The role of the home inspector is often misunderstood by both the Real Estate agent and the home buyer. Unfortunately, some home inspectors do not understand their role as an inspector either and can do more harm than good during the process. An unqualified or uninformed inspector can cause enormous problems that many times cannot be corrected. A clarification of the inspector’s role is essential in utilizing the inspection and inspection report in a proper and functional way. The inspector represents the buyer in the inspection process and is only responsible to that customer. The inspector should be looked upon as part of the buyer’s team which also includes the real estate agent, lender, closing attorney and any other experts hired by the buyer. The home inspector may be the only team member that is not influenced by whether or not the deal closes. The inspector gets paid at the time of the inspection. The information collected during the inspection is the sole property of the client and cannot be revealed to anyone without the client’s permission. In most cases, the client will share the inspection report with his/her real estate agent.
The Responsibilities of a Home Inspector
The sole responsibility of the inspector is to provide the client with a complete and thorough inspection which translate into the inspection report. The report is not an appraisal of value but represents the condition of the property at the time of the inspection. The report serves as an informational tool to assist the buyer in understanding the condition of the property in question and lists any defects that will require attention. Don’t think of the inspection report as a “pass or fail” test, but as an information gathering process. It is also important to mention that the home inspector has no authority in the real estate process. His or her role is advisory only. A home inspector does not have the authority to make you repair or correct anything documented during the inspection. Only municipal inspectors can make a builder comply with things like building codes.
American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Standards of Practice
Inspectors should follow a nationally accepted set of inspection standards. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Standards of Practice dates to 1976 and is used by many inspectors today. Keep in mind that the Standards only represents a minimum level of performance. Many inspectors perform inspections that goes above and beyond these standards.
A Home Inspector’s Experience Level Means Everything
The impact of an inexperienced inspector can irreparably damage the real estate transaction and the reputation of the home being inspected. A haphazard observation statement can cause unnecessary alarm for the buyer and possibly cause the deal to fall through altogether. Once an inspection error has occurred it is almost impossible to correct the damage that has been caused. The buyer’s confidence in the property has been compromised, and in many cases cannot be restored. The home inspection report can also become part of the Disclosure Statement for the home making it even harder to sell.
Buyer / Home Inspector Communication is Key
The inspector should also take into consideration the experience level of the buyer and conduct the inspection accordingly. The home inspection should be modeled to suit each individual client’s background and needs. Buyer experience can range from the first time home buyer to the corporate client that may have owned multiple homes. Some buyers are handy around the house while others have absolutely no experience or skills in this area. Some investors may be buying the property sight unseen and are relying on the inspector’s expertise to convey the condition of the property. When the client cannot be present, home inspections may require a more detailed inspection report with complete and accurate information recorded.
Home Inspectors should Quote Building Codes Only for New Construction
An inappropriately quoted building code will almost always create a problem especially if the possibility of negotiating repairs with the seller is an option. For example, if a deck is deemed unsafe due to age or deferred maintenance, it should be called out on the report but without the code reference. A seller does not have to bring their home up to current code compliance when they put it on the market.
This is just an overview of the role the Home Inspector plays in your home buying experience. In the next post about the roles and responsibilities of home inspectors, we’ll explain more about the actual inspection and how the Home Inspector’s observations begin as soon as he/she steps out of the vehicle and gets a first glimpse of a home’s grounds.
Not all home inspectors are created equal. A Better Inspector has sellers, homeowners, and realtors who use them time and time again so they have the most accurate information possible before they buy or sell a property.
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A Home Inspector’s Role Series
- A Home Inspector’s Role Series – #7 What a Home Inspector Should Inspect in Your Attic
- A Home Inspector’s Role Series – #6 The Electrical Inspection of a Home
- A Home Inspector’s Role Series - #5 What Inspectors Look For In Garages
- A Home Inspector’s Role Series - #4 The Exterior of Your Home or Office
- A Home Inspector’s Role Series – #3 What Goes Into a Roof Inspection
- A Home Inspector’s Role Series - #2 Inspecting the Grounds
- A Home Inspector's Role Series - #1 An Overview of a Home Inspector’s Role and Responsibilities
About A Better Home Inspector
A Better Inspector provides the most extensive property inspections in the Northern Kentucky / Cincinnati area! Since 2000, we have been educating our customers about the properties they own or may want to purchase.
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