A home inspection is important when buying a home. A trained inspector can find problems with the home that are not obvious to most people. But there are some things that might not be included in your home inspection that could be cause for concern.
There are no federal regulations regarding what a home inspector must inspect. Some states have certain requirements that must be met, but many do not. So it is important to do your homework when searching for a home inspector.
Many home inspectors belong to professional associations, and they must meet certain requirements to remain a member of them. There are rules dictating what the inspector is and is not required to inspect. Members must also comply with educational requirements. You can learn more about most of these associations and what they require online, and you can contact them to find a local inspector who is a member.
Most home inspectors are not required to inspect anything that is not readily accessible. This includes wells, septic tanks, and underground pipes. The function of these systems is checked by way of the plumbing, but problems could potentially exist that do not show themselves until weeks or months later.
Home inspectors will check the functionality of your heating and cooling systems using normal controls. But if the equipment cannot be operated safely due to temperature or other conditions, it will not be checked. The inspector may or may not advise you as to whether the units have the capacity needed to properly heat and cool the home.
Household appliances may or may not be checked, depending on the inspector. Items that are not permanently installed are not considered to be part of the home, and are therefore not usually inspected. The sturdiness and fastening of countertops and cabinets also may not be included in the inspection.
If the home has a pool or spa, the inspector probably will not examine it. Sprinkler systems are not required to be checked, and if the inspector does test them it will be for functionality only. Playground and other recreational equipment is not included either.
While a home inspection can uncover problems with a home that might not otherwise be apparent, it does not include everything. A home that passes inspection may have problems that lie in areas that the inspector is unable to check thoroughly. There might also be trouble areas that do not show themselves on the day of inspection.