(April 06, 2015
Q: We’re having a home inspection done on the house we wish to buy, and we think there will be problems highlighted. Can we ask the inspector to estimate the costs of remediation, so we can renegotiate the price?A: Home inspectors are often asked about the cost of repairs, usually at the end of the inspection when we give a verbal report on the condition of the home. Although it would be convenient, as a rule, home inspectors do not provide written cost estimates or exact quotations for repairs. Depending on the comfort level and experience of the inspector, rough ballpark costs may be discussed. However, the actual amounts can vary considerably depending on the contractor one hires. Inspectors are encouraged not to provide written estimates for three simple reasons:
- Home inspectors are not allowed to repair or fix items, so to make cost estimates would be a conflict of interest and against our code of ethics.
- Due to the litigious nature of this profession, it can be very risky for the inspector, especially if estimates given are much different than the actual cost for completed repairs.
- In addition to the potential legal ramifications and ethical implications, inspectors should always try to offer accurate information rather than guessing. Only an experienced contractor can do this accurately.
To make the process easier, I recommend hiring a contractor to accompany you during the report summary, or to discuss the details of the report soon after the inspection.