What a Home Inspector Won’t Tell You

There’s a lot to the home buying process and it entails more than qualifying for a mortgage and searching through dozens of listings. Buyers want to make smart decisions so, they do what they can to learn about the properties they’re investing so much time and money. Even though buyers agents don’t cost homebuyers money, there are other upfront expenses which buyers are responsible for; among them is the home inspection.

These can range in price from under $200 to $400 or more depending on the location, the service provider, and the size of the home. For that amount of money, you would expect an exhaustive and comprehensive report be delivered to you too give you peace of mind and detail any and all defects. Unfortunately, that’s not the case; not because home inspectors isn’t trying to do as little as possible, it’s because their purview is limited. In addition, many states have consumer protection laws which forbid inspectors from making suggestions about repairs on a home to drive business to a handyman service they also run.

This, not to mention the fact that home inspectors are considered generalist experts. Meaning, they are trained and experienced in many areas; however, the extent of their abilities are not highly specialized.

What Inspectors Do Check

Some of the things home inspectors will check are appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, the structural integrity of the home, the roof, and other major items. For instance, if the shingles or tiles are working on the roof the inspector will make a note of it and probably elaborate that’s a sign of a in need of replacement.

“Sure, [home inspectors] eyeball your water system for observable leaks or plugged-up drains, but don’t count on them to check the septic tank or underground pipes. Most homes have imperfections, and inspectors probably won’t catch everything. They’re looking for major defects — electricity that’s not grounded, air-conditioning or heating systems that are operating in an unsafe manner.” —MSN Real Estate

Basically, home inspectors look at the big picture but they do not go into detail. An example would be the heating and air conditioning system in a home. An inspector will turn the systems on and off and note whether or not they are working properly.

However, don’t expect the inspector to tear apart a central air conditioning unit to find the root of a small problem. They are not trying to determine whether or not the thermal expansion valve is the cause. Instead, they will include the malfunction in their report but probably not elaborate as to why.

Things a Home Inspector Doesn’t Check

What you ought to know is what a home inspector won’t be looking at; or, for in the home you’re planning on purchasing. These can be minor, but some can be quite costly and even cause buyer’s remorse:

  • pests which might be lurking about;
  • the wiring and plumbing behind the insulation and under the floors;
  • repair costs for things which need specialized attention;
  • flooring underneath carpet;
  • landscaping features around the home; and,
  • pet damage and/or smoke.

Whatever the inspector does note on the report should be given over to a licensed professional. Just understand a home inspector is there to detect major problems, not to fix them.