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  1. #1
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    Default Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    I inspected a house yesterday which had a large new addition with nicely built custom maple cabinetry installed in the new kitchen. The finish on the kitchen cabinetry was nonexistent to minimal.

    The former cabinet maker in me knows what happened here. The cabinet maker bid low to get the job and then at the end realized his situation and cut things short on the finish end. No final sanding and breaking of edges in preparation for a final finish. I know maple kitchen cabinets will look bad not too many years in the future without a properly applied durable finish.

    I'm vacillating between not writing this up because it is not a significant concern, and as is my inclination I am straying way beyond the SOP for a HI. To this falls under the ASHI SOP of the cabinetry (or at least the finish) not functioning properly and I am justified in mentioning this in the written report as at least an observation.

    Can I get some input from you experienced inspectors on what would, and or do you do, in this situation and how would/do you write and categorize it?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    I make comments on loose door hinges, messed up drawer slides, etc. I also make comments on peeling finish material (plastic).
    I make comments on deteriorated paint surfaces on exterior materials.

    I would probably make a comment about the finish on the cabinet, and leave it as a maintenance item.


  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Its a new addition. The work is expected to be new and properly finished. I would definately write it up. Now, if you mean a new addition as in newer than the home but n ot brand new then that would be a different story.

    Is it not a deficiency in the home?

    There is a constant battle in every inspector about certain things to write or not to write. Let me ask you this. If there were absolutely no one else involved such as a Realtor would you be less hesitant to write it up. Even if you did not write it up would you be less hesitant to talk it over with the buyers that are possibly about to put out a bunch of cash for this home and have a mortgage for the next 30 years?

    Just because something is "functioning properly" but it is deficient in your experienced eyes why would you not write it up. Sometimes we all get blinded on what a home inspection is and what is not.

    What it is , is looking out for our clients and informing them on what is going on with the property they are thinking of purchasing. When it comes to dirty carpet I could care less as they see it as well. But in saying that if I see something that I know for a fact is not going to come out when cleaned or if it is beyond just cleaning and time for replacing I will tell them verbally and in writing.

    I did not mean to get off on a rant but I have run into this more often than not with home inspectors backing off items they do believe they should inform folks of but don't because it is not in the little rule book on how something should be marked or they are concerned with sounding like an alarmist and the Realtor is never going to refer them again.

    Well, we are the alarmist. Every thing we write up sends up an alarm to their brain cells informing them of now or near future expenses they will be pulling out of their pocket. Of course there are ways to and not to tell folks or write about concerns that do not make it sound like the sky is falling but it should still be told and written about.

    The loss of a referral is not a good thing to happen now a day but............................


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    What Ted said. It is a concern. It means they need to sand and apply a finish which needs to dry before they can use the kitchen.

    Sometimes I mention something like that on the walkthrough and they go "Oh, yeah we saw that. We want to change those cupboards anyway". For some clients, anything hands-on becomes an insurmountable obstacle. For them, you need to report it.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Not a significant concern? You might want to re-evaluate your definition. Sure its not a furnace ready to blow up but consider your clients' position.
    What do clients generally think of as significant? 'Anything that costs a bunch of money'. Properly finishing set of cabinets can easily 'cost a bunch of money'. So I would recommend viewing it as significant.
    I write up poor finishes, chipped edges, loose hinges and drywall screws used for hanging cabinets regularly. I provide the info, whether the client acts on it is entirely up to them.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Thanks for the replies...as a new inspector it's encouraging to know I'm traveling down a well worn path already blazed by experienced inspectors.

    I did write up the lack of finish. As Markus said I do sometimes use the yardstick of how much money does it cost to fix and or can the average homeowner easily fix it. This one was a lot of money and no. A kitchen of this quality cost as much as a car and a buyer shouldn't have to tolerate a piss poor finish on a new car, so why on a new kitchen.

    Ted. I don't think you were ranting...you brought up a good point. There was no question from the very outset of becoming a home inspector that I would be an advocate for my clients and not a deal facilitator for the realtors. The realtors in my area already consider me over the top and too thorough. But I'd be lying if I said I don't review my reports prior to uploading them to double check myself on whether I'm really going over board.

