How to Get Home Inspector to Make Buyer's Best Interests A Top Priority

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Submitted by Ted on March 7, 2012 - 2:38am

In prior home purchases I have relied on my agent's recommendation for a home inspector. At times I have found the exclusions, limitations and excessive CYA language found in these inspection reports to be very frustrating. While I realize that a home inspector can't detect every possible problem/defect that may occur several years into the future, I want to make sure that when we hire a home inspector we don't end up with a report that doesn't allow us to reasonably hold the home inspector accountable for their work or lack thereof.

Prior to choosing a home inspector what can I do as a home buyer to ensure that I receive a report that holds the home inspector accountable for any significant errors or omissions in the inspection report? Along these lines, is there specific language I should require to be included in the inspection report?

What types exclusions or indemnifications should I be able to negotiate out of a home inspections report (before I have hired an inspector) so that I am not getting an inspection report back that contains more language on indemnifying the home inspector rather than telling me what is wrong with house I want to purchase?

Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Submitted by NotCranky on March 7, 2012 - 7:27am.

Hire a foundation inspector and an electrical inspector and a plumber and a carpenter and a roofer and a .....

Submitted by ljinvestor on March 7, 2012 - 9:26am.

"I want to make sure that when we hire a home inspector we don't end up with a report that doesn't allow us to reasonably hold the home inspector accountable for their work or lack thereof"

Sorry Ted, but you are not going to find one. Even the best inspectors have much language in the contract that protects them from liability.

Submitted by sdrealtor on March 7, 2012 - 12:04pm.

Exactly. Why would an inspector take 6 figure liability for something they get paid afew hundred dollars for. No insurer would insure that either. It just doesnt make sense. The best you can do is find a competent inspector that was recommended by a trustworthy source.

Submitted by SDinspector on March 12, 2012 - 6:41am.

SDrealtor is correct. Inspectors take on a lot of liability. The exclusionary language is necessary to define the scope of the inspection. We have found that buyers do not understand the purpose or scope of an inspection, they don't research the standards of practice, and they don't even read the agreement. So we have to explain what we are Not doing so buyers understand the limitations of an inspection.

Having said that you will appreciate our latest blog post. I can't post the link here due to spam filters, but go to our website and read the article about inspectors hiding behind their contracts. The San Diego Real Estate Inspection Co.

Submitted by anxvariety on March 12, 2012 - 7:31pm.

How does E&O insurance factor in here? When insured, does the insurer provide the inspector with contract requirements?

Submitted by PCinSD on March 12, 2012 - 9:42pm.

I've seen some horrible home inspection reports that aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Just because a home inspector has language in their contract that limits their liability does not necessarily mean it is enforceable:

Business and Professions Code Section 7198:

§ 7198. Waiver of duty of care; liability limitations; public policy

Contractual provisions that purport to waive the duty owed pursuant to Section 7196 or to limit the liability of the home inspector to the cost of the home inspection report, are contrary to public policy and invalid.

Also, find out whether your home inspector is a licensed general contractor (B&P section 7196):

§ 7196. Standard of care

It is the duty of a home inspector who is not licensed as a general contractor, structural pest control operator, or architect, or registered as a professional engineer to conduct a home inspection with the degree of care that a reasonably prudent home inspector would exercise.

In other words, a home inspector who is a general contractor is held to a higher standard of care then your typical home inspector.


Submitted by treehugger on March 13, 2012 - 10:41am.

Interesting, I didn't know that about the home inspector who is a licensed general contractor, will look for that if I ever find a house to buy.

We just sold our house and the free termite inspection from Antimite was more thorough and intensive than the buyers home inspection.

In addition to a home inspector, I will totally have that antimite guy inspect my next home!

Submitted by Oni Koroshi on March 13, 2012 - 3:52pm.

I had Rob from do my home inspection on my short sale purchase. I thought he did an amazing job and his report was very long and thorough.

Submitted by Diego Mamani on March 14, 2012 - 10:53am.

The best answer for the OP is: hire your own inspector. RE agents (yours and the other side's) have an interest in closing the transaction, so any inspector they recommend is unlikely to be a "deal killer." The best you can do is to choose your own inspector.

I agree with other posters regarding liability; no inspector will agree what your propose.

Submitted by sdrealtor on March 14, 2012 - 11:01am.

Personally I try to avoid recommending an inspector as I dont want the liability for making that call. When I do its usually an expensive but very thorough inspector.

Submitted by treehugger on April 10, 2012 - 6:46am.

In my optimism that the bank will accept my offer any day now..... We have watched Holmes on homes and he always advocates infrared and how important a good inspector is. I have been researching some of the companies recommended here and see that there is an inspector from San Diego Real Estate inspection that has posted a couple times and their website looks good (actually looks identical to a couple others including the one recommended above).

Anybody have experience with using them? I had good luck with finding my mortgage broker here a few years ago and think it is a smart tactic to post here as a business related to real estate without being spam?


Submitted by paramount on July 17, 2012 - 11:09pm.

Jacarandoso wrote:
Hire a foundation inspector and an electrical inspector and a plumber and a carpenter and a roofer and a .....

And the above basically sums why home inspections are a scam; you pay some a$$ clown who barely knows anything $300/hr for basically nothing - except a phony way to extort money from the seller.

Submitted by patb on July 31, 2012 - 9:09am.

i have had good luck finding inspectors from ASHI american society home instpectors.

I usually also hire two. While one can fuck up, two rarely will.

300, 400K purchse, what's an extre 300 dollars?

now that said, i'm also willing to hire a mold inspector, lead inspector,
and I am able to do electrical inspection.

I want the home inspector to look for structural/envelope issues, i'll check out the systems myself.

Submitted by ctr70 on August 24, 2012 - 6:29am.

Do NOT take your Realtor's recommendation for a home inspector! That inspector knows they get referral business from the Realtor and subconsciously or not they may go "light" on the inspection, as they don't want to "kill deals" and lose that Realtors business.

Get the baddest, meanest ASHI certified inspector you can find, preferably a former contractor, and have him/her tear the place apart. Go to the ASHI web site to find someone. ASHI is like the PHD of the home inspector business, they have to conform to high standards and constantly keep up on changes in the industry.

Get to know well the things that need to be fixed and know full well what you are getting into when you buy a house.

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