4 Items Home Inspectors Can’t Evaluate
February 5, 2019
When a home inspector examines the property your buyer is under contract to purchase, you should know that there are some items the inspector legally can’t determine about its condition. Inspectors are bound by a set of rules that limit what they can share with a buyer. HouseLogic.com, the National Association of REALTORS®’ consumer-facing website, recently highlighted several points that home inspectors can’t tell a buyer about.
- Hidden flaws. Inspectors check for what they can physically see without having to move anything. Therefore, they may not be able to say whether the foundation is cracked behind the wood paneling or an electrical plug behind a sofa isn’t working. Inspectors should note if they are unable to evaluate a critical component of the home. In some situations, the seller could be asked to move an item in order to give the inspector a better view.
- Evaluations of pools or septic systems. Specialists may be required to come in to take a closer look at certain aspects of the home. Inspectors are not certified to inspect everything. “We’re general practitioners,” says Larry Fowler, a home inspector in Knoxville, Tenn. A pool inspector and an expert on septic systems or wells may need to conduct a more thorough inspection of some units in the home.
- Unnecessary repairs. Inspectors may take note of every little flaw in a home, from chipped paint to window scratches. That could leave your buyer with an overwhelming list of defects. “Some inspectors like to show they know more than somebody else,” Fowler says. Buyers shouldn’t necessarily freak out if their inspection report contains pages of items. A real estate professional can talk them through what could affect their offer and what is just normal wear and tear.
Updated: April 16, 2021