No comparison, not even close.
In both situations the inspector writes the exact same report.
The only 5 major differences are:
With MIC, some other party certifies that there are no major systems in need of repair and no known safety hazards. Had the inspector failed to report on systems in need of major repair or known safety hazards on a regular inspection, he’d be responsible anyway. MIC just relieves some of this responsibility by making the seller certify that he doesn’t know something about his house that he should disclose. MIC carries far less liability than a regular inspection.
With MIC, there is more time between the time of inspection and the time the buyer moves into the home. Sometimes more than a year. Inspection reports are only good on the day of the inspection, and so the more time between the day of the inspection and the day the buyer moves in, the less liability for the inspector. MIC carries far less liability than a regular inspection.
With MIC, the inspector is working for the party moving *out *of the house, not into the house. There is obviously much less liability working for the seller who is moving *out *of the house that was inspected than the buyer who is moving into the house. MIC carries far less liability than a regular inspection.
With MIC, the seller helps the inspector alerting him/her to defects that the inspector may not have found on his own in 3 hours. On a regular inspection the seller is often not home and his/her assistance isn’t available at all. MIC carries far less liability than a regular inspection.
With MIC, the buyer is not your client at all. And to the extent a that a buyer might be able to argue that he/she could somehow rely on a report when they weren’t even the client’s inspector (no duty), that liability is still much less than a regular home inspection where the buyer CAN CERTAINLY rely on the inspector’s report as the buyer IS the inspector’s client. MIC carries far less liability than a regular inspection.
Anyway, if anyone tells you that MIC carries more liability than a regular inspection they are incorrect by what I calculate to be a factor of 20 to 25. MIC about 1/20th to 1/25th the liability of a regular inspection.
And finally, there is risk in performing all inspections! Liability per inspection is not the correct factor to analyze or compare. Liability per dollar of profit is (one of the reasons I argue that it is better to do fewer inspections at higher fees). Since MIC generates so many more inspections (has huge added marketing value) via prospective buyers and agents getting to view a real sample of the product the inspector produces (the report) and the likelihood of getting the inspection from the seller on the home he/she is buying (moving to), one must consider that the liability of an MIC inspection is not only less than a regular inspection, but that liability is distributed over more profit dollars further reducing the liability per dollar of profit.