How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?
Sunday, June 30, 2019
How thoroughly a home inspector checks everyting in a house depends on two variables: the state where the home is located and the inspector's own personal standards. As of today, 28 states have licensing requirements for home inspectors, which include education and experience standards and continuing education necessary for license renewal, along with a list of inspection standards to comply with. But 22 states have no licensing.
We have licensing and inspection standards in Florida but, once you cross the state line into Georgia, no license is required. Yet Georgia falls somewhere in the middle, because they have a “Trade Practices Act” that basically says an inspector must provide a scope of work, do a visual inspection, and provide a written report. Not much of a standard, but something.
Inspectors in a state with no licensing may voluntarily choose with comply with the standards of a national association like American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHi) or International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). And, of course, some inspectors take pride in going above-and-beyond the expectations of any of the requirements. So, it depends.
Let’s take Florida’s standards, for example, that “when inspecting doors and windows, the inspector may inspect a representative number of doors and windows.” So every window is not required to be inspected. Also, sometimes windows and doors are blocked by furnishings or stacked boxes and are not readily accessible to examine anyway. The Florida standards have an exemption that “the inspector is not required to open or operate any windows or doors that are permanently or temporarily secured by mechanical means, are painted shut, or are blocked by stored items or furniture."
The admistrative law also states that "the inspector must report any visible roof defects, explain why it is a defect if not obvious, and make recommendations for monitoring or correction of the problem." Also, “a home inspection does not include the prediction of future conditions.” In other words, the inspector is not required to predict when a window or door will have to be replaced, only its current condition.
Standards for Florida generally exceed ASHI and InterNACHI overall. To read the full text of all the Florida standards, go to our blog post Are there any minimum inspection standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet?
Also, see our blog posts What are the common problems you find inspecting windows? and Are openable windows required to have window screens? Will windows with no screens pass a home inspection? and Can a door swing out over the top of interior stairs without a landing?
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Here’s links to some of our other blog posts about HOME INSPECTION:
How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
for Links to Collections
of Blog Posts