Buying a house as an Inspector

If you were interested in buying a house, would it be unethical for you to perform the inspection? or should you get another inspector to do it?

Disclose in the Purchase Agreement that you (as a professional inspector) will be performing your own inspection to retain your rights to negotiate based upon the results of your inspection.

Keep in mind that some states Regulate against you from inspecting a home that you have a financial interest in… New York being one of them.


States have different rules and it comes down to wording in the purchase agreement. I recently bought a house in Hawaii and was fully within my rights to perform “my own” inspection. Some states specify a “professional inspection” which gets a bit more tricky but most times you can do it unless people are being ultra-picky. Worst-case you might have to get a colleague to go through with you and put something on his/her report form.


Why do so many inspectors think they can’t inspect their own purchase?

A home inspector has no enforcement power.
Why can’t you make arrangements, like all the other arrangements in a real estate sale to go in at an arranged time and inspect the house?

Your a Home Inspector. Your insured. Your supposed to be the professional.

As Jeffery said, some of you live in communist states!
What business is it of theirs if you negotiate with a seller to purchase their property contingent to a closer look at the house? If they say No, don’t buy the damn house.


I’m going through this same dilemma right now. Leaving the Colorado mountains for the Arizona high desert. My thought, I want the best, most experienced inspector looking at my new house. Someone that understands the nuances of the area and how the house is working within that environment. I “inspect” every house we look at, I can’t not do that, but I’m emotionally involved. I want that second set of eyes for an independent, rational opinion. I also think it give more credibility with sellers when negotiating defect cost adjustments. I know it reduces the emotional strain when my wife loves it and I’m worried about dealing with defects. I know I can inspect it but I think it is in my best interest to hire a local expert.

Matt Barker
Crested Butte Home Inspections


I personally would not ask to inspect the house I was buying. Doing so leaves the door open for sellers to claim you intentionally listed items in an effort to lower the price of the house. I would choose the best inspector I know, other than myself, but would attend the inspection.


Good point.

If you can’t control emotions and look at things objectively, can you really be objective in your day to day jobs? Why would you ask for things that you wouldn’t for your clients? Or are we not reporting things for our clients for some reason? Should you not both receive the same report criteria?

I didn’t think the purpose of our inspections were for negotiation of purchase price. I thought it was to help the client know what they were buying, and the seller selling,
Clients ask me to put stuff in the report so they can ask for price reduction, and I tell them to just ask for it themselves. They, like many of us have the notion that we have some kind of power to demand repair. We don’t. They do. They have the power of negotiation because they are the ones signing the check at closing.

If something doesn’t work, how can they claim you are making stuff up?
If it is something concerning safety, but works, they need to fix it for you, or the next buyer (required by law to disclose).
If the house was not build to code, it’s time for you to look at another house, in most cases.

RE Contracts have contingencies such as; this contract to purchase is contingent upon a satisfactory Home Inspection. This is what they call a screen door. The ability to withdraw the offer.

Clients put you on a pedestal because they don’t know the rules of home inspection, but it is not wise for us to cloud their expectations by going along with that. Seems all too often we start to think like we have some power to get repairs done. That is the sole responsibility of the client. Anything different is why we get client complaints.

Observe, Test, Report, and Answer Client’s Questions.


I know some realtors who do not distribute the inspection report when requesting repairs. The realtor uses the report to assist in writing the amendment. I can see the realtors point. “Why insert a document to cloud the transaction?” Bottom line, the customer wants certain items addressed, end of story.

I too would hire the most competent inspector I could find, but not until after I have inspected the house. I just want the second set of eyes.


The last two houses that my wife and I bought I “inspected“ them during our initial tour of the homes. We knew what we was getting into prior to making a purchase offer. We went in low and waived the inspection both times.

In Indiana, it is unethical for me too receive compensation for a home inspection of a house that I am selling. I’m not receiving compensation from myself for a house that I am buying, therefore it’s totally ethical.

Licensees shall not: (1) inspect properties:
(A) for compensation in which they have, or expect to have, a financial interest;


You need to read through and try to understand that again…

You may not be

But you sure as hell

I don’t need to re-read anything again, Jeffrey. I know and understand my state SOP. A home inspection is defined as something done for compensation.


The only issue is if you want to use the inspection to get any type of credit/repairs.

If I was a seller, I wouldn’t accept an inspection done by the buyer, because it’s going to be biased.

Thus, if I were a buyer, I’d hire a 3rd party inspector if I was hoping to get credits/repairs/price reduction or such.

But if I was buying a fixer, or and “as is” sale where credits/price reduction were not going to be a factor, then I may as well do it myself.

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Isn’t there more after that comma? Like “without disclosure…” such as in Tn. and several other states;

  1. Before the execution of a contract to perform a home inspection, a licensee shall disclose to
    the client any interest in a business that may affect the client. No licensee shall allow his or
    her interest in any business to affect the quality or results of the inspection work that the
    licensee may be called upon to perform.

It doesn’t say you can’t, it says you must just disclose. And like everything else home inspection, the client has the responsibility to decide.

”c) Licensees shall not: (1) inspect properties:
(A) for compensation in which they have, or expect to have, a financial interest; or
(B) under contingent arrangements whereby any compensation or future referrals are dependent on reported findings or on the sale of property;
(2) directly or indirectly compensate realty agents, or other parties having a financial interest in closing or settlement of real estate transactions, for the referral of inspections of or inclusion on a list of recommended inspectors, preferred providers, or similar arrangements;
(3) receive compensation for an inspection from more than one (1) party unless agreed to by the client or clients;
(4) accept compensation, directly or indirectly, for recommending contractors, services, or products to inspection clients or other parties having an interest in inspected properties; or
(5) repair, replace, or upgrade, for compensation, systems or components covered by the minimum standards of competent performance found in section 1 of this rule for one (1) year after the inspection.”

Nothing here restricts a home inspector from inspecting a property that they are purchasing. That’s not to say a seller has to accept that arrangement. I’m just saying.

Just a thought: Does anyone inspect a house for a client as if they were buying it for themselves? And if so, would there be any difference if you were buying it?

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Sounds like a website cliche.

The difference is the money. As in, you’re paying for things in your own house and you’re not in someone else’s. Pretty big difference.

It maybe a cliche’ to you,

but it is something I would always remind myself before the start of each and every inspection. That would reflect in the finished reports, which were done to a punch list level of observation. It was an extension of my previous practice and work in construction, which is rife with shortcuts, and a lack of attention to detail.

I hate when clients ask me if I would buy the house after an inspection. I do a lot of dancing and skirting with my answers, always leaving it somehow that my opinion is limited to technicals. Not my call based on one inspection.

I always tell them, “No, I already have a house.” :blush: