Why EMP Inspections Need To Go Away

What is an EMP Inspection?

emp home inspections tulsa oklahomaAn EMP Inspection is short for “Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing.” It’s a type of home inspection some real estate agents will tell you to ask for. I started my home inspection career in Houston Texas. In the years following, I did several thousand home inspections and traveled around to various training events to further my knowledge base.

In all those years living there, not once did I hear of an EMP Inspection. In fact, it wasn’t until I became a home inspector in Tulsa that I heard that term. Furthermore, I was surprised to hear that real estate agents in Tulsa were recommending such inspection for single family residential homes, even after Oklahoma developed licensing for Home Inspectors and a Standards of Practice!

Why EMP Inspections Need to Go Away in Tulsa

With an EMP Inspection, the structural portion of your home (roof, attic, foundation, exterior/interior walls, windows, doors, etc) are not included in the inspection. Your roof won’t be inspected, nor your attic structure nor will your foundation be inspected or even the exterior walls! The lot drainage also will be not be inspected. That’s a lot of stuff the home inspector won’t be looking at if you ask for an EMP only inspection!

Also, if fungal growth is found, there’ll be no mention of it nor recommendation for a Tulsa Mold Inspection…because it grows on the structure!

Yet, even in 2019, I still see real estate agents telling Clients to ask for an EMP only inspection!

Oklahoma’s Standards of Practice for home inspectors outlines what an inspector is supposed to inspect during a standard home inspection. Structural components are included in these Standards, so it’s entirely within the scope of a standard home inspection for the structural components to be inspected, as is the lot drainage.

When Is an EMP Inspection a Good Idea?

The only time I would recommend an EMP only inspection would be if you’re buying a Condominium. Generally speaking, most Condos have an association that will cover the exterior, structure/roof and grounds.

In this situation, Mr. Homeowner only has to worry about the electrical system, the mechanical (meaning heating & cooling systems) and plumbing.

Otherwise, if you’re buying anything else, you’ll be short changing yourself by asking for an EMP Inspection! Don’t fall for it!

Be aware of anyone telling you that all you need is an EMP inspection!

There may be a reason they don’t want the structure inspected. As of this writing, it’s 2019. Let’s bring our real estate inspections into line with the rest of the modern world and have our whole homes inspected.

Why Do Some Real Estate Agents Try and Steer You Toward an EMP Inspection Only.

I can only guess based on my conversations with several agents about this. The better real estate agents know better than to tell their Clients to just get an EMP inspection.

From what I’ve found, there are only two reasons that a real estate agent would recommend just an EMP Inspection and not a complete home inspection.

  1. It’s all about the money. Some agents know good and well that structural issues in a home are expensive to repair. Also, your average person would probably walk away from a home with structural issues. So if they can sway you into thinking you only need an EMP inspection, that takes Structural Issues out of the equation.
  2. Some recommend Structural Engineers to do the structural part of the home inspection. Not only is this poor advice, but it’s also going to cost the home Buyer more money! Since most Structural Engineers performing house inspections are referred by real estate agents, you run into the same problems and conflict of interest as you dow when hiring a home inspector. Check out this article on whether you need a Home Inspector or Structural Engineer.

So the next time you’re in the market for a home, as part of the interview process when hiring a real estate agent, ask them several things. Most importantly, “Do you recommend a Home Inspector or Structural Engineer” and “Why?”


I'm a professional home inspector who serves Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Owasso, Jenks, Bixby, Coweta and all of Green Country in Oklahoma.

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