Why a Buyer Cannot Rely on the Code Inspectors

By: Eric Badgely

As a realtor, and after speaking with home inspectors, I know that it is not wise for my buyers to waive the chance to get their own independent home inspection. A buyer should not consider the municipal code inspection to be a real independent home inspection.

The fact a home has been passed by the municipal code inspectors does not guarantee that some pretty serious problems are not still present on site. Some of the things that have been found by home inspectors, and this list is not even trying to be inclusive, includes electric panels that are sloppy and unsafe; GFCI outlets (that help prevent shocks) and other receptacles with reversed polarity or non functional in operation; earth grounds that are not connected to the ground; roof vents that are missing with holes that go down into the attic; insulation installed upside down; hot and cold water faucets reversed; gas or propane appliances incorrectly installed and unsafe; toilet fill tanks that are plumbed to the hot water; roof trusses that have been cut; dirt that has been poured back into the crawl space so it is touching structural lumber; missing handrails and guardrails on high decks.

All of these errors, which passed by the code inspectors, would be unsafe or have long-term negative effects on a home.

Make no mistake about it, code inspectors play an important role and catch many errors during construction, but most of these people are overworked and have way too many stops to make in a day to do a thorough job. With this in mind, and to protect my buyers, I always suggest that they have an independent home inspection performed by an independent, qualified, thorough and detail-oriented residential home inspector.

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