We've talked about the importance of the home inspection in general but what if your inspector suggests an additional or extended inspection? This can often happen if there are questions about the roof integrity, sewer or septic system, foundation, pest or termite control, or any extensive inspection that a general inspector may not be able to report on. General inspectors know a little bit about a lot of things and if something is a little beyond their pay grade, so to speak, they may suggest an additional inspection. This might be a roof certificate from a qualified roofer, foundation expert, pest expert, or septic inspector.
You don't necessarily have to get a specific inspector to check out one of these areas but someone that works on them on a regular basis giving their professional opinion on the integrity and structural durability of the item. For instance, when I was a real estate agent I helped a couple buy a home that had a septic system. The inspector suggested getting an additional septic inspector out there to verify whether it had been pumped as the homeowners said, and how long it might last. This additional inspection was $800 and at this point, the homebuyer just didn't want to put any more money into it so they chose to waive the additional inspection and buy the home.
Less than a month later the septic system flooded the house, ruined the backyard, and they discovered that it was never pumped to begin with, which means that the previous homeowners lied on the seller's disclosure form. Unfortunately, there was no way to go back to them at this point even though we did in the hopes that they would do something. Unfortunately, because "buyer beware" is always a thing when purchasing real estate, the new homeowners were out of luck and had to pay $12,000 to get an entirely new septic tank and system put in as well of clean up the existing mass. Had they spent the $800, to begin with, they could save themselves a lot of money in the long run but again, it's one of those risk factors.
The same can happen with any other major feature of the house. A general inspector may be able to casually look for pest or termite issues but if they can't get to certain areas of the house they may suggest an additional inspection from someone that is a professional and understands what to look for when it comes to bugs and termites in a home. This could save you a lot of money in the long run by spending a little money now verifying any issues or just giving you peace of mind.
Roof certifications are probably one of the most common additional inspections. An inspector can take a look at the validity of the roof but only a professional and qualified roofer can tell you exactly how much longer the roof will last, if there's any major issues around flashings or sealants, and what it would cost to certify the roof for another five years or replace the roof completely. Again, this might be of little as an extra $100 but well worth it. Plus, if the buyer chooses not to purchase the home because of this additional inspection, they can get the earnest money back and move on to the next house.
This really comes down to the risk. Are you willing to put a few more dollars in to inspect the home further? If you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a property it probably would behoove you to spend a little bit more verifying the structural integrity of the property.