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Commonly Overlooked Issues During a Home Inspection

A Certified Inspector Might not Catch All Defects

© 2013 by Sarah Harris; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

A Wraparound Front Porch

This article was updated on 01/10/19. Happy Peculiar People Day!

The process of buying a home is always stressful. But the stakes rise another notch once you find your dream home. Only rarely do things go smoothly for new homeowners, despite what Hollywood would have you believe. It is really a game of give and take.

Then there’s the race to actually secure the purchase, and every day that passes brings the possibility of other bidders gaming you or cold feet on the part of the seller, especially in today’s economy and real estate market. You negotiate and haggle, and finally the deal is struck. Your credit score is extremely important.

That certainly leaves you feeling like the finish line is ahead of you, but there’s one major hurdle left to clear. The closing process is complicated, boring, and costly and could make or break your future in this new home depending on if all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed.

And at the crux of it all is the all-important home inspection. This is when the professional will come in and look over the home for any red flags that could seriously impact your wallet or your quality of life. There are many areas that can save you money. Other than the obvious things like inefficient windows, there are many DIY projects to consider.

Am I Required to get a Home Inspection?

Generally speaking, no; it is simply a prudent move for your own protection. Even if you are applying for an FHA loan to avoid a high down payment, says, “If you find problems with your new home after closing, we can not give or lend you money for repairs, and we can not buy the home back from you. That’s why it’s so important for you, the buyer, to get an independent home inspection.”

But while the home inspection is useful and important, it’s not the final word on all problems. The home inspector has his eyes peeled for material defects.

This makes the scope of their work fairly limited. So you’ll have to keep your eyes out for commonly overlooked issues during a home inspection; that is where your responsibility, as the prospective homeowner and investor lies.

Bathroom and Kitchen Appliances are a Hard Call

It’s often the case that the kitchen, the bathroom, and related amenities are the reason why you fall in love with a house. Next to the bedroom you spend the most time in those rooms, so it makes perfect sense.

But a home inspector could miss the faults in some appliances. Inspections always require that appliances are switched on, but long term problems won’t always reveal themselves after one use. For example, it may take some time for a circuit to show signs of overheating. Homes with aluminum wiring are particularly problematic.

If a problem arises after the inspection, you’ll be stuck with it. Whenever you sign a home ownership agreement you are allowed to expect that the plumbing and electrical systems are up to code. It is a duty and responsibility.

Any of these encountered will always be reviewed during an inspection. But elements around these systems may be missed or ignored. One example is damage to a window or behind the home’s siding.

If the plumbing has caused leaks that have subsequently been repaired within the walls they won’t necessarily be caught during a review of the major systems. That is juust the nature of the beast.

The really critical issue in this scenario is that this can lead to costly, and potentially unhealthy, mildew and mold issues within your first year of ownership. Residual spores can become active when the humidity level increases.

The HVAC System can be Difficult

The HVAC system in your home is one of the most expensive elements underneath your roof. Issues with the heating or the air conditioning should be uncovered during your home inspection, but a lazy inspector may forgo a thorough job.

If it’s very cold out, he may not stick around to run the air conditioner, and the same goes for hot days and the heating. Indeed, the thermostat may not allow it to kick in.

Also, the inspector might be nervous about breaking the system by running it during times of extreme temperature. If the inspector is above board this will be noted in the report, so just make sure you take care of it with a specialist before signing off on the inspection.

There’s nothing like the feel of plush carpeting beneath your feet that makes you feel at home during the chilly mornings or nights.

But while wear and tear will be noted in a home inspection, whatever may be going on underneath that carpet will not. That means mold or other water issues or pest infestations could be a reality you aren’t aware of until after you take ownership.

Consider walking through the house with the inspector while he’s working, so you can point out areas of concern that you’d like to look into. After all, you are paying for a service.

A Roof Inspection is Critical

Finally, don’t forget about the roof. Roof issues are actually the most commonly overlooked during a home inspection, and it’s no shock why this is the case. In many cases the home inspector is only required to look at the roof from the ground or from windows above lower roofing sections.

If there’s something visually obvious it will get noted, and that will be enough for title companies. Usually they just do not have the time or inclination to get too detail-oriented.

The concern is that to examine things like flashing around the various penetrations, you really need to get a set of eyeballs in those areas, up close and personal. To make sure you’re not buying some major roof problems get a roofing contractor to look it over, and just include the expense in the closing process.

Do not miss these commonly overlooked issues during a home inspection. In the long run your detail-oriented behavior will be rewarded. I hope that you have found the information in this article helpful; a home purchase is an important investment. If these tips helped you, please pass this page on to your friends. Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment below!

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