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Difference between rules, home inspectors’ conduct

While I hold a Dec. 10 letter writer in the highest regard, I think there is a difference between the rules and the conduct of home inspectors. New York has laws intended to promote professional home inspection conduct. And the associations we join as home inspectors promote a code of conduct that should guide our actions. But one cannot hear of the unpleasantly surprised new homeowner or of the superficial inspection reports and continue to assume that all home inspectors work competently with the clients’ best interests at heart.

It is a little naive to think that the terminology the inspector uses to describe a significant deficiency is so clear, quantitative and objective that it does not potentially affect the transaction. It is more than the condition or deficiency that influences the decision by the buyer to proceed. I spend a lot of time to carefully and accurately prepare my descriptions, beyond what simply checking off a condition box in a report can convey.

I am a licensed home inspector, and try my very best to live up to all the rules, obligations and my commitment to my clients. But it is interesting how real estate agents respond to learning that I am also a degreed engineer. The fearful and negative comments make it clear that the prospect of that engineering insight brought to bear on an inspection is often not welcome.

The primary path of home inspector recommendation, in my estimation, flows through the buyer’s real estate agent. In spite of satisfaction from my clients, my engineering background has not earned me a position on real estate agents’ preferred inspectors lists.

Another difference between the reported situation in Pennsylvania versus New York is that errors and omissions insurance is not mandatory for licensed New York home inspectors. Liability insurance is required in New York.

Barry A. Minbiole

East Amherst