Even the most thorough home inspections can miss certain issues. Why? Inspectors are often limited on what they can see or access, so it is impossible for them to detect every possible issue in a home. Here are a few things that might not be caught during a home inspection.
The land on which a home sits may have some hidden issues. Inspectors do not dig up yards or use equipment that would allow them to see into the ground. Therefore, they would have no way of knowing that a problem exists there. This is simply a limitation that all homebuyers face when purchasing a home. In some cases, there may be subtle signs of a land issue, such as a shift in a home’s structure. In that case, one would need to hire a structural or land engineer to further evaluate. Fortunately, underground issues are generally rare.
Swimming pool functioning
Home inspectors are knowledgeable in general home building components and major home systems. Pools are one of a few things that they simply do not have in depth knowledge. Some inspectors will run the pump and/or heating, just to quickly see if it works. Others may not inspect any elements of the pool at all. If you are purchasing a home with a pool, it would be best to hire a pool servicing company to review the integrity of the pool along with the functioning of the pump and other related systems.
Problems inside walls
Obviously, no one can see inside walls. Thus, inspectors cannot evaluate any components hidden within them. This includes electrical wiring, plumbing, etc. You’ve probably heard stories of homeowners discovering major problems when they start renovating a home. Sometimes it’s only when a room is gutted that those areas can be seen.
Home inspectors will test any visible wall outlets in a room. However, in many cases, some of those outlets are blocked by furniture and will therefore not be tested. Testing tools are available at your local hardware store and are inexpensive. Consider purchasing one and performing your own testing after you’ve purchased the home. Although you will not be able to negotiate repairs with the seller at this point, you will ensure the safety of your family and home by identifying wiring issues.
The above are just a few of many potential latent defects beyond the scope of a typical home inspection. If you do encounter an issue with your home after you have purchased it, keep in mind that sometimes, there is no one to blame for it. Inspectors may have had no way of seeing the issue and previous homeowners may have had no clue problems existed. As unfortunate as it may be, it simply comes with homeownership.
Although no one can guarantee an entirely problem free home, hiring qualified professionals will help you obtain as much information as possible, allowing you to make smarter home buying decisions.
By Suzanne Plewes, RE/MAX Alliance in Loveland. Suzanne is a broker associate at RE/MAX Alliance. Write to 750 W. Eisenhower Blvd., Loveland, CO 80537, call 970.290.0373 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.