Home Inspection Tips for Buyers: What To Look For In A Home Inspection

Buying a Home

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers: What To Look For In A Home Inspection

August 16, 2021

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Home inspections are crucial in the home buying process. They can be your best friend by alleviating worries about the home you are interested in. Although home inspectors are trained to catch any potential problems a home could have, nobody’s perfect. This is why it’s important to learn about what to look for when doing a home inspection yourself.

There are definitely home inspection red flags that even a seasoned home inspector can miss. 

In the words of Bill Loden, the ex-president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, “Home inspectors are in the house for a limited time. Sometimes, 2-4 hours are not enough for many problems to reveal themselves.

Buyers need to be extra cautious when closing on a home. You need to keep the home inspection red flags in mind when making the final call on a house.

In this post, we will shed light on 5 home inspection red flags that the home inspector could miss, but you shouldn’t. 

1. HVAC Equipment

Extreme weather conditions are the real testing grounds for an HVAC system. On days, when the temperature is moderate the system might be working fine. However, it may fail when the temperature suddenly shoots up.

Since temperature is beyond human control, you cannot really blame an inspector for failing to test it during the inspection. 

While the inspector may be able to tell you about the general functioning of the system, its estimated age, you might need an HVAC expert to know all of the details. 

Here are a few of the red flags when it comes to HVAC equipment:

  • Loud noises such as clanging, banging, whistling, squeaking, scraping
  • No cool air coming from vents
  • Dirty AC filters
  • Leaks and condensation around air ducts
  • Strange smells coming from vents

2. Sewer Line Blockage 

A home inspector is trained to look for any signs of damage to the sewer lines. They can do their best to check every aspect of the drainage system like sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets. However, identifying whether there is any kind of blockage in the sewer lines is something that even they cannot do.

This is where you need to ask the current homeowner a few questions about the history of their house. For instance, has there been any damage to the sewer system in the past? Are there any big trees in the yard whose root system might cause problems with the sewer system? 

Remember, sewer blockage problems are commonly associated with older homes. Newer homes with modern materials for sewer pipes are less likely to have problems. 

Here are a few of the red flags when it comes to sewer lines:

  • Gurgling noises coming from pipes (sounding like a coffee maker)
  • Water backing up from toilet to sink and vice versa
  • Water pooling around basement drain

3. Structural Problems

With their experience and training, a home inspector can identify if a house’s structure is showing any problematic potential issues or not. However, what they cannot tell you is the extent or seriousness of the problem.

For example, they can easily detect if there is an inconsistency in the roofing or if the ceiling is sagging, but how bad is the condition of the roof? How much will it cost to repair? These are questions only a structural engineer is able to answer. 

Here are a few of the red flags when it comes to structural problems:

  • Uneven floors
  • Cracked moldings
  • Saggy ceilings
  • Rotten wood
  • Trouble opening and closing doors
  • Broken foundation blocks

4. Under Carpeting 

A home inspector is going to take a thorough look at the visible stains on the floor and carpeting. They are not going to pull up and inspect what’s underneath it. And, that is where nasty things like molds and mildews might be booming.

We recommend that you seek permission from the homeowner to pull a small section of the carpet and check. If they agree, then you can get rid of all the doubts. If they hesitate, then it could mean there’s something fishy and you might want to reconsider your decision of buying the house.

Here are a few of the red flags when it comes to:

  • Unwanted strange smell
  • Discolored or stained floor

5. Radiations 

This might sound a bit over the top, but considering the harm that radiation can do to the human body, you don’t want to ignore it. We all know about Radon and the fact that it has been commonly found in homes all around the states, but radon isn’t the only radiation that you should worry about.

There are other radiations to look out for that can come from water or electromagnetic systems in or around the home. Home inspectors are neither trained to detect all of this nor do they have the equipment. You can always ask your real estate agent about radiation concerns or contact a radiation specialist in the area who might be able to answer all your queries. 

A Home Inspector Can Tell You A Lot, But Not Everything 

No matter how experienced or how well trained a home inspector is, there are a few home inspection red flags that even they cannot detect. While they will do their best to help you find major problems about the property, they cannot find everything. Mentioned above are a few of those aspects of a home.

The best advice for you as a home buyer is to be careful, gather as much information about the history of the house as possible, and sometimes, go with your gut instinct. 

Like Bill Loden says, “The best thing you can do is carefully check everything.

Planning to buy a home? Why feel the stress of doing everything on your own, when you can have an expert do it for you? Contact a Negotiator Recognized Partner, share your property needs, and they will take care of everything for you.