Robin Jade Conde

PODCAST: Attics should always be accessible

In this episode, Reuben Saltzman and Tessa Murry cover various topics related to home inspections, attic access, and home inspectors’ challenges. It also delves into the importance of accessing attics and crawl spaces during home inspections and the impact of contractual obligations on the inspection process. The conversation covers the challenges of accessing and inspecting attics in home inspections, including the resistance from sellers and listing agents, the lack of inspection by building officials, and the proposal for a checkbox on the purchase agreement to address attic access. The discussion also highlights the importance of attic inspections in new construction homes and the potential defects found in attics. The episode concludes by mentioning continuing education classes for real estate agents.


Attic and crawl space access is crucial for home inspections
Contractual obligations regarding attic access can impact the inspection process
Challenges faced by home inspectors in gaining access to attics and crawl spaces
Challenges of accessing and inspecting attics in home inspections
Resistance from sellers and listing agents regarding attic access
Lack of inspection by building officials for attic access
Proposal for a checkbox on the purchase agreement to address attic access
Importance of attic inspections in new construction homes
Potential defects found in attics
Continuing education classes for real estate agents


00:00 Contractual Impact on Home Inspections
17:11 Navigating Attic Access in Home Inspections
26:03 Challenges in New Construction Attic Inspections
30:37 Proposal for Attic Access Checkbox on Purchase Agreements



The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.


Reuben Saltzman: Welcome to my house, welcome to the Structure Talk podcast, a production of Structure Tech Home inspections. My name is Reuben Saltzman. I’m your host alongside building science geek, Tessa Murry. We help home inspectors up their game through education, and we help homeowners to be better stewards of their houses. We’ve been keeping it real on this podcast since 2019, and we are also the number one home inspection podcast in the world, according to my mom. Welcome back to the show. It is a fine summer day, enjoying summer here in Minnesota. It’s not quite summer yet. Summer doesn’t start until mid June, does it?


Tessa Murry: Yeah, I think the summer salsa, isn’t it June 21st or 22nd or 21st?


RS: That sounds right.


TM: It’s somewhere around in there. Is it the summer? Is it the vernal equinox? Vernal Equinox, day and night are equal June 21st. I’m embarrassing myself here.


RS: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. The vernal equinox is in the spring.


TM: Oh yeah.


RS: And that’s when it’s equal.


TM: March 20th. Okay. Next year.


RS: This is the summer solstice.


TM: Solstice.


RS: That’s coming up. And that’s the longest day of the year.


TM: Correct. Okay. Thank you for correcting me on that. That makes sense. Yes, and it is June 20th, this year, 2024.


RS: Alright. And I got a friend who’d always joke, he says, yep, as soon as summer starts, the days get shorter. And it’s like, yeah, you’re technically right. They do.




TM: So true. It does feel like summer though. And I don’t know if you have a lot of cottonwoods where you are, but I’m surrounded by them here. And it… When you step outside it’s like it’s snowing.


RS: Yes.


TM: You get hit by all these little fuzzies everywhere and the only thing I can think of is, oh my gosh, how many intakes are gonna get clogged?


RS: Oh my goodness. Yes, Tess. I was out disc golfing yesterday and it seriously felt like it was snowing. I wanted to take a video of it. And then there was the park lawnmower going around and you should have seen the cloud surrounding this thing. I really should have taken a video. It was comical.


TM: Oh my gosh. Yeah. And there’s just like a dusting of it that on the grass, it’s just, it’s wild. There’s just so much of it.


RS: Yeah. You wanna know what we used to do as kids?


TM: Yes.




RS: It would line the streets and the curbs and you’d get a lighter, you’d light it ’cause it’s very flammable. And then you get this path of flame that goes all the way down the road and you’d kind of line it up so it wouldn’t break and you’d just watch the fire travel all the way around. It was really cool.


TM: Why am I not surprised? I could tell by that look on your face. You were gonna have a story like that.




RS: Yeah.


TM: Did your mom know and your dad know that you were doing that? Just lighting the street on fire.


RS: We wouldn’t do it when they’re at home. Come on.




TM: Well, they do now.


RS: Yeah, yeah.


TM: Don’t they listen?




RS: I’ll have to show my kids that little trick someday.


