Updated: Apr 2
A home inspection is an extremely valuable tool for any home buyer. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is nothing more or less than a visual inspection of the home’s major systems. It is always a smart idea to accompany your inspector during the inspection, as you might notice things that aren’t on the inspector’s checklist. Here are 6 things that your home inspector will NOT be looking for.
Inside the Walls / Heating Ducts
Your home inspector cannot inspect what he or she cannot see, and knocking holes in the walls or opening the furnace definitely falls outside the bounds of a home inspection. You won’t want to do this either, so be sure to ask the seller about insulation and to turn on the heater to make sure there are no odd smells or obvious issues.
Houses settle over time, and a bit of sloping or warping is to be expected. Some houses are built better than others, though, and some remain more level than others. Your home inspector, though, isn’t in the business of checking that rooms and floors are square and level. If you don’t see obvious signs of sloping or warping, consider using a level and a T square to determine if each room falls into parameters that make you comfortable.
Home inspectors check the pipes, but generally ignore septic systems. If the home you are considering uses a septic tank rather than city sewers, Alaska will require you hire a geotechnical engineer to evaluate it separately.
Most older homes creak to some extent, especially if they have hardwood floors or stairs. Each person has a different tolerance level for creaking. Some prefer a totally silent home, while others enjoy the peace of mind that comes with an audible warning that someone else is in the house. In addition, creaking is not something that is easy to objectively measure. For these reasons and others, home inspectors do not check for creaking. The best way to check for yourself is simply to walk around when the house is silent.
Your home inspector will take a look at the roof from the ground, or using a remote camera system, but is not always able to climb up for a detailed inspection. From birds in the chimney to water leaks to carpenter ants, there are many different things that could go wrong on the roof. Therefore, it is important to hire a roofing contractor if recommended by your inspector.
If the seller had pets on the premises, your home inspector will note that fact. However, the inspection will not include details on pet damage that could be expensive to repair, such as stained carpets or dead patches of lawn. You will need to check for pet damage yourself and call around to get an idea of how much it will cost to fix.
A home inspection is a valuable resource for any home buyer, but it is not a guarantee against all potential problems. Accompany your home inspector, use your eyes and ears, and call in specialists when required.