I will never understand the motivation, why home inspectors are increasing their exposure to liabilities voluntarily. The latest example is the ridiculous attempt to check free of charge municipal records, to confirm whether or not assumed improvements or alterations to the property have been carried out in the past with or without the applicable permits or inspections.
Home inspectors should have learned by now how to minimize their liabilities. The best example is how real estate is being sold for a century. As of today all listings include the disclaimer that the provided listing information is not a guaranty, and that purchasers should satisfy themselves about the accuracy of the property description.
Even the dummiest Home inspectors should have figured out by now that he/she is always first inline to be blamed if the purchaser has any reason for complaints after the deal has been finalized. The only difference is that the home inspector collected a few hundred dollars for his/her exposure to risk, whereas the real estate people involved, split tens of thousands of dollars for their more often than not mediocre service.
I recommend to read the InterNachi Inspection Standards from A to Z not only once, but twice before adding voluntary services for free.
RUDOLF REUSSE - Home Inspector since 1976 - Retired
What you don’t seem to understand with the proper inspection report our liability is slim to none. Somewhere around here I have statistics of inspectors that have been sued and it’s probably less than 1 percent so if you’re selling something you’re in the wrong place
I don’t know about the liability for checking permits but I won’t do it. Takes time I am not getting paid for.
Instead you can tell the buyers to call the permit department themselves or even have them check online in major cities.
Do this if you feel good about it but if I put in a sink I don’t wash and wax all the tops in a kitchen. Same thing in my opinion.
I understand your frustration at this Rudolf but consider these boiler plate statements:
If I find a permit has been issued I can confidently put in the report that
“A permit was issued by the [AHJ] for the work and that the responsibility for inspecting such work is the local compliance inspector as a home inspector is not a code inspection. The local [AHJ] code compliance inspector has signed off on this work and I am unable to confirm or deny these expert findings as many of the components are hidden from view in a visual home inspection”
If I can’t find a permit for obvious work I can confidently say that:
“I was unable to identify that a permit was issued and completed for obvious renovations and this suggests that no code compliance check was carried out by the local [AHJ]. Therefore as the work includes components that are hidden to a visual home inspection I cannot confirm the work was carried out in a professional manner and may be subject to unforeseen circumstances that may incur hidden costs in the future.”