Home inspections are important, there’s no denying that. But what about mandatory point-of-sale inspections that are carried out by the city? That could be something altogether different.
While it might seem like more inspections could only be a good thing, that’s not necessarily the case. And ironically, inspections that happen before the sale of every home could spell trouble for the men and women who own home inspection businesses.
Although it’s not a widespread problem, some American towns have attempted to instate a mandatory policy. Here’s what you need to know in case the area that you work in considers adopting a similar policy.
Some City Officials Want Mandatory Inspections
Although very few cities have mandated point-of-sale home inspections, they affect every person buying and selling a home in those locations. What this means to sellers is that every home, regardless of whether it’s sold through a real estate agency or by owner, and regardless whether or not the property is financed, is required to have a point-of-sale inspection.
Few question whether inspections are valuable tools. Investopedia explains most of the benefits, including protecting buyers from entering a purchase contract on a house that needs major work. But in areas where point-of-sale inspections are mandatory, the seller and the buyer have no choice.
Many Home Owners are Against This Policy
Mandatory point-of-sale inspections are carried out by the city and may be funded by taxpayers or by the seller. Either of these scenarios shift the cost burden to someone else. And an inspector works on behalf of the person who pays for the inspection. So when the city or property owner foots the bill, who looks after the buyer’s interest?
To make matters worse, a mandatory policy means all sales — even those where the buyer already knows the property inside and out — are required to comply. And where a finance company also requires an inspection, there’s no guarantee that the city-mandated inspection would satisfy it. In the Eden Prairie News, a Minnesota newspaper, homeowners have already spoken out about how their proposed inspections, performed by city officials and paid for by the seller, interfere with the sale process and levy too many restrictions on residents.
Mandatory Inspections Could Affect the Average Inspector
Ordinarily, a buyer hires an inspector to check the condition of a house before buying it. And then sometimes a home owner will hire an inspector just to learn more about his property. This is how the home inspection business has worked for decades, and it has served the industry well.
When cities mandate point-of-sale inspections, mom & pop home inspection businesses might be in trouble. Although there would be more inspection work, who would benefit from it remains to be seen. Would inspectors be those city officials that the Eden Prairie News commentary spoke about? Or would they be independent contractors hired by the city? And would the city impose new regulations on those inspectors?
At the moment, mandated point-of-sale inspections are a relatively small concern across the country. But you should be aware of this trend, because it could gain traction in the years to come. If the area where you work tosses around the idea, there are some important questions to ask of your city officials.
ICA School strives to educate new home inspectors, and keep those of you who are already in the workforce informed about the industry. If you’re still batting around the idea of starting a home inspection career, get a free demo to see exactly what ICA home inspection training is like.