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Home Inspection Issues


A Reminder from Doug Dixon, Real Estate Regulatory Compliance Advisor

Home inspections are a common part of real estate transactions, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that mistakes and misunderstandings arise. Remember that the expectation is that the buyer’s representative will be present at the inspection, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the seller.

Recently RECA has seen more complaints surrounding home inspections, so I’d like to take a moment to remind licensees about some common examples of inappropriate activity:

  • Extra people: during inspections, extra people are not allowed into the property. Sometimes buyers take advantage of access to the property to show other family members the property they’re buying. Unless these individuals are listed in the purchase contract, or seller has given their permission, extra people cannot attend the inspection.
  • Other types of inspections: other types of inspections must be specified in the purchase contract, or permission from the seller must be granted. In a recent example, a buyer brought in a company that does inspections for bed bugs where a sniffer dog searched the entire property, which included climbing over the seller’s furniture. This type of inspection was not granted by the seller and should have never occurred.  
  • Destructive testing: inspections must not damage the property. If you think an inspection may damage a property, the seller must be consulted, and written permission must be obtained before anything happens.  Examples include checking under carpet for hardwood floors or checking behind drywall for insulation or mold. If the seller does not give their permission, the buyer, their representative, and the inspector could be responsible for any expenses to repair the damage.
  • Property status: the property must be left in the same state it was before the inspection started. This includes the following:
    • properly securing the property when finished. The buyer’s representative must check all windows and doors to ensure they are the way they were when they arrived for the inspection.
    • ensure that all lights, thermostat settings, etc. are set the way they were found.
    • if any furniture or belongings are moved during the inspection, they must be returned to their previous location.
    • ensure any messes are cleaned up. One we often see is insulation falling out of the attic when an inspector opens a roof access panel.
    • make sure any pets that may be on the property remain in the same area they were found in. For instance, if a dog or cat is confined to a specific room, you must make sure that is where they are when you leave the property. This includes not letting a pet out of the house or letting one that is outside into the house.

The important takeaway from all of this, is that licensees must abide by the terms of the inspection laid out in the purchase contract or be given permission from the seller, in writing, to avoid any complications or disagreements. For more information about home inspections, including a consent checklist, see RECA’s Information Bulletin: Access to Property Home Inspections.