    If you want to help buyers, you have to grow your business and be known to buyers. Unfortunately, the truth is realtors are the gate keepers most of the time...especially for new inspectors. It would be nice to be full of bravado and say screw the realtors, but I try to be cognizant of not making their jobs any harder than necessary while still being a total advocate for my clients. Some of my business is starting to come through my website, but this is a tough business to start in and grow if you don't consider the primary gate keepers perspective, doubley so in this housing market.


  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Thanks for the replies...as a new inspector it's encouraging to know I'm traveling down a well worn path already blazed by experienced inspectors.

    I did write up the lack of finish. As Markus said I do sometimes use the yardstick of how much money does it cost to fix and or can the average homeowner easily fix it. This one was a lot of money and no. A kitchen of this quality cost as much as a car and a buyer shouldn't have to tolerate a piss poor finish on a new car, so why on a new kitchen.

    Ted. I don't think you were ranting...you brought up a good point. There was no question from the very outset of becoming a home inspector that I would be an advocate for my clients and not a deal facilitator for the Realtors. The Realtors in my area already consider me over the top and too thorough. But I'd be lying if I said I don't review my reports prior to uploading them to double check myself on whether I'm really going over board.

    If you want to help buyers, you have to grow your business and be known to buyers. Unfortunately, the truth is Realtors are the gate keepers most of the time...especially for new inspectors. It would be nice to be full of bravado and say screw the Realtors, but I try to be cognizant of not making their jobs any harder than necessary while still being a total advocate for my clients. Some of my business is starting to come through my website, but this is a tough business to start in and grow if you don't consider the primary gate keepers perspective, doubley so in this housing market.

    Like I said, there are ways of calling a black cat black with out the evil insertion.

    It is funny, and I do have a smile on my face, that you used the word gate keeper. That is how the old timers refer to Realtors. What is funnier is that you are under the full, unfortunate, understanding that the Realtors really do control the purse to a pretty great extent, That should simply not be the way of the world. Clients could find us as businesses always have been found. If you could market to the public like the way it once was for any business you would hold a more solid base than you will ever trying to gain referrals from Realtors. Just you asking the question "should I write this up" is such great confirmation as to the thought process behind the mass majority of inspectors......The Realtor....that big bad 5 foot tall woman that hands you your income. She should be the absolute last thing on your mind. She should have absolutely no influence, no matter how subliminal, over the outcome/writing of an inspection report.

    I have posted countless times that it should be completely illegal with threat of loss of license for a Realtor to not only not refer an individual, or group of inspectors or a particular association. There job should be to to hand the client paper work stating that is is essential for them to have an inspection on there new home (because it is) and sign this paper so I can have a copy that I informed you that you should have an inspection to add to the disclosure of the home.........and then fold their hands and apply duct tape to their mouths and let the buyer/seller find an inspector and get the inspection scheduled up.

    I think a Realtor having any say what so ever as to who will be the inspector for a home they are selling to a client for profit should be illegal and considered one of the most highly unethical acts that any profession could make. This is well beyond an inspector doing work on a home he inspected. There are a serious amount of obstacles between an inspector and actually doing the work. (no, I am not advocating home inspectors doing the work but for the absolute mass majority of inspectors I find no problem with them bidding on work that may possibly come about). (no, I do not do any construction work anymore) At the moment a contract is signed there is no one sitting between the Realtor and the client. She/He can guide them in any direction they want. They say things like "if it were not for them we would not have a buyer to inspect for......Oh Really? There is another Realtor that will sell that home. In our area there are literally hundreds of Realtors per office (in many offices) and countless offices and then all those 1 to 10 Realtor companies.

    End rant....slow week.......must be those Realtors

    By the way. I have my happy handful of Realtors. They know I am a pain in the ass but still refer me.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    I wouldn't write it up the cabinet finishing unless it's damaged. The same goes for crappy paint jobs on the walls, paint splatter on trim, etc. I don't comment on ugly paint colors either.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Ted Where in the texas report form do you report on cabinet finishes?


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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Ted good for you. I think you did the right thing writting it up and let the client decide what to do about it. Being imformed about something like this is what you are being paid for imo. it doesn't cost you anything to tell them but could cost them in the long run or might be something they can deal with, with no worries. your past experince is valuable and good to hear you using it well.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by stanley frost View Post
    Ted Where in the texas report form do you report on cabinet finishes?
    You could add it at the end in added pages as the TX report format says there may be. You could add it in the appliance section where all the rest of the kitchen goods are or even add it in the structural section under L for Other where you are already talking about floors, doors, walls, ceilings etc.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Communication is key to any business...I would (and do) typically ask the buyer if he/she is aware of this or that particular issue. Especially if is outside or borderline SOP. In this case cabinet refinishing, which to me is just as important as anything else in the home that requires ongoing maintenance for longevity. Write it up as you see it - "Poor quality refinishing on kitchen cabinets which will likely require earlier than normal intervention for appearance and preservation." Your experience backs up your findings.

    ip


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    My inspection report the client has ordered is from me not ASHI or any other organization I give them my full experience, if you have the experience of something and it is not correct by all means provide your client with the best and fullest inspection report you can as I do and I have been around for over 15 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    I inspected a house yesterday which had a large new addition with nicely built custom maple cabinetry installed in the new kitchen. The finish on the kitchen cabinetry was nonexistent to minimal.

    The former cabinet maker in me knows what happened here. The cabinet maker bid low to get the job and then at the end realized his situation and cut things short on the finish end. No final sanding and breaking of edges in preparation for a final finish. I know maple kitchen cabinets will look bad not too many years in the future without a properly applied durable finish.

    I'm vacillating between not writing this up because it is not a significant concern, and as is my inclination I am straying way beyond the SOP for a HI. To this falls under the ASHI SOP of the cabinetry (or at least the finish) not functioning properly and I am justified in mentioning this in the written report as at least an observation.

    Can I get some input from you experienced inspectors on what would, and or do you do, in this situation and how would/do you write and categorize it?



  14. #14

    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    As a new inspector (ex builder - just getting my marketing materials together) my one question to the board deals with a point stressed in my HI class. If you go beyond SOP and write up something that you are aware of because of expertise in that field (ie: Rob as a former cabinet maker knows the finish was poor), the client (and courts) might now assume you have looked at every item in the house with the same level of expertise. Doing the right thing might open up pandoras box down the road.

    I believe Rob did the right thing writing it up. Not sure if I would have been aware of the problem if it was not easily noticed.

    Thoughts?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    .................................................. ..........................
    I think a Realtor having any say what so ever as to who will be the inspector for a home they are selling to a client for profit should be illegal and considered one of the most highly unethical acts that any profession could make. .................................................. ...........................................
    By the way. I have my happy handful of Realtors. They know I am a pain in the ass but still refer me.
    I agree. It never ceases to amaze me how much influence realtors have over most home buyers...even educated ones who understand who "their" agent is really working for.

    I too have a few realtors so far who seemingly enjoy using me even though they've told me I have made their life more difficult. I know several contracts have been withdrawn because of my inspections in the last several months...and they still send their clients to me. Speaks well for them.

    It's easy to ascertain who the better realtors are....they are the ones who actually go to my website and view the uploaded report. Homegauge has a tracking log of who and when clients and agents log in. It amazes me how many realtors never even open the reports I send them.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Gulotta View Post
    As a new inspector (ex builder - just getting my marketing materials together) my one question to the board deals with a point stressed in my HI class. If you go beyond SOP and write up something that you are aware of because of expertise in that field (ie: Rob as a former cabinet maker knows the finish was poor), the client (and courts) might now assume you have looked at every item in the house with the same level of expertise. Doing the right thing might open up pandoras box down the road.

    I believe Rob did the right thing writing it up. Not sure if I would have been aware of the problem if it was not easily noticed.

    Thoughts?

    As a new inspector you almost have to put away worrying about the lawyers, the Realtors etc. Yes you have to use common sense when writing a report and look out for yourself but at the same time you cannot run a business worrying about what slime ball may be around the corner waiting to get you.

    Opening up Pandoras Box as in what. I am shocked your class teacher brought up such things. This is foolish. Not all inspectors are skilled and have a long background in every trade out there. If you have a stronger back ground in a certain area then it is to you and your clients advantage. That is like saying that if you had all the certs in code as in all the different certifications then you would be held higher as to finding every code violation in the home and when that code changed over the years.

    You are at a home for an inspection for a limited amount of time. It is your job to find a reasonable amount of concerns for the folks that are thinking of buying that home. As you go thru you inspection porocess and note this and that and the cabinets happen to fall into those notes then write it up. We are talking about a "new addition" here with "new cabinets" not an existing home that has already had years of wear.

