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Home Inspection

Posted by blueheron (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 9, 08 at 19:41

I have read on this site that a home inspection is not a "to do" list for the owner. We have gotten an offer on our home (9,000 under list price) and there is a paragraph in the offer that says in effect that the owner is responsible for any corrections over $300 that the inspection reveals.

Agent said that is kind of low, usually it's $1,000. We don't anticipate any large scale conditions that would need correction. And we are considering their offer, but aren't sure about that clause.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Home Inspection

Too vague for me. One correction over 300.00 or several over 300 each???
$1,000.00 too high for me.
Sometimes something is listed to be corrected, but after explaination or it meets code does not need to be corrected.


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RE: Home Inspection

I wouldn't like that clause at all as it could really open yourself up to the inspector saying something needs fixing that may or may not really be an issue. I would counter with something different on that clause.

Maybe leave it as inspection items to be negotiated. I'd hate to have something so open ended in the contract. I guess you could limit it to safety items over $300, however then it becomes subjective as to what is a safety item.


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RE: Home Inspection

We signed a contract once that limited what we would repair to $500. You could pick your figure--say you only would consider additional repairs up to $300 and counter with that. Then they can take their laundry list and figure out what's most important for them to get fixed with whatever dollar amount you are willing to give.


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RE: Home Inspection

I agree -- I would counter on that term. In addition to identifying lots of problems, he'll also have an incentive to overestimate the cost. Inspectors are not contractors who know what things will cost, so they high-ball everything (which is fine when they tell a purchaser "this could cost up to XXX to fix").

I'd either cap the amount or leave it to negotiation, allowing them to opt out.


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RE: Home Inspection

Actually, it's now a moot question - we got another offer for MORE than the asking price! Yay!


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RE: Home Inspection

"Sometimes something is listed to be corrected, but after explaination or it meets code does not need to be corrected."

A home inspection is NOT a code inspection by nationally accepted standards and most if not all state regs.

HI's DO site safety issues that may or may not be a code violation. For example, a "grandfathered" item, which would not meet code today, could still be a safety issue (such as having staircase spindles placed wide enough that a small child could get their head caught in thme and choke) and would warrant changing.

That said, as the seller generally you do have the right to negotiate what you are and are not willing to repair, aside from actual violations. However, in this market, best bet is to repair...as chances are good that you will only face the same requests with the next buyer. Bird in hand, as the saying goes...

lyfia, the HI has zero way of knwoing how the sale contract has been worded. Therefore, IMO, your statement "I wouldn't like that clause at all as it could really open yourself up to the inspector saying something needs fixing that may or may not really be an issue" is without foundation.

The HI does not benefit by pretending something is a defect when it is not...however, on the contrary, some HI's DO benefit by pretending a defect is NOT a defect..in order to not "kill the deal", and risk no more REA referrals.


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RE: Home Inspection

logic - my statement holds as it is not related to the contract or not and the inspector knowing anything about the contract. Some inspectors seem to use a different scope than others and include things that may not be what somebody expects to see from an inspection either. All depends on who the buyer gets and since the buyer pays them they can as easily ask that every little thing be included since they know what the contract says.

I've seen inspectors report on cosmetic things that imo has nothing to do with the functionality of the item and outside of what I would consider their scope. I mean in that proposed contract if the buyers got one of those inspectors then a scratch in a countertop could be used to get the sellers to have to replace the countertop, since that would cost more than $300. All I'm saying is it really opens the sellers up to all kinds of possibilities all depending on what type of inspector the buyers get and what that inspector considers to be the scope of the inspection. I stand firm on that one. Maybe in a state where inspectors are really controlled it might not happen, but that seems to be a minority.

blueheron - glad it is a moot point.


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RE: Home Inspection

lyfia, I now understand your position. You are correct in that some HI's do use parameters that are not neccessarily uniform. However, I think very few would include issues that they would not normally include simply because the buyer asked, as they do not benefit.

