The Truth about Home Inspectors
Written by: Andrew Goodman
I wanted to write this post because recently I have seen home inspectors ruin transactions due to their lack of experience, education, knowledge, etc.
Home inspectors are not (and they should disclose) licensed electricians, plumbers, roofers, contractors, etc. Instead, they are licensed home inspectors. Now what is a licensed home inspector? As Realtors®, buyers, consumers, etc. we trust home inspectors to advise us about what is wrong or could be wrong with a property. They are supposed to identify concerns and help a buyer understand what they are purchasing prior to them settling on the home.
The problem comes when a home inspector oversteps his/her boundaries or acknowledges a defect that isn’t really a defect. For those of you that have seen a home inspection report, you have probably noticed that after every item the inspector has listed as a defect, he/she will state “have looked at by a licensed contractor.” This clause is there to protect the inspector from any mistakes in their analysis. Once the report is sent to the buyers agent and buyer, an addendum is written asking the seller to repair certain items. Well, what happens when the seller calls the licensed specialist to repair the issues found and that licensed contractor confirms that there was nothing wrong? Well who is right and who is wrong?
This has happened to one of my listings where an inspector noticed that a post used for a deck was a 4×4 instead of a 6×6. There were 6×6 posts along with 4×4 posts for additional support. A contractor came out to look at the deck. The contractor did acknowledge that the deck was supported correctly even though that if the deck was built today, 6×6’s would be used instead of any 4x4s. He went on to state that the inspectors recommendations were overkill and it would cost more to do the work than the benefits of repairing since the deck was already structurally sound. Let me note, the contractor was a contractor chosen by the buyer. In this instance, the seller decided to repair the issues so the buyers would be comfortable. My point is, the deck wasn’t defective and the inspector analysis said it was.
I had another instance where a HVAC manufacturer came out to repair a newly installed HVAC system in the home since the inspector said it wasn’t working properly. The manufacturer came out and did confirm the unit was correctly installed and working properly. While I am glad this confirmation made everyone more comfortable with the unit, it cost my seller $150 to have the manufacturer come out and look at the unit. Why does the seller have to pay to have a contractor come out due to a home inspectors lack of knowledge and improper analysis? In my opinion, the inspector should have to pay for the false analysis. That will never happen though.
Over the years, we have seen the service provided by several inspectors. That is why we have noted on our site which inspectors we have confidence in to do a top notch inspection for our clients.