    That is where experience as a home inspector comes in. As a new inspector the only thing that should be on your mind is finding as many items as possible. Remember , you are inspecting a home that is not yet your clients home so you are not inspecting "their" home but someone elses home which you are going to compile a report to sell a copy of to you clients that are thinking of buying that home.

    Yes, you are inspecting the home by the standard of the SOPs in place in your state. This does not mean that it is what a home inspection is. We have gone way beyond reality in the home inspection business. The only regulation we should have is the basic inspection and beyond that anything goes. But, instead we are lead to think and believe that we need to look out for the slime ball that wants to make hundreds and hour suing you and worrying about what a Realtor may think or not think when the only things we should be concerned with is doing the best find for our clients that are thinking of buying that home.

    Will you ever be sued.....Maybe, maybe not. Some folks go thru decades of inspecting and never get sued (me.....so far ). Some folks walk out the door to their first inspection and at the end of the day someone is looking to get something for nothing from them.

    I have been threatened in angry tones about....If you don't pay for this I will sue you. My answer has always been just as loud and angry.....It was not that way when I did the inspection, remember, you did the walk thru with me and we went over everything so go ahead and report me and sue me. I recieved a letter from a lawyer about a law suit that will take place unless I pay his client xxxxx amount of dollars plus his fees. I will not tell you what I wrote back to him because I would not want you to do the same thing. It had something to do with the paper. They new of the concerns they were trying to get me to pay for....because it was in the report.

    In short there are no limitations on what you can write in the report as long as it is to the least the minimum of your state SOPs. Common sense will let you know over time and going to your association meetings if you are a member and coming on boards like this.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    I would only report "new cabinets pending sanding & surface finish" - That's all! You said, herein, ".. with NICELY BUILT custom maple cabinetry installed in the new kitchen. The finish on the kitchen cabinetry was nonexistent to minimal." Sounds like they were built right and function accordingly. The rest is just a value judgement or a recommendation (which may be important to your client) unless you do draw inspections or appraisals and then you need to be specific in finish type and completeness in order give completed dollar value.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    I had to think back a bit but about 5 years ago I wrote up kitchen cabinets and every cabinet in the home. This was a one year warranty inspection. (I did not do the inspection when the home was new) When I opened then closed the first cabinet door my finger nail scraped the cabinet and I literally put a pretty good scratch in it. I tested another area that could not be readily seen and dragged a nail light over it. I should not say over it because it literally peeled the finish coat of poly right off the wood. I tested areas in the rest of the kitchen and baths and laundry and butler pantry...all the same.

    Yes I wrote every cabinet up in the home saying literally that it was the worse finish job I had ever seen. If it tell you anything they finished the cabinets on sight....in the winter.....water based finish with no substantial heat on in the home when they did it and none left on when they left.

    It was a deficiency and needed to be written up. It went into my report and I never thought about it for a second. Poor finish on new cabinets....big write up. To refinish all the cabinets in this 5000 square foot home....a small fortune. Your addition and cabinets, maybe not a small fortune but still a substantial amount of money.

    The wood probably had moisture in it (most from the stain) and then they applied the clear and shut the heat off and left. What were they thinking.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Gulotta View Post
    As a new inspector (ex builder - just getting my marketing materials together) my one question to the board deals with a point stressed in my HI class. If you go beyond SOP and write up something that you are aware of because of expertise in that field (ie: Rob as a former cabinet maker knows the finish was poor), the client (and courts) might now assume you have looked at every item in the house with the same level of expertise. Doing the right thing might open up pandoras box down the road.

    HI schools typically teach that, which is a shame as that is EXACTLY the opposite of what is real in the real world of inspections.

    Here is the opposite of that and the way the real world works, I still am not sure why HI schools continue to fail to grasp this:

    a) The opposite of doing anything greater than the SoP is to NEVER exceed the SoP, right? Given that the SoP is stated to be a MINIMUM standard, and that you will not be exceeding that minimum standard, I trust you will NOT be advertising your years of experience and knowledge but instead will be advertising that you do a MINIMUM inspection. Failure to advertise that while advertising your years of experience results in knowingly committing fraud and deception.

    b) If you strictly adhere to the MINIMUM SoP standards and YOU KNOW more, you could be sued for not using your knowledge and experience and for NOT REPORTING what you know and found.