TM: Oh my gosh, they don’t. So Sigh has never done that or Lucy?


RS: They probably have thinking that I’d get in trouble if I did this, but I don’t have cottonwoods on my street. We’d have to go somewhere else. And it just… It feels weird doing it in somebody else’s neighborhood, I suppose.


TM: Yeah. You could probably get… Don’t you think you could get arrested for that? Also…


RS: Probably.


TM: Don’t do it when it’s… We’ve had so much rain. Everything’s really green and wet here, so you don’t have to worry about starting a fire. But there’s some places in the world where you would not want to do that, it seems very dangerous.


RS: Yeah. Well, it seemed safe ’cause it’s on a curb. It’s street. There’s nowhere for this to travel to. It’s all pretty [0:03:52.2] ____.


TM: Unless there’s like oil that’s spilled and it takes the fire somewhere else you didn’t intend it to. Or there’s some animal in the gutter. Who knows? I can see this going wrong a million ways.


RS: You’re no fun at all, Tess.




TM: Oh, Reuben, I feel we could fill up a whole podcast with stories like this from your childhood.


RS: Oh my goodness. I’m sure we could, yeah, so many.


TM: Then we’d have to ban your kids from listening but they don’t listen to this.


RS: They don’t listen anyway. Who cares? Yeah. So Tess…


TM: Reuben confessions part one.




RS: Yeah. Right? Oh my gosh. Yeah. But my parents listen. I’m pretty sure. Yeah, that wouldn’t be good. So Tess, where were you? You were just teaching today? What’s your latest teaching escapades? What’s going on?


TM: Yeah, I got connected to another nonprofit. It’s actually, it’s really cool, this organization, shout out to Minnesota Tool Library. They basically are, again, a nonprofit that exists and if you’re a homeowner or you want to use a tool and you don’t wanna buy it, you can become a member of this organization and you can check out a tool, any tool.


RS: So cool.


TM: And it’s low cost and they offer different educational opportunities. They bring people in to teach them how to use the tools, how to do different practical things. And so it’s a whole community of people that are just open to sharing and passing along their wisdom and their knowledge and in empowering other people and homeowners to kind of explore and build skills and do things for themselves. And so I… It’s pretty neat. So anyways, yeah, I was there teaching today and it’s funny, I showed up and actually the first person that was there was one of my past clients.




RS: No way.


TM: I had no clue.


RS: Oh, so cool.


TM: Yeah, I had no clue.


RS: So what were you teaching on? Infrared cameras, right?


TM: Well, no, but I did show some infrared pictures. I was there talking today about ice dams and insulation and energy efficiency measures. But really, I’ve realized, anytime I talk about one specific problem, I always have to take a step back and talk about the house as a system and how all the different parts are interconnected. And so I always weave in talking about combustion safety and indoor air quality and ventilation and all those things as well when we talk about these specific things.


TM: And I ran over some case studies of houses that I tested and did some diagnostic testing on and work for back when I worked at Cocoon that had different problems with air leakage and condensation and ice dams, and showed different floor door pictures of before and after. And so it was pretty cool. It was really fun. They’re an interested group of people. Lots of good questions.


RS: That’s great. Yeah. Yeah. And ice dams really are a thing here. I mean, ice dams and frost in the attic. I mean, that’s one of the biggest problems that we come across as home inspectors. I mean, stuff that just freaks people out is, what kind of problems are going on in the attic, right?


TM: The attic I think is, for me personally, the attic is one of the most important parts of the house that can tell you so much about what’s working or what’s not working or what some of these big potential problems might look like for you.


RS: Yes.


TM: Are you gonna have ice dams? Do you have frost or mold or durability issues? So yeah, it’s so important to get in the attic and to do a full inspection.


RS: Yeah. At least in Minnesota, I suppose you get in the southern climates, I don’t know what happens up there. Probably nothing of any consequence, but.




TM: Oh my gosh. They’ve got their own set of problems. But I would think that attics are really important to get into too, even in the south, because that’s where they put all of their HVAC equipment, right?


RS: Yeah. They do. Don’t they?


TM: Don’t they usually put their air handlers and duct work and all of that…


RS: I think you’re right.


TM: In the attic? Yeah.


RS: Okay. So…


TM: And I think so.


RS: Attics are really, really important to get into. [laughter]


TM: Yeah. Yes. They are. What’s our topic today, Reuben? Perfect segue.


RS: Well, that is our topic for today, Tess. That’s a great segue. Is the importance of being able to get in the attic. And if you’re hiring a home inspector, make sure they can get in the attic. That’s our message today.


TM: Isn’t that the home inspector’s job? Like if I was buying a home and I was getting it inspected and paying a big chunk of money and the attic is a huge important piece of this, wouldn’t I just assume the inspector’s gonna go in there?


RS: Oh, well, yeah. I mean that’s part of the home inspection standard of practice is to inspect the attic. However, home inspection standards of practice also kind of limit the responsibility of the home inspector. Home inspectors aren’t required to move personal items. I mean, if there’s a bunch of stuff blocking it, the home inspector is not required to move all the personal stuff. If the attic access panel is screwed shut, the home inspector is not required to get a drill out and remove screws to get that cover off. All the home inspector has to do is say, it’s blocked. I can’t inspect it. Moving on. That’s the minimum standard of practice.


TM: Crazy. That’s so crazy.


RS: Yes.


TM: But at Structure Tech, you don’t do that, do you? [laughter]


RS: Oh heck no. We do everything we can to get in the attics. And I’ve possibly blogged on this topic more than any other topic. I’ve written about this so many times. And back in the day, I was blogging for the Star Tribune, our local newspaper. And I had a regular blog there. And I’d write about it frequently. And I’m not saying that this was my doing, but around the time where I was really hitting this hard, the local Realtors Association ended up making what I think is a fantastic change to the standard purchase agreement form that everybody uses.


RS: It’s a form that’s nobody’s required to use it, but I mean, I’d say 99% of the time, if someone’s just buying a property other than new construction, for new construction, they got their own thing. But for an existing sale, they all used the same standard purchase agreement form. And back in 2016, they changed that form and they added a line on there under the home inspection section and it says, seller shall provide access to attics and crawl spaces. I mean…


TM: Oh my gosh.


RS: Yeah. It’s fantastic. So now the seller is contractually obligated to provide access to the attic and the crawl space. Now…


TM: Do you think brought this to their attention, Reuben?


RS: I’d like to think that my blog had something…


TM: All of your hundreds of classes?


RS: Yeah. I don’t… I dunno. I dunno. I mean…


TM: That’s pretty cool.


RS: Maybe it’s just a total coincidence.


TM: No, I don’t think so. You little influencer, you.


RS: Maybe, maybe. Or maybe not.


TM: Changing the industry for the better. Thank you so much.


RS: We’re trying, and I’ll tell you what Tess, I’m actively trying to change it to make it even better right now and we’ll come back to that.


TM: Okay. Put a pin in that for now.


RS: But I was super excited when this happened and it’s like, alright, yay. As home inspectors from now on, we’re not gonna have to fight these battles ’cause it’s in the contract now when we show up to do the home inspection, the attic is gonna be cleared out, it’s gonna be accessible. We’re not gonna have to remove screws, we’re not gonna have to “break the attic seal”. Hold on. What does it mean to break the attic seal, Tess?


TM: Oh my gosh. It could mean a million things. I guess changing the appearance of it, right? That’s what we’re always fighting against as home inspectors because we’re not supposed to change the appearance of the house. We need to leave it the way we found it. So if we need to cut the caulking or cut through the paint or take the screws out, I mean, there’s always a risk of changing the appearance.


RS: Yes. Yes, there is. So we’re not supposed to do that, but it… All right. I…


TM: It says gray area.


RS: I’m getting sidetracked. I’m getting sidetracked. But I was super excited that we’re not gonna have to be doing that anymore. And then time goes on and I quickly realize nobody reads the contract. The buyers don’t read it, the sellers don’t read it. And most of the agents seem to not read it. Most people seem to just not be aware that this is in the contract at all. And even after this big change happened, no real change happened with people buying and selling houses. Attics are still just as tough to get into as they were in 2015. Case in point, I was just at an inspection yesterday with Eric Larson, who we just had on the show a couple weeks ago. We’re doing an inspection together and there’s the attic, it’s in the master bedroom closet and there’s shelves going all the way up to the top and stored personal stuff, completely filling the attic.


