What Are Home Inspectors Not Allowed To Do?

Posted by Florida Realty Marketplace on Thursday, December 30th, 2021 at 8:00am

What Are Home Inspectors Not Allowed To Do

During the process of a home inspection, it can be important to manage your expectations of a home inspector. The inspection itself is defined as a non-invasive, visual examination of a residential property with the goal of identifying material defects throughout the home’s structure, systems, and components. Based on this, inspectors have a range of restrictions intended to keep them focused on their job and avoid interference. If you are searching for new homes in Davenport, FL, read on to learn some things you may be surprised to learn an inspector cannot do.

Perform Destructive Testing

Usually, a home inspector is called in on behalf of a client who is purchasing a home to live in or use as a rental. In order to keep the home intact for these uses, an inspector is not able to do anything that damages the home. This may include removing drywall, siding trim, paneling, or floor coverings. Even if an inspector sees evidence of existing damage, they cannot do anything to make the damage worse and instead should note it in their report. Usually, a licensed contractor can be brought in to further evaluate.

Issue Pass and Fail Grades

A home inspection isn’t a test, meaning a home cannot pass or fail an inspection. Home inspectors are not making any decisions about buying a home for a client, simply noting their findings in their professional opinion. If something is found to be broken or damaged, licensed contractors can better provide information on corrective measures. The client can use this information to determine if they want to move forward with a purchase.

Condemn a Property

Home inspectors do not determine if a property can be inhabited or not and do not have the legal authority to condemn a home. Local building code enforcement officers have this power within the limits of their jurisdiction.

Enforce Local Building Codes

Similar to condemnation, building codes are enforced by local authorities, not home inspectors. The inspector may be able to cite local codes as a reference during a report, but they have no legal authority to enforce those codes. Even local building code enforcement officers do not inspect residential homes beyond new construction or when there is a new project or complaint filed.

Issue a Certificate of Occupancy

In order to turn on the electricity in a home, the power company requires a certificate of occupancy that authorizes the installation of an electrical meter and establishes power in the home. This is true for both new home construction or when a service meter has been removed due to vacancy. Only an electrical inspection from the local building code enforcement officer can issue this certificate, while home inspectors lack the legal authority.

Determine a Home’s Value

Many people confuse the inspection with the appraisal process and expect inspectors to share if they think the house is worth the asking price. Home inspectors not only don’t know these answers but they are forbidden from providing this information. Appraisers are skilled in looking at market conditions to establish a home’s value, which may include the results of an inspection, but inspectors do not have this background.

Determine or Enforce Property Lines

Property boundary lines are a way to establish the size of a parcel in real estate and are set by land surveyors to be outlined on a property plan. Home inspectors do not have a say in this process as it is outside of the inspection process. A trained land surveyor is able to provide this service. Some inspectors also hold this title and can provide both services separately.

Repair a Home

Home inspectors go through a certification process, which can vary by state based on the licensing laws. There are two main organizations that offer certification: the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI or NACHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Both these organizations are bound by a code of ethics which explicitly prohibits home inspectors from performing any repair for a fee within a year of having inspected the home.

Report on Aesthetics or Taste

Home inspectors are meant to report on only items deemed a material defect, which is an issue with a system or component of property that may impact the value of the property or pose a risk. This does not include matters of taste, so inspectors cannot report that a paint color is “ugly” or that cabinets should be redone for appearances.

You should always ask your real estate agent to refer you to a trusted home inspector who will work within these bounds, provide honest and fast results, and give you confidence in your purchase.

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