Home Inspection day is EXCITING! Often, the home buyers attend the inspection and get the chance to look in every room, closet, and nook of their new home. Overall, home inspections are quite thorough. The inspector will get a pretty good idea of the condition of the property, and will advise you on which health/safety concerns you should ask for repairs on (or ask for a credit from the seller). However, there are a handful of items that home inspectors usually do not check. Some may be outside of the inspector's area of expertise, and some may be inaccessible without special equipment. Here are the items that are normally NOT included in a general home inspection:
In some cases, the inspector may be able to inspect the roof. If there is easy roof access, the inspector may at least be able to visually inspect the roof. However, sloped roofs can be dangerous to access, and the inspector may not be willing to go on it. Ask your agent to find out the age of the roof, which can give you a good idea of condition.
Chimneys are tough to inspect. If you have doubts about the condition of the chimney, hire a chimney inspector who can run a camera through the chute to evaluate the condition.
A geological inspection is commonly used in hillside and cliffside properties, as well as in flood areas. A geological inspection can unearth a severe drainage or ground-shifting problem — and save you thousands from further damage.
Sewer issues can be such a mess! Your inspector will do a general check of the plumbing, and can advise if they feel there may be a bigger issue. A sewer inspector can run a camera though the sewer lines and check for cracks, leaks, and erosion. A sewage problem can be hugely expensive, so it's best to check upfront.
This is a biggie, because termites are extremely common in SoCal. You can have your agent write in that the seller will pay for a termite inspection, as well as Section One Clearance. This is something you'll want in 99% of home purchases, so you can rest assured that any termite/dry rot work gets taken care of before you take possession.
Moisture and Mold
Your inspector will be able to advise whether he sees any surface-level moisture or mold, and if he does, you may want to bring in a professional. These are health hazards, and the problem can get worse. Pay special attention to this in the home's bathrooms.
If the property was built prior to 1975, you may want an asbestos inspection. Asbestos can be present on insulation around ducting, water heaters, and pipes. Your inspector can advise whether an Asbestos Inspection is recommend.
Non-Conforming Use Inspection
Does the square footage of your property seem too big for the area? Converted garages, sun rooms, and added-on bedrooms can seem like a benefit, but if they are done without permits, can cause a headache down the line. Ask your agent if they believe that any room of the property is non-conforming.
What's the bottom line? There are items that your home inspector cannot assess, and you should be aware of them. However, what I recommend is giving your inspector the first look at the property BEFORE paying for any of these additional inspections. They will be able to recommend which, if any, of these additional inspections are necessary. In many cases, none are, and you can save your money! However, if they feel one or more of them should be done, it's best to get the results of the additional inspection while you're within your inspection contingency period, so you can negotiate the repairs with the home seller if necessary.