In this final installment of “Decoding the Inspection Report,” we are going to look at the last paragraph of the preamble. It reads as follows:
INFORMATION INCLUDED UNDER “ADDITIONAL INFORMATION PROVIDED BY INSPECTOR”, OR PROVIDED AS AN ATTACHMENT WITH THE STANDARD FORM, IS NOT REQUIRED BY THE COMMISSION AND MAY CONTAIN CONTRACTUAL TERMS BETWEEN THE INSPECTOR AND YOU, AS THE CLIENT. THE COMMISSION DOES NOT REGULATE CONTRACTUAL TERMS BETWEEN PARTIES. IF YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE EFFECT OF ANY CONTRACTUAL TERM CONTAINED IN THIS SECTION OR ANY ATTACHMENTS, CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.
Any information provided in this section is solely at the discretion of the individual inspector or inspection company and is not a requirement of the TREC. It may be included in this section or as an attachment to the standard inspection report form. Some common examples of what might be found here are:
- Inspection Agreement
- Safety information regarding Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST)
- Occupancy/property information/age of home/weather conditions/property orientation/outside temperature
- Scope of inspection/General Limitations
- Disclaimers regarding mold or pests
- Information regarding inaccessible or obstructed areas
As you can see from the examples above, most of these are informational in nature and further aid in setting the expectations of the inspection. However, if any these contain contract terms and the effects of these terms are not understood, the TREC recommends consulting with an attorney as the TREC does not regulate contractual terms between the parties of the inspection.
In closing out this 9 part series, all of the posts have elaborated on the 9 sections of the preamble of the inspection report form. They dealt with agreements, the standards of practice, the inspection report, life-safety upgrades, expectations, responsibilities, realities, the right to inspect, and finally the additional information that might be provided by the inspector.
They dealt with the “visible, accessible and non-invasive” aspect of the inspection process. Here in our final thoughts, I would like to touch once again on the point that a home inspection is not technically exhaustive or, to put it simply, it is cursory in scope.
First, what does this not mean? It doesn’t mean that you are getting an inferior inspection because it is cursory or not technically exhaustive. The cursory element is the truest part of what a home inspection is. I think developing what the cursory element “is” will be helpful in seeing and understanding this.
So, what is it? What does it mean? Really, it means this: when a home inspector is performing an inspection on the subject property they are offering the client a broad and sweeping stroke as to the condition of the major systems and components of the property: the structural systems, the electrical systems, the HVAC systems, the plumbing systems, the appliances, and in some instances, the optional systems. This “broad overview” may come with some unforeseen detail, but even with this detail, the home inspection has not been redefined: it is still not technically exhaustive and it is still cursory.
Thus, the home inspector, providing a “home inspection” which is not intended to be “technically exhaustive” and is intended to be “cursory” isn’t providing an inferior home inspection: they are simply doing their job, which is to provide a broad overview of the home’s condition. Remember, “a home inspection is a risk reduction tool designed to reflect, as accurately as possible, the visible condition of the home and represents a broad and sweeping stroke as to the condition of the major systems and components of the property at the time of the inspection.” The client hires a home inspector for this purpose and hopefully, this series of blog posts has helped to set that expectation. If they are wanting a more in depth examination of the home they would need to hire a structural engineer, a roofing contractor, a licensed electrician, a licensed HVAC contractor, a licensed plumber, a qualified appliance technician, and possibly others for the optional systems—all different professionals, all different professions, and at a substantially higher cost.
I hope that we have been able to uphold our duty to help create realistic expectations and bring about a better understanding of the purpose, limitations, and responsibilities of defining what a home inspection is and what it is not in order to help facilitate and promote smooth real estate transactions.