Every buyer & seller should take the time to research the regs in their state for HI's in order to know what the SOPs' include..and don't include as the case may be..

If no regs, they can vist the ASHI website, as their SOP's mirror the nationally accepted standards.

I think most of HI related problems can be avoided if buyers and sellers would just take a few momenets to edcuate themsleves on the process.


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RE: Home Inspection

logic - some may not some may. It all depends on how the buyer asks. Could just be such a simple thing as something the buyer asks about and home inspector states an opinion. The buyer then says would you mind putting that on the report so I can remember it later. Seems innocent enough of a request probably to many HI and they might just add a note at the end. However the way the purchase contract is written this could be used by the buyer to get the seller to do something.

Unfortunately the inpsector is just unaware of it.


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RE: Home Inspection

There are plenty of HIs looking to 'make themselves worthwhile' by citing things that are BS.

I had one claim an EPDM membrane was "upside down."

The EPDM vendor rolled on the floor when I talked to them.

Another claimed that metal brackets are "required" to anchor joists to a ledger strip.

When asked for a reference in the building code the "I am not a code expert" excuse immediately came up.
I told the buyer to pound sand and let the contract die.

They came back in a week with another contract with no inspection contingency, and I countered with a price increase for a weeks carrying costs.
They signed.


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RE: Home Inspection

Once again brickeyee, you live in a state that refuses to properly regulate the profession. And asking for a reference to code is pointless...as the inspection is not a code inspection. Best to ask why the HI felt that his statement was correct as a defect and/or safety issue, and address from there. You never know..even you might still learn something. ;-)

Lyfia, once again, if the HI states an opinion on something that needs to be repaired from a defect or safety issue, he should be required to back it up with a reason for the findings. And..as I said, if buyers and sellers would educate themsleves on what a home inspection entails, they would relaize that "cosmetic" issues such as nail pops etc.
are not included...and the seller would be far better positioned to dismiss the nitpicks.


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One More Point..

heimert:In addition to identifying lots of problems, he'll also have an incentive to overestimate the cost. Inspectors are not contractors who know what things will cost, so they high-ball everything.


Estimating is beyond the scope of a home inspection...and most if not all state regs don't permit the HI to do so...exactly for the reasons that you cite as they are not estimators.

Even if ones state reg does not prohibit such…….or if one lives in an unregulated state……any HI who claims he can give estimates should be required to document his estimator and/or contractor experience in order to do so accurately.

Otherwise, call another HI.


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RE: Home Inspection

"But I'm not trying to predict when somthing will occur. I'm trying to predict if something should occur and make a decision based on judging whether an event should occur."

That way every inspector can point to the low standards as an excuse.

"That is not covered" seems to be a common one in licensing states.

If you are going to point out a purported defect you better have something to back it up.
The "inspection is not a code inspection" excuse is just that, a lane excuse for not knowing what you are doing.

If you want to rely on that you should advertise the "I don't know what is really a defect, but if it looks bad I will tell you."
Probably not very good for attracting business.


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RE: Home Inspection

brickeyee, a code inspector is not a home inspector. Never was, never will be.

You seem to not be able to "get" that fact. You want to mix apples and oranges.

Case in point. NJ has 566 municipalities. All of them embrace state code....but many have additional rules of their own. That is why EACH municipality has their OWN code inspectors…...as it would be impossible for any one person to be properly conversant in all of the 566 differences.

What you advocate is irresponsible…….as this is indeed the case for many if not all states.

That said, they are TWO distinct professions. In NJ…..as is also the case in many states… with two distinct and separate licensing requirements. Instead of taking issue with people who are not pretending to be something they are not, consider the fact that it is the RESPONSIBLE HI who does not pretend to have expertise OUTSIDE his profession.

Last but not least, as I’ve asked in the past…what steps have you taken to convince your state to amend the HI regulations to something that would actually be meaningful?


