Buying a home is a major investment that comes with many considerations. One of the essential steps in the home buying process is hiring a professional home inspector to ensure that the property is in good condition and free from major issues. However, at one point, the question ‘What are home inspectors not allowed to do?’ may have also crossed your mind.
This blog post will explore what home inspectors are not allowed to do and why homebuyers need to be aware of these limitations. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, understanding the inspection process can help you make informed decisions and avoid potential issues down the line. So, let’s dive in and unlock the truth about home inspections!
What Is a Home Inspection?
Are you planning to buy a new home? Well, before you finalize any deal, make sure that you have a complete understanding of what is a home inspection.
A home inspection is a visual inspection of the overall condition of a property. It is a critical step in the home buying process, which helps you determine any potential issues in the property before making any final decisions.
A home inspection is usually conducted by a professional home inspector who is experienced in inspecting properties. The inspector will thoroughly examine the house, including the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. The home inspection process usually takes around two to three hours, depending on the house size.
After the home inspection, the inspector will provide an inspection report with all the details. The report will highlight any defects or potential problems that may need attention. This information will help you make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase the property.
About Home Inspector Licensing
Home inspector licensing varies by state, but most states require that home inspectors meet specific education and training requirements. Home inspectors must complete a certain number of hours of training, pass an exam, and maintain continuing education credits to keep their licenses.
What Are Home Inspectors Not Allowed To Do?
As a property owner, it’s essential to know what home inspectors are not allowed to do when they inspect residential homes. A home inspector is responsible for reviewing the home’s structure, systems, and components to provide a report to the home buyers. However, there are limitations to what they can and cannot do.
Performing Home Construction or Home Repairs
Home inspectors are not allowed to perform any home construction or repairs on the property they inspect. They inspect the home and provide a report on its condition. If there are any issues with the house, the buyer can use the report to negotiate repairs or request the real estate agent or seller to fix them so they can look for licensed contractors. A home inspector is not qualified to perform any repairs or construction work on the residential property.
Home Inspectors Can’t Advise a Pass or Fail Grade After The Inspection Report
Home inspectors are trained professionals who objectively evaluate a property’s condition. A home inspector is not a mortgage lender, real estate agent, or lawyers and, therefore, cannot provide expert advice in these areas. Instead, their job is to identify potential issues or defects with the property and provide a detailed inspection report for the home buyers’ consideration.
It is essential to understand that a home inspection report is not a professional opinion but an objective evaluation of the residential property. Inspectors are not allowed to provide a pass or fail grade, offer professional opinions, or enforce any repairs or changes. This means that the certified home inspectors cannot provide advice on whether to purchase the property or not. It is up to the home buyer to make an informed decision based on the information provided in the inspection report.
Carry Out Damaging Testing
Home inspectors are also limited by the scope of their inspection as outlined in the purchase agreement. One of the essential things to keep in mind is that home inspectors are not allowed to perform destructive testing. This testing involves cutting into walls, removing floor coverings, or dismantling equipment to assess the condition of a property’s structural or mechanical components. Home inspectors are not authorized to perform any work that will damage the property. Therefore, they can only inspect what is readily accessible and visible.
Home Inspectors Can’t Inspect Homes With Safety Hazards
A safety hazard poses a significant risk to the inspector and anyone in the vicinity, making it impossible to conduct a visual inspection. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) explains that a home inspector is not responsible for identifying all potential risk safety hazards. However, they must report any major safety hazards that pose an immediate threat to the occupants or the property.
Review Systems That Were Previously Reported As Non-Operational
Home inspectors are not allowed to review systems that were previously reported as non-operational. For instance, if a previous home inspector said that the HVAC unit was not functioning correctly, the new home inspector cannot review that system to see if it has been fixed. It is the buyer’s responsibility to confirm if the previously reported issue has been resolved.
Can Result Damage to Home Because of Inspection
During an electrical inspection, reputable home inspectors must avoid damaging the property. Although an inexperienced inspector may cut a wall to locate faulty wiring, this is not permissible. Skilled inspectors are trained to spot material defects without causing further harm to the home. Home inspections should only involve a visual examination, as a qualified professional (such as a licensed contractor) possesses the specialized knowledge and expertise to identify any issues.
Assess The Value of a Home
It is important to note that in an inspection, home inspectors report does not include a home appraisal. Therefore, home buyers should not rely solely on a home inspection report with your real estate transaction to determine the market value of a home. Instead, they should hire a certified appraiser to analyze the property thoroughly.
Assess The Home’s Eligibility For Insurance
A licensed home inspector is not allowed to do certain things during a home inspection. One of those things is to assess the home’s eligibility for insurance. It is essential to know that home inspectors are not insurance agents or underwriters, and they do not have the legal authority to make insurance-related assessments.
