Before you purchase a home, you should have it inspected. A home inspector can spot problems so you can avoid buying a house that’ll need major repairs. Your real estate agent most likely has worked with one or more qualified and experienced local home inspectors and can make a recommendation.
What a Home Inspection Does and Doesn’t Cover
A standard inspection typically covers the walls, windows, foundation, roof, basement, attic, plumbing, electrical system, HVAC system and appliances. Inspectors check things that are visible, but they won’t tear out walls to check hidden plumbing, wiring and insulation.
Home inspectors generally don’t check for pests, asbestos, radon, lead paint or mold. When you call to schedule an inspection, make sure you know what the inspector will and won’t be checking. You might need to pay extra to have other professionals look for signs of problems outside the scope of the standard home inspection.
Why You Should Consider Additional Inspections
Pests can cause widespread destruction. Insects can get into food and belongings, and some, such as termites, can cause structural damage. Birds often build nests in chimneys. Raccoons and squirrels may scratch and chew their way into an attic. Bats can squeeze through tiny openings to get into an attic. Rats and mice can burrow into walls, damage wood and drywall, and chew on electrical wires, which can start a fire.
Asbestos was commonly used in building materials and may still be present in homes built through the 1980s. Asbestos that’s released into the air can cause serious respiratory problems and cancer.
Radon occurs naturally in soil and water and can enter a house through cracks and gaps. Radon gas that is inhaled can lead to lung cancer.
Lead-based paint was often used in houses built before 1978. Lead poisoning can cause neurological damage, developmental delays in children and other health problems, including death.
Water from a leaky roof or a plumbing problem can cause mold if it isn’t cleaned up right away. Mold in walls and ceilings might not be visible, but it can affect human health and can cost thousands of dollars to clean up.
Invest in a Thorough Inspection to Avoid Major Problems Later
A standard home inspection covers many vital areas, but there are some equally important things it doesn’t include. You might need to hire additional inspectors to make sure the house you’re considering is safe before you buy it. Spending the extra money now could either give you peace of mind or alert you to problems so you could renegotiate the deal or walk away.