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:

The home inspector says I have construction defects. How did my home pass inspection by the building department? 

Does the seller have to make a repair requested by the homebuyer, even if the home inspector did not call it out as a defect?

The one home inspection question we get asked most often: "Will that be in the report?" 

Does  a homebuyer need to ask the seller's permission to do additional inspections after the initial one?

Do home inspectors inspect barns and other agricultural buildings on a farm? 

What is the difference between a structural defect and a cosmetic defect?

Can a Florida licensed contractor do home inspections without having a home inspector license? 

Do home inspectors inspect outbuildings?

Does a home inspector give cost estimates for repairs?

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector?  

Who should pay for the home inspection?

Do I need a home inspection to get insurance?

I can't find a local home inspector. What should I do? 

Do home inspectors test the appliances?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement? 

What makes a house fail the home inspection?

Can a home inspector do repairs to a house after doing the inspection? 

What are the requirements for a room to be classified as a bedroom?

Do home inspectors lift up the carpet to look for cracks in the floor? 

What can I learn from talking with the seller?

What is the difference between a home inspection and a final walkthrough inspection? 

Do home inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

What are the questions a home inspector won't (or shouldn't) answer?

Should a home inspection scare you? 

What questions should I ask the home inspector during the inspection?

What should I bring to the home inspection? 

Does my home inspection report give me everything I need to evaluate the price of a house?

How can I check to be sure a home inspector is licensed? 

Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

How can I find out if all the home improvements had a building permit? 

Does a home inspector make sure the house is up to code?

     Visit our DOES A HOME INSPECTOR…? page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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