Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    Maybe I am just getting more paranoid, but I find myself getting a little more nervous whenever I leave an unoccupied property. Im always very careful to put everything back exactly the way I found it, but figure at some point someone is likely going to have some type of problem and try to blame me.

    The property I did Thursday had the thermostat (digital) in the off position when I started the inspection. I made sure I put it back to off when I left the property, but started thinking about my peers in the cold north. What do they do? Too much risk of freezing and breaking something. I have came across "winterized" properties in the Houston area, but fortunately our winter is fairly mild.

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    Being that your in Houston and I'm in Dallas I figure i'm north as you mentioned.

    Yeah, it doesn't get that cold here either but if I know that the temperature is possibly going to drop below freezing for the night I'll call the listing agent and make her aware and ask if I should leave the heat on to keep from possible causing any problems.

    Most say sure and I do so. I also document on the HI report of the conversation, and the time in doing so.

    No problems have occurred in doing so.

    rick


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    I take a similar tack, Rick.
    I will usually take whatever action I deem appropriate, like setting the heat at 55 or whatever, then call the listing agent and inform them of what I have done.
    Same thing if I see a water leak, electrical issue, or the heat does not work. I call the listing agent while I am driving away and offer to go back and change it to their preference (unless a safety hazard) but the agent is usually grateful of the action and appreciates the call.
    Of course sometimes you have to just leave a voice mail, but better safe than sorry.
    I too have never had a problem.
    I am more nervous when entering the foreclosed and vandalized property, never know who or what you might meet around the corner.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    I actually was *told* to go back to a property that I inspected and turn the heat back off. I left it on at 55 as Rick said. They de winterized the home and it was freezing that day. I courteously left the heat on 55.

    Get this....The agent went over to the home afterward and discovered that even though cool at 55 I left the heat on. She called and asked why I left it on as well as the electric. I said it was below freezing and there is water in the traps and lines as well as the water heater. She said it did not matter and I needed to go shut the house down in a very nasty demanding tone. I could not help it. I chuckled and said "yeah, right " and hung up.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 04-27-2009 at 06:05 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    I just do what common sense tells me... which means I'll likely be sued for all I'm worth someday because I should know better.... common sense has no place in this society

    I had one recently where the water company guy came and energized the system during the inspection. He was barely out of the driveway when water began cascading down off of the opened garage door. It turns out the pipe that ran over the garage and to a hose bib had not been drained, froze/burst over the winter and leaked like crazy once the water was turned on.

    I told the buyer's agent to be sure and tell the listing agent that the state SOPs prohibit me from operating a shut-off valve but I went ahead and made an exception in this case.... since there was about 10 gallons/minute of water pouring out of the garage ceiling.

    Basically, I treat a house like I would treat my own and how I would leave it with the forseeable future in mind and if someone wants to complain they can call me. I'll be happy to chip in $10 in 'wasted' gas/electricity to keep the pipes from freezing.


  6. #6
    Don Belmont's Avatar
    Don Belmont Guest

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    I suppose I'm north (Vermont). I leave the property the way it was when I got there. If the place is winterized then it stays that way. Up to the seller to make the property ready for inspection.

    I get the request all the time to go ahead and turn things on. I politely but firmly refuse. To many documented cases up here where pipes have already busted from freezing. I've caught a few agents trying to get me to turn the valve (and get the liability) when they knew the pipes were toast.

    If the heat is on (usual case) then when I leave I put it back on whatever temperature it was when I started. If it's off it stays off. That way there's no room for argument or insistence that I go back. At least so far.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    Did an inspection on a empty townhome New Years eve. It was winterized but the main water shut off valve to all four units were in this units basement. When I was finishing the inspection and packing up my client walked over to the thermostate. I asked him what he did, he shut off the heat. I explained to him he did not own the unit yet and was not paying for the heat and if he wanted to comeback to a flooded townhome next month when he closed we could leave the heat off. Illinois winters can be brutal he laughed and thanked me.

    If it flooded who would have been blamed? Most likely me.

    Steve Reilly
    Owl Inspection Services
    Villa park IL.


  8. #8
    Martin Compton's Avatar
    Martin Compton Guest

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    Working in the Coachella Valley of California (includes Palm Springs), we do not have a concern about freezing piping. However, in this era of REO's, we always request that the buyer or buyer's agent verify that the utilities are on. When I get to the site, frequently one or more of the utilities are off. If I have or get permission from one of the agents involved, I will turn on water at the house and electricity at the sevice panel. I will not and do not turn on gas or the water valve at the street on the city side of the meter. There are listing agents that will tell you to do that. I have checked with at least one city here and that valve is the property of the city. Is anyone else having similar problems? How do you handle it?

    Also, by extremely careful in turning on water to a house. Recently, an agent that I work with went to a house to have the water turned on by the city. Apparantly, neither the agent or the city employee checked the house after the water was turned on. The was pex tubing in the attic that had holes in it presumably from rats, and the entire house was flooded with extensive damage.


  9. #9
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Compton View Post
    Working in the Coachella Valley of California (includes Palm Springs), we do not have a concern about freezing piping. However, in this era of REO's, we always request that the buyer or buyer's agent verify that the utilities are on. When I get to the site, frequently one or more of the utilities are off. If I have or get permission from one of the agents involved, I will turn on water at the house and electricity at the sevice panel. I will not and do not turn on gas or the water valve at the street on the city side of the meter. There are listing agents that will tell you to do that. I have checked with at least one city here and that valve is the property of the city. Is anyone else having similar problems? How do you handle it?

    Also, by extremely careful in turning on water to a house. Recently, an agent that I work with went to a house to have the water turned on by the city. Apparantly, neither the agent or the city employee checked the house after the water was turned on. The was pex tubing in the attic that had holes in it presumably from rats, and the entire house was flooded with extensive damage.
    Martin: I tell the clients and agents up front that the house will be inspected in the condition in which it is found: with or without the utilities on. The onus is then on them to have them turned on. I do not operate any main valves, except for the gas meter valve in the event I find a gas leak in the house. I then shut it off and call the gas utility company, occupied or not.

    Complaints? Sure, if you are in any business you will get complaints, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. So what?


  10. #10
    Mike Truss Guy's Avatar
    Mike Truss Guy Guest

    Default Re: Anyone else paranoid about "closing" an unoccupied property?

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Maybe I am just getting more paranoid, but I find myself getting a little more nervous whenever I leave an unoccupied property. Im always very careful to put everything back exactly the way I found it, but figure at some point someone is likely going to have some type of problem and try to blame me.

    The property I did Thursday had the thermostat (digital) in the off position when I started the inspection. I made sure I put it back to off when I left the property, but started thinking about my peers in the cold north. What do they do? Too much risk of freezing and breaking something. I have came across "winterized" properties in the Houston area, but fortunately our winter is fairly mild.
    I'm always nervous when I leave houses with lock boxes. How many people from inspectors to real estate agents, to maintenance workers have access to the place? Dozens is my guess.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •