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Top 5 Hard-To-Catch Items In A Home Inspection

In a home inspection, you want the inspector to be able to find the items that would keep you from buying a home that should not be purchased. Home inspectors are valuable professionals to hire, but you should know that a home inspector is not always going to be able to catch all of the problems in a home. The areas that are hard for a home inspector to find are problems that cannot be seen and have developed over time. Knowing this information is going to help a homeowner have realistic expectations of what a home inspector can find and areas that could still potentially be problematic in the home. Here are the top 5 hard to catch items in a home inspection:

  1. Damaged sewer pipes. A pipe that is damaged or has some blockage is going to be difficult for a home inspector to find. Unless a pipe completely bursts, the problem will develop over time. When a home inspector comes to a home, there are several ways that they are able to check the pipes. They can run water through to make sure that the pipes are not completely blocked. They can estimate the age of the pipes by knowing the age of the house and the types of pipes that are being used. Then, they can ensure that there is nothing that could potentially damage the pipes such as trees or bushes. But to check on any further damage, more is going to be needed. For a thorough check of the pipes, equipment like a camera that can go through the pipes will be required.
  2. Broken HVAC control system. HVAC systems can be fickle. How hard they work is dependent upon the quality of the systems and the current temperatures. If the temperatures change quickly, then the HVAC is going to go on hyper drive and have to work immensely more than it is accustomed to. A home inspector is not going to be able to do much for a broken HVAC system. To have the HVAC equipment thoroughly checked, the inspector would need to bring an HVAC specialist with him or her. These specialists are costly, however, typically requiring thousands of dollars in payment. This means that if the problem you have is with an air conditioner, it may actually be cheaper for you to purchase a new one than to hire an HVAC specialist. But, if the problem is in regards to an old furnace, these specialists may prove to be beneficial. If you know that the furnace is 10 or more years old, you risk having a crack on the heat exchanger. If a crack develops, the furnace could give off carbon monoxide. If an HVAC specialist finds a problem with the furnace, law requires that the furnace be replaced.
  3. Electrical system failures. If there are problems with the electrical system that go beyond what meets the eye, an inspector will most likely realize that there is a problem, but he or she is most likely not going to be able to give a thorough report. For those types of matters, an electrician is going to be needed. An electrician will have the necessary knowledge and tools to turn off the entire electrical system and then find the source of the problem. The inspector is going to be able to find problems that he or she can see. They will check the electrical outlets, the lights, the wiring, and the service panel.
  4. Structural damage. An inspector is going to be able to give some information regarding the structure of the home. They will be able to look at the structure of the home and know whether the structure of the home is straight, with no sagging or tilting. They will do this through looking at the outside walls and roof, each of the windows and doors, and inspecting the attic. An inspector is also going to check the foundation of the home. They will see if there are any cracks or tilting. But when it comes to knowing the severity of the problems, an inspector is not going to be able to provide specifics. They will know how that particular home compares to other homes they have previously checked, but a licensed engineer is going to be able to provide specifics: the severity of the problem, what can be done to fix the problem, how much fixing the problem will cost, and how long it will take to fix.
  5. Leaks. Whether it is a leak from the pipes or leaking from the roof, leaks are hard for an inspector to find. When an inspector comes to check a home, they are only there for a couple of hours. If it is not currently raining, an inspector is not going to know if there are leaks that are caused by the rain. And because an inspector only comes once, the areas that were at one point wet because of the leaks are most likely going to be dry. Leaks don’t necessarily happen instantly. When a plumbing system is used more regularly, then the chances of finding a leak increase. Therefore, when a person is selling their home, and the house is not being lived in, it is going to be difficult to spot the leaks.

An inspector is going to be able to help you know what problems the house you want to buy has. Unfortunately, though, an inspector is not going to be able to tell you all of the current problems or predict all of the future problems. They are there to carefully inspect and provide you with more information than you could gather on your own. Your job is to prepare for an inspection and make sure you hire a good inspector. The longer an inspector has been on the job, the more experience and knowledge he or she has.

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