Why Reports Do Not Give Prices for Repairs

A man thinking

Prices: A common question that buyers may have is why our reports do not give prices for repairs identified. There are several valid reasons why we do not give prices for repair items found during the inspection.

California Law

Home inspectors in California are not permitted to provide estimates for repairs as per the California Business and Professions Code section 7196. This code states that “A home inspector shall not perform or offer to perform, for an additional fee, any repairs to a structure on which the inspector, or the inspector’s company, has prepared a home inspection report in the past 12 months.” This means that neither IM Home Inspections nor anyone who works for us can do the repairs.  It simply isn’t fair to everyone involved to speak for someone else when we are legally not able to do the work ourselves.

Repair vs Replace

It may be cheaper in the short run to repair an item.  However, it may be cheaper in the long run to replace an item. As a home inspector, it’s not our place to make such a decision.

Take a roof where the home inspector has identified a few issues. Repairing a roof is generally more cost-effective than replacing an entire roof. It’s cheaper, easier, and can be done more quickly. However, while repairing a roof may solve the immediate problem, it may only be a temporary fix and may not address underlying issues. And there is cumulative cost: If repairs are done repeatedly over the years, the cost may eventually add up and exceed the cost of a new roof. But the cost of a full replacement may be time-consuming, and disruptive to moving in. Again, it is not our place to make the decision as to which is the best option. Individual circumstances will vary.

High Number of Factors

Estimating the true prices of repairs can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. For example, the cost of repairing a furnace could vary depending on the brand, the extent of the damage, and the labor costs. In some cases, a repair may not be an option if the parts are no longer made.

The other factor is, according to California Business and Professions Code section 719(a)(1) “Home inspection” is a noninvasive, physical examination. By noninvasive, a home inspector can not see behind walls, or inside of sealed components. The extent of damage or repairs necessary may not be obvious with only a noninvasive visual inspection. It often takes an expert in a particular trade to open up a wall or take apart an appliance to find the real extent of repairs required. All of this can dramatically change the prices of a repair.

We Must Remain Impartial and Unbiased

Home inspectors are expected to remain impartial and unbiased in their evaluations. We do work closely with several specialists. If we were to provide estimates for repairs, it could create a conflict of interest. We could risk being accused of only looking for work for friends who could perform the repairs. This could lead to questions about our inspector’s objectivity and impartiality.

inspector inspecting a pool
An inspector must remain impartial

A Report’s Purpose

Finally, it is important to remember that the home inspection report is intended to be a tool for the buyer to make an informed decision about the home purchase. As previously written, all repairs are negotiable. Very few repairs are required by law. While yes, you should have everything in your home inspection report repaired, no one is going to force you or the seller to make all repairs.

The California Association of Realtors gives you several documents when you purchase a home that backs this up, such as:

The STATEWIDE BUYER AND SELLER ADVISORY (C.A.R. Form SBSA) the 2nd line of the form says

  • You should conduct thorough investigations of the Property both personally and with appropriate professionals.

C.A.R. Form BIE, section B states

  • You have an affirmative duty to exercise reasonable care to protect yourself… and to investigate and verify information and facts that you know or are within your diligent attention and observation.

Every home buyer has to take responsibility to decide if the home is worth buying or not.

The home inspection report is intended to identify potential issues, and buyers should obtain their own repair estimates from licensed contractors. By doing so, buyers can make an informed decision about the home purchase, and ensure that any necessary repairs are completed by qualified professionals.

To book your impartial inspection, call 818-298-3405 or book online here.