In general, it is easy to trust an inspector‘s judgment to scout out structural damage or inadequacies in a property, since they are typically recommended by the realtor you chose and trust. Of course, there is no way of actually going into walls to check the quality and maintenance of the materials used in the home. Licensed home inspectors can only base their word on their visual assessments and are unable to go further than that.
While this is normal practice and rarely questioned, whenever homeowners are unsatisfied with the quality of the home they just purchased, a lot of the times the fault lies in that of the home inspector who didn’t do an adequate job of checking things like insulation, electrical, roofing, mold, and other visible structures. Now, being stiffed by your home inspector can be a tough thing to deal with and somewhat of a blindside, but there are ways to avoid this altogether. Here are a couple methods you can apply:
A Second Opinion
The most common practice of verifying the assessment of your property is to get a second opinion. This is a smart idea just for the sake of a different perspective, but it’s also an act of awareness. The realtor-recommended inspector is too often serving their allegiance to the realtor who is giving them work, and they are more likely to be lenient and conveniently miss details in their assessment. This is not just an assumption, it’s a reality that is often overlooked due to the ‘greater good’ at play in this process. You’re still getting an inspection, it’s still timely and mostly accurate, and in most cases, you don’t learn upon the flaws until it’s too late.
If you’re concerned about structural inadequacies of the property you’re looking at, a good move is to talk to other real estate investors in your area and get them to recommend an inspector, or at the very least verify the credibility of the one currently in use. There are various levels of accreditation that an inspector can achieve, and these can be crucial to verify the legitimacy and experience of the inspector.
If you’re dealing with a more substantial suspicion with regards to the structure and build of your potential property, it could be worth it to look into hiring a structural engineer. In the case of it being an older home with a more questionable foundation, this option could prove to be a fair investment that’s pennies on the dollar when understanding the potential loss.
A structural engineer could also prove to be a beneficial member of your home buying process if you’re looking at properties at different elevations or terrains. If part of the property is lifted or supported by beams or located in places with higher altitudes like cliffs or peaks, a structural engineer is a necessity to ensure that the previous homeowner has maintained the original structure with care.
All in all, the home inspection process is one that is usually trusted and home inspectors at large pride themselves on being thorough and accurate in their assessments. However, there is always a probability that a home inspector could miss crucial structural issues due to the aforementioned reasons, and when making the most important purchase of your life, it’s better to be safe than sorry.