Common home inspector folklore includes the term "Major Defect". Are Massachusetts home inspectors required to find "major defects"?
Massachusetts Home Inspector regulations (266 CMR) are absent of a definition for "major defect" and criteria to determine a "major defect".
What does this mean to the home buyer? First, beware of anyone (blogs, real estate agents, first-time home buyer seminars or Internet reviews) that represents a MA home inspector as informing the Client of "major defects".
MA Home Inspector Regulations (266 CMR 2:00) include definitions for "safety hazard" and "in need of repair". These are terms that are left to the judgment of the home inspector. The regulations do not specify a list of "safety hazards" nor criteria to determine "in need of repair". Furthermore, the Board of Registration of Home Inspectors states in the Small Business Impact statement that the regulations are performance standards and not design standards. This means that each home inspector may perform the inspection their own way as long as the home inspection report includes the required components.
How can a home buyer select a "good" home inspector in Massachusetts?
Ask the home inspector if their report uses the definitions in 266 CMR 2:00 or if their report uses conditions that are not defined in 266 CMR 2:00.
For example, a home inspector may use the term "satisfactory" or "functional with exceptions". These terms are not defined in 266 CMR 2:00.
Ask the home inspector how they determine if a component is In Need of Repair.
According to MA Home Inspector Regulations a component is In Need of Repair if it is not adequately functioning, performing as intended, or presents a safety hazard.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about a MA Home Inspection.
Centsable Inspection - "Practice The Standard"