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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    At least 1/2 of all homes I inspect lately are said to be vacant but more often than not have property still in the house or the house is staged and has furniture. Whether or not anybody is actually living there or coming to stay once in a while is an unknown. But I list in my reports whether a house is vacant or occupied at the time of inspection.

    What is the best way to report this? If somebody tells me the house is vacant when scheduling the inspection, I have been stating in my reports that the house is vacant but with property still inside. I don't know that this is the best or even the correct way to describe the occupancy status. I'm starting to think a vacant house should truly be vacant with no chairs, furniture, beds, property, etc. But it is very rare to find a house that has absolutely nothing in it and at the time of inspection.

    Thoughts?

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

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    If there is any clothing in the closet or food in a fridge, I might list it as occupied.

    I guess it doesn't really matter although I find it more important to name the parties present during the inspection.

    JMHO

    rick


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    I report the home has personal property in it.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    "Vacant" means different things to different people.

    Unoccupied is a better description for a house full of furniture, or staged, yet has no occupants. Many times someone has moved out and left behind a smattering of furniture.

    I simply ask more questions, here in the land of foreclosures, to determine the true status. I am only reporting the house as vacant if it's empty. Otherwise, I add a standard blurb about furniture, hidden damage, etc.

    Dom.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Southwest US
    Posts
    585

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    Under "HOUSE OCCUPIED?" I fill in "Unknown. Furnishings and personal effects are present."


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    I use the term "partially furnished" at times.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
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    1,258

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    I use occupied or unoccupied. If I'm not sure, I list it as occupied.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Southwest US
    Posts
    585

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    I use occupied or unoccupied. If I'm not sure, I list it as occupied.
    It's a minor point, but why not list it as "not sure"?


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    If there is any clothing in the closet or food in a fridge, I might list it as occupied.

    I guess it doesn't really matter although I find it more important to name the parties present during the inspection.

    JMHO

    rick
    I've actually run across stagers that do put a few clothes in closets.Including a couple of bottles of water and fake food (a little) in frig.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    Sometimes when I am going thru some questions for a client or potential client I ask the question

    "Is the home occupied or vacant". It is a funny question because you are not asking if it is unoccupied, you are asking if it is vacant but your are asking if it is occupied.

    It sounds foolish but half the time I do not even realize how I am asking it. To the potential clients, half are stumped by the question and do not know what I am asking or it just throws them off because I am not asking if occupied or unoccupied. I always have to stop and ask Is it occupied or unoccupied.

    Now they do immediately get "Is it lived in or vacant". Just plays on words.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,445

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    I really only care if the utilities are on. I couldn't care less if there is furniture there, or if someone sleeps there.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    Everyone should note if furniture or stored items are present since that documents areas that are not readily visible. Occupied can mean occupied with furniture if you want it to. The definition is not limited to people.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central Arkansas
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    I will list it as "Partially Furnished" if anything is sitting in the house. That way my report will reflect the fact that there were areas hidden by furniture. It takes the liability off me when the client comes back and wants to know why I missed a hole in the wall, or a stain on the floor. You never know if it was left behind or if they are trying to hide something.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: When is a Vacant Home Really Vacant?

    I don't document occupied or unoccupied. However, if there is personal items in the house restricting my view, it is documented. This could be a fully furnished, occupied home, vacant staged home, or a vacant house with the contractor's tools laying about.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

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