There may come a time that you discover something wrong with your house, and you may find yourself disappointed with your home inspection.
Intermittent or concealed problems
You can only discover some problems by living in a house. They cannot be discovered during the few hours of a home inspection. For example, some shower stalls leak when people take a 20-minute shower, but do not leak when you simply turn on the tap. Some roofs and basements only leak when specific conditions exist. Some problems will only be discovered when carpets, furniture or finishes are removed.
Some problems may have existed at the time of the inspection but there were no clues as to their existence. Inspections are based on the house’s past performance. If there are no clues of a past problem, it is almost impossible for inspectors to foresee a future problem.
Inspection reports frequently identify some minor problems but not others. The minor problems that are identified were discovered while looking for more significant problems. Inspectors note them simply as a courtesy. The inspection purpose is not to find the $200 problems, but to find the $2000 problems. These are the things that affect people’s purchasing decisions.
Why wasn’t it seen?
Contractors may say, “I can’t believe you had this house inspected, and they didn’t find this problem.” There are several reasons for these apparent oversights:
- It is difficult for homeowners to remember the circumstances in the house, at the time of the inspection. Homeowners seldom remember that it was snowing, there was storage everywhere in the basement or that the furnace could not be turned on because the air conditioning was operating, etc. It is impossible for contractors to know what the circumstances were when the inspection was performed.
- If inspectors spend 30 minutes under the kitchen sink or 45 minutes disassembling the furnace, they would find more problems too. If they did, the inspection would take several days and would cost considerably more.
- Inspectors are generalists and not specialists. The heating contractor may indeed have more heating expertise than inspectors do.
This excerpt was reproduced with the permission of Carson Dunlop, (416) 964-9415, [email protected].