Last Updated on February 1, 2014
The consequences of buying a home without having it inspected can be devastating. You should always pay for an inspection from a reputable, independent home inspector. Even with an experienced professional on your side however, you aren’t out of the woods just yet. Many homebuyers pay for an inspection only to discover serious problems when they move in. If you are wondering how this is possible, you haven’t read the fine print on an inspection contract. Here are three checks that home inspectors will not make.
#1: Electrical Codes
If you don’t read your inspection contract clearly, you may not realize that inspectors do not check whether a home’s wiring meets electrical codes. It is not their job. Inspectors are generalists who perform a visual inspection. As electrical codes are constantly being updated and revised, older homes typically have wiring that doesn’t meet modern standards. The height that lights hang over outdoor spas and the distance of breaker switches from hot tubs are two common examples. Another issue is uncertified DIY work completed by the previous owner. This can invalidate a home insurance policy, if discovered. As electricians won’t sign off other people’s work, such wiring will have to be redone at significant cost. If you are buying an old home, consider hiring an electrical contractor.
#2. Pest Inspections
Home inspections are only valid for the day that they are carried out. If a report even mentions the word termite, you should strongly consider contacting a pest control firm. Some homebuyers receive the shock of their life when they move into their home, especially if it was foreclosed or a short sale. Home inspectors can easily overlook termite infestations as they perform no destructive testing. An infestation could be hidden under flooring, waiting to be discovered by the home’s new owner. Pest control firms will offer a free pest inspection.
#3. Mold Testing
Mold spores can create very serious health problems for people exposed to them over a long period. While inspectors will visually check for evidence of mold such as damp patches, discoloration and mold spores, they will not actually test a home for the presence of mold. According to one firm offering air quality testing in Toronto, mold testing requires an air sample to be taken from a home and sent to an independent laboratory. Specialists will check the sample for evidence of mold. You can use a home inspection report to tell whether your home may benefit from this test. Some home inspectors offer this test for an extra fee and very few inspectors offer it as part of their home inspection service. You may need to contact a firm specializing in mold detection.
If you are in the process of buying a home, it pays dividends to find a trustworthy inspector and then accompany them during the inspection. You can share your concerns and learn more about the home you plan to buy. The three checks mentioned here for building code, pests and mold are something your could ask your inspector about. They may be worth paying extra for as they could potentially unearth thousands of dollars worth of problems with your new home.
What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section below!