RS: Now, I’m there to help Eric get through the inspection. And so, I’m like, “Eric, you go do your thing. I’ll clear this out.” So I moved everything I had to, I removed one of the shelves, laid it all out meticulously. We got up in the attic, and then when we were done, I put it all back meticulously. I put it exactly the way it was. Nobody’s ever gonna know we were up there. But the seller signed an agreement saying they were going to provide access. Of course, they didn’t do that.


TM: Yeah.


RS: And then this house had a crawl space too. Not only did it have a crawl space, but it had the world’s largest tree growing right next to the foundation. And there’s these big cracks in the foundation wall. I mean, there’s like one inch offsets right by the tree, and then the worst area would be in the crawl space. And we couldn’t get in there. There’s an access panel, but it’s all framed in, it’s got this trim that’s all installed. There’s no way we’re getting that out. And we just couldn’t get in there at all. There was no inspecting the crawl space, contrary to what it says in the contract.


TM: So, and I can speak from my experience too, when I was inspecting at Structure Tech, even with that amendment to their contract, which says a seller shall provide access to attics and crawl spaces, we didn’t really see that transfer over to reality. And I think those were some of the most complicated situations I ever came across as a home inspector. And I always dreaded it. Whenever I’d find an attic access that I knew I was not gonna be able to easily get into, it’s like, “Okay, what do I do now? Do I… ” And then you go through this whole process and you talk about it in your video blog, you wrote on this very issue. Structure Tech has kind of a protocol that the inspectors go through on trying to gain access and getting permission and jumping through all those hoops to make it possible. But it’s so much added stress and drama and time and energy and effort when you come across that as a home inspector.


RS: It is.


TM: And it’s disappointing too, if you can’t get in there. There’s a… It’s very disappointing and upsetting too for the buyer.


RS: Totally. Totally. And we go out of our way to try to head the stuff off at the pass. As soon as we schedule the inspection, we send an email to the listing agent saying, “Hey, we’re gonna do a home inspection at your listing. It’s this day, this time. We have a very short list of stuff that we would love for you to pass along to the seller.” Just to make sure we can get the inspection done the first time we’re at the house so there’s no return trips and we can save everybody’s time. And it’s a short list. We don’t… It’s not like an attachment that someone’s gotta open, it’s just right in the email and it says, “Please make sure that you got the… Open the curtains. So we don’t need to mess with that.” How many times have you broken shades?


TM: Oh, more than I’d like to admit. Yeah.


RS: Yeah, yeah. You get those…


TM: Vinyl blinds from the ’80s that no one has ever touched, [laughter]


RS: Yes. Those vinyl blinds, you go to pull the string even you use two hands, you start pulling it…


TM: They fall down in your hands.


RS: Just it’s sun bleached, it’s brittle, it falls apart on you. Yeah. So we say, open the blinds, make sure that we’ve got access to the furnace. Make sure we’ve got access to the electric panel. Make sure we’ve got access to the attic.


TM: Yeah.


RS: And if the attic is sprayed shut or cock shut or whatever, please open it. And if you don’t know how or you’re not comfortable, leave us a note and we’ll do it. We’ll be happy to do it.


TM: Give us written permission.


RS: Yeah. Give us written permission and we don’t need anything fancy, just a note that says, “Dear home inspector, you’re welcome to access the attic. The end.” That’s all we need.


TM: Yeah.


RS: I don’t care what it is. We’re not asking people to sign some official form. Just something, something to make our job a little easier. And…


TM: How many times does that actually happen, Reuben? [chuckle]


RS: Alright, well, I think there’s a couple of questions here, Tess. Number one, how many times does the email get opened by the listing agent? How many times do they even open our email? I’d say very few. How many times do they read it once they open it? Do they actually read it in the entirety? Fewer. How many times do they follow the instructions and forward it to the home seller? Fewer. Fewer, yet? How many times does the home seller open it? Fewer. How many times do they read it? Fewer. And then how many times do they actually do what’s in it?


TM: Follow the directions, yeah.


RS: Yeah, there’s so many points that, and it whittles it down to I mean, I think we’re lucky if we get one out of 1000 home inspection clients who actually follow the instructions on there.


