Realtor Top Criticisms of Home Inspection Companies – Part 4
#4.) Home Inspection Recommendations Are Not Clear
When preparing the home inspection report and reviewing the report with a client, it is important to make sure that the inspectors recommendations for correcting any deficiencies (items in need of repair) are clear. “Recommendations Are Not Clear” is often reported as one of the top criticisms of home inspectors.
In Texas, home inspectors perform inspections to the Texas Standards of Practice and, the 4th Edition Code Check. These “standards” and “codes” are what we as inspectors compare each item we inspect to what would be considered “perfect”. Local city building codes can differ from the 4th Edition Code Check and the Texas Standards of Practice. Local building codes always take precedence. Texas Professional Home Inspectors are required to have a copy of the Texas Standards of Practice onsite for their client to reference. It is important to note that home inspectors are not “code” enforcement and, a home inspection is not a pass of fail grade or rating. To better understand the recommendations listed in home inspection reports, clients (buyers, sellers, investors) and Realtors should be familiar with the Texas Standards of Practice for home inspectors and also, the Pre-Inspection Agreement used by Professional Home Inspectors.
A Professional Home Inspector is not a contractor, although many inspectors such as Selman Home Inspection have backgrounds in the construction trades. Inspectors often make “recommendations” as to how a defect (deficiency) or item in need of repair should be addressed. Professional Home Inspectors will (and should) use phrases like “The inspector recommends that a certified, licensed foundation specialist should be consulted to further evaluate the cracks in the foundation”. Pretty clear, right? Comments like this in a home inspection report mean that the inspector has found enough defects (supported by comments and photos) that he/she believes that something is wrong with the foundation and more importantly, the potential buyer should hire a professional expert to evaluate and provide an estimate to correct.
The purpose of the home inspection is to identify and report safety hazards, defects related to the Texas Standards of Practice and, today’s local building codes for their client only. Each of the sections of a home inspection report may have statements like “In the opinion of the inspector, a certified, licensed __________ specialist should be consulted…” The home inspector you use should also include digital photos as evidence of the report findings and, to assist in understanding the recommendations made.
A home inspection concludes with a written opinion by an experienced, trained Professional Inspector. The written inspection report should be verbally reviewed with the client (and Realtor when/if present) to ensure that the client understands any reported deficiencies and the overall condition of the property.
In conclusion, it is the responsibility of the home inspector you hire to find defects in a property and to report them to you in a clear, concise manner both in writing and verbally and, to make recommendations about dealing with the findings. It is also the responsibility of home buyers, sellers, investors and the real estate agents that represent them to understand what a home inspection is, and what it is not. Again, it is to the advantage of everyone involved in a real estate transaction to read and understand the Texas Standards of Practice and, to use an inspector who provides a written Pre-Inspection Agreement. If an inspectors recommendation is not clear and well understood, be sure to ask for clarification at the time of the inspection or with a phone call. As a home inspector, please, make sure your clients understand your recommendations and that your comments and recommendations are fully supported by photos included in your report. And, always use a certified, licensed Professional Home Inspector who offers unlimited support for your home inspection and home inspection clients.