    Doing b) will get you into court without any defense quicker than anything else.

    Which is worse: a) someone who does not report something because they did not know; b) someone who omits something they knew but chose not to report?

    Think of it in terms of acts of omission versus acts of commission ... acts of omission are sometimes excusable, acts of commission are not.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    "new cabinets pending sanding & surface finish" - That's all!
    That's what you would put in the report? It's statements like that, that get people to call me and pay for a 2nd real inspection; after they've already paid for an inspection report that they can't make heads or tails of.
    Do you honestly think statements like that are helpful to anyone but yourself? Maybe you have smarter clients in OR but realistically a client reads that and their eyes glaze over. Joe homebuyer works in an office/attorney/mechanic/nurse/etc doesn't know what the H that is supposed to mean or what the implications are. You aren't giving the client any sense of the potential implications of the condition are.
    As much as I am dismayed/horrified when I read a report with statements like that, I have to remind myself that they keep my phone ringing.

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    On reflection, may be the cabinets were intentionally left 'unfinished' so the new owner could have them finished to their own liking. In which case that's something requiring clarification. Maybe the installer has agreed to complete the job at the new owner's direction and may not be a 'defect' as such. Nevertheless, I would still report their condition and let buyer handle it.

    ip


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    "new cabinets pending sanding & surface finish" - That's all!
    That's what you would put in the report? It's statements like that, that get people to call me and pay for a 2nd real inspection; after they've already paid for an inspection report that they can't make heads or tails of.
    Do you honestly think statements like that are helpful to anyone but yourself? Maybe you have smarter clients in OR but realistically a client reads that and their eyes glaze over. Joe homebuyer works in an office/attorney/mechanic/nurse/etc doesn't know what the H that is supposed to mean or what the implications are. You aren't giving the client any sense of the potential implications of the condition are.
    As much as I am dismayed/horrified when I read a report with statements like that, I have to remind myself that they keep my phone ringing.
    I see nothing wrong with the statement "new cabinets pending sanding & surface finish". It means the cabinets are incomplete and need repair. Sounds pretty straightforward to me.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    I inspected a house yesterday which had a large new addition with nicely built custom maple cabinetry installed in the new kitchen. The finish on the kitchen cabinetry was nonexistent to minimal.

    The former cabinet maker in me knows what happened here. The cabinet maker bid low to get the job and then at the end realized his situation and cut things short on the finish end. No final sanding and breaking of edges in preparation for a final finish. I know maple kitchen cabinets will look bad not too many years in the future without a properly applied durable finish.

    I'm vacillating between not writing this up because it is not a significant concern, and as is my inclination I am straying way beyond the SOP for a HI. To this falls under the ASHI SOP of the cabinetry (or at least the finish) not functioning properly and I am justified in mentioning this in the written report as at least an observation.

    Can I get some input from you experienced inspectors on what would, and or do you do, in this situation and how would/do you write and categorize it?
    My cabinet maker experience senses that a sanding sealer was used and no finished coats or just a light thinned finish coat. Does not really matter, if you see and know that the cabinets need additional finishing for them to perform as would be expected, then say so. No big deal. Buyer needs to know. Not the same as walls need painting. Walls will function without repainting (generally speaking) but cabinets need an adequate finish to minimal perform. Buyers probably would not think about the finish when they first looked at it, but would like to be informed.

    HI is all about being informed. Buyers on average may only spend 30-45 min looking at a house before they make an offer. Though since market has slowed they are returning for 2nd and 3rd looks. Seldom do they have the experience to note all that is going on with the house. The buyer is looking with a view of the "warm fuxzzys" about the property. They are concerned about how it fits them for the future not what is right or wrong with the property. That is where you as a HI come in to the equation. Report what you see and know by virtue of your experience.

    Possible statement: Cabinets appear to be in sound mechanical condition. Cabinet finish appears to need additional finish coats for appearance longevity.

