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The Home Inspection Agreement

The Home Inspection Agreement (sometimes called a Pre-Inspection Agreement) is a document that all Home Inspectors will have you sign. The inspector will sign it as well.

The agreement is designed to protect both the Home Inspector and the client from misunderstandings that may arise from the home inspection.
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The agreement outlines a number of things regarding the home inspection.

STANDARDS OF PRACTICE


First, the agreement will identify which Standards of Practice will be used to inspect the home. Home Inspectors may belong to a number of different professional home inspection organizations, and the Standards of Practice followed by the membership of each organization is slightly different. These organizations include:

ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors)
InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors)
NAHI (National Association of Home Inspectors)

and many more.

WHO SEES THE HOME INSPECTION REPORT?


    The Home Inspection Agreement will sometimes clarify who will receive a copy of the Home Inspection Report, among other things. In most cases, a Home Inspector will not share your report with realtors, attorneys, or third parties without your consent.

EXCLUSIONS


   The agreement may also spell out what will not be included in the home inspection, such as mold testing, water testing or radon testing. Be sure to discuss these EXTRA services before the inspection begins. Some people are under the impression that a "Complete Home Inspection" includes all of these services when in fact they may not.

   The document may also contain various exclusions and disclaimers for certain types of homes. For instance, the Home Inspection Agreement may have a disclaimer for log homes, stating that the home inspector is not responsible for areas of the log structure that are inaccessible for inspection.

LIABILITY and LEGAL ACTION


Most Home Inspection Agreements will clarify the liability of the home inspector in the event that litigation arises from the home inspection process. Some agreements will state that in the event of litigation, any court proceedings will take place in the county where the Home Inspector is based. The Home Inspection Agreement may also clarify who will be responsible for the legal costs under different scenarios.

PAYMENT


The agreement may also state when payment is due for the inspection services. Most Home Inspectors will expect payment before or immediately after the inspection services have been rendered.



WHEN CAN I EXPECT TEST RESULTS?


In the event that a client has ordered extra services like mold, radon, or water testing, the Home Inspection Agreement may give a time frame when those test results will be available to the client.

NOTE:

It is EXTREMELY important that you read the ENTIRE Home Inspection Agreement before signing it!

The client should also insist on reading the STANDARDS OF PRACTICE guidelines that will be used to inspect the home.


The reason? Because, for example, a client may assume that a water pump that serves a water well on the property will be inspected during the process, when in fact some Standards of Practice state that the water pump is considered part of the WELL system. As such, the water pump would not be inspected with the other water supply equipment (piping, water heater) since a well inspection is considered an "EXTRA" service.

Always ask your Home Inspector to verbally clarify anything in the Home Inspection Agreement that is not already clear to you.


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