Overlooked Problems in Home Inspections

Overlooked Problems in Home Inspections

Home inspectors aren’t guaranteed — or required — to catch every flaw in your next home. A home inspection is never a guarantee that your new home is going to be in perfect working order but being knowledgeable about the process can help you make sure you find out what you are really getting in the house you seek to purchase.

Roof leaks – One of the most significant things to get missed in a home inspection is a roof leak. This is because a home inspector doesn’t go onto the roof to check on its condition. Instead, an inspector generally examines the roof from ground level with binoculars or looks out higher windows to get a view of roofing below. Inspectors will note torn or missing shingles and nail pops that may or may not indicate a full-fledged problem. If you want to guarantee that you are buying a house with a durable roof, one suggestion is to hire a licensed roofing contractor to provide a full evaluation.

Faulty appliances     Part of a home inspection is checking that all major appliances are functioning properly. That being said, this is another top issue to be missed by a home inspector.  To confirm that all appliances work, the inspector should run each appliance through one or two cycles to make sure there’s no trouble, such as a leaking refrigerator or a smoking dryer.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning     Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are one of the top problems that home inspectors can miss. Inspectors may be reluctant to run the air conditioning in extreme cold or to check the furnace in blistering heat. The inspectors do this because they do not want to do damage by running the unit too long in adverse conditions or they do not want to be held responsible for repairs if it breaks a few days after the new homeowner moves in.

When the home-inspection report is issued, it usually contains a disclaimer that relieves inspectors of this liability. To cover any glitches with your heating and cooling systems down the road, don’t be afraid to have the system checked by a licensed specialist separate from the home inspection. 

Under the carpet     Inspectors look for evidence of significant wear in plain view, but the things that can’t be seen pose a risk. Do not be shy about shadowing the home inspector to address the concerns you have about the house and probe what is under some potentially moldy carpet or issues that you may think is lurking behind paneling.  Ask your realtor if language can be added that buyers can seek sellers’ permission to remove superficial facades for the inspector to take a deeper look.

What you should do next     If the home inspector reports a problem with your dream home, the process should not end there. It is in your best interest to follow up on the problems to assess their severity.  Whether it’s a roof contractor or an air-conditioning technician you need to further investigate the problem. It may cost some money upfront, but that’s a savings compared with the thousands of dollars that unreported or unresolved problems could cost after the sale has been finalized.