Before you sign the contract and settle into your new home, you should always consider a home inspection by a certified professional. One big thing that these inspectors do is find problems with the home prior to purchase. That being said, some major problems outside the inspector's scope may go unnoticed.
Here are five overlooked areas to add to your home inspection checklist which can be missed, or may not be covered in your overall home inspection. Get the most out of your home inspection by knowing what is and isn't covered by your company. If you're proactive from the start, you can avoid more headaches and costly repairs in the future.
Home inspections are visual, which means the inspector can only detect a problem he can see. Your home inspector may be able to find a problem with a light or other product, but they will not be able to tell you where that problem is within the electrical system. For example, if there is a receptacle that's missing a ground, you’ll have to get an electrician to come to the home as your home inspector may not be able to find the source of the problem.
Leaks are difficult for anyone to spot, even for a homeowner. That's because leaks can be there one day, but not the next. If the plumbing throughout the home has not been used for quite some time (as is the case with many homes on the market), old leaks can dry up. Even when the system is on, it can take a few days, even months to have the problem rear its ugly head.
Structural problems are easily identified by home inspectors. They will be able to let you know if there are going to be problems with the roof, or other structural aspect of the home. However, they cannot tell you how bad the problem is, or how much it might be to have it replaced - because that is not within their scope. For the answers to those questions, you'll have to consult a licensed structural engineer.
Damaged Heat Exchanger
If your new home has an old furnace, paying for a HVAC contractor is in your best interests. If the unit is on the outside of the home, your home inspector is not going to include this in this report. If there is a crack in the exchanger, it is going to mix with the outside air and seep carbon monoxide into the home - which can be deadly. As a general rule of thumb, if the furnace is more than 10 years old, hire a specialized HVAC contractor come to the home to do an inspection to spot any cracks. If there is a crack, the law requires him to install a new one before the home can be lived in.
Similar to leaks, problems with sewer lines will not show themselves overnight, which is why they often go undetected. Even if the water is running for hours on end, problem with the lines may not become apparent. What your home inspector can do is look at the age of the pipes throughout the home, and tell you whether there is an obstacle in the way of the pipes. They do not send a scope down there to tell you more - it is just not something covered in a normal house inspection.