What a Home Inspection Won’t Tell You

A magnifying glass focuses on Edmonton home appraisals.


House Inspectors Offer Peace of Mind… with Limitations

If you’re considering buying a house, it’s essential to get an independent home inspection. This is a different professional from licensed appraisers, who are trained to provide a legally-defensible market valuation of your home. Home inspectors can’t tell you what a dwelling is worth but can identify areas in a house which are in need of repair or replacement.

Which Mike are you?

Most of us, we must admit, lack expertise in building and are more Mike Myers than Mike Holmes. Therefore, with the huge cost of a house, certified home inspectors are your consultants to help you make the best property investment decision possible. They can potentially help you avoid extremely costly nightmares such as this poor woman in BC faced in this global news report.

Even competent DIYers can profit from the expertise a reputable inspector can provide. Experienced house inspectors are familiar with tricks unscrupulous sellers try to use to hide structural defects which can cost dearly.

Now for the big but

There’s little doubt having a home inspection prior to purchase will provide you a certain amount of peace of mind BUT an inspection, even by one of the most capable in the industry, cannot disclose all the nasty secrets a house may hold.  Even after you team up with your home inspector during the review, to go over every inch of visible living space, plus checking the roofing and mechanical installations, there can still be some pricey problems which remain hidden.

Wait. What? Why?

Some of these deep dark secrets may remain concealed because home inspectors are limited in what they can inspect. It’s not usually possible for the inspector to tear away drywall to check for hidden rot, for example. Ripping up floorboards looking for rodent damage isn’t generally very practical either, nor is breaking through walls in search of destructive insects.  If your house issues aren’t visible, they may not show themselves until a failure occurs or remodeling is done.

Making the most of your inspection

As in all things in life, there is a right way to prepare for an inspection and many wrong ways. The online money magazine, Bankrate features a great read on mistakes to avoid for both buyers and sellers when getting ready for inspection day. Their handy cheat sheet of unforced errors includes:

  1. Not researching the inspector.
  2. Not attending the inspection.
  3. Not reading the inspection report.
  4. Not getting a presale inspection.
  5. Not prepping the home.

The biggest mistake you can make

It may seem like a huge expense to have to pay hundreds of dollars for a good quality house inspection just when you’re already spending wads of cash on moving, legal and the many other expenses involved.  Still, it is a small sum to pay to provide a much better idea of what may lie in store for short-term and long-term maintenance of one of life’s largest investments. If you encounter a sales agreement that will not allow a pre-purchase inspection by an inspector of your choosing, walk away. It may be the worst purchase you never made.

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