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Is That Home Inspector Hiding Behind His Contract?



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By : Philippe Heller    99 or more times read
Many home inspectors have a "Limit of Liability" clause in their inspection agreement. They often limit their liability to the cost of the inspection, or 2 – 3 times the cost of the inspection. This is especially common with low-priced home inspectors. Would you go to a doctor who limits his liability to the cost of the office visit?

If they only charge $250 for an inspection, they don’t want to hear from you again. And they certainly don’t want to pay for anything they missed. It is sometimes a numbers game for them. They charge less, then try to do as many inspections as possible everyday. A home inspection is usually in the $400 - $600 range for houses between 1,000 and 4,000 square feet.

Being a home inspector is difficult. A home inspector has a lot of responsibility. Home inspections take time, usually about 3 hours. Buyers are making a huge financial commitment based in large part on the findings in a home inspection report.

It isn’t obvious, but all parties in the transaction benefit from a thorough home inspection. Obviously the buyer, but what about the seller and the agents involved? If a home inspector does a poor job, buyers, sellers and agents can become embroiled in difficult disputes which can often end up in court.

Of primary importance is the home buyer. They are relying on the inspector for a comprehensive, detailed evaluation of the home they are buying. After all once they close escrow, repairs become the new owner’s responsibility. If the inspector fails to identify a failing component, or even a less significant but costly defect, who should pay?

There are times when a home buyer will discover a defect after moving into the home. It is important to determine if the defect is something that the inspector should have discovered within the scope of a home inspection in accordance with the standards-of-practice, and the inspection agreement. Will the home inspector be responsible for repairing the item? Or will he hide behind his contract which limits his liability? Does he have the resources to stand behind his work?

When choosing an inspection company for your home, consider your options carefully. Home inspectors are not generic and they are not all the same. Just like most other services, a good one costs a few dollars more. But a good inspection can be worth thousands of dollars in seller concessions or repairs.

Carefully read the inspection agreements and the sample reports which are typically available through a home inspector's website. If they won't provide these to you ahead of time, it should be a red flag. You should also look at their Standards-of-Practice to see what they will and will not be inspecting. There are several major home inspector associations which all have similar but varying Standards of Practice. These are important things that you should know.

Finally, check out their reviews. Don't rely on quotes that are pasted onto a website. Go to well known review sites that you trust.
Article submitted by Philippe Heller, President of The San Diego Real Estate Inspection Company. Please read more about this subject at http://sdinspect.com/company-news/home-inspector-liability/. To learn more about Home Inspections, Thermal Imaging, and Inspection Pricing, visit us at sdinspect.com.

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