Importance of Knowing What Inspectors Do and Don’t Do
Home inspectors perform many essential tasks and their thorough investigations help people find out the true condition of a home. A good home inspector takes their job seriously when it comes to providing an accurate report to the seller or buyer of a home.
At times, though, there may be some confusion on what exactly a home inspector is responsible to care for. It is important that home inspectors know their limits and clients know what to expect, so everyone is happy and legal issues are avoided. Different states have very specific guidelines for inspectors to follow. Let’s discuss what home inspectors will not and should not do, while covering some of what they do.
Ten Things Home Inspectors Don’t Do:
Don’t Wreck or Demolish Property
A home inspector can scan all the visible areas of a property in a non-invasive manner. If there is a problem area, they will not cause any additional damage just to get a closer look. For example, they cannot pull back carpet to see if there is mold underneath. They cannot cut into drywall to look inside.
Don’t Pretend They’re Specialists
Unless certified in a specialty area, home inspectors act as general inspectors. If something appears to be an issue, such as the HVAC system, they would recommend that the client hire an HVAC specialist to make a proper evaluation instead of informing the client how the problem can be fixed.
Don’t Perform Repairs on Homes They Inspect
It would be a conflict of interest if a home inspector was to do repair work on a property they just inspected. Even though most home inspectors are honest, rules are in place to protect homeowners from shady practices. This allows all inspectors to perform their work with a neutral viewpoint, not making any assessment based on additional work they may like to perform. It’s common that a home inspector is not allowed to work on a property within a year of inspecting it.
Don’t Mark Property Borders
Home inspectors do not ever establish where property borders are. The question of property lines often comes up in real estate transactions, but this is a task for a professional land surveyor who is familiar with all the legal documents involved.
Don’t Appraise Homes
Real estate agents are the ones who are trained in determining the value of a home and property. While home inspectors are amazing at determining the condition of the property, they are not equipped to establish the value of the property based on these conditions. They do not even give their opinion on the matter.
Don’t Speculate About the Future
Sometimes homeowners want to ask the home inspector how long a component of the house will last or when they think it might fail. Inspectors do not give their opinion on this, because the truth is, they cannot know for sure. Instead, they only relay facts about the current condition and problems that do exist.
Don’t Enforce Building Codes
Home inspectors report on the condition of the property, including safety hazards. But they are not code enforcers. They do not work for the city and cannot write up safety violations or restrict permits. But they do let you know the hazards or defects that exist on a property.
Don’t Kill the Deal
Whether you are having a home inspection done prior to listing your home or before you buy a home, the home inspector is not responsible for ruining any real estate transactions. They simply report in detail the condition of the property. What the client does with that information is up to them. But the home inspector does not pass or fail a property and should know how to refrain from becoming known as a deal killer.
Don’t Do Heavy Lifting
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure their property is ready for the inspection. This means removing debris and providing clear access to areas of the home needing to be inspected. A home inspector should not be expected to clear junk out of the way to do their inspection.
Don’t Give Decorating or Remodeling Advice
Home inspectors take their jobs seriously and are paid for specific tasks. Oftentimes, homeowners will ask the inspector for advice about how to decorate or remodel their homes. Although some home inspectors may have great opinions, this is not what they are there for. Those kinds of questions are for interior designers.
The Dos and Don’ts Matter
As can be seen, there are things that home inspectors do not do and should not be expected to do. At the same time, they fill a valuable role in any real estate transaction. Understanding the role of a home inspector will help all parties in the end.