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RE: Home Inspection

"brickeyee, a code inspector is not a home inspector. Never was, never will be.

Because HI are looking to escape from real responsibility for the tasks they claim to perform and the actual standards that are applied.

"You seem to not be able to "get" that fact. You want to mix apples and oranges."

I get it very well. They do not want to actually educate themselves about real standards.
They want to claim a write up for cosmetic defects is a legitimate inspection.

"Case in point. NJ has 566 municipalities. All of them embrace state code....but many have additional rules of their own. That is why EACH municipality has their OWN code inspectors…...as it would be impossible for any one person to be properly conversant in all of the 566 differences."

NJ sounds like a bunch of trade unions got together to push through their own parochial standards.
This has the direct effect of inhibiting trade from operating in multiple jurisdictions.
Every place is slightly different preventing competition.

Virginia had this type of junk going on until we passed uniform statewide codes, that NO one but the state can alter.

You might push for this to avoid the games of "additional rules of their own" designed only to restrict competition.

You can then actually take an code course and learn what to actually look for.


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RE: Home Inspection

brickeyee :"Because HI are looking to escape from real responsibility for the tasks they claim to perform and the actual standards that are applied."

Maybe in your state...which is understandable as HI's don't even have to register..its voluntary. However, FYI, for those who do register, they are required to include in their contract this EXCLUSION (among others):

"h. Compliance with regulatory requirements (codes, including the Virginia
Uniform Statewide Building Code, regulations, laws, ordinances, etc.)."

In addition you are generalizing about an entire profession by your limited exposure to it in a state that won't take the responsibility to REQUIRE all HI's to register and adhere to the standards.

I therefore can understand where your poor opinion of HI's has originated, because with VA's laxity about the profession, there must be some real doozy's operating in your neck of the woods.

That established, in NJ inspecting for code is prohibited by law unless one is a ALSO a licensed code inspector in NJ....period. So…..an HI can read every book and take every course known to man with regard to code, but if he cites code without also being a licensed code inspector, he can lose his HI license.

brickeyee: "Virginia had this type of junk going on until we passed uniform statewide codes, that NO one but the state can alter"

Hardly a claim to fame, as in VA any bozo can perform home inspections. Why do they ignore that fact?

Also, as shown above, contrary to what you have stated...that indicates that there are codes, ordinances, etc in addition to the statewide code...just like like NJ. Can you clarify?

brickeyee: You might push for this to avoid the games of "additional rules of their own" designed only to restrict competition.

I have no reason to push for anything…..as I am neither a code inspector nor a home inspector….and I see no reason why a municipality can’t make code more restrictive if they so wish……as most are bare minimum. Let’s not forget code is about safety, and if one place wants to make their code more restrictive for better safety, so be it.

BTW you seem to be unaware that NYC has a different building code than the rest of NYS.

That is but one example other than NJ...I'm sure there are quite a few more...perhaps even VA, based upon the above. It is not as uncommon as you apparently think.

The fact remains that you want the two professions to be one. That is not going to happen, for the most part because the inspection would take at minimum twice as long and cost at minimum twice or even three times as much due to the excess liability and much higher E&O cost...putting home inspections out of the reach of many buyers.

Not to mention that once a buyer is given all the code violations, most won't care if some or all are grandfathered; they will ask for them to be upgraded.

Trust me, the National Association of Realtors will NEVER let that one pass..and they are THE biggest PAC contributors in the country. You would need quite a tremendous wad of cash to financially outmaneuver their lobbyists. Good luck with that.

However, since you seem to feel so strongly that HI's should be code inspectors, hopefully someday soon you will either put forth the effort (and the HUGE bucks that will be needed)to attempt to change that in your state, or move on.

Or better yet, start by at least trying to get your state to require that all HI's register.

That said, I'd be happy to discuss with you your efforts to make that happen....…which you have so far avoided mentioning.

It is therefore at this point in effect a non-issue.


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