TM: Oh, my gosh, I don’t doubt it, and actually come to think of it, there was a class, a CE class I know that you were teaching, I think it was called Hassle-Free Home Inspections, I think?


RS: Yeah.


TM: It’s still available, great class if you’re a real estate agent and you need CE, you should check it out.


RS: You should.


TM: Yes, we should put a link to the website on the show notes here, so people can find that, but I was gonna say, you’ve got a picture and an example of a seller who actually did that one time, one time. [laughter]


RS: I did have somebody do it. They cleared out the attic.


TM: Yes.


RS: They left a ladder in there for me.


TM: Yes.


RS: And they even left a flashlight.


TM: What?


RS: Just in case I didn’t have a flashlight. Those are the greatest people on earth, aren’t they?


TM: Oh my gosh, you just wanna… You feel like you should be leaving them a gift at the end of that home inspection.


RS: I should have left a gift card.


TM: But really they’re just doing their job.


RS: Yeah, yeah.


TM: You should have left a gift card.


RS: We should have. Yeah, yeah. Starbucks or something, here’s 10 bucks to Starbucks, thank you for making everybody’s life so much easier.


TM: Thanks for doing your job and reading your email.


RS: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So we do that, we try to be proactive, I don’t know what else we could do to try to ask sellers to get their house ready. I mean, we don’t get to have the seller’s information, it all needs to go through the listing agent, but we do that. And then the first thing we do when we show up to the inspection is the inspector’s expected to make a tour of the inside of the house, figure out how they’re gonna get in the attic, and if there are problems, you need to be proactive, get on the horn right away. Like, Hey, there’s no way I can get in this attic, please get in kind… They’ll call the office and then the office will call the listing agent and say, Hey, we need to get up there, what can we do? We’re gonna be here for the next four hours, you got some time, send someone over here to move stuff or whatever or give us permission, we don’t care. We’re happy to help. Just let us complete our job, that’s all.


TM: And despite doing all of this, despite Structure Tech sending… Well, first of all, having this agreement that the seller has to sign, which says they shall give access, and then Structure Tech sending out an email to the seller’s agent, and the seller, which also says this as well, how many times do you think Structure Tech gets pushed back from the seller and the listing agent where they do not want to allow the inspector to open up the attic access even when you ask for permission in that situation?


RS: People are usually pretty accommodating. I can’t complain about that. People are usually pretty good about it. It’s just that the frustrating part is that it all should have been taken care of ahead of time, and what I always thought was if there was something in the contract that set it, this would address it, it’s just… What it comes down to is a big time suck, and especially when we can’t get ahold of people. And…


TM: Well, I’m glad to hear that ’cause when I was inspecting, I feel like, especially in the first few years, that would’ve been, what, 2016 and ’17? I just feel like whenever I ran into that situation, I dreaded it because I always got pushback from the seller and the listing agent, they’re like, no, no we don’t want you going up there. And then the buyer would be like, well, what do you mean they said, no? And I’d have to explain and they’d be like, but I don’t feel comfortable like not knowing what’s up there, and then you’re stuck in the middle as the home inspector, what do you do?


RS: Yeah, then you’re the bad guy.


TM: Yeah.


RS: Yep, yep.


TM: Yeah. And that happened numerous times, I feel like, so.


RS: Oh, and I know I’ve told this story, you’ve heard it many times when I’ve been teaching CE classes, but I don’t know if I’ve ever shared it on the podcast. It was a time where it was a new construction house and it was a parade of homes, model home or something, and they had a boat parked underneath the garage, attic access, and I had scanned with my infrared camera and I determined there’s no way there’s any insulation on the first floor, ’cause it was a winter day and the ceilings were warm until all of a sudden, it got really cold at the part that went outside. I’m like, there’s no way they insulated, I need to get up here. So I ended up calling the listing agent and asking him to remove the boat.


