You can’t always tell at first glance if the home you are about to buy has hidden repair issues. This is why your Realtor will recommend hiring a certified home inspector to do a thorough check on the structure and major systems of the home before you prepare to close on any home.
The average home inspection will cost you about $300 – $400 and can save you thousands in surprise repairs. But, you should know there are some things that the home inspector may not cover.
- Roof condition. Inspectors make the decision to go on the roof based upon safety, so they may not be able to go up on steep roofs, or any roof if it is raining or icy. If conditions are too hazardous, they may climb the ladder but not venture onto the roof for an up-close inspection. You can hire a specialized roof inspector for around $600 to examine a roof that a typical home inspector won’t tackle.
- Functioning of appliance bonus features. While an inspector will make sure the fridge is running and temperatures are on target, they may not look at the ice and water functions, which can leak and cause damage to your kitchen.
- Outlets hidden behind large, heavy furniture. If outlets are blocked, the home inspector will probably not be pushing heavy furniture aside to examine them.
- The water table for the ground beneath the home. Your home inspector will examine the foundation of the home for signs of structural damage, flooding or potential pest issues, but inspectors do not typically look at how sturdy, stable or wet the land is. If you are worried about a high water table you’ll need to hire a geotechnical or structural engineer to look at the property.
- Hidden septic issues. Your inspector will look inside the tank and run all the faucets to do a visual check that things are flowing as they should be. Cracks in underground or buried pipes and drain lines will be checked only if your inspector conducts a camera inspection. You can hire a septic company to do such an inspection for about $150 if you have concerns.
- Radon gas. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that emits from decaying uranium in the ground and seeps into homes through a number of paths. It poses health risks, but the issue can be mitigated by installing a ventilation system in the home for an average price of about $1,200. Testing for radon is usually an add-on option with the home inspection. It is done by setting up test canisters around the home (especially in the basement) that are left undisturbed for 48 hours. A lab determines if radon gas is at a level of concern.
While your home inspection is a valuable tool for determining repair issues and uncovering major concerns with the structure or systems – it does cover more than 1,000 key aspects of the property- it does not include absolutely everything. It is important to hire a qualified home inspector and if you have concerns, consider further examination of any specific areas not included in a typical home inspection.