This means that home inspectors cannot determine whether or not a home is insurable or provide any recommendations for specific insurance companies. Instead, it is up to the homeowner to contact their insurance company to provide the necessary information about the property.
Provide A Certificate of Occupancy
One thing that home inspectors are not allowed to do is to provide a certificate of occupancy. This is because issuing a Certificate of Occupancy is the responsibility of the local jurisdictions, and their own laws and regulations govern it.
Impose Local Building Codes
While home inspectors may identify code violations or areas of non-compliance with the building code, they are not authorized to enforce local building codes. That is the job of building code inspectors, who have the authority to issue citations and order corrections for code violations.
Home inspectors are not licensed to make judgments about code compliance or to order repairs or improvements to bring a property into compliance with local building codes. Instead, they objectively assess the property’s condition and identify potential issues that may require further investigation or attention from a licensed professional.
Property Lines Cannot Be Identified By Home Inspectors
One of the key things that a home inspector is not allowed to do is to identify property lines or determine the property boundaries.
This is because property lines are legally established, and only a trained land surveyor can locate and mark the property’s boundaries. While a home inspector may be able to identify certain physical features on a property, such as fences or walls, that may suggest the location of the property boundary lines, they are not legally allowed to establish or verify the exact location of those lines.
This is why it’s crucial to hire a professional land surveyor to identify the property boundary lines accurately. Land surveyors will use specialized tools and techniques to establish the precise location of the property boundary lines, including measuring and mapping the property’s physical features and comparing them to legal records.
Is it common for home inspectors to climb onto the roof?
Home inspectors typically assess the condition of the shingles, gutters, and other roof components by climbing onto the roof during an inspection. Nevertheless, if the roof is steep or unsafe, they may choose not to do so.
Do home inspectors move furniture or hazards (snow, ice) to access the house?
Home inspectors are not allowed to move furniture or other items blocking their access to certain home areas. They can also not remove snow or ice around the home to access certain areas. While they may ask the homeowner to move certain items, it is ultimately up to the homeowner to clear a path for the inspector to do their job effectively.
Can a home inspector decide the presence of hazardous evidence?
Home inspectors are trained to identify potential safety hazards but are not licensed or trained to test for the presence of hazardous materials such as lead paint, asbestos, or mold. If a home inspector suspects the presence of these materials, they may recommend further testing by a licensed professional.
Can home inspectors examine solar power systems?
While home inspectors are licensed professionals who can provide valuable insights about a property, they are not licensed to evaluate a solar power system. This is because examining a solar power system requires specialized training and expertise. Hiring a qualified solar energy professional with the necessary skills to assess a solar power system is crucial.
Is it part of a home inspector’s job to check the inside of closets?
One common question many people have is whether or not qualified professional inspectors are allowed to check inside closets. The answer to this is that it depends on the situation. If the cabinet is open and readily accessible, the inspector will typically check it as part of their evaluation. However, if the closet is locked or not immediately apparent, the inspector will only be able to inspect it with permission from the homeowner. Home inspectors are generally not allowed to open locked doors or cabinets without consent from the homeowner.
Is it possible for home inspectors to offer an approximate expense for repairs?
Home inspectors are trained to identify issues and thoroughly evaluate the property. However, they are not qualified to provide cost estimates for repairs. Home inspectors are not licensed contractors, and they do not have the training or expertise to estimate repair costs accurately. If you need an estimate for repairs, it’s best to contact a licensed contractor.
Is it possible for a home inspection to provide an estimate of a home system’s life expectancy?
While a home inspection can provide valuable insights into a property’s condition, an inspector can’t estimate a home system’s life expectancy. This is because the life expectancy of a system largely depends on factors such as maintenance, usage, and environmental conditions. Additionally, if the property is new construction, it is impossible to determine the life expectancy of any system as it has yet to undergo the test of time.
Foothills Home Inspections As Your Trusted Home Inspectors
When it comes to choosing a qualified professional home inspector in Northern Colorado, Foothills Home Inspections is an excellent choice.
Foothills Home Inspections has been providing top-notch home inspection services for many years. We have a team of highly qualified and experienced inspectors who are equipped with the latest tools and technology to deliver comprehensive inspection reports.
What sets us apart is that we focus on more than just what we can do. We also carefully discuss with our clients what we are not allowed to do during a home inspection.
At Foothills Home Inspections, we prioritize our clients’ safety and satisfaction. We take the time to explain our process and address our clients’ concerns. Our goal is to ensure that our clients have all the information they need to make an informed decision about their investment. Contact us today to schedule your home inspection.