!
I said nothing about the fancy faucet on the kitchen sink that was installed too low.
I even managed to glance only once at the wood cabinets that were too low and close to the gas stove.
Nope, while my list of deficiencies grew in my head externally I kept quiet.
The moral here is even brand new homes have issues. When an inspector gives a report there are always things to monitor and consider. It isn’t personal and it doesn’t mean it’s a bad house. It just means the perfect and ideal best practices and sometimes codes were not followed to the letter.
If you invite me over for coffee I promise to not notice anything but the conversation and company.