The Function, and Responsibilities of a Home Inspector
The function of the home inspector is often misunderstood by Real Estate agents, sellers or builders, and home buyers. The inspector who the buyer hires represents the buyer in the inspection process and their only responsibilities are to the buyer.
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 not influenced by whether or not the transaction closes. 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.
Inspection reports serve as a tool to assist the buyer in understanding the condition of the property being inspected and a list of defects that may require attention. It is not an instrument to renegotiate the selling price of the property.
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 function is advisory only.
A home inspector does not have the authority to make the buyer, the seller, or the builder repair or correct anything documented during the inspection. Only municipal inspectors can make a builder comply with things like building codes. Home inspectors are not code inspectors, they follow State and Nationally adopted Standards of Practice. Keep in mind that the Standards only represent a minimum level of performance. Many inspectors perform inspections that go above and beyond these standards.
Because a home inspection may make a real estate transaction more difficult, many people assume that the home inspector and real estate agent, seller, or builder are hostile to each other. This presumed adversarial relationship is unfounded and untrue. All parties' goals are to help the transaction move along smoothly and come to a satisfactory conclusion for all parties involved in the transaction.
Before fully committing to purchasing a new home or resale home, it’s wise to get a home inspector to check it out and provide you with an inspection report that can give you a better idea of its condition. Inspectors are human, they don’t see everything, or discover all deficiencies because they could be hidden, however, they can provide you with peace of mind as you move into homeownership.
Submitted by John Schuler, Certified Home Inspector