For most people, a home is one of the largest purchases they will ever make in their lifetime. When choosing a place to live and invest in, prospective homebuyers must get the place inspected before putting in an offer. An otherwise “perfect” dream home could be hiding something potentially dangerous that is expensive to fix.
Home inspection reports typically cover the home’s major systems, such as the heating and cooling system, electrical system, and condition of the roof and foundation. What’s covered in the report will vary from one state to the next. For hopeful home buyers, it’s important to know what’s not included in the report, too. That way, your biggest purchase ever won’t come with a nasty and expensive repair surprise after closing.
What won’t a home inspector look for?
For a lot of homeowners, the home inspection ritual is one of the most stressful parts of the home buying process, and it’s often misunderstood. A home inspection report won’t tell you EVERYTHING that’s wrong (or right) with the house. In general, a home inspection report will give you an overall idea of the home’s relative condition for certain systems. A lot of buyers think that the home inspection is operated under a pass or fail grading system, but that’s not true. A home inspector won’t tell you whether or not to buy the home, either.
Every house and every buyer are unique, and everyone has different resources and repair capabilities for a home. A leaking roof could be a deal-breaker for one buyer, while the next may have the resources to fix the roof as soon as they take possession of the property. A home inspection report goes over the general condition of the house, from the roof to the foundation, at a very specific point in time. A report can give a rough estimate on the rest of a system or appliances lifespan. But it’s not able to tell a homebuyer if a plumbing issue will occur. Or if a family of squirrels will make your new attic their home shortly after you move in.
Below are the areas that aren’t typically covered in your standard home inspection report. For prospective buyers, it’s a good idea to get a certified specialist into the home if they are concerned that the structure may have these issues:
- Lead paint
- Toxic mold
- Problems with swimming pools
Your standard home inspection report goes over visible things. Things like asbestos, lead paint, and radon gas aren’t something that an inspector can see. Also in some older homes, attics have been sealed shut. It’s not possible for a home inspector to access those areas, either.
Buying a house is one of the most significant lifetime purchases someone can make. A home inspection can help protect that investment and keep new homeowners from purchasing a property that has far too many problems than they are capable of handling. But as with any purchase in life, caveat emptor.