Finding the perfect home for yourself and your family is a long and arduous quest, but when you do land on one that seems to be perfect, that’s when caution will pay you the most. While the design and location are as important factors as any, there is the foundation too.
While you may have noticed some signs such as cracks in the wall, or a door sticking awkwardly when you tried to get it open, you can’t assess the degree of damage yourself. This is where a home inspector should take charge and lay down all the facts before you.
But will a home inspection reveal everything?
Surprisingly, in most cases, the answer may not be a resolute “yes.”
Is A Home Inspection 100% Thorough?
Okay, before we get started on the whole ‘home inspection – yay or nay’ debate, let’s just analyze if a home inspection is meant to reveal even the tiniest details? The answer is no. Because a house inspector’s job is to find out whether or not a property is saleable.
A general home inspector is not an expert of foundation damage. If he does come across a problem, he’ll only point it out and suggest that you hire a relevant expert to get more insights. Since home inspections are superficial and non-invasive (and they are supposed to be as such), you can’t get into every detail.
The results are always based on a thorough but general inspection. So if you do come across a foundation damage issue after some years later, it’s not because the inspector didn’t do a well enough job. But rather it is because the issue may have been insignificant at that point.
Do Your Part First
When you’re looking around in your new-house-to-be, be on the lookout for any foundation damage or other signs of property damage. These may include cracks in the walls or basement, increased humidity in the lower areas of the house, sloping floor, sticking doors, and so on.
Mention your observations to the home inspector, this way, he’ll make it a point to address these issues in his report. But even then there is a problem: sometimes they may tell you that a certain issue is not a big enough problem to be of concern right now.
And while this may be true, things will not get better over time.
This means that even if your home inspector points out foundation damage in your property, he may not stress upon you to get it fixed right away. Whatever the case, you should immediately seek expert consultation and then resolve the issue before it inevitably worsens.
Maximizing Your House Inspection
You can take several steps to ensure that your house inspection is as productive as it gets:
• Make a list of all of your concerns and queries that you want the house inspector to address.
• It would be better if you tag along with the inspector and observe the whole process, expressing your worries regarding anything that he finds.
• Bring any disclosures that the seller has offered to make the whole process all the more rewarding.
Just a PS, disclosure is a statement from the seller, true to their best knowledge, about any previous (or current) damage to the house. Keep these at hand, they will make all the difference.
You should be extra vigilant on your part as well. Look for any signs of foundation damage or other indications which point towards problems you may encounter later on with the house. Do some research, come prepared, and be very perceptive – take notice of even the slightest hints of a problem.
While the problems may themselves not be as big a deal as you’d think, but you’d be well off addressing them immediately rather than waiting for them to get worse over time. Just because you hired a house inspector to get the job done, doesn’t mean that your responsibilities are over.
Never hesitate to call in an expert if you feel like you should address a problem that may become bothersome in the long run.