By January 31, 2016

9 Things a Home Inspector Won’t Touch

By Chris Prickett — Time flies when you’re getting old! It’s been nearly 12 years since I sold my home inspection company and evolved into every inspector’s worst nightmare: A realtor who actually understands the inspection business. Don’t get me wrong, inspectors are a valuable and very necessary piece of the home-buying puzzle. I passionately recommend one on every home I sell.

That said, it’s crucial to go into the inspector-buyer relationship with a clue. Most buyers don’t. What inspectors do, and more importantly don’t do, is what you need to know.

Inspectors are required to “observe readily accessible installed systems and components listed” in the standards. This means they see what they see. They don’t (with a few exceptions) unscrew, move, or dismantle anything. They are not required to diagnose problems they find or do anything “technically exhaustive.”

They can choose to paint outside the lines and go above and beyond the standards, but it’s not required. Think of your inspector as a family doctor (for your house): “I don’t like the look of that hairy mole growing out of your nose, Mr. Prickett. Let me refer you to a specialist.” That’s essentially what they do.

Here are some things many inspectors don’t get into, unless they “observe” the proverbial hairy mole growing out of it:

  1. Landscape watering systems
  2. Soft water units
  3. Reverse osmosis
  4. Pool equipment (you can pay extra for this)
  5. Anything behind the walls (they don’t have X-ray vision)
  6. Mold, fungus, or any type of contaminates
  7. Repair estimates
  8. Pests of any kind, including rodents, birds and bugs.
  9. Predicting the future

So why hire one? Are you going to climb on the roof and in the attic, and would you know what to look for if you did? Do you have the time or knowledge to operate and test every (accessible) fixture and outlet? A three-hour inspection will set you back about $400–$500 and is a valuable tool in helping you decide whether to make what is likely the largest single purchase of your life. It’s worth it.

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