Internachi certified professional inspector
Inspection Priorities (Part 2)
While I pride myself on being thorough and detailed in all my inspections it is simply impossible to catch every small detail, especially when the previous owner/tenant’s belongings are still in place. Here are some examples of areas a home inspector generally doesn’t focus their priorities to. Not to say we don't look but it is rare we report on these issues:
I make it no secret that I am big on energy efficiency and am a huge fan of Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. Fun fact, I actually worked with LED lighting all the way back in 1998 and saw great potential in it as a High School student. Simply put, LED bulbs are brighter, last longer, don’t fade with age and generate very little (waste) heat. In fact, the very first thing I did upon moving into our home was replace almost all our mostly incandescent lighting with LEDs. However, this is not something I check for because:
Not only are cosmetic finishes excluded from a standard home inspection, but in most cases the flooring, if it isn’t brand new, almost always has defective areas. It can be very difficult to identify the quality of a flooring installation from look alone and in many cases new homeowners prefer to change the flooring style anyway. I do look out for major safety issues, especially signs of rot in the subfloor but normal wear and tear, scratches, dents etc. are normal in a lived-in home and to be expected. I will however point out inappropriate flooring choices such as carpet in bathrooms and kitchens.
I am generally not worried about holes or dents in drywall as, like most homeowners, I have created more than one moving furniture or carrying a large, pointed object. In fact, it can provide the inspector a way to see in behind the walls even if just a small area. Drywall is generally easy to patch and repair and I have done this myself without issue for a very low cost (I am a professional home inspector NOT a professional drywaller but I digress). Having said that, I do notice and evaluate cracks or holes in a ceiling as they can provide valuable clues and always comment on holes in attached garages.
While outbuildings are not included in standard home inspections, if I could sum up my observations on sheds I have inspected I could simply just say “recommend complete replacement” as the cost is usually cheaper than doing necessary repairs. In my experience, sheds have a shorter life expectancy, are generally not maintained or properly footed as they aren’t designed for living and are rightfully not a priority for homeowners on a limited budget.
I have discussed previously that as a professional home inspector, one of the most important skills to be successful in this field is discretion about what is really important and not just filling in lines on a boilerplate. Roofing, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and structural systems are the areas that can be very expensive to repair/replace and are the focus of the majority of our efforts.