What is Not Allowed by a Home Inspector?


Home inspectors provide you with a thorough report regarding the condition of a property. While this valuable service helps buyers and sellers complete a transaction, there are some things that home inspectors can’t do. So, what are home inspectors not allowed to do, and how will this affect you? Whether it’s the value of a property or identifying specific hazards, there is a limit to what home inspectors are allowed to provide. Read on to learn more about what an inspector can’t do and who to hire if you need to have certain services rendered.

Repair Referrals

A home inspector’s job is to point out parts of a home that need repair or attention. However, they cannot provide you with specific referrals for those repairs. They also cannot offer to make these repairs separately for you at an additional cost. Once you have your inspection report, use that information to determine who you would need to hire. You can check your local yellow pages, ask family members, or go online to find the repair services you need. For example, if the inspector informs you that the home’s electrical system needs attention, it’s up to either the buyer or seller to find a reputable electrician to fix it.

Inspecting Homes with Safety Hazards

If a home inspector identifies various safety hazards, they have a duty to warn the buyer and seller immediately. However, if the home is too dangerous to enter or inspect safely from the outset, then the inspector has no obligation to go inside. Houses with clearly visible or obvious safety hazards cannot (and should not) be inspected. The seller should take care of these issues before listing the home, or at least before allowing buyers to use the services of a home inspector.

Speculating on Damage That Hasn’t Been Tested

Issues like mold or asbestos are serious red flags for buyers. A home inspector cannot speculate or make assumptions about these specific damages if they perform no official tests. While visible signs of mold should be noted, the inspector cannot indicate that the presence of certain things are there without proper testing. They also cannot provide specific details like the type of mold they see. However, the inspector can show that there is an indication of things like past or present water damage and other issues if it’s clear during the inspection process.

Noting a Home’s Value

A home inspector’s job is to provide insight into the condition of a home and its systems. They can’t give buyers any insight into the actual market value of the house. If a buyer is concerned about the value of a property, they should hire a real estate appraiser. Consult with your realtor if you need help determining the actual value of a property you are interested in buying.

Estimating Life Expectancy of Home Systems

A home inspector can notate the current condition of home systems at the time of inspection. They can’t give you an estimated life expectancy of how much longer they think those systems will last. An inspection aims to provide information about current conditions, not make predictions about the condition of systems in the future. If you’re concerned about the state or lifespan of a system such as the home’s HVAC system, hire a professional in that specific industry to come and perform a more thorough assessment.

Speculating on Local Building Codes

Home inspectors cannot determine whether or not they think various parts of a home were completed according to local building codes. These codes change constantly, and there’s no way for the inspector to know whether or not these items were done to code at the time of construction. While your home should always meet or exceed local building codes, the inspector cannot determine whether the property is following local guidelines.

Determine Insurability of the Home

Just like a home inspector can’t determine the value of a home, they also can’t determine its insurability. Even if the inspector notates a variety of issues, they’re not allowed to tell you whether or not they think you’ll have problems getting the property insured. Only a professional insurance agent or adjuster can decide if a home is insurable. If you’re concerned about the insurability, it may be a good idea to have an agent come to the property and take a closer look before you make an offer.

Move Furniture During the Inspection

Home inspectors are not allowed to move furniture, vehicles, or other heavy objects during the inspection. This also applies to snow and ice, which may get it in the way of the inspector safely accessing the home. Sellers should ensure a safe, clear path for inspectors before the inspection is scheduled. This includes both the inside and outside of the property as well as the attic and basement, when applicable. If the home inspector cannot reach certain areas because they are blocked by furniture, they will notate that on the report or reschedule the inspection when they can gain access.

Identify Property Lines

A home inspector is unable to identify or determine property lines, boundaries, or easements. If you want to find out exactly where the property lines are, hire a land surveyor to provide that information. Most local jurisdictions have information about the property lines already on file. Consult with your local tax department or department of revenue to find out if they have this information for you to look at.

Bottom Line

Home inspectors are trained professionals who can help you determine the condition of a home. While there are many things they can do, these items are some of the things they can’t do for buyers and sellers. Consult with a land surveyor, realtor, or other professional if you need help with certain aspects of a property that you’re interested in. Nevertheless, a home inspection with a trained, quality home inspector should always be included in the home buying process. If you’re a home inspector and need high-quality software to help run your business, be sure to sign up for your free trial with the Inspection Support Network today.