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Types of Specialty Home Inspections Buyers Should Consider

By Bill Gassett | February 2, 2023

When you buy a home, you will likely have a general inspection. It's an intelligent thing to do as you get a good picture of what you're buying.

Skipping a home inspection could lead to a purchase decision you'll regret. If you're lucky, there won't be any significant issues. On the other hand, you could quickly discover you've bought a lemon.

While having a general inspection is wise, so is having additional specialty inspections that the home inspector will not provide.

It is essential to have a checklist for home inspections to remember to check these critical items.

Let's examine some potential additional specialty inspections you may want to consider.

What is a Specialty Inspection?

Specialty inspections examine the property for potential issues outside the scope of the general inspection. While a home inspection covers many things, these items probably will not be included.

Some examples of specialty inspections include the following:

  • Mold inspection
  • Pest inspection
  • Radon inspection
  • Lead paint inspection
  • Chimney inspection
  • Well inspection
  • Septic system inspection
  • Pool inspection

We will look at each of these specialty inspections in-depth. You can determine if they are worth taking a closer look at.

Mold Inspections

When buying a home, it's possible that mold could be discovered. When the problem is severe enough, mold can create health issues.

What's important to remember is that mold can cause health issues when exposed for a long enough time.

A mold inspection will identify existing mold and areas where it's likely to grow.

A professional can assess the severity and determine the cost of remediation. Depending on the severity, the cost could be in the hundreds. If the problem is significant, you could spend thousands on removal.

It is essential to remember that mold can be found in many places, including attics, basements, and other areas where moisture may accumulate.

Getting a professional opinion to ensure the safety of your family is crucial.

Pest Inspections

Having a pest inspection is a common step when buying a house. These inspections allow you to be aware of any potential issues with insects or rodents that may be present.

Pests can cause various issues, including property damage, health concerns, and even the spread of disease.

Having a professional pest inspector visit ensures that your home is free of any pests or their signs.

Additionally, having a pest inspection can help you become aware of any potential problems early on, so you can take steps to prevent or address them before they become a more significant issue.

Radon Inspection

Checking radon levels is essential and should be part of your specialty home inspection checklist.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can accumulate in enclosed spaces and pose a health hazard.

Radon can be found in the air, the soil, and water. Knowing the radon levels in a home before moving in is essential.

Testing for radon can help identify the current levels and determine whether remediation is necessary. If radon is found in a home over EPA guidelines, steps can be taken to reduce the levels.

By having a radon inspection, you can ensure that your home is safe and that you can move in with peace of mind.

Lead Paint Inspection

When purchasing a home built before 1978, it is wise to consider a lead paint inspection.

Lead paint was widely used in homes before 1978, so it's crucial to understand the potential risks of lead exposure.

Lead paint can be dangerous if ingested or inhaled. