Many consumers do not understand the role of the residential home inspector during the standard real estate transaction. The information below explains the function of the home inspector and gives insight into what a buyer or seller should, and should not, expect from the professional home inspector.
Sometimes consumers, and even real estate professionals, do not understand the role of the professional home inspector. Often, there is a misunderstanding, or an unreasonable expectation at least, that the home inspector will find absolutely every problem that exists at a home - no matter how simple the problem might be.
Let me take this opportunity to realistically define the role of the residential home inspector. First, all parties must realize that the standard home inspection is a non-exhaustive visual inspection that takes place over a few hours inside and outside the home. A home inspector is not superman and cannot look into wall cavities, into buried pipes, etc. More importantly, the home inspector is a generalist and, if properly trained, should know a lot about many different structural members, systems and components that are found in and around the home. However, with a few exceptions, the residential home inspector is not a licensed electrician, a licensed plumber, a licensed professional engineer or a fully trained HVAC technician.
It is the job of the home inspector to detect problems, or find signs of deficiencies, and then to pass the responsibility for repairs or upgrades on to a specialist. It is a role not unlike that of the general practitioner, who sends patients on to the skin specialist, if he or she suspects a malignancy or another serious problem. The consumer needs to know that when an inspector finds significant problems with electrical, plumbing, heating or other systems, the inspector should refer the client on to a specialist. The specialist will have the follow-up duty of locating all of the problems that exist within the scope of his or her area of expertise. You might think of it this way: The home inspector is the person who sees the clues and calls in the alarm. The specialist, who is called in by the inspector, then has the task of remedying those problems that were found at the inspection.
This article was produced by the writing team of Eric Badgley & Angee Gardner; specializing in Birch Bay Real Estate and Bellingham Real Estate , along with Island County Home Inspection . Making sure buyers are protected.