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Kitchen photos: P 114
After finishing in the lower level you're ready to begin inspecting the livable areas of the house. I usually start with the kitchen and then move from room to room in a clockwise fashion. Feel free to adapt the inspection procedure to any method you like. Check the kitchen walls and floors for any structural problems or settlement cracks. Check the condition of the kitchen floor covering. The majority of houses have vinyl linoleum or ceramic tile floor coverings. In some houses you'll find hardwood on the kitchen floors. Hardwood isn't used as a kitchen floor too often because when it gets wet the wood buckles. Be careful when inspecting older houses that have floor tiles that are 9 inches x 9 inches in size or appear to be made of a very hard type of material. These tiles are usually a Vinyl/Asbestos material so you want to notify your client about the possible asbestos problems with them.
Check the kitchen cabinets by opening and closing a few of them. Make sure the cabinets are securely fastened to the wall and floor. I know an inspector who was inspecting one home and the entire kitchen cabinet came right off the wall when he was checking it. Make sure they install child guards on the cabinets and drawers if there are any children in the house. Child guard hooks prevent children from opening drawers containing knives, cleansers or hazardous items. Check the kitchen countertop for any burned or damaged areas. Also, make sure the kitchen countertop is securely fastened and not loose.
See if there are enough electrical outlets for modern usage. All kitchen outlets should be three pronged and have ground fault circuit interrupter protection. GFCI's are important because electric countertop appliances are often used around the sink. Run the kitchen faucet hot and cold lines to make sure there's adequate hot water. Make sure there are no leaks underneath the sink. If there's a spray attachment in the sink area, check that as well. Sometimes they won't be operating properly.
Ask the client, the seller or the Realtor if the appliances are being sold with the house. Most of the time they are. If they're sold with the house, then spot check the appliances by turning them on and off briefly. For refrigerators, just open the doors to make sure they're cold inside. Tell the client you're very limited in what you can evaluate as to the life expectancy of appliances. This way the client won't think you're guaranteeing that the appliances will work for many years to come.
Note the condition and age of the appliances and recommend that any older units be upgraded for energy efficiency and convenience. Remember to turn off any appliances that you check. You don't want to burn the house down by leaving an oven turned on!