Home inspectors are not licensed in Minnesota. A person can buy a franchise or go out on his own and become a home inspector. I say this because most home inspectors are men. I am referring to the complete home inspection requested and paid for by home buyers.
There are some wonderful inspectors out there. There are also some who really don’t know what they are doing and over the years I have seen it all.
Sometimes, buyers, have friends or family members conduct the inspection. That can work but only if the person doing the inspection knows what to inspect and have a system so that they don’t miss something vital.
One of the worst things an inspector can do is give advice outside his area of expertise. For example, an inspector should not say that a boiler needs to be replaced. He should recommend that the buyer have a licensed HVAC contractor inspect the boiler. He can also state his findings like ‘rust” or “leaking” etc.
Sometimes an inspection will lead to another inspection this is especially true in the case of heating plants, chimneys, and main sewer lines.
An inspector should never tell the buyer what the seller should repair. It is up to the buyer and seller to work that out. In most cases are no rules about who is responsible for repairs.
The inspector should not tell the buyer that the HOA is or is not responsible for a repair, or that they are not responsible for it. The condo documents will outline what the association is and is not responsible for. Generally, if an item that needs repair is inside the condo and if it is used exclusively by the condo then the condo owner is responsible for repairs and maintenance. Always consult the condo documents.
Mold always means trouble and is often mislabeled by well-meaning inspectors. I have seen requests to have entire foundations replaced due to “toxic black mold”. I often refer home buyers and sellers to the Minnesota Department of Health website. They have excellent information about mold. Not all mold is harmful. Penicillin is an example of a helpful mold.
Realtors usually know several good inspectors but should always be recommending at least three inspectors. The buyer’s agent should not choose the inspector that choice is an important part of the buyer’s due diligence.
I’ll always recommend a complete home inspection before committing to buying a house. The inspection also protects the sellers who may not know about a repair issue that they can be accused of hiding.