What Doesn’t a Home Inspection Cover?

Home inspecting

Inspectors evaluate almost, but not quite, everything.

You’ll inspect roofs and service panels and basements and more, but what about the parts of a home that your inspection doesn’t cover? Your customers need at least some knowledge about what an inspection doesn’t include. The more that they know, the less likely you’ll be to face a claim that you didn’t perform the work as expected.

Before you hand your customers an inspection report, give them a heads up on these points that home inspectors don’t usually cover.

Pest Infestation such as Termites

One of the most common complaints is that an inspection didn’t find termites. But a general home inspector doesn’t look for termites; that’s what a termite inspection is for. Other pests might also be present in the home. But an inspection doesn’t cover that, either.

What inspectors do is note evidence of an infestation. If there’s wood damage that’s indicative of termites or an obvious nesting area where raccoons of other varmints reliving in an attic, inspectors make note of it. But inspectors don’t set about searching for infestations.

Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs

If the homeowner has a swimming pool, he’ll probably need a separate swimming pool inspection, according to Bankrate. A pool has a lot of different components, from liners and filters to pumps and treatment systems. A generalist inspector isn’t usually responsible for that, and the same applies to hot tubs.

There are a couple of exceptions. If you work in an area where most people have a swimming pool, it’s probably good business to get training and provide services for inspecting them. And if an inspector sees obvious damage to a pool, such as a torn lining or cracked concrete, that will probably go into the report.

Anything Inside Walls, Ceilings or Floors

One of the first sentences in any Standards of Practice is that inspectors inspect what’s visible and accessible. This leaves a lot of territory unseen, but it’s for good reason. An inspector doesn’t cut into ceilings or walls to find what’s inside, because that would damage the property. The same applies to floors. Some customers might not realize that you don’t have any special skill set that lets you determine whether cracked asbestos tile is under carpet or old wiring is inside a wall.

Visible and accessible also applies to areas that inspectors might otherwise inspect if not for a hazard in the way. If a homeowner has an armoire in front of a defective outlet, it can’t be reported as a defect because inspectors don’t move heavy furniture. And if the roof has an extraordinarily steep pitch, it might not be possible for the inspector to walk it and see defective chimney flashing.

Home inspecting

Staying up on newer home systems lets you provide a better service.

Special Home Systems

Some homeowners have special systems such as a programmable water temperature control in the shower, home security, intercoms, and other nonstandard improvements. CBS News adds the condition of septic systems to the list. In many cases, inspectors don’t evaluate those systems. You can train to inspect them and offer customers a broader service, but it’s not required.

Another area where the buyer’s expectation and the inspector’s job might not align is with heating and cooling systems. An inspection provides details on the type of system that’s installed and its age, and it evaluates whether or not the system is operational. But it doesn’t cover possible issues that might creep up later. A blower motor might be ready to make its last turn without showing obvious signs of damage.

The inspecting business has a great deal to do with fostering goodwill. A happy customer is more likely to recommend you to friends, while an unhappy customer probably won’t. The more that your customers know up front, the better off both of you will be. He will have a better understanding of what your job really covers, so there’s less of a chance that he’ll complain about something that’s outside your job description.

Home inspecting is more than inspecting homes. It’s a whole business, and that means implementing your own business procedures from educating customers to striving for those important referrals. Are you ready to start your new career? Enroll now, and begin studying at home for your certification right away!

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