The typical home inspection is a great place to start if you are in the due diligence period of a home purchase. A home inspector does a more topical inspection of a wide variety of things in the home, such as the roof, plumbing, electrical, lighting, When I say topical, what I mean is that a lot of times if a home inspector makes a note of something, they will tell you to consult a licensed specialist about the issue (electrician, foundation specialist, plumber, etc.). I’m not complaining though or nagging on them by any means. After all, that is how they are able to cover such a broad area of a home at such a reasonable price. But if there is cause for concern, it makes sense to also get a specialist to complete an inspection. So, lets take a look at some of the more specialized inspections you can choose to select.
Wood Destroying Insect Inspection
Performed By: Licensed pest inspector or local pest control expert
These inspectors will inspect the house (specifically the crawls space or basement) for signs of wood that has been damaged by insects. They might check for moisture levels, mud tubes, softened wood, or droppings.
Performed By: CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) technician
Before using a fireplace, it is always a really really good idea to inspect the chimney for things like birds, fire hazards, or carbon monoxide buildup. It’s recommended that you have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once annually, so ask the sellers if they have recently gotten a chimney inspection you could see.
Cost: Sometimes bundled in with home inspections, other times cost $100-250.
Performed By: You can test for radon with a kit, but buyers many times want an independent party to test. Home inspectors often offer this service, or you can hire a radon specialist
The EPA suggests that as many as 1/15 homes have high radon levels. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The issue with it is that it’s radioactive, and is known to cause lung cancer to those who are exposed to it for an excessive period of time. Scientists suggest that 15,000-22,000 lung cancer deaths that occur nationwide each year are related to radon. To summarize, this can be a serious issue, especially in houses with basements. If the radon level is above the recommended amount (4pCi/L) then you can ask the seller to install a mitigation system in the house to lower the levels.
Performed By: Professional Plumber
A plumber checks all of the connections under the sinks, and the shutoff supplies. They verify that all fixtures and appliances are installed to code, check the water pressure and water heater, and confirm everything is draining properly. This can be a good way to avoid some maintenance costs that this inspection may show.
Performed By: Asbestos abatement company
Asbestos is a harmful material that was used in many products for the home before 1980. A general home inspector might mark something as “asbestos-like material” because the only way to truly identify if asbestos is present or not is under a microscope. For this reason, a sample must be taken and tested in a lab to see if there is asbestos present. If asbestos is present, you can negotiate that the seller has the asbestos removed or encapsulated.
Performed By: Licensed roofer, preferably with RoofCERT accreditation
Preventative roof maintenance can help homeowners save thousands of dollars a year. A roofing contractor can check for soft spots that could indicate leaks or rotten wood beneath.
Lead Based Paint Inspection
Performed By: Certified lead inspector
Lead is a hazardous metal that can cause many health issues to humans, and unfortunately, it is especially dangerous to kids and pregnant women. Lead based paint was banned in 1978. If the house was built before 1978, consider a lead based paint inspection, especially if there is paint peeling in the house.
Foundation or Structural Inspection
Performed By: Structural engineer
These professionals check for foundation issues, like slant, cracks in walls, and alignment. These foundation issues can leave your house vulnerable to pests and water intrusion, and they can be very costly to repair. A structural engineer will also help you identify what is typical settling, and what is a serious issue.
Performed By: Licensed electrician
The electrical component of a home can pose many risks to you’re family if they are in need of attention. Kids are often victim to electrical shocks that could be avoided if the electrical system met code. Electrical inspectors will check for ungrounded outlets, exposed wiring, spliced wires, improperly modified electrical panels, and other issues that could pose a risk.
Septic Tank Inspection
Performed By: Qualified wastewater professional
A faulty septic tank can lead to loads of headache, and out of pocket expenses. A septic inspection will check for things such as when it was last pumped, the sludge level, and the size and distance to streams or wells.
Performed By: A reputable heating and air servicing company
Heating and cooling equipment can be very costly to repair or replace, so it might be a good idea to have a professional take a look into the condition of the system before you take responsibility of it. During an inspection, they will look at the system’s thermostat calibration, heat pumps, electrical connections, air filters, safety controls and quality of installation, along with other things they can do to check the status of the heating and cooling system.