What are Home Inspectors Not Allowed to Do?

While some home inspectors might have a background in home repair, they cannot fix a home they have previously inspected. This goes against the code of ethics and can actually be illegal.

June 1, 2023
3 min read

When you need to get a home inspection done, you want to make sure you understand what to expect. Often, people focus on what a home inspector will do, but you should also know what home inspectors are not allowed to do. Let’s look at some of the things your inspector can’t do for you.

10 Things Home Inspectors Should Not Do

1. Cause Damage

Home inspectors can touch parts of the house when it makes sense, but they are not allowed to cause damage. For example, your inspector won’t put a hole in the wall to look inside the wall. They also avoid touching the homeowner’s belongings. 

Keep in mind, if you have things packed up and put away, if the boxes or containers block access to the attic, crawl space, or electrical panel, your inspector cannot move those boxes. 

2. Risk Safety

A home inspector is also not allowed to risk their safety or her safety during an inspection. This is a part of the code of ethics from InterNACHI known as “duty to warn.” If there is an imminent hazard found during the inspection, it will be disclosed to relevant parties, but an inspector won’t put their safety or yours in jeopardy.

3. Inspect Specialized Installations

If the property has something, such as a hot tub, swimming pool, or solar panels, your home inspector will likely not inspect these specialized items. Systems that fall outside of a normal home inspection will require an inspector that specializes in that specific area. 

4. Discover Everything That Is Wrong

As a home buyer, you cannot expect a home inspector to find everything that is wrong with the house. Simply put, it’s often impossible to find everything due to hidden damage, such as mold or things hiding inside a wall. 

Inspectors won’t move furniture or artwork from the wall to see if something is being covered up. Don’t expect your inspector to find everything that is wrong with your property.

5. Fix a Home They Have Inspected

While some home inspectors might have a background in home repair, they cannot fix a home they have previously inspected. This goes against the code of ethics and can actually be illegal.

6. Diagnose What Caused the Issue

When an inspector finds an issue with the home, they cannot diagnose the exact cause of what they are seeing. For example, if a home inspector finds mold, they are not allowed to say the type of mold or even confirm it’s actually mold. Instead, they might recommend you get a specialized inspection that will diagnose this specific issue.

7. Test Non-Working Systems

If the homeowner has reported a system isn’t working, such as a garage door or HVAC, home inspectors won’t test it. This non-working system should already be included in the seller’s disclosure. 

8. Advise you to Buy a Home or Walk Away

Home inspectors have the job of determining the state of the home. They won’t provide a recommendation to buy the home or to walk away. Instead, they give you a report that provides information about the systems of the home and the different components.

9. Provide Additional Services

When you hire someone to handle your home inspection in the Bay Area, they won’t provide any additional services. Your inspector will follow the instructions given for the inspection and their home inspection code. Due to the code of ethics, they won’t provide any additional services, such as home repairs. 

10. Estimate When Repairs will be Necessary

You won’t receive an estimate from a home inspector that will tell you when a working system, such as the HVAC system, will need to be repaired. Instead, they provide only a straightforward opinion based on the current condition of the home.

There are many things home inspectors won’t do. You want to make sure you understand what a home inspector will do and won’t do before the inspection will be done.

TIPS … for home owners & buyers 🙂

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