The main reason is because they're misleading. A home inspector’s job is to observe and report, nothing more. Saying a house “passed” or “failed” an inspection is really going beyond and rendering an opinion. What is considered “passing” or “failing” by one inspector may not be so for another. The worst house we ever inspected had some $13,000 in needed repairs, but it did not “fail” the inspection. It was just a house needing a lot of attention. We reported what we saw in clear, candid and non-alarming language and everyone was satisfied. The buyer knew what they were getting and the sale went through because we avoided using misleading language.
When it comes to the word “code,” many people, including some home inspectors, confuse a home inspection with a code inspection. They are not the same. A home inspection is a limited, visual, non-invasive examination of a home’s condition at a given point in time. A code inspection is just that – An inspection of the home’s components and systems (HVAC, plumbing, structure, etc.) to determine if they conform to required codes. Home inspectors need to be familiar with various codes so they can recognize and point out issues observed during the inspection, but they are not code inspectors. Even if an inspector also happens to be a licensed electrician, plumber, etc., it would still be wise to avoid using the word “code” because it could give the client the wrong impression.
Using these words doesn’t mean the inspector is bad or dishonest. It just means they may need to work on their communication skills or re-think their understanding of what a home inspection is. Doing a great inspection is important, but just as important is communicating the findings to the client clearly and candidly. Avoiding misleading language will go a long way towards accomplishing that objective.
Have questions about home inspections? Call us – We'd love to talk with you.