April 21, 2018

Notes From Readers: Inspection Liability

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Notes From Readers: Inspection Liability

The inspector’s view

The buyer’s agent in Oliver Frascona’s article (“Pass the baton,” February 2002, page 24) appears to have had inept legal representation. I’ve never known the salesperson to be held to a higher standard than the inspector in terms of reporting the home’s condition. I believe the solutions outlined in the article weren’t strong enough to prevent this situation from happening again. To ensure that your clients are protected, make sure the inspector they choose has

  • Errors and omissions insurance: With an uninsured inspector, the attorney is more likely to pursue you, because you are the “deeper pocket.”
  • Ongoing training and support: Organizations such as The National Institute of Building Inspectors ( offer support and require annual retesting.
  • A written inspection guarantee: Inspectors shouldn’t be expected to pay for repairs on marginal or aged systems. But when they say something is working without any problems, they should put in writing that if this doesn’t hold true for a reasonable amount of time, they’ll assist the customer with repairs.

Buyers shouldn’t look exclusively for an engineer. Although many of our inspectors have been engineers, assuming an engineer is better is wrong. Professional engineers tend to focus on their area of expertise. A good inspector has to look at the big picture and relate each element to the other elements in the home.
—Kathleen A. Kuhn, CEO, Housemaster, Bound Brook, N. J.

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