    It brings it to the attention of the client. They can decide what they want to do.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    I wouldn't write it up the cabinet finishing unless it's damaged. The same goes for crappy paint jobs on the walls, paint splatter on trim, etc. I don't comment on ugly paint colors either.
    Ken,
    If I was a buyer and hired you to inspect I would expect you to comment on the "crappy paint jobs" that are quick coats to cover crayon marks and other crap that will require me to repair and/or repaint prior to moving into the home. I would expect you to mention that the cabinets have a finish that is failing and would need attention right after moving in. After all, I hired you to tell me about the worst---I am capable to determining what needs attention and what is alarmist. However, I would want you to be the alarmist too, and would expect all comments on what you see. BTW, "You" is the royal "you" here.
    Rich


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    As a new inspector you almost have to put away worrying about the lawyers, the Realtors etc. Yes you have to use common sense when writing a report and look out for yourself but at the same time you cannot run a business worrying about what slime ball may be around the corner waiting to get you.

    Opening up Pandoras Box as in what. I am shocked your class teacher brought up such things. This is foolish. Not all inspectors are skilled and have a long background in every trade out there. If you have a stronger back ground in a certain area then it is to you and your clients advantage. That is like saying that if you had all the certs in code as in all the different certifications then you would be held higher as to finding every code violation in the home and when that code changed over the years.

    You are at a home for an inspection for a limited amount of time. It is your job to find a reasonable amount of concerns for the folks that are thinking of buying that home. As you go thru you inspection porocess and note this and that and the cabinets happen to fall into those notes then write it up. We are talking about a "new addition" here with "new cabinets" not an existing home that has already had years of wear.

    That is where experience as a home inspector comes in. As a new inspector the only thing that should be on your mind is finding as many items as possible. Remember , you are inspecting a home that is not yet your clients home so you are not inspecting "their" home but someone elses home which you are going to compile a report to sell a copy of to you clients that are thinking of buying that home.

    Yes, you are inspecting the home by the standard of the SOPs in place in your state. This does not mean that it is what a home inspection is. We have gone way beyond reality in the home inspection business. The only regulation we should have is the basic inspection and beyond that anything goes. But, instead we are lead to think and believe that we need to look out for the slime ball that wants to make hundreds and hour suing you and worrying about what a Realtor may think or not think when the only things we should be concerned with is doing the best find for our clients that are thinking of buying that home.

    Will you ever be sued.....Maybe, maybe not. Some folks go thru decades of inspecting and never get sued (me.....so far ). Some folks walk out the door to their first inspection and at the end of the day someone is looking to get something for nothing from them.

    I have been threatened in angry tones about....If you don't pay for this I will sue you. My answer has always been just as loud and angry.....It was not that way when I did the inspection, remember, you did the walk thru with me and we went over everything so go ahead and report me and sue me. I recieved a letter from a lawyer about a law suit that will take place unless I pay his client xxxxx amount of dollars plus his fees. I will not tell you what I wrote back to him because I would not want you to do the same thing. It had something to do with the paper. They new of the concerns they were trying to get me to pay for....because it was in the report.

    In short there are no limitations on what you can write in the report as long as it is to the least the minimum of your state SOPs. Common sense will let you know over time and going to your association meetings if you are a member and coming on boards like this.
    Ted,
    You are right and it reminds me of something on another thread regarding building a home just to code. The quote went something like "...if you built the home just to code and one thing was less than code--the house would be unsafe." Your points above reflect this point. If you just report just the minimum and don't extend yourself a little to do a "great" job---you are doing a disservice to yourself and the client.
    Well said Ted.

    Rich


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    If you think it is not right then write it up.
    Simple.


  27. #27

    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Jerry and Ted: Thank you for your replies. Insightful

    Robert: One question. Was the finish so obvious that it was noticed by everyone, or was it only because of your experience that you knew it was not acceptable? I guess that is what is confusing me. Noticeably poor to everyone, including me, and it would be written up. Only an expert knows it not done correctly and thats where I question if I would have known its condition was sub-par.


  28. #28
    Don Burbach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    One of the first mental questions I answer for assessing whether to report is: Is the component new? Would it have been likely to be a sales feature? New large addition usually equals new cabinets and fixtures.

    Also, the newer the house, the higher the expectation. I suggest contemplating the condition of the item related to the age of the house(or in this case large addition). Some nice new maple cabinets would look palatial regardless of their finish in a 75 year old house with no updates and usually with cabinets having ten coats of paint and doors that do not shut.

    Last edited by Don Burbach; 12-07-2010 at 07:25 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Gulotta View Post
    Jerry and Ted: Thank you for your replies. Insightful

    Robert: One question. Was the finish so obvious that it was noticed by everyone, or was it only because of your experience that you knew it was not acceptable? I guess that is what is confusing me. Noticeably poor to everyone, including me, and it would be written up. Only an expert knows it not done correctly and thats where I question if I would have known its condition was sub-par.
    Ummmm....I don't know the answer to that...it was very noticeable to me.

    With a clear finish, especially some of the newer water based options which have such a water clear quality, and a light colored wood like maple, it can be difficult to access the quality of the finish. Standing back and looking can yield very little to the unexperienced eye. I would suggest getting in the habit of running your hands over the surfaces and edges of different finishes...and you will start to get a "feel" for it faster than just "seeing" it.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    You can tell a client anything you want. When I'm doing new construction, I walk them through and point out all grades of cosmetic imperfections. But if you start writing up a lack of finish, then you've wandered down a path that I certainly can't justify. Safety, functionality, future concern? Yes. Predict the future? Yes. Cosmetics? No.
    JLMathis


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    You can tell a client anything you want. When I'm doing new construction, I walk them through and point out all grades of cosmetic imperfections. But if you start writing up a lack of finish, then you've wandered down a path that I certainly can't justify. Safety, functionality, future concern? Yes. Predict the future? Yes. Cosmetics? No.
    JLMathis
    I have to disagree. Part of the functionality of a cabinet is being able to clean it. If there is no finish on the wood, It will become stained, if only with skin oil, in a short time.
    As a woodworker, I've watched the discussion over the last 40 years go back and forth over whether to give wood a heavy or light finish. You don't want the finish to look like a layer of plastic on a fine piece of furniture. There are now finishes and techniques that will seal and protect the wood (original intent) and look like a hand rubbed oil finish or little finish at all. Not used often commercially, but they exist.
    I would be careful calling out type or amount of finish on wood, the only way to be sure is put a drop of liquid on it, or possibly even more destructive testing.
    Would you write up a 100 year old cast iron bathtub because it had rust stains on it? Yes, you can still take a bath in it. It still functions. Because of decades of scouring, the "finish", the glossy surface of the porcelain has been worn away and now it can not be kept clean. If I were a buyer, I'd want that in the report, as it's condition lowers it's value and it's expensive to fix.


  32. #32
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    You can tell a client anything you want. When I'm doing new construction, I walk them through and point out all grades of cosmetic imperfections. But if you start writing up a lack of finish, then you've wandered down a path that I certainly can't justify. Safety, functionality, future concern? Yes. Predict the future? Yes. Cosmetics? No.
    JLMathis

    I agree....When I do new construction I give the buyer a roll of blue painters tape and tell the mark the cosmetic problems they see. They are a lot more picky than I would be and can get away with it. If I wrote up some of the things they are concerned about the builder would laugh in my face.


  33. #33
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    You can tell a client anything you want. When I'm doing new construction, I walk them through and point out all grades of cosmetic imperfections. But if you start writing up a lack of finish, then you've wandered down a path that I certainly can't justify. Safety, functionality, future concern? Yes. Predict the future? Yes. Cosmetics? No.
    JLMathis
    You might be forgetting altogether why you are at a home doing an inspection for the potential home buyer

    Safety, functionality.....and then you add future concern....as in outlay of money in large amounts maybe. Lets not mention that this is a new set of cabinets we are talking about. Not some older worn cabinets but a new addition with new cabinets.

    You are there to find as many concerns about the now, near and not to distant outlay of cash as in buying a money pit.

    Why would you discuss anything with a client about poor finish in a new home or addition if it did not have to do with a concern for the outlay of cash if you are not going to write it up. It is getting to the point that instead of being home inspectors we are guessers at who we might piss off or if a deal may be killed. Inspectors don't kill deals. They just address the issues in the home they are thinking of buying.


  34. #34
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    They just address the issues in the home they are thinking of buying.
    TM - True ... but I don't do "cosmetic issues". Finishes on cabinets (my view) are cosmetic.

    I can understand the OP's concern, but let's back up and pay attention to the "function" of the home and "safety".


  35. #35
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Kienitz View Post
    TM - True ... but I don't do "cosmetic issues". Finishes on cabinets (my view) are cosmetic.

