Suppose that your house inspector finished the examination and gave you the all clear. There isn’t a single thing wrong with your potential home. Let’s ignore the fact that this has likely never happened before in the history of real estate. You’re the luckiest homebuyer in history.
But what if you aren’t as lucky as you think? A standard home inspection doesn’t cover every feature of a new home. It’s possible that the real estate inspector missed some serious (i.e. expensive) issues that will come back to haunt you.
If the home inspection checklist doesn’t cover aspects that concern you, it might be best to splurge on additional inspections. To protect your financial security, you should know what a standard inspection covers — and what it doesn’t.
A Real Estate Inspector Doesn’t Cover Everything
When it comes to things your inspector will check, there’s a simple rule of thumb. If it’s readily accessible, it’s probably covered. This means that doors, windows, and other structural elements will get a thorough examination.
But how can a real estate inspector check house components tucked away behind drywall? They can’t. When you get the home inspector’s report, it’s important to remember that these 8 things haven’t been covered:
A real estate inspector will look at the plumbing they have access to. But when you think about it, you’ll realize that’s a very small amount of total coverage. A visual inspection might detect leaks, but clogs, buildup, and other plumbing issues may be left undiscovered.
There could be plumbing problems hidden behind drywall the inspector can’t examine. Plumbing related to your septic tanks or sewer lines is also inaccessible. If you suspect the house may be hiding plumbing issues or a dysfunctional septic tank, it’s in your best interest to have a specialist inspect these components.
2. Swimming Pools
Are you buying homes with swimming pools? In rare cases, a real estate inspector may be qualified to inspect septic tanks and pools alike. Be sure to ask them if it’s covered during the inspection. Cracks and other signs of visible damage are a sure sign your swimming pool requires an inspection.
But even if the pool appears fine at a glance, there could be some mechanical problems or infestations hidden beneath. Some pools are constructed against local housing regulations. For all these reasons, it’s best to make sure your pool receives an expert’s inspection.
Even in lived-in houses, pest infestations can be difficult to detect. Things like termites, silverfish, cockroaches and more may be living in the home before you are. A real estate inspector might note visible signs of pest damage, but otherwise, the burden is on you.
If you see signs of pest problems, such as ants or rat droppings, it’s time to call in a professional for an additional pest inspection.
As was the case with your home’s plumbing, a real estate inspector does look for roof problems. However, they aren’t roof specialists and do a simple eye inspection from ground level, typically with binoculars. Wear and tear and overt signs of damage will be written up.
But what about more subtle imperfections, like a cracked shingle allowing rainwater into your potential home? Fortunately, the inspector will likely find these leaks during the attic inspection. In areas where severe weather is typical, a roof inspection may be a wise purchase.
It might surprise you to learn that a standard home inspection does cover some appliances. These typically include the basics of the kitchen and laundry room, such as a refrigerator and dryer. But newer homes tend to have additional features that aren’t covered.
Do the microwave and wine cooler come with the house? If it’s not built-in, it’s a good bet that the real estate inspector won’t test them. Be sure to test the appliances yourself — maybe even those that the inspector already covered — to be safe.
50% of all homes contain asbestos in some shape or form, although a much smaller percentage actually presents a health risk. Still, you should know that a real estate inspector will not check for asbestos, radon gas, or lead paint.
Know your area and the age of your home. You’ll get a good sense if your house is a likely asbestos candidate. Protect your health and rely on a specialist if you believe toxic elements could be hidden in the household.
Sometimes a real estate inspector may avoid inspecting your temperature control system. This may be because they aren’t qualified, are lacking the proper equipment, or are afraid of damaging the vulnerable device by running it under unusual conditions, such as running the heat on a hot summer day.
Remember that real estate inspectors follow the old mantra, “out of sight, out of mind.” If insulation is missing behind walls in your home, the inspector is not likely to discover the problem.
During the extreme seasons, you’ll notice insufficient areas of insulation in your home. At that point, it’s time to call on a contractor to fix the problem.
A Home Inspection Uncovers Most Home Problems
Although a standard home inspection doesn’t cover every feature of your home, they find the most common issues. A real estate inspector can give you a solid foundation to determine the home’s condition. If you think additional inspections are necessary, it’s worth the expense just for the peace of mind.
Schedule a home inspection and don’t leave anything up to chance.