What is a home inspector not allowed to do?

Friday, March 6, 2020

The basis of the list of things that a home inspector is not allowed to do is that an inspector cannot damage a house in the process of inspecting it. This means he or she shouldn't drill holes in a wall, open sealed compartments, pull up stretched broadloom carpeting, scrape away areas of paint to see what’s underneath, and so forth. A home inspection is a visual, non-invasive examination of a house.

    Except that any of these things can be done with the permission of the seller, as long as there is clarification as to who is repsonsible for the repair of any damage afterwards—and that rarely happens. The buyer alone cannot give permission to the inspector because it is not their house yet, although they sometimes insist they have the right to do so.

    There is also the problem that home inspectors face of unintentional damage done during regular testing procedures. When a home inspector uses normal operating controls and a faucet handle falls off, a light switch sizzles and shorts out, or an air conditioner dies while being tested, it is a discovery of an existing defective component, and unavoidable.

    Probing wood that has been damaged by termites or wood rot is another example of where the inspector is only evaluating an exisiting problem and, in Florida at least, the state specifically allows termite inspectors to probe wood that appears to have insect or rot damage with impunity. See our blog post Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? for more on this.

    Also, what a home inspector “is not allowed to do” is different from what an inspector “is not required to do." The Standards of Practice outlined by Florida Statute 61-30.807 specify what is required to be inspected, along with what is not required, of Florida home inspectors. The standards of the two national home inspector associations, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), likewise clarify inspection standards for their members. These standards are simply a baseline, and many inspectors exceed them, but any extra services like Infrared imaging or well water testing may cost extra. We have written many articles on this subject, and a listing of them is at “Does A Home Inspector…?"

    Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:

AFCI •• Air conditioner •• Ants •• Appliance recalls •• Appliance testing •• Attic •• Awnings •• Barns and ag blgs. •• Bathroom exhaust fan •• Bonding •• Carpet •• Ceiling fans •• Central vacuum •• Chimneys •• Chinese drywall •• Clothes dryer •• Dryer exhaust •• CO alarms •• Code violations •• Condemn a house •• Crawl space •• Detached carport •• Detached garage •• Dishwasher •• Docks •• Doors •• Electrical •• Electrical panel •• Electromagnetic radiation •• Fences •• Fireplaces  Furnace •• Garbage disposal •• Generator •• GFCIs •• Gutters •• Ice maker •• Inspect in the rain •• Insulation •• Insurance •• Interior Finishes •• Grading & drainage •• Lead paint •• Level of thoroughness •• Lift carpet •• Low voltage wiring •• Microwave •• Mold •• Move things •• Help negotiate •• Not allowed •• Outbuildings •• Paint •• Permits •• Pilot lights •• Plumbing •• Plumbing under slab •• Pools •• Questions won't answer •• Radon •• Range/cooktop •• Receptacle outlet •• Refrigerator •• Reinspection •• Remove panel cover •• Repairs •• Repair estimates •• Retaining walls •• Roaches •• Rodents •• Roof •• Screens •• Seawalls •• Septic loading dye test •• Septic tank •• Sewer lines •• Shower pan leak test •• Shutters •• Sinkholes •• Smoke alarms •• Solar panels •• Specify repairs •• Sprinklers •• Termites •• Toilets •• Trees •• Troubleshooting •• Wall air conditioners •• Walk roof •• Washing machine •• Water heater •• Water pressure •• Water shut-offs •• Main water shut-off •• Water softener •• Water treatment systems •• Well •• Windows •• Window/wall air conditioners •• Window blinds •• Wiring 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should a home inspection scare you? 

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

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

If we already looked at the house very carefully, do we still need a home inspection?

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure? 

What should I look for when buying a former rental house?  

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What should I look for when buying a house that is being "flipped" by an investor seller? 

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

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

How To Look At A House

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