When conducting a home inspection, you may find yourself wondering: what are home inspectors not allowed to do? Home inspection is one of the most critical steps when buying or selling a home. It ensures a fair exchange of property for both parties.
Not everyone wants to buy a house that needs unexpected renovations. If your home has undetected damage or structural defects, it may be a dealbreaker regardless of whether you’re buying or selling.
Working with a home inspector who follows proper safety procedures is vital in protecting yourself from legal liability. This is especially important in Colorado, one of 14 remaining states that don’t require licensing for home inspectors.
Having helped hundreds of homeowners through both sides of the home sales process, we’ve picked up on several red flags to look out for when choosing a home inspector.
It’s easy to recognize true professionals when you know what to look for. If your home inspector exhibits any of the following criteria, it may be worth considering a different home inspector.
Red Flag #1: Recommending Specific Contractors For Repairs
Conflicts of interest can arise when a home inspector recommends repairs with a specific organization. Consider working with a certified home inspector to avoid ethical issues that could influence the quality of repair work.
Even in states that don’t require licensing, certification is available from two different organizations. One is the International Association of certified home inspectors (InterNACHI or NACHI). The other is the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Legal requirements aside, working with a certified home inspector means that work is performed ethically. The InterNACHI code of ethics states that home inspectors are not allowed to recommend or perform repairs for properties they have inspected. This way, homeowners avoid the stress of wondering whether or not repairs are really necessary.
Red Flag #2: Asking To Move Large Objects For Better Access
Home inspectors should never move large objects to increase property access. When this happens, inspectors risk injury and expose homeowners to unwanted liabilities.
A home inspector may need to remove simple hardware like screws, bolts, or covers to assess a home’s components. Objects that are hazardous to move should be left in place to reduce the risk of injury.
During a home inspection, a professional won’t attempt to improve access by moving cars, large furniture, or environmental features like stones and boulders. Protect yourself from legal liabilities and your inspector from injury by stopping the inspection if this occurs.
Red Flag #3: Commenting On Property Value
When buying or selling a home, emotion plays just as much a role as the condition of your home. If an inspector comments on a home’s value in front of an interested party, it could influence their buying decision.
A home’s value is determined by more than external factors alone. Aspects like location and market conditions can significantly affect home pricing.
These factors require specialized expertise that most home inspectors don’t have. Home inspectors are not allowed to comment on home values for this reason.
If a home inspector comments on property value during the inspection process, it could indicate they are assessing your property against the wrong criteria. Professional appraisers are most qualified to comment on property value.
Red Flag #4: Attempting To Enforce Building Codes
It’s true that home inspectors often have knowledge of local building codes. However, they don’t have the authority to enforce them.
Failure to acquire permits before construction can result in fines for homeowners, but it isn’t your home inspector’s responsibility to verify permits and collect fines.
If this happens, there’s a good chance you’re being scammed; this job is reserved for building code inspectors, and most construction standards are difficult to verify after completing a project.
Red Flag #5: Assessing Conditions That Require Professional Diagnosis
A home inspector shouldn’t assess conditions like air quality, soil quality, and the presence of mold. These require specialized knowledge and equipment to diagnose.
Homeowners worried about the presence of hazardous substances should seek testing by professionals specializing in specific conditions.
Home inspections are great for testing home durability but limited when assessing other conditions like the presence of lead, mold, or heavy metals.
If your home inspector offers to evaluate these conditions independently, their results are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Red Flag #6: Attempting Invasive Examination
NACHI standards of practice dictate that home inspectors should visually inspect home systems and components and test them without using invasive methods. Home inspectors are not allowed to engage in conduct that leads to unnecessary destruction of property.
Minor damage may occur in the event that home inspectors detect defects. For example, rotting wood may give way when stepped on. Damage resulting from normal usage can help identify a property’s most serious flaws.
However, your home inspector is not allowed to test a property’s facilities using any more force than would be exerted under normal conditions.
Home inspectors that apply unnecessary force when examining a property may create new damage instead of identifying preexisting defects. If your home inspector is yanking on siding or stomping on rooftops to test them against stress, it may be worth finishing the job with someone else.
Red Flag #7: Estimating Structural Durability
Your home inspector’s role involves assessing how well a home has withstood time until now. They shouldn’t provide estimates for structural durability or repair timelines.
Like discussing property values, estimating when repairs will be necessary could dissuade interested parties from following through with a purchase.
A professional home inspector will not offer commentary on a home’s perceived durability or potential repairs. Necessary repairs are typically included in the inspection report. Forecasting the longevity of a home is not part of a home inspector’s responsibilities.
Professional Home Inspectors Enable Safe Purchases
Proper inspections reduce the risk of liability for homeowners while increasing transparency for homebuyers. Working with a professional who abides by standard codes of practice like those established by InterNACHI ensures a safe inspection process for all parties involved.
Do you have more questions about what to look out for when choosing a home inspector? Schedule a call with Vantegic to learn more about how the right home inspector can make buying or selling your next home a breeze.