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Common Areas Often Missed in Standard Home Inspections

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A man in a green safety vest and a helmet is doing a home inspection

Buying a home is one of the most significant investments you'll make in your lifetime. A home inspection is crucial to ensure you're making a wise investment. A thorough inspection can uncover issues that might not be visible at first glance, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in repairs. However, even the most detailed home inspections can miss certain areas, leading to unexpected problems. This article will explore common areas often overlooked during standard home inspections and why they matter.

Home Inspections in Home Transitions

The relocation process can be overwhelming when you're moving into a new home and have to handle the logistics of the move and home inspections. However, hiring professional movers like Peasley Transfer & Storage can significantly ease the experience. Known for their reliable service, they specialize in safely and efficiently transporting your belongings wherever you need them. They can handle all the heavy lifting, packing, and transportation, allowing you to focus on settling into your new home. Thus, with them handling all the heavy lifting, you can address any inspections, repairs, or improvements without the added stress of managing moving logistics, ensuring a smoother and more organized transition into your new space.

The Roof: More Than Just Shingles

The roof is one of the most critical yet frequently overlooked areas in a home inspection. Inspectors often check for missing or damaged shingles but may not delve deeper into potential underlying issues. The roof's structure, flashing, and gutter systems are just as important. Flashing, the metal strips around chimneys, vents, and other roof penetrations can fail over time, leading to leaks and water damage. Gutters and downspouts must be checked for proper alignment and blockage to prevent water from damaging the foundation.

Attics: The Hidden Space Above

Attics are another area that can hide many problems if not inspected thoroughly. While inspectors may look for insulation and ventilation, they might miss signs of pests, mold, or structural issues. Rodents and insects can create nests in the insulation, leading to potential health hazards. Mold can develop from poor ventilation or leaks, causing respiratory issues and significant remediation costs. Structural problems, such as sagging beams or roof trusses, can also indicate serious issues that need immediate attention.

Plumbing Systems: Beyond the Visible Pipes

Plumbing issues are among the most common problems found during home inspections. However, standard home inspections may only focus on visible pipes and fixtures. It is essential to check hidden leaks behind walls, floors, and crawl spaces. Inspectors should also examine the condition of the water heater, sump pump, and sewage systems. Corroded pipes, outdated materials like lead or galvanized steel, and poor water pressure indicate potential plumbing issues that require further investigation.

A photo of a plumbing system
Standard home inspections always involve checking plumbing systems

Electrical Systems: Safety First

Electrical systems are critical to a home's safety and functionality. While inspectors usually check for obvious signs of electrical problems, such as exposed wiring or malfunctioning outlets, they may overlook outdated wiring systems and overloaded circuits. Homes with older wiring, such as knob-and-tube or aluminum, pose significant fire hazards. The electrical panel should also be inspected for proper labeling, grounding, and overall capacity to handle the home's electrical load.

HVAC Systems: Heating and Cooling Concerns

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are vital for maintaining a comfortable and healthy living environment. Inspectors typically check the functionality of these systems, but they may not assess their efficiency or condition thoroughly. Inspecting the ductwork for leaks, proper insulation, and cleanliness is important. Filters should be checked and replaced regularly to ensure optimal performance and air quality. Additionally, the age and condition of the HVAC units can indicate when they might need replacement, which can be a significant expense.

Foundation and Structural Integrity: The Backbone of Your Home

A home's foundation and structural integrity are crucial to its overall stability. While inspectors look for obvious cracks and signs of settling, they may not always identify subtle issues that could indicate more significant problems. Small cracks can signify larger structural issues, such as shifting soil or water damage. Inspecting the basement or crawl space for moisture, mold, and signs of past water intrusion is essential. These areas can provide clues about the home's structural health and potential problems.

Windows and Doors: More Than Just a View

Windows and doors are often inspected for their functionality and general condition. However, inspectors might miss issues with seals, insulation, and alignment. Poorly sealed windows and doors can lead to drafts, higher energy bills, and potential water damage. Inspecting the frames for signs of rot, mold, or insect damage is also crucial. Properly functioning windows and doors are essential for energy efficiency and home security.

Exterior and Landscaping: First Impressions Matter

The exterior of a home and its landscaping are often given a cursory glance during inspections. However, these areas can reveal significant issues that impact the home's long-term health. Inspectors should check for proper grading and drainage to prevent water from pooling around the foundation. Siding, brickwork, and paint should be examined for signs of deterioration. Additionally, trees and shrubs planted too close to the house can cause damage to the foundation, roof, and siding over time.

Chimneys and Fireplaces: Cozy but Potentially Hazardous

Chimneys and fireplaces add charm and warmth to a home but require a thorough inspection. Standard inspections might only cover the visible portions of these features. Inspecting the chimney for cracks, blockages, and proper ventilation is essential. Creosote buildup in the flue can pose a significant fire hazard if not cleaned regularly. Fireplaces should be checked for proper damper operation, structural integrity, and signs of wear and tear.

A chimney and sky during the night
Chimneys and fireplaces add charm and warmth to a home, but they also require thorough inspection

Insulation: Keeping Comfort In and Costs Down

Insulation is critical for maintaining a home's energy efficiency and comfort. Inspectors often check visible insulation in attics and crawl spaces but may miss inadequacies in walls and around windows and doors. Poor insulation can lead to higher energy bills, drafts, and temperature inconsistencies throughout the home. Ensuring that insulation meets current standards and is properly installed is vital for long-term energy savings and comfort.

The Garage: More Than Just Storage

Garages are frequently overlooked during home inspections, yet they can harbor several hidden issues. Inspectors should examine the garage door's operation, including the automatic opener and safety features. The garage floor should be checked for cracks and signs of water intrusion. Also, garages often house electrical systems, HVAC equipment, and plumbing connections that must be inspected. Proper ventilation is also essential to prevent the buildup of fumes and moisture.

Final Thoughts: Getting Familiar With Standard Home Inspections

Standard home inspections are essential for any prospective homebuyer. While they cover many critical areas, it's crucial to be aware of the common areas that are often missed. By understanding these overlooked areas, you can ensure your inspection is as thorough as possible, potentially saving you from unexpected repairs and expenses in the future. Don't hesitate to ask your inspector to look into these areas or hire specialists. A well-informed approach to home inspections can provide peace of mind and protect your investment for years.

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