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Specialty Inspections Available to Buyers and How to Know If You Need One

An inspection, simply put, is an evaluation of a home’s condition. It’s a valuable part of the homebuying process because it allows you, the homebuyer, to make sure there are no hidden costs and repairs you’ll have to make when you move in. But, one thing to keep in mind is that not all inspections are created equal and you may want to do a more thorough dive into a home and its history, especially if there is reason to believe there could be issues.

specialty home inspections available to home buyers

Common Inspection

A general home inspection is paid for by the potential homebuyer and covers some major problem areas typically found in homes. The most common problems are found in the electrical work, plumbing, the foundation, the roof, flooring, windows, the structure, and HVAC systems.

Using a checklist with around 1,600 points the inspector should spend a couple of hours inspecting the home. At a high level the home inspection will include:

  • Interior of the home
  • Exterior of the home
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Foundation

While the common inspection does cover many aspects of a home, it doesn't cover them all. If you are interested in a deeper dive into specific areas of the home then you should consider a specialty inspection.

Specialty Inspection

A specialty inspection is considered anything that is not covered by a standard inspection and needs an industry professional to evaluate.

The following are things you might expect a common inspection to cover but in most cases are not included.

Termites/Pests

The goal of a termite/pest inspection is to identify any current termite or pest activity along with signs that the home has a history of pests/termites, or past damage. The inspector will check both the interior and exterior of the house including interior walls, attic spaces, the foundation, crawl spaces, the basement, anywhere that the ground contacts wood, decks, patios and even flower beds around the house. This inspection will be compiled into a report that will outline any findings that should be addressed. We've actually got a whole article just on identifying and eradicating termites.

termites in a new home

Mold/Mildew

While it's not the Home Inspector's job to look for mold, ideally they'll let you know if they see any signs of mold or mildew. More thorough inspections need to be done by a professional who can identify and remove any mold. As many have experienced first hand, mold can grow almost anywhere inside and around the home but thrives in moist areas. In the event your Home Inspector alerts you to the presence of mold, make sure you engage your Real Estate Agent to negotiate the funding for a deeper inspection and possible remediation by a mold/mildew specialist.

Radon/Asbestos

If your Home Inspector sees indications of asbestos, you'll want to engage a specialist to do a dedicated inspection. In many instances existing asbestos does not need to be disturbed, but understanding how much is present is valuable information. You'll want to check your contract but many buyers will request the seller to conduct a radon test.

Radon comes from naturally occurring changes in soil, water, and rock. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas and it's impossible to detect without conducting a Radon Test. Radon Tests take a couple of days to complete as the test kit has to be left in the home untouched for 24-48 hours before the test results can be read. Ask your Buyer's Agent to inquire with the Listing Agent to find out if the sellers have already tested for radon recently and if not, include this request in your inspection period and addendum. See our other article on all things Radon.

Pools

While many home inspectors will check pool heaters and pumps, they likely won't do an in-depth inspection. Having a certified pool inspector or repair company come look at the lining, plumbing and all electrical components will take the mystery out of understanding the state of your "new" pool.

specialty home inspections available to home buyers

Sprinklers

If your home as an irrigation system your Home Inspector will likely find it. These systems are often customized by the previous homeowner and beyond the scope of your normal home inspection. Engaging with a local residential irrigation company can help you learn more about the health of your future system's components.

Oil tanks

There are a variety of reasons you may want to have a dedicated oil tank inspection. The seller may not know where the existing tank is located or if retired systems were abandoned in-ground. Working with a local inspection company can help you understand the state of any active tanks and ensure they're properly hooked up to the house. Check out our other article on Home Oil Tanks.

Home Oil Heating Tank

Most mortgage lenders require pest inspections in addition to a common inspection, so ask the inspection company what services they can provide. You can also ask your Agent for recommendations for these special types of inspections.

When to Opt for a Specialty Inspection

If you're unsure if a specialty inspection is the right choice for your potential home, talk with your Real Estate Agent. They will be able to help you determine the best inspection choice for your (hopefully!) new home.

Want more advice about all things home — including homebuying or selling advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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Ready To Become A Smarter Homebuyer?

By signing up, you agree to Nestiny terms of use .
Whether you need a step-by-step guide, video resource or one of our many helpful tools, Nestiny has your back 24/7 for all things home buying and selling. You choose the pace, material, and when and where to learn. Unlock your free access to Nestiny today!
Are you a real estate professional? Go here .
By clicking this button, you'll enjoy free unlimited access to Nestiny and agree to our terms of use . And don't worry! Nestiny will not share your information with any parties without your consent.