A home inspection is a standard procedure during most home purchases, but many common expectations are met with misconceptions.
Many buyers expect an inspector find hidden issues, sometimes discovered later on during the home tenure, such as issues within wall framing, footing drains, and other areas of the inspection that are not exposed. In reality, inspectors can only inspect what is visible and typically exposed. Good inspectors understand the cause-and-effect of one observation to a defect, or set of defects, but the reality is that no inspector can ever determine all of the defects that may exist within or around a home.
Home inspectors are not code inspectors. Codes vary by city, county, and state. Code inspectors, sometimes referred to as building inspectors, are employed within the city or county and are familiar with specific codes within their specific jurisdiction. Home inspectors are not required to know each city’s codes, which would be very difficult if not impossible, and therefore are not code inspectors. This does not mean your inspector is not a professional or expert. The responsibilities are not the same and buyers should understand that an inspector may not be able to speak to specific codes during an inspection.
Every buyer needs to understand the contingencies around what is not inspected during a standard home inspection. Home inspectors are trained to inspect and describe major systems and components of any home, but often do not include accessories and areas that are excluded from the Standards of Practice and expose the inspector to unnecessary risk. For example, window awnings, pools, furnace humidifiers, gazebos, well water and well depths, and other areas and components are not typically inspected. Buyers should fully understand the contingencies that apply to their inspection, as noted within the pre-inspection agreement.