What to Expect when you’re Inspecting, Disclaimers

What to expect when you’re inspecting

You have gotten an offer accepted and scheduled with the best and brightest inspector in town.  Now it is time to check out his legal disclaimers.
Home inspectors as a rule do not accept liability.  It sounds funny, but in truth it is a defense against what we couldn’t see.  That means that home inspections are a visual snap shot.  We inspectors do our best to not miss anything but depending on the environment (read: boxes piled to the ceiling), the time of the year (hard to look at a roof under snow) or even a lazy or forgetful seller (they cover up stuff due to lack of proper knowledge) some things can be very hard if not impossible to see.
I frequently read about the poor couple that bought the turn-of-the-century home and had an inspection, only to find out later that the walls were full of rot and termites.  The media has a neat little way of tilting the story.  It is never mentioned that the finishes and accessible areas of the home showed no signs of damage in the walls under the windows.  It is never brought up that the window sills had been collecting water for close to a century before being repaired and they forget that the poor home owners learned about the damage only after they actually started destroying the home’s walls to do remodeling.
I frequently explain to my clients that I am an inspector that they are paying to spend 2 1/2 to 3 hours with them and I will do my darnedest to not miss anything significant but I will not buy them a new home if I do turn out to be a human being.  There is always the possibility for things to be going on under the surface but most of the time there will be indications of those things.
When I bought my first home, I was amazed at the home inspection.  The dude spent 45 minutes in my 1950’s fixer.  He did a very poor job and missed some major things.  In my previous post I suggested getting out their and shopping inspectors, something that I did not.  I let my agent schedule the inspection for me and I came away with a very bad taste in my mouth for the home inspection industry as a whole.  A little less than a year after that I heard about thermal imaging and home inspectors that were using it to help with a more in-depth education for their clients.  I knew that it would not be hard if my last inspector was the guy that was my competition!
That first home inspection experience ensures that I do my best inspecting every day for every client.  Even though my disclaimer says that, “…its not my fault and you agree..”  I try to make it a personal goal to not miss significant issues.
Of course every thing is negotiable.  I had clients recently ask me to adjust my disclaimer.  That is just fine but realize what you are getting for around $400.  If you expect a home inspector to suffer liability the price of the inspection must change.  If you increase liability you increase risk you increase price.  I am thinking around $5000 might justify my liability but on second thought I want to be a home inspector not a defendant, please go find yourself another inspector…

Salem Oregon Home Inspections


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