RS: And he read me the riot act, I mean he’s like, this house is lead certified, and they’d have professionals and what’s your qualifications? And I said, yeah, I scan it with an infrared camera, I don’t think there’s any insulation, he’s like, well, then your little camera’s probably broken and I mean, he’s so condescending. But I was just super nice to him. I was like, yeah, you’re probably right, but if I could get up there, it’d be really great. And he finally came over and he was just piss and vinegar, he was so nasty about it, he pulled the boat out of the garage and then he waits for me. I go up there, not a lick of insulation. And I had him go up there and look and he didn’t say a word to me, no apologies or nothing, but he was on the phone yelling at somebody else about it when he was leaving.


TM: His anger just got redirected.


RS: Yes. Yeah. It was no longer directed at me, but yeah.


TM: Oh my gosh, I think you bring up an important point, this is not just for existing homes that home inspectors wanna get in and inspect the attic, we’re talking about new construction homes, and we’ve found so many defects in new construction homes, right? Like, what?


RS: So many in the attic.


TM: What kind of defects do you find?


RS: Well, disconnected bath fan ducts, countless disconnected bath fan ducts where you’re just blowing warm, moist air into the attic, lots of broken rafters. We found a handful of attics with zero insulation whatsoever, they forgot to insulate it, found countless…


TM: How does that house pass an inspection?


RS: Great question, Tess. I’ll tell you how, there is no such thing as an attic insulation inspection on new construction, no such thing.


TM: What? What?


RS: Yeah, yeah, it’s crazy. You know what they do?


TM: What?


RS: The insulation contractor leaves a card behind, their certificate of insulation stating what they did, the building official looks at this and they go, ah, here’s what they did, yep that meets code and that’s it. And it’s not just a Minnesota thing, ’cause I heard about this from an inspector in California and I was like, oh yeah, well, there’s no way we do that in Minnesota, and I ended up calling 20 cities in Minnesota and talking to the municipal inspections department, and they all told me the same thing, that’s all they do, they don’t go in attics to inspect insulation. So.


TM: That is a wild, and like you said, there’s so many things that could be wrong, not only just with missing insulation, but bath fans not ducted properly, and structural concerns too. So many countless trusses that are damaged…


RS: So many.


TM: In construction but you would never guess.


RS: Yes, yes, exactly. So.


TM: It’s so important to get up there. Well, and another point too, Reuben, I think you mentioned this in the blog too, but what’s some of the hindrance that these city inspectors that’s keeping them from going up in the attic? Shouldn’t these attics be easily accessible? Shouldn’t they be weather stripped?


RS: Well, what the building code says in the current Minnesota Energy Code, it does say, attic access panels need to be weather stripped. But what they end up doing is they spray drywall finish or they spray the ceiling texture on the drywall around the attic opening, and it makes it look nice and pretty, and it’s “sealed.” And the building officials pass it, and I don’t know how, because that’s not what the building code says, it says it needs to be weather stripped.


TM: Yeah.


RS: I actually went to the building inspections department in my city, we won’t call out my city.


TM: We’ve never talked about it before on past podcast either.


RS: Never talked about it, if you wanna do your research, you can figure it out. But I went to the building inspections department, I went to City Hall ’cause I couldn’t get somebody on the phone. And I talked to someone at the counter and I said, look, a new construction, every time I do a new construction inspection, the attic access panel is sprayed shut, but the building code now says it needs to be weather stripped, why do you guys pass this? And…


TM: They must hate you.


RS: I’m sure they do.


TM: They hate you there.


RS: But the person behind the counter said, well, what does weather strip mean? There’s no definition for that.


TM: Oh, please.


RS: And I just, I walked away defeated, ’cause while it’s not defined in the building code, they don’t have the term weather strip defined, it does say, for terms not defined, you use Merriam-Webster online dictionary. They actually tell you which dictionary to use and it says you use the definition there. And when you look up weather stripping, it’s exactly what you think it is. It says it’s a seal to keep out air, wind, rain, water and whatever. That’s for usable.


TM: Doesn’t it seem like it’s a strip of material specifically?


RS: Yeah. Yeah.


TM: Yeah. Strip of material used to keep out weather from there…


RS: Yeah. So it is defined, but what it comes down to is the building officials are choosing their battles. And you know what? Now that we talk about this, we had a guest on our podcast many years ago, I think, and we talked about this. I can’t remember who it was, but we had a building official on, and really what he said is, the building official has to choose their battles. They can’t…


TM: I remember that.


RS: Nitpick every little thing, so.


