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Inspector "Goofs" — CREIA Explains the Inspection Process

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June 2002 (Palm Springs, Calif) — The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) wants homebuyers and home sellers to know that there may come a rare, but unfortunate time, when you may be dissatisfied with the performance of the professional real estate inspector whom you have retained to report on the conditions of a home. As the non-profit industry and consumer-oriented organization that represents the real estate inspection profession in California, CREIA is concerned for your issues.

Sometimes even the most seasoned of inspectors make a "goof". That is, they fail to report a matter than needed to be brought to the attention of the person requesting the inspection, or perhaps they inadvertently omitted an important finding.

A professional home inspector is there to help find material defects, as defined in the California Business and Professions Code § 7195, but, of course, they cannot "see through walls" or around dense and/or immoveable furnishings. The typical house has more than 60,000 pieces and parts in its construction, and while paying close attention the major components and appliances, such as roofs and furnaces, inspectors typically look at a representative sampling of multiple components, such as electrical receptacles and windows. Notwithstanding this standard procedure, the one nonfunctioning switch in the house may be overlooked.

To best remedy this situation, it is recommended that you contact the inspector directly. A reputable inspector will gladly take a second look at this condition.

If you have found items in your written inspection report that you fail to understand, call the inspector and ask them to thoroughly explain the condition(s) in question. If you fail to find reported conditions listed in your written report that your inspector verbally noted to you during the inspection process, contact the inspector to inquire on the discrepancy. If you get a conflicting opinion from one of the other parties in the transaction, you may want to ask the inspector for the basis for their opinion. If you get a conflicting opinion from a contractor retained to perform corrective work on a defective system or component noted in the inspector's report, call the inspector and ask for further explanation; suggest the inspector speak to the contractor.

If you find that the seller states that a certain item reported as defective or hazardous is not a problem and refuses to negotiate a remedy, it is the seller’s legal right to do so. You may either accept the seller's position or look for another house. If you feel the inspector performed less than a thorough inspection, call the inspector and share your feelings. If the inspector fails to satisfy your feelings, offer to return the inspector's written report, sign a legal waiver of action, and ask for your money back. As with most respectable business professionals, Home Inspectors rely upon client referrals, thus keeping happy clients is simply good business.

This real estate bulletin has been brought to you by the California Real Estate Inspection Association. Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.

CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a written test of property systems and complete 30 hours of education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances that affect property inspection and the business of real estate inspection. CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you, click here.


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