The Verification Home Inspection to Prove Repairs

When a home inspection contingency is part of a real estate purchase agreement, the buyer often requests certain repairs (called out in the inspection report) to be completed by the seller prior to closing. A home re-inspection is a way for him to verify that the repairs have been done properly. He calls back the same home inspector he hired originally, who then examines, either for free or for an additional fee, the specific defects thus identified, and he excludes everything else.
This verification home inspection is often confused with what is known as the "verification of property condition," but the two are actually different. The latter term refers to a final walk-through the buyer takes through the property to make sure that the house is in the same condition as he expects. It is not a tool for further negotiations, nor does it in any affect the binding terms of the contract. In other words, it doesn't remove any obligation the seller has to complete repairs to which he has agreed, but it also doesn't permit the buyer to tack on additional demands. All the walk-through really does is absolve the real estate agent(s) of liability.
It is also important to distinguish between the original home inspection, which is the work of a generalist, and follow-up work or "further evaluation" recommended in the inspection report and performed by specialists. Some clients object to having to shell out additional money for more inspection fees, but the home inspector is not licensed to make repairs or to render an expert judgment in areas that require special qualifications, such as pests, chimneys, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, foundation, soil, septic/sewer, and hazardous materials such as radon, lead-based paint, asbestos, and measuring air quality. Many inspectors do acquire additional, special licensing, but even then they need to be careful to avoid conflicts of interest. Washington State permits inspectors to repair defects they inspected only after a year has passed.
Use the same home inspector hired originally to conduct the verification inspection. Otherwise, you are really paying for another complete home inspection. The first inspector is already familiar with the house and can immediately tend to the specific defects highlighted by the client.
Some home inspectors charge a re-inspection fee (typically about a third of the original fee). Others provide this service free of charge for a limited period of time, typically up to a year after the original inspection. Members of each school of thought justify their position with sound philosophical and ethical reasoning, differing primarily in how strongly one feels it is necessary to stay above all suspicion of taking kickbacks, despite having vowed to adhere to ethical Standards of Practice.
Some inspectors shy away from doing a verification home inspection. There are certain liability dangers that arise when the seller hires a layperson, without financial protection or license, to make repairs. The layperson may, intentionally or unwittingly, make only cosmetic repairs, and the inspector may be unable to tell that the real problem remains unaddressed. In this case, the only recourse the client has is to come after the person conducting the inspection. Because of this, many inspectors will not agree to do a home re-inspection without proof (e.g., invoice) that the contractor was a licensed professional.

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