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In definitions dating back to the early 17th century, ethics has been defined as: "The science of morals" (Oxford, 1959); "The principles of right conduct ..." (Funk & Wagnalls, 1973); and "A discipline dealing with good and evil and with moral duty" or "Moral principles or practice" (Merriam-Webster, 1997). Note the emphasis on morals and principles.

While everyone must decide what ethical standards they will follow, home inspectors who are members of a professional association agree to abide by a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The International Association documents may be viewed at www.nachi.org/sop.htm and www.certifiedmasterinspector.org/code-of-ethics/, the American Society of Home Inspectors documents may be viewed at www.ashi.org. These Codes of Ethics stress the responsibility of the home inspector to report the results of the inspection in a strictly fair, impartial, and professional manner, avoiding conflicts of interest.

The Associations' Codes of Ethics state that inspectors "will always act in good faith toward each client" and "will not accept compensation, financial or otherwise, from more than one interested party for the same service without the consent of all interested parties". It is our view that the ongoing supply of client leads from Realtors constitutes a form of compensation for facilitating the sale of the home and is therefore in conflict with the Code of Ethics. Most home inspectors get most of their work from Realtors. That makes them indebted to the Realtors. Would they risk their livelihood for you?

As a member of Independent Home Inspectors of North America we signed a pledge to not solicit real estate agents for client leads. This pledge can be viewed at www.independentinspectors.org.

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