The internet provides us with so much information to check on what a home inspector should check, but you may be leading yourself astray.
It may seem an incredible fact, but we are finding that 90% of the people looking to buy a home go to the internet to start their search. The wonderful thing about this medium is the amount of data provided. Many buyers stay on the net to help discover the next steps after finding a home. Which is great, because the better informed you are, the wiser decisions you can make. There comes a point where you can reach information overload though, or at least access facts that do not apply to your case, and this can cause problems if you do not step back to listen to those advising you.
One concern developing in a buyer’s mind is how thorough was my home inspection. Did the inspector perform every test possible? For example, I was asked recently did I perform a radon test on a home that I inspected. Radon tests are frequently mentioned on home inspection sites or in books about what should be included in a home inspection. I did not perform this test. Did I fail my client? Well, radon is a big concern, but it is not an issue in my area. The geology of Houston is not an area which will produce this gas. The amount of granite that is placed in the home also is not enough to produce a significant percentage of radon gas. Radon is produced by decomposing granite. Reading about this test could then mislead a client to thinking that an inspector is not doing their job, which opinion may be hard to change. It could also lead to the client being scammed. I could add on $100 fee for performing this specialty test, when I know it is not necessary.
Realize that all that you read may not be for you. You should read before the inspection is performed, and then write a list of questions about what should be inspected. My client yesterday did something smart in my view. First, he came to the inspection. Most of my clients never come to the inspection, and I think it would be really helpful for you to show up at least at the end of the inspection. Secondly, he walked through the home looking for items that concerned him. If you are buying a home, you look at it with rose colored glasses, seeing the possibilities and not the faults. Step back to find issues that may be a worry. Ask the inspector about them. Have them explained why it is not a concern or is it a concern, and what can be done about them. Finally, speak to your Realtor, who is already looking at the seller’s disclosure, and will be a good resource about inspector performance.
Another factor to consider is that each inspector may bring his own concerns to examining the home. The state of Texas sets up a minimum standard, and we are encouraged to go beyond this standard. With my background in food management and as a father, I may look at food safety a little more closely or kitchen design, or child safety features. An inspector with a plumbing background might add more plumbing tests. Another habit among inspectors is that we create tests based upon tools that we have and facts that we know. As an example, like most inspectors, I am sensitive to the condition of the foundation by walking on it. Once I explain what I am doing, homeowners usually are able to sense it themselves. It is a matter of awareness. However, this method is not scientific. Some clients prefer hard facts. I could purchase a very expensive piece of equipment that would produce the data I would need, but this would increase the cost of my inspection. To produce the hard data, I use an unconventional test based upon surveying equipment in my possession and facts about foundations. I am able to produce figures comparable to the more expensive equipment.
In conclusion, consider that most facts that you read on a blog or other site may be due to someone be angry about a situation (we hardly hear about when things went well) or because a fact applies to a certain area, but maybe not your own.