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According to studies, nearly two out of five homes suffer from major defects that can cost thousands of dollars to repair. One way to protect yourself against unexpected repair costs is by investing in a quality home inspection.

When choosing the right home inspector, it’s important to keep in mind that not all potential candidates may have your best interests in mind. In order for you to get the most out of your home inspection, I’ve compiled a list of 11 things you should know about home inspections:

  1. Home inspectors are not responsible if they miss something

Even the best home inspectors are prone to making mistakes, which could cost you thousands. To protect yourself against these costly mistakes, look for a home inspector who carries “Errors and Omissions” coverage, which will offer you some level of protection from inspector oversights.

  1. Home inspectors are not obliged to climb up roofs to inspect them

Roof repairs are costly, so it may come as a surprise that home inspectors have no obligation to actually climb a property’s roof to perform an inspection. If you want your roof inspected, you may need to contact the inspector beforehand, and provide equipment such as a ladder or anything that will give access to your home’s roof.

  1. It may not be a good idea to let home inspectors handle repair work

It may seem convenient to have one person tackle both inspection and repair, but it’s not necessarily a good idea. A home inspector hired to repair defects is likely to spot more flaws than one whose main job is to simply perform an inspection.

  1. Most home inspectors aren’t responsible for checking a home for code violations

Purchasing a home that’s not up to code will not only leave you vulnerable to safety issues, but to financial risks as well. A home that doesn’t comply with the code can leave you no choice but to pay for code compliance on costly renovations or repairs.

  1. Home inspectors focus on a home’s condition, and not its grounds

Home inspectors are responsible for examining a home’s condition, and not the grounds surrounding it. This means that even after a home inspection, there’s a possibility of you dealing with issues concerning fences, septic tanks, underground pipes, or outbuildings. Be sure to negotiate with your inspector to include these items in their checklist.

  1. Not all inspectors are well-trained

There are no training or certification programs for home inspectors offered in nearly one third of all US states. To ensure you’re working with only qualified inspectors, look for professionals that are certified by a trusted organization.

  1. The insides of your walls are often not included in an inspector’s checklist

Home inspections are generally non-invasive, which means you won’t be able to completely rely on them to reveal issues such as rotting wood or water damage. The best you can hope for is a trustworthy inspector who will help you gather in-depth information before you purchase the home.

  1. Not all inspections are thorough

You’ll be able to gauge the thoroughness of an inspection by tracking how long it takes for the inspector to go through your home. The average time it takes is about three to four hours, so anything less may indicate a sub-par job.

  1. Some of the most serious problems may be underneath the house

Joists that hold up the house often suffer from deterioration caused by bugs. Replacing these wooden beams is very costly, but it needs to be done to prevent homes from collapsing. Talk to your home inspector beforehand to find out if he or she is equipped to detect this type of risk.

  1. The biggest risks may not show up on a home inspection

Dangerous elements such as lead, asbestos, and mold are not covered by some home inspections, or some inspectors are simply not equipped to detect these. If you’re concerned about the presence of these elements, look for a home inspector or a specialist who can handle these risky conditions.

  1. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations

If your real estate agent is trustworthy, you can consider hiring his or her recommendations – be warned however, that many inspectors rely on agents to get referrals, so they may not exactly have your best interests at heart.

If you have questions about home inspection, contact me for a free consultation.