I received a phone call from a home seller last summer complaining I killed the deal on his house. I inspected his home for the new buyers, and they decided not to buy it after I inspected it because there were so many issues identified at the inspection. The owner called me and said that I went overboard with my comments, and wanted to make sure I knew that it was my fault that the buyers backed out of the deal. That call drove me nuts.
The angry homeowner told me that one of the items I called out was not a problem because the building official had signed off on the home when it was built. I actually felt my ears get hot when he told me that – if you’ve read my blogs on New Construction Inspections, you know that a ton of stuff gets missed during new construction, and it’s always a good idea to have new houses privately inspected. Even if the home had been properly built 11 years ago, it’s my job to tell the new buyer that houses aren’t built this way any more because problems can occur. I told the angry homeowner in a passionate, yet professional manner, that just because a building official signed off on something 11 years ago doesn’t make it ok with me. I should have ended the call instead of getting dragged in to a conversation about my inspection, but I couldn’t help myself – I’m proud of my work, and I stand behind it.
Maybe I should have quoted this section of the Minnesota State Building Code:
Approval as a result of an inspection is not approval of a violation of the code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction. Inspections presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of the code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction are not valid.
Before ending the call, the angry homeowner wanted to know if I would have bought the home. That’s a loaded question that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. I told the homeowner that I don’t know what his home is selling for, what the terms of the purchase agreement are, or what the property is actually worth. Without carefully going over all of those things, I wouldn’t know if a property was a good buy or not. A home inspection is never a pass / fail, and I never give advice on whether or not to buy a house. My job is to make sure the buyer is making an informed decision.