A thorough home inspection is crucial to buying or selling a home. It catches all issues before the sale and can save time and money for all parties involved. We recommend going to the home inspection yourself. If that’s not possible, read the report closely and check out the home yourself later. Despite everyone acting in good faith during the inception process, some things can be missed during the home inspection, which can be a huge problem.
Reasons your home inspector might miss something during the home inspection
When you think about it, home inspectors have a lot on their plate. There’re many aspects to a home, and they have to cover a lot of ground, from the roof and foundation to the plumbing and electrical systems. The plethora of things to look at forces a home inspector to be a generalist, so a home inspector can miss something. The most common ways that home inspectors fail to note certain things are:
Items blocking view
Some appliances or heavy pieces of furniture can block a problem from a home inspector’s view. If you can’t see it, you’ll miss it. It is as simple as that. The best companies will give their new hires months of on-site training where they must shadow seasoned inspectors at over 100 homes before they can inspect a home on their own. Whether a novice or seasoned home inspector, it can be challenging to see every problem if the seller does not do their due diligence in removing items. No matter the circumstance, it is the inspector’s responsibility to know to look everywhere.
Experience level of home inspector
Research and interview your home inspector to ensure they have the knowledge and experience. A quick search will give you reviews of a home inspection business and determine whether or not they have had issues with missing things during an inspection. You know the adage: do good and tell one person, do bad, tell 100.
Always ask your inspector what training they have had, what certifications, and how many years of experience they have.
Inspection services offered
Lastly, there also might be things that simply aren’t included in a home inspection, and most home inspectors will not take the time to check aspects of a home that they’re not required to. Before hiring an inspection company, you may want to contact them to ensure everything you need is included in their inspection.
Commonly missed issues during a home inspection
Following are some of the most commonly overlooked issues during a home inspection that you will want to note.
One of the most common problems home inspectors miss are roof issues. Though home inspectors check out the roof during an inspection, most will not physically go on top of the roof to look for damage. Instead, they use binoculars to look for obvious exterior issues from the ground and check the interior for signs of water damage.
The roof inspection is relatively superficial and may not find things such as mold, waterlogged insulation due to small leaks in the waterproofing, or signs of pests living in the attic.
There’s a reason that HVAC is its own specific sector with specialized maintenance people. Appliances like furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioning are complex systems with even more complex electronics. A home inspector might have basic knowledge of these systems and will run them through their heating or cooling cycles to check their primary condition — but a home inspector’s abilities are limited here. You need a dedicated expert in HVAC to assess how much wear and tear they have truly seen.
A good home inspector will run washers, dryers, and dishwashers through a cycle or two to ensure they’re running and that there aren’t any apparent leaks — but some will simply turn them on to see whether or not they power up. Similar to HVAC, these appliances have complicated electrical components that need an expert to diagnose the inner workings properly. It’s possible that a washing machine could be working just well enough to pass an inspection but get worse or fail as soon as the house sells.
Hidden flooring issues
Depending on what you’re looking for in a home, carpets can benefit many potential homebuyers — but they can also camouflage many problems that may be occurring underneath, such as mold or water damage. A typical home inspector will only assess the surface of the carpet for stains and other wear and tear.
What to do if your home inspector missed something?
Whether you’re a seller or a buyer, it’s always in your best interest to speak up. As a buyer, you don’t want to pay for repairs that the seller should have done before you moved in. If you’re a seller, ensuring everything in your home is in working condition will only increase its value (not to mention it’s unethical to conceal issues with the house).
So, what now?
You should have the inspection report. You should also have any other documentation that the inspector has given you or any emails, texts, or receipts.
Speak to the home inspection business
You should speak to your realtor and then talk to the home inspection business. Be sure to be courteous and present all of the information you have. They may want to make it right and reinspect. This way, they can determine whether or not it was overlooked or not something they could have documented during the inspection.
Determine the liability
A reputable home inspection company will own up to whether or not they missed something during the inspection. They will also make it right if they are truly a good business.
If they determine they are not at fault and you believe their reasoning is insufficient, you may need to pursue further action. This situation might include getting a second opinion from a different home inspector (especially if you believe the first was not reputable) or talking to a lawyer.
If you don’t know what to do if your home inspector misses something, the best course of action is to keep a cool head and try to work it out with the inspector first. Fortunately, any reputable home inspection company will admit to a mistake if it was their fault or have a detailed explanation if they truly believe there was no way for them to have known about the issue when they inspected the home. If you still think they are at fault, your realtor is always a good resource to figure out the next steps — but it’s important to remember that a good home inspector does their best. The unfortunate truth is that sometimes things break at a later date, and you just have to chalk it up to bad luck.