TM: Right. True. True. Although I just… I feel like, as we’ve mentioned before, there are so many problems that could go wrong in an attic and expensive ones that you got to get up there, you got to see what’s going on.


RS: Yeah. So it’s in the agreement. It’s not enough. Here’s my proposal test. Tell me what you think about this.


TM: Yeah. Bring this full circle background. What are working on?


RS: I’m working to change this. There is something called a standards committee for the Minnesota Association of Realtors, or I think I’m saying that right. They have what’s called the standards committee. And every so many years, they review the standard purchase agreement form or maybe it’s a forms committee, I don’t remember. But there’s some committee and I put in a proposal to them suggesting that we have a checkbox on the purchase agreement. So there’s already a checkbox on there that says the seller will or will not allow intrusive testing. You’re familiar with that? That’s like if we’re gonna drill holes in the stucco or something, everybody always checks no unless they make a big stink about it. And then they gotta check out. But it’s called to their attention. What if we were to have a few more check boxes just like that, that says seller will or will not allow access to the attic.


TM: Yes. Great idea. It’s so simple. They don’t have to do any extra work on their end except for check a box. But then it’s hopefully they’re gonna read it.


RS: They have to read it.


TM: Hopefully it’ll draw some attention.


RS: Yes. And you’re gonna have the same thing, attic, crawl space or maybe there could be another box for NA, ’cause most Minnesota homes don’t have them, electric panel. You will or will not provide access to the electric panel if you’re just outright refusing. Okay.


TM: Yeah. Yeah.


RS: But if it’s yes, it means you can’t have stuff blocking it. And if you’ve constructed some big cabinet over it, you got to move it, you address it ahead of time. How great would that be?


TM: It would be great. You know what? I’m thinking as you’re saying this, I’m like the list could go on and on, access to furnace, access to water heater, access to all these things that a lot of times we have trouble getting to, but I think the building officials, we got pick our battles and we can’t have too many check boxes. People will get frustrated and not read it again. So it’s like, okay, what do we really wanna draw attention to? And what do we usually run? What problems do we typically run into? And I would say attics for sure. Yeah.


RS: Yeah. Yeah. We could just have one. It would definitely be attics.


TM: Attics. Yep. Attics would be my number one for sure.


RS: Yeah. So I’m working on it.


TM: That’s a great idea.


RS: I’m working it.


TM: That’s amazing Reuben, thank you for doing that. On behalf of all of the home inspectors and buyers out there, we appreciate your efforts.


RS: Well, yeah, thank me if it happens.


TM: Oh, that’s pretty awesome.


RS: Yeah, we’ll come back to this episode if it does, but fingers crossed.


TM: Give us an update.


RS: Anytime in the next five years, this could happen. I think it’s a slow process.


TM: I bet it is. I bet it is.


RS: We’re starting it now.


TM: Well, that’s very important. Well, thank you so much for the update on that, Reuben. This concludes our what, 20th podcast, talking about attic accesses, I don’t know.


RS: It’s just the start. It’s just the start.


TM: It’s a topic that we’re passionate about clearly. And it’s an important one. So.


RS: Yep. Yep.


TM: Here we’re.


RS: Just let us do our job. Exactly. Alright Tess, well, great to see you. Fun episode.


TM: Great to see you too.


RS: And to the listeners, if you have any thoughts, please reach out to us. You can reach us at, email us


TM: And what’s the website if people want to, real estate agents wanna check out your continuing education classes?


RS: Oh yeah, you can head on over to, We’ve got tons of online classes. They’re on demand. You won’t find a better deal in education. It’s $5 per hour. All of the classes are approved for continuing education requirements by the Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce. We have to say that.


TM: Yes. Yes. Thank you.


RS: Alright. Thank you for the reminder, Tess. And if anybody wants to reach out to you, how do they reach you? How do they find you?


TM: Oh, if people want to talk to me about any of their house questions, concerns, they’re thinking about future maintenance or upgrades or they’ve got conflicting information from different contractors they’re trying to figure out or sort through, they can find me online at


RS: Beautiful. That’s a show. Thank you Tess.


TM: Thank you so much.


RS: Take care.


TM: Thanks Reuben.


RS: Later.


TM: See you.