It’s in the details
Many home inspectors have a “Limit of Liability” clause in their inspection agreement. They often limit their liability to the cost of the inspection, or 2 – 3 times the cost of the inspection. This is especially common with low-priced home inspectors. If they only charge $250 for an inspection, they don’t want to hear from you again. And they certainly don’t want to pay for anything they missed. It is sometimes a numbers game for them. Would you go to a doctor who limits his liability to the cost of the office visit?
Being a home inspector is difficult. A home inspector has a lot of responsibility. It isn’t obvious, but all parties in the transaction benefit from a thorough home inspection. Obviously the buyer, but what about the seller and the agents involved? If a home inspector does a poor job, buyers, sellers and agents can become embroiled in difficult disputes which can often end up in court.
Of primary importance is the home buyer. They are relying on the inspector for a comprehensive, detailed evaluation of the home they are buying. After all, once they close escrow, repairs become the new owner’s responsibility. If the inspector fails to identify a failing component, or even a less significant but costly defect, who should pay?
There are times when a home buyer will discover a defect after moving into the home. It is important to determine if the defect is something that the inspector should have discovered within the scope of a home inspection, in accordance with the standards-of-practice, and the inspection agreement. Will the home inspector be responsible for repairing the item? Or will he hide behind his contract which limits his liability?
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So why is there a difference in pricing from one company to another? As you compare home inspection companies for your purchase, consider the following.
Compare our reports to any other company. You will notice a difference. We have been performing home inspections for a long time, and we know what is important to our clients. Many newer, less experienced inspectors will not be as detailed or experienced with the huge variety of equipment that we run across. We have seen just about everything from houses built in the late 1800’s to bad remodels or “flips”.
Our philosophy is that you, the buyer, should have as much information about the house as possible. We use every tool we have to find any problems.
Our inspectors detail everything with clarity (and good grammar!). We inspect hundreds of items in a house. We check everything from the foundation to the roof, and just about everything in between.
When you look at our sample report, please note the incorporation of thermal imaging in our report. We use Infrared Thermal Imaging to find leaks that can easily go un-noticed by inspectors who have not made the investment in this technology. Many discount inspectors do not use this equipment which can cost you in the long run.
Our inspectors have your best interest in mind. The very last thing we want is to have you move into your new home only to find expensive problems. We have no problem telling agents to find another inspection company if they imply that we should “ignore” certain items. If we find it, it goes in the report. Even if the seller says “Oh, I’m fixing that later today”.
A home inspection is a detailed evaluation of a house and is intended to reveal items that substantially affect habitability. Our primary concerns are your family’s health and safety, and identifying items that could be expensive to repair that may not have been fully disclosed to you.
Having said that, there are several things you should not expect from a home inspection. It is not a home warranty. It is not an evaluation of cosmetic or decorator items. It is not a guarantee that a seller must fix any of the items in the report. For example, a seller does not have to bring an older home in compliance with today’s standards. An old house with single pane windows is not required to have double pane windows installed for you. We do not inventory the items in the house, and we do not confirm the accuracy of the MLS statements.
When choosing an inspection company for your home, consider your options carefully. Home inspectors are not generic, and they are not all the same. Just like most other services, a good one costs a few dollars more. But a good inspection can be worth thousands of dollars in seller concessions or repairs.
All inspections companies are not the same: Compare Inspection Companies
The Real Estate Inspection Company follows the InterNACHI Standards of Practice. Please review these standards prior to the inspection so you know what to expect from your inspection, and what your inspector will and will not inspect.