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11-24-2008, 11:44 AM #1
I have been inspecting more and more foreclosure properties lately and a question has arisen regarding de-winterization. My question (for those inspecting in the cold climate areas) is do you tell the agent not to bother with de-winterizing of the property prior to the inspection and that you will do it yourself or do you let them take care of it first and then once done do the inspection? It seems to me to be a simple matter of dewinterizing a property 1) turn water on, 2) fireup hot water heater, and 3) flush coolant from drain lines.
Maybe I'm missing something here (aside from the potenital liability aspect of it), but is there anything else. I'm not worried about the winterization following the inspection since this should be picked up by the agent/broker.
Home Analysts, Inc.
11-24-2008, 12:49 PM #2
If you do it the first thing on your list should be to make sure all the fixtures are turned off. Since they like to put water heaters in the attic here in Texas they can make a pretty big mess if turn the water on and the thing is still open. There are also a few yahoos that will turn the washing machine valves on just for a surprise. Other than it costing you more than your inspection revenue and a few hours of clean up it's no biggie.
I actually did one this morning and all turned out well. The guy showed up at 12:30 to dewinterize. I didn't want to sit around for 4 hours waiting for him.
It's a risky business and my insurance wouldn't have covered a dime!
11-24-2008, 01:22 PM #3
I know that there will be many coming back and saying "You are kidding me right? What do you mean no liability???"
Well, you are being given the OK to de winterize by the woman in charge of the sale of the home, or man. If something goes bad like you, oh my goodness, some water leaks out from under a cabinet. So what. If someone else came in and de winterized the home and the same thing happened, so what. As I said. What liability????? There is none. The liability it on the listing company in charge of the home. Not you. They gave you the go ahead to turn the house back on. You did not do it all by yourself.
Just my opinion. Others I am absolutely sure will tell you that you will have damnation for the rest of your life and they hope you have big insurance, fat pockets and a good lawyer. Fooey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If the company gives you the go ahead then they are liable for what ever not you.
11-24-2008, 03:12 PM #4
There are two things that has a potential to cost you money no matter if you did everything correctly or not.
1st, if a problem arises, do you have something in writing from that company. If not, then they can deny giving you permission. Unless you can prove differently, not many judges are going to let you off just because you say "they told me it was OK to turn the water on to the house" while they say "no we didn't".
2nd, even if they gave you something in writing, that company can come after you because they feel you didn't do something right which has resulted in expense for repair.
That is the real world and my wife has seen too much of it.
11-24-2008, 04:22 PM #5
Its not the agent who usually orders the home to be winterized. Its the bank or mortgage company to takes possession.
You don't want to get into claiming you re-winterized the house after your inspection or showing up for an inspection and de-winterizing the home.
Both have too much liability involved.
Winterizing is not just turning off or draining the fixtures.
If I show up and the house is winterized, I don't do the inspection. The client at that time still pays in full for the inspection and I will return when the listing agent sends me a email or fax that the home has been de-winterized.
Some I charge a service call to come back, some I don't. Depends on their demeanor.
Also someone mentioned the washer connections being open. Don't forget those and the ice maker line to the refrigerator if you do consider turning the water on yourself. If not, you'll be off to pick up a wet-vac.
11-24-2008, 06:02 PM #6
Nice to see that somebody can recognize that what they wrote might not be the best to post.
11-24-2008, 06:11 PM #7
Actually just to winded. I just don't have a concern in the slightest with de winterising. One thing I did not ad is my termite folks are at my inspections within minutes of when I show up. They take a couple minutes and listen and watch for leaks when the water goes on until I get back inside.
11-24-2008, 06:15 PM #8
11-24-2008, 06:23 PM #9
11-26-2008, 05:51 PM #10
I ensure that all of the faucets and valves are closed and lift the float on the toilet with a bungee prior to using an air compressor to put about 40 psi on the entire supply system, then verify that the pressure holds and that I can get air pressure from all of the faucets/bibs/toilets/etc. This at least lets you know that the lines are in tact. Then I can feel comfortable turning the water on, but things can still sometimes go wrong. Of course, with all of this extra work there is an extra fee charged.
Re-winterization involves the use of the compressor to blow out the water from the lines after draining them and a pump to physically force the antifreeze through all fixtures to ensure that all of the lines have antifreeze, then the compressor blows out everything again. Toilets and sink/tub traps get vacuumed out and filled with antifreeze.