As professional home inspectors, it's our responsibility to adhere to certain ethical standards, ensuring each inspection is conducted with the utmost integrity and objectivity. While many states do not require inspector licensing, we are still bound by ethical requirements dictated by national associations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Abiding by these ethical guidelines is not just a matter of moral code; it often aligns with legal expectations.

One key aspect of our ethical code is the confidentiality of inspection findings and reports. The findings from a home inspection are primarily shared with the client - usually the home buyer. The details of the inspection should not be disclosed to the seller or their agent without the client's consent. Most inspection agreements include a provision allowing the client to authorize sharing the report with their Realtor®.

During an inspection, it is crucial for sellers to allow the inspector to work undisturbed. This time is not just for inspecting the property, but also for discussing any findings and recommendations with the client and their Realtor®. It can be challenging to maintain the necessary level of privacy, objectivity and confidentiality if the seller or their agent is present.

Key Points from the ASHI Code of Ethics

  • Avoiding Conflicts of Interest: Inspectors must maintain impartiality and not engage in activities that could compromise their objectivity. We must not have any financial interest in the home sale, be compensated based on inspection outcomes nor accept financial kickbacks from referrals.

  • No Repair Services for Inspected Systems: To avoid conflicts of interest, inspectors should not offer to repair systems they have inspected for at least one year after the inspection.

  • Prohibition Against Paying for Referrals: Home inspectors are forbidden from paying for referrals or leads from Realtors® or real estate offices, ensuring their impartiality and objectivity.

  • Acting in Good Faith: Inspectors must accurately report their findings without understating or overstating the significance of an issue. They should operate within the bounds of their training, experience, and qualifications.

  • Avoiding Harm to the Public and the Profession: Inspectors should market their services truthfully, reflecting their actual qualifications and avoiding actions that could harm the public or discredit the home inspection profession.

As home inspectors, our role in the home buying and selling process is pivotal. We provide insights that can influence significant financial and personal decisions. Upholding these ethical standards is not only about maintaining personal and professional integrity, but also about protecting the interests of all parties involved in the transaction. This commitment to ethics reduces liability and ensures peace of mind for everyone involved, including the inspector, the buyer, the seller, and the Realtors®.

In summary, the ethical conduct of home inspectors is fundamental to the trust placed in us by clients, Realtors® and other stakeholders in the home buying process. Upholding these standards is essential for maintaining the credibility and reliability of the home inspection industry.