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7 things not included in a home inspection

by Robert Evans

7 things not included in a home inspection
(Photo by Getty Images)

Getting a home inspection is a critical part of buying a home. It’s important for a knowledgeable professional to examine the property to ensure there aren’t serious issues with the foundation, roof, plumbing, electrical, and everything else that makes up the “bones” of the home.

Once you have educated yourself on what is included in a comprehensive home inspection, it’s important to know what isn’t included. These seven things typically aren’t part of an inspection but are important things to know about and, possibly hire another professional to look over for added peace of mind.

Termite & Pest Inspection

While this sounds like something that should be part of your typical home inspection, it’s surprisingly not. An inspector will be able to spot some termite or pest damage if it’s obvious, but if you want your home properly inspected for pests or termites, you have to hire a separate licensed termite inspector.

Detecting termites early on can save you years of expensive and sometimes irreparable damage. A termite inspector will provide you with a report listing any damage or infestations. Preventative measures to protect your home from future infestations or strategies for mitigating current ones can be discussed between you and the seller as a result of the pest inspection.

Code Compliance

A home inspection isn’t a code inspection—an inspector can’t “pass” or “fail” a home for having upgrades or existing structures that aren’t compliant with code revisions. For example, if the home you’re looking at has a railing that was built before a new code was implemented that now makes it too short, your home inspector isn’t required to alert you of it.

However, a home inspector will always have safety in mind, so they should let you know if they see something potentially dangerous or outdated in the current build.

Pools & Hot Tubs

Buying a property with a pool can create hours of summer fun for you and your family, and increase the value of your home. But maintenance can get pricey pretty quickly—especially if you don’t get it looked at before any invisible problems worsen.

Hiring a certified pool builder from a reputable company can ensure your pool is in good condition since they’re familiar with the complicated parts and equipment, such as pumps, heaters, and filters. Testing the plumbing for possible leaks is also something your pool inspector should do.

Mold Inspection

If you’re buying a home somewhere humid, you’ll want to hire a mold inspector. Mold spores can aggravate allergies, asthma, and some types are carcinogenic. In addition, mold can do serious damage to your walls and structural beams.

A mold inspector will do both a visual inspection for mold and send the spores to a lab for testing. If you find mold, you’ll need to hire a professional to remediate the issue. Mold can lead to some significant issues, so it could make or break your sale.

Asbestos, Lead, and Radon Screening

While it’s less common now, you still need to think about asbestos and lead, especially if you’re buying an older house. Hiring someone to make sure there is no asbestos or lead in your walls or paint is important, particularly for people with small children and pets. Prolonged asbestos exposure can inflame your lungs while lead poisoning can cause kidney and brain damage.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is released from soil and groundwater. It leaches into a home through cracks in the walls and foundation, where it can build up to dangerous concentrations. Radon has been shown to cause lung cancer after prolonged exposure. If radon levels are above the EPA-recommended threshold of 4 pCi/L, you should install a radon mitigation system or upgrade the existing system. Your inspector can do radon detection as an add-on service or you can buy your own testing kit.

Detached Structure Inspection

A home inspection is typically just that—a home inspection. If there’s a shed, detached garage, or any recreational equipment (like a playground) on the property, chances are they won’t be looked at in your average complete inspection.

Many companies will inspect detached structures for an added fee depending on the size of the structures and the time it takes.

Home Security

Although your home inspector will inspect the locks on the main doors and windows, they won’t do a thorough inspection of the property’s security system. You can hire a separate security professional (or sometimes even someone from your local police department) to come in and look at potential problem areas and vulnerabilities, like doors, windows, separate entryways, garage, trees near your home, and outdoor lighting.


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