I continually read in BB and other Blog posts that Inspectors are “Visual Only” in nature with reference to how they inspect. These comments generally come as a result of consumers’ bad experiences with Inspectors, or from other real estate professionals with a limited knowledge of inspections. Most of this is derived by the various Standards of Practice (SOP) in use today, and are worth a review. Each of the major SOP’s define the “Minimum” standards that an Inspector is to use on their inspections. Each is listed here, with a link if you wish to read the entire SOP.
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) SOP required for use by licensed Texas Inspectors defines a real estate inspection as:
“A real estate inspection is a limited visual survey and basic operation of the systems and components of a building using normal controls and does not require the use of specialized tools or procedures.”
The two major National Inspection associations have similar wording. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) SOP does not carry a definition of inspect or inspection but does define the requirements that an Inspector shall:
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (INACHI) SOP does provide a definition of a home inspection as:
“A Home Inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of a residential dwelling, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify observed material defects within specific components of said dwelling.”
If you read these three SOP’s you will also note that they also spell out many “limitations” and “disclaimers”. These SOP’s do not require the Inspector to poke or prod for that potentially damaged wood (potentially considered destructive inspection techniques), and give them great latitude in determining what they will and won’t inspect and how they inspect it. They are all written to allow an Inspector to come on site with nothing more than a screwdriver, flashlight, and small ladder to perform the inspection. I suppose you are not going to get more “Visual Only” than that?
It should be noted though that none of these SOP’s disallow an Inspector to exceed these “Minimum” standards. Inspectors may exceed these SOP’s to whatever degree they choose. However many Inspectors will hide behind them in an effort to reduce their workload and time on site by performing only these “Minimum” requirements. This translates to the many bad experiences consumers have with Inspectors, and the mistaken understanding by other real estate professionals as to what an inspection is, and what an Inspector’s responsibilities are.
So when you interview Inspectors for your real estate purchase or sale maybe one of the most important questions to ask is “Are you a visual only Inspector?”.
Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC is a full service home inspection and light commercial inspection company servicing the entire Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. We strive to for the satisfaction of our customers in everything we do. Our services offerings include:
Buyer home inspections
New Home Warranty Inspections
New Home Draw Inspections
Home Maintenance Inspections
Home Remodeling Inspections
Rental And Renter Inspections
Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections
Energy Audit Inspections
Whole Inspections Or Inspections Customized To Your Needs
If you have an inspection need we can customize an inspection for it. Please visit our main site at PS Inspection & Property Service LLC.
home inspector home inspection commercial inspection warranty inspection new home home maintenance home remodeling real estate investor energy audit thermal imaging infrared thermal imaging septic system north texas east texas dallas texas tx fort worth ft. worth dfw metroplex rockwall greenville kaufman royse city farmersville wylie mckinney allen plano richardson frisco the colony coppell carrrollton irving arlington grand prairie sachse garland murphy addison mesquite lancaster desoto rowlett forney flower mount hunt county collin county tarrant county denton county dallas county kaufman county rockwall county ashi nachi tarei tpreia trec texas real estate commission