What are Home Inspectors Not Allowed To Do? 10 Tips to Pass Home Inspection
Don’t you hate it when you’re going over your home inspection report and notice that the inspector violated several rules, which ultimately made it harder to judge the actual condition of your house? Of course, there are several other factors at play as well. However, knowing these things can save you from making costly mistakes when buying or selling your property.
For example, did you know that most home inspectors are not allowed to tell you the home’s general condition? They are only allowed to say to you the problems they found during their inspection. Here are ten more things that inspectors aren’t allowed to do
What are home inspectors not allowed to do?
After passing a few home inspections, you may notice patterns in what is done and what isn’t. Inspectors have certain limitations, but they can be surprisingly helpful if you’re trying to improve your own home for resale or make it better for your own needs. By getting familiar with some of these restrictions, you can boost your chances of getting a good grade on an inspection.
1. Notify the homeowner in advance
Inspectors aren’t required to notify homeowners in advance of any problems they find. If you don’t want your home inspector talking about your house or showing anyone else around during an inspection, request that they don’t at least two weeks before the inspection date.
2. Opening Locked Doors
Inspectors aren’t allowed to use force, and they can only open a door if it’s already unlocked. So if you don’t want an inspector opening a door, lock it before leaving for your appointment.
3. Record observations
Many homeowners get rattled when a home inspector lists off their findings at a house walk-through. For example, There’s a crack in your front steps—are just that: observations, neither right nor wrong.
And since an inspector is required by law to report everything they find, it’s easy for someone new to being inspected—and who’s unfamiliar with what’s common and what isn’t—to fret over so-called problems.
4. Inspect at night if possible
Nighttime is when most issues present themselves. It’s also easier for you and your inspector to ensure no light glare obscures your view. Plus, you won’t have kids running around and getting in his way, and as a bonus, it will be a lot quieter—if you can schedule an appointment at night, we highly recommend it.
5. Protect the property from animal damage
Make sure dogs, cats, and other animals have a place to live that’s separate from your home. Animals can cause serious damage if they find a way into your attic or crawl space. Make sure pets and other critters don’t have many opportunities to enter your house—and keep them away from electrical wiring! Dogs especially love chewing on cords. It’s a best practice also to avoid leaving food out overnight. A hungry dog will go anywhere in search of food –-including your attic!
6. Look for obvious signs of disrepair
You probably have a lot of questions about your new home. And now’s your chance to ask! Let your inspector know if you’re a first-time buyer, and get answers to any questions you may have—like what an inspector looks for when they examine electrical outlets, heating systems, and other appliances.
Of course, the inspector will look for visible signs of disrepair, like peeling paint or damaged floors. Still, it’s always a good idea to specifically note any issues that concern you in writing before your inspection begins. Then, there can be no confusion about what was seen on-site during the review, who made those observations, and why.
7. Observe a water heater’s pilot light and burner flame operation
In some homes, water heaters are vented improperly. This means that carbon monoxide, a deadly gas present in any home, could have an easy escape route. Contact a licensed plumber if you smell gas or think your water heater’s venting is wrong. Also, ensure that you know how to inspect your water heater properly; these checks will help you detect and prevent leaks: Inspecting Water Heater Components for Leaks or Damage.
8. Take moisture readings on attic framing members
There are several moisture meters available that can measure moisture in wood products. If it’s an older house, check for signs of dry rot, which means there is too much moisture in those framing members, and they need to be replaced. Whenever you notice any problems with your building frame or trusses, notify your client about the cost of repairs.
It’s also important for your client to understand that sometimes a bad framing member won’t necessarily result in bigger problems if other components have taken on some of its load-bearing responsibilities. However, once the time comes for repair work or remodeling, it’s best to consult with a structural engineer who can determine whether there is additional damage caused by dry rot or previous structural issues.
9. Determine if exterior doors shut properly
If you can’t close a door, chances are it needs adjustment. Exterior doors should close easily, with a solid thud. If they don’t, have your homeowners’ association board president take a look. They might be able to adjust them, but if that doesn’t work (or if you don’t have an HOA), you may need new hinges or storm doors.
10. Inspect chimneys with proper cautions
If you’re planning on buying a property with a chimney, you may be asked to have it inspected by your local fire marshal. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that they should make sure their chimney is safe before lighting a fire. For example, suppose there is any damage or wear on a chimney flue. There’s an increased risk of carbon monoxide seeping back into a home and poisoning its inhabitants during your inspection.
- Cracks or gaps at roofline connections.
- Any missing mortar around bricks.
- Excessive heat buildup.
- The buildup of creosote deposits.
- Deteriorating masonry or rusted metal components.
When a home inspector comes into your house, they are there to ensure you know all of your options. They want you to feel comfortable with whatever decision you end up making. They want to give you all of the available information so that choice can be fully informed.
Follow these steps and remember, it’s your responsibility as a buyer or seller to ask questions—the inspector can’t read your mind! Remember that while a bad home inspector might mean an incomplete report, no one will be able to cover up flaws in a subpar house. Always choose wisely, regardless of whether or not there is an inspector present.