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What’s Not Covered in a Home Inspection?

If you’re like most sellers, you want to pass the home inspection so that you can get through closing faster. While it’s a good idea to make necessary repairs & updates before your inspection, don’t go overboard on items that may not even be covered in the report. 

A home inspector’s primary role is to search for structural issues, mechanical defects, and health and safety concerns. So, don’t expect them to test every lightbulb or break through walls to examine the electrical system. 

Here are 6 items that may not be included in the standard home inspection:

1. Wallpaper, paint, and other finishes

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), inspectors are not required to inspect “paint, wallpaper, or other finish treatments.” These things are cosmetic and the inspector likely won’t pay attention to them.

However, if an inspector sees peeling paint or dark spots in the ceiling, they will try to assess the potential cause. If the cause is water or humidity, they will see this as a red flag indicating a history of water damage in the home.

2. Mold and pests

Generally, a home inspection excludes identifying “the presence of plants, animals, and other life forms and substances that may be hazardous or harmful to humans including, but not limited to, wood-destroying organisms, molds, and mold-like substances.”

If a home inspector finds mold, they may note “potentially mold” on the report, but they won’t get out a mold testing kit to confirm. If an inspector does report mold in your home, order a mold test to verify or disprove the finding before negotiating removal costs with a buyer. 

3. The sewer line and/or underground septic system

If your home is connected to a city sewer line, most inspectors will not look at it. However, if you suspect any problems, you may enlist the help of a plumbing & drain company to inspect the line. They will check it for cracks, tree roots, clogs, or any collapses. That way, you can repair any issues before a buyer finds them or show the clean report to the buyer.

An inspector will run the faucets and flush the toilets to listen for normal sounds, but they won’t examine the underground septic system. To assess a septic tank, a specialist would need to use a small camera scope. An inspector will only note:

  • When the tank was last pumped
  • The tank is the appropriate size for the house
  • That the tank is away from wells or streams

4. Home decor & cosmetic finishes

If you’ve left your holiday decorations up too long, don’t worry, because it won’t make a difference on your home inspection report. However, be sure to keep your interior relatively clean and free of clutter so that the inspector can easily access all areas of the home. If a home inspector has to move boxes to get to the area they need to see, it will only extend the time they spend in your home.

5. Inside the fireplace and chimney

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the home inspection report covers the inspection of chimneys and vent systems, fuel-burning accessories installed into a fireplace, and a home’s fuel-burning fireplaces, stoves, and fireplace inserts. It does not cover:

  • Vent systems
  • Flues, seals, and gaskets
  • Fire screens and doors
  • Mantels and fireplace surrounds
  • Combustion air components
  • Heat distribution assets
  • Automatic fuel feed devices
  • Anything located outside of the inspected structure

It’s a good idea to have your fireplace cleaned and checked by a professional before the home inspection. 

6. Internal electrical components

The home inspector’s job is to conduct a visual inspection, so they won’t open a wall to assess the inner workings. But they will, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors, examine these nine items:

  • Service drop
  • Service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways
  • Service equipment and main disconnects
  • Service grounding
  • Interior components of subpanels and service panels
  • Conductors
  • Overcurrent protection devices
  • Lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters

Focus on the primary inspection items

Now that you know what a home inspection doesn’t cover, you can spend your energy checking and repairing your home’s key structural features. By doing so, your home will fare better in the home inspection and raise fewer points for potential negotiations with buyers.

Are you ready to get started in the selling process? Team Melton has over 50 combined years of real estate experience to assist you through every step of the process. Contact us today to get started on selling your home!

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