    I can understand the OP's concern, but let's back up and pay attention to the "function" of the home and "safety".

    OK

    So, I just took two steps back.

    I do not generally do finishes either with the exception of some cases....like this.

    Or in a new built home. You mean to tell me that if you see pi** poor finish work on the cabinetry in that brandy spanking new 4500 sf home that you are going to say nothing to the client?

    How about the cabinets I spoke of at an 11 month warranty inspection where when closing one of the cabinet doors I scraped the top coat right off by accident with my finger nail and then tested places all over the home and the same thing happened. Those cabinets needed to be refinished, completely, big money. There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You would not have brought up the finish? If not I would love to know the reasoning behind the no.

    This home is pretty much the same thing. We are not talking about a quick squirt of paint on a wall that takes minutes and about zero money.

    I am starting to wonder what the definition of a home inspection is. I am not talking about the lame "minimally invasive and SOPs and all that garbage. The true meaning of why we go into a home looking out for our clients

    Will we find every concern in the home? Absolutely not and my clients are told this over and over and in the added wording on the front page of the report. I tell them it is totally impossible to kind all concerns in the few hours that I am going to be there and if I doubled the time there still may be items they find at a later date.

    I am starting to get sad now You are one of my heroes


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    I'm sorry, but cosmetics are what they are. Cosmetics. TM could mildly insult me if he likes. My reputation in this town is firm. I never kow-tow to the agents and frankly it costs me.
    But where do you stop? Paint today, scratches on the woodwork tomorrow? At some point we will cease to be assets and turn to burdens. The entire real estate business has entered a phase where everything is supposed to be perfect and every buyer is an idiot who must be lead by the nose to nirvana.

    Hand them a roll of blue tape if you like. I can take a flashlight and shine it up a sheetrock wall and make a grown man cry. What have I done for him? I'm here to make him safe, to make sure the structure is sound, and the stuff runs.

    JLMathis


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Material defects which must be reported per the PA home inspection law can be one of two things: something that poses a safety hazard to the occupants of the property OR something that poses an adverse economic impact to the value of the property. Does poor finishing of kitchen cabinets fall within the latter? Maybe, depending on the buyer. Some people don't have two nickels to rub together after settlement so a missing coverplate on an outlet to some is a hardship. Some people come in ready to allocate $10,000 or more to repairs/upgrades so the cabinets may be a non-issue.

    Something that needs to be considered too is how big of a deal a professional in that specific field of expertise may make of an issue if you don't report something. I'm sure you could find a cabinet making pro somewhere who would point out all you did and then some and say the cabinets need replacement.

    Personally, if the cabinets just looked unfinished, I may say nothing. If the construction of them was satisfactory, they all worked, were not broken or falling off the walls, it doesn't really qualify as a defect. They are performing their intended function. But at the same time, I do similar things like Jack in reporting loose cabinet doors, drawer slides that are out of whack, etc.

    At the end of the day, you have nothing to lose by mentioning the finish of the cabinets if you have direct background experience in cabinet making and can speak from experience.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  38. #38
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Hi Nick

    Your statement above says

    "Material defects which must be reported per the PA home inspection law can be one of two things"

    Are you saying that PA Law limits you to what you can talk about in your report? I can just about guaranty you that the PA Law says that you must report at the minimum of this or that but does not limit you as to what you report on or what you write about it.

    Just a bit curious about that statement.



  39. #39
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Ted, the definition of a material defect per the PA Home Inspection Law is......

    A problem with a residential real property or any portion of it that would have a significant adverse impact on the value of the property or that involves an unreasonable risk to people on the property. The fact that a structural element, system or subsystem is near, at or beyond the end of a normal useful life of such a structural element, system or subsystem is not by itself a material defect.”

    There isn't anything I've seen within the law verbiage that says you cannot report more than this. This is essentially a minimum baseline. Some inspectors may choose to stick to this but I would guess most inspectors exceed it.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  40. #40
    John Martino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cabinetry finish, of lack thereof

    Not even a question I would include it in the home inspection report. I do think its important and I would think your cleint would also see it that way. I write broken trims, cabinets, scratched and damaged floors etc. Having a satisfied home inspection client is the most important thing we can do to solidify long term business. Satisfied clients tell people about their positive experiences.

    Home inspections in Essex County NJ

    Home inspectors Essex County New Jersey


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