Home Inspection Coming…Duck and Cover!

Another Home Inspection this week. Another reminder just how risky daily life is. Will most of us even survive the night under the false-security and un-protective custody of our not-so-safe-houses?

Homes used to be a places of refuge. Bastions of comfort. Sanctuaries from all those bad things – out there.
They used to say that most accidents occurred within five miles of home. But after reading this 60 page tome of a Home Inspection my listing client paid $750 for, I’m not so sure.

Now that I’m more aware of all the insidious dangers lurking in every room, closet and corner of the one place that’s supposed to nurture us the most, I don’t see how anyone makes it out the front door in one piece – let alone down the driveway.

Nothing like a Home Inspection Report to make you feel incredibly paranoid and insecure. Nothing like a Home Inspection to make a million dollar place feel like a loathsome den of inadequacy.

I call it the 60 Minutes Syndrome. Goes something like this. Morley Safer (fictitious name?) does a riveting expose on the dangers of automatic garage doors – evil snares for unsuspecting children and small pets – waiting to pin them helplessly underneath.

By the following week consumer protection advocates are up in arms calling for new codes and retroactive auto-reverse safety mechanisms.

On the front line of the Center for Dis-Ease Patrol are the Code Talkers. The Home Inspectors that cite chapter and verse of all the new codes to live by. They understand after a lawsuit or two that if they don’t warn everyone about every possible thing that could potentially harm everyone, their own asses are in grave danger. CYA rules. Absolute CYA rules absolutely.

And so we are moving into strange territory –Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) is slowly morphing into Caveat Venditor – which means Seller Beware of all those things that will scare you about your own home and scare the heck out of potential home buyers too.

Home Sweet Home. How can it kill, maim or injure thee? Let me count the ways… Here are just a few of the things you never knew you had to worry about…until now.

Does your oven have an anti-tip device? Ever see an oven fall over on someone? Not pretty.

That naked light bulb in your closet? Stack those sweaters high enough and there’s a fire waiting to happen.

That dryer vent? Filling up with combustible layers of lint even as we speak.

How many dyslexic plumbers have installed hot and cold water lines backwards?

Is every stairway a potential stairway to heaven? Risers too high? Too wide? Treds uneven? Handrails too hard to grip?

And God Forbid. Deck rails more than 4 inches apart? Wide enough for small heads to get stuck? My own baby crib had bars wider than that. You are all witness to the end result.

Those sharp screws that secure the electric panel? What if the tip of one of those screws pierces a wire coming in?

GFCI’s? Carbon Monoxide Detectors? Smoke Alarms? Pool Alarms? A ban on all extension cords? Installing tempered glass? Clamps to hold open the damper on your gas fireplace?

When I was growing up we had the good old overriding fear of the atomic bomb. As long as we listened to Bert the Turtle – ducked, covered and didn’t stare directly into the blast, we were ok.

Everything else was gravy. Well, except for remembering not to run with sharp pencils in hand or put those plastic dry cleaning bags over our heads. Life was a gift with all it’s imperfections. But that was a different day and age.

Long before fear came home to roost.


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