Home Inspector | Q & A
"Ask the Home Inspector..."
What is a home inspection?
(According to InterNACHI).
A home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property, performed for a fee determined by the home inspector, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by the InterNACHI Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.
2. What are the limitations and exclusions, of a home inspection, according to InterNACHI?
I. An inspection is not technically exhaustive.
II. An inspection will not identify concealed or latent defects.
III. An inspection will not deal with aesthetic concerns, or what could be deemed matters of taste, cosmetic defects, etc.
IV. An inspection will not determine the suitability of the property for any use.
V. An inspection does not determine the market value of the property or its marketability.
VI. An inspection does not determine the insurability of the property.
VII. An inspection does not determine the advisability or inadvisability of the purchase of the inspected property.
VIII. An inspection does not determine the life expectancy of the property or any components or systems therein.
IX. An inspection does not include items not permanently installed.
X. This Standards of Practice applies to properties with four or fewer residential units and their attached garages and carports.
I. The home inspector is not required to determine:
A. property boundary lines or encroachments.
B. the condition of any component or system that is not readily accessible.
C. the service life expectancy of any component or system.
D. the size, capacity, BTU, performance or efficiency of any component or system.
E. the cause or reason of any condition.
F. the cause for the need of correction, repair or replacement of any system or component.
G. future conditions.
H. compliance with codes or regulations.
I. the presence of evidence of rodents, birds, bats, animals, insects, or other pests.
J. the presence of mold, mildew or fungus.
K. the presence of airborne hazards, including radon.
L. the air quality.
M. the existence of environmental hazards, including lead paint, asbestos or toxic drywall.
N. the existence of electromagnetic fields.
O. any hazardous waste conditions.
P. any manufacturers' recalls or conformance with manufacturer installation, or any information included for consumer protection purposes.
Q. acoustical properties.
R. correction, replacement or repair cost estimates.
S. estimates of the cost to operate any given system.
II. The home inspector is not required to operate:
A. any system that is shut down.
B. any system that does not function properly.
C. or evaluate low-voltage electrical systems, such as, but not limited to:
1. phone lines;
2. cable lines;
3. satellite dishes;
5. lights; or
6. remote controls.
D. any system that does not turn on with the use of normal operating controls.
E. any shut-off valves or manual stop valves.
F. any electrical disconnect or over-current protection devices.
G. any alarm systems.
H. moisture meters, gas detectors or similar equipment.
III. The home inspector is not required to:
A. move any personal items or other obstructions, such as, but not limited to: throw rugs, carpeting, wall coverings, furniture, ceiling tiles, window coverings, equipment, plants, ice, debris, snow, water, dirt, pets, or anything else that might restrict the visual inspection.
B. dismantle, open or uncover any system or component.
C. enter or access any area that may, in the inspector's opinion, be unsafe.
D. enter crawlspaces or other areas that may be unsafe or not readily accessible.
E. inspect underground items, such as, but not limited to: lawn-irrigation systems, or underground storage tanks (or indications of their presence), whether abandoned or actively used.
F. do anything that may, in the inspector's opinion, be unsafe or dangerous to him/herself or others, or damage property, such as, but not limited to: walking on roof surfaces, climbing ladders, entering attic spaces, or negotiating with pets.
G. inspect decorative items.
H. inspect common elements or areas in multi-unit housing.
I. inspect intercoms, speaker systems or security systems.
J. offer guarantees or warranties.
K. offer or perform any engineering services.
L. offer or perform any trade or professional service other than a home inspection.
M. research the history of the property, or report on its potential for alteration, modification, extendibility or suitability for a specific or proposed use for occupancy.
N. determine the age of construction or installation of any system, structure or component of a building, or differentiate between original construction and subsequent additions, improvements, renovations or replacements.
O. determine the insurability of a property.
P. perform or offer Phase 1 or environmental audits.
Q. inspect any system or component that is not included in these Standards.
3. What is radon, and why should I ask my home inspector about getting it tested prior to buying my house?
Radon is a radioactive gas that forms naturally when uranium, thorium, or radium, which are radioactive metals break down in rocks, soil and groundwater. People can be exposed to radon primarily from breathing radon in air that comes through cracks and gaps in buildings and homes. The best source for further explanation of why a home should be tested prior to purchase, can be found at epa.gov/radon.
4. Is a FAA part 107 certification really required to be able to operate a sUAS (drone) during a home inspection, for compensation?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. Per the FAA, if you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Part 107 guidelines.
Go to https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/ for further information.
5. Paying a home inspector for all these inspections and tests should be able to help me be able to decide to purchase this home, right?
No, not really. The inspector is just a messenger. As licensed professionals (in most states), home inspectors are just trying to determine if the home is safe for you and your family. Home inspectors also try to educate the buyer on what it is they’re buying, and try to determine if there are any major expenses that can be repaired prior to taking ownership of the new home. The decision to buy, is solely up to the buyer.