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Home Inspectors - What they Do and Don't Do

Q - I have been advised to hire a home inspector to check out the home I'm about to purchase.  Will the home inspector guarantee my roof, plumbing, electrical work etc.?

A - No!  You have to remember that he is only doing a visual inspection.  He can't see behind the walls or empty closets to get a better view. He can't remove the insulation to check underneath or guarantee that the roof doesn't leak and so on.

However, the inspector does have a list of hundreds of items that he does check.  With his experience, he can often point to possible problem areas.  For example, he can inspect  the roof for visible signs of deterioration.  He can examine the electrical system and advise you of possible shortcomings.  He can check all accessible plumbing areas and see their condition.  He can examine the foundation and see if there are any cracks.

The home inspector is not a specialist in plumbing, electricity, heating, drains, roofing, engineering or other specific trades  He is a generalist. He is someone who has had some experience in one or more disciplines pertaining to the building industry.  It is with this experienced eye that he carefully examines the condition of the home.

In some areas, home inspectors are required to be licensed and insured. This means that a home inspector must meet certain qualifications in order to be deemed qualified.

Be sure you discuss with your home inspector what his services entail so that you do not have unrealistic expectations.  The home inspector does not get involved in property values.

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