On average, home inspections in the United States cost between $300 and $450. This may seem like an unnecessary expense for some home buyers, but nothing could be further from the truth.
A professional home inspection can spare the home-buying horror stories that characterize many property purchases around the country. While the inspection itself is not required by law, it can help you make an informed decision when buying a home.
Home inspection companies are usually quite thorough in what they do. A home inspection checklist can include well over a thousand features. The goal is to help you decide whether to close the deal, renegotiate the price, or back out from the deal while you still can.
That said, it’s important to know that a home inspection checklist doesn’t cover every single detail of a property. There are certain conditions that require specialty inspections and aren’t the responsibility of a general home inspector.
In this post, we highlight nine top things that aren’t part of a home inspection checklist.
A home inspector is not an exterminator. Their main responsibility is to check for structural issues with the property.
If you spot a cockroach or some other pest during a walkthrough, you may want to hire a pest specialist to take a closer look. You should.t rely on the final home inspection report to yield information regarding pests in the home.
The roof is a big-ticket item, so it’s only natural to worry about it. Home inspectors will have no problem checking for warped or missing shingles. They’ll also check the shape of your gutters and flushing.
But there’s a caveat. Your roof must be lower than three stories high and not too steep. Unless your roof meets these conditions, most home inspectors will pass.
So, what should you do? It’s best to hire a specialized roof inspector. Such a professional will catch any issues that a regular inspector might miss.
3. The Ground Beneath Your House
Another part that’s not included in a general inspection checklist is the ground beneath the property. Buyers who are worried about the structural integrity of the land will need to hire a structural or geotechnical engineer. These professionals will check for such issues as:
- Whether the ground shifts
- The presence of sinkholes
- Whether the land shifts
- High water table
You could also consider checking the history of sinkholes or other natural catastrophes in the area to determine whether to do more research on the structural integrity of the land.
4. Fireplace and Chimney
During a general home inspection, the inspector will open and shut the dampers to check whether they’re working. They’ll also check for major obstructions in your chimney by shining a flashlight up the chimney. But that’s where the inspection ends.
If you’d like an inspection that’s more thorough, you’ll need to hire a fireplace impactor. These specialists can check for such issues as creosote and soot buildup, which might start chimney fires.
5. Swimming Pool
Sure, your home inspector will turn on the pool pump and heater to check whether they’re working. However, they won’t evaluate the dents and cracks in the pool.
For such issues, you need a pool inspector. The responsibility of a pool inspector is to scrutinize your pool’s pumps, filters, safety covers, decking surfaces, and so on. They’ll run pressure tests to find out whether there are any plumbing leaks that need to be addressed.
A home inspector may or may not check your HVAC system. That usually depends on the weather conditions at the time of the home inspection.
No home inspector wants to cause damage to the HVAC unit by putting too much pressure on it. Many home inspection reports have liability disclaimers that relieve general home inspectors from any responsibility of the HVAC system. That’s why you may want to hire an HVAC professional to inspect the system separately.
7. Electrical Outlets That Are Behind Heavy Furniture
A basic home inspection evaluates only the things that your home inspector can access or see easily. If there’s heavy furniture blocking some areas in the home, don’t expect your home inspector to move it aside to check what’s behind them.
What you need to do is ask your home seller to lug such items aside so the home inspector can do their work effectively.
8. Wells and Septic Systems
If the home you’re buying is in an area where many residents have wells and septic systems, then chances are you can find a local home inspection agent who’ll be willing to check the property’s well and septic system. Note that they may charge you extra for this service.
If most residents in the area depend on public water, then you may need to hire a well inspector. These professionals will usually collect water samples from the property and do lab analysis for arsenic, coliform, bacteria, and other harmful contaminants.
Well inspectors also check whether all the parts of the well are in good condition. These parts include the vents, screens, and seals. The final report will also indicate whether the well can produce ample water for your needs.
9. Landscaping Conditions
Generally, any issues with the yard of the property should be obvious to you during a walkthrough. You should be able to see such problems as dead spots, sprinkler leaks, potential pests, and so on.
Note that landscaping issues are not part of what to look for in a home inspection. If, for instance, there are dead trees in the yard, those are issues you or the home seller will need to take care of.
How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?
The typical home inspection takes between two to four hours. Sometimes, these inspections take longer, depending on the size of the home, the inspector’s experience, the age of the home, and the prevailing weather conditions.
Know What to Look for in a Home Inspection Checklist
A general home inspection is essential when you’re buying a home. However, there are some essential items that the typical home inspection checklist does not cover. For these issues, you’ll need to hire specialized professionals.
Are you interested in buying a property and would like it inspected first? Please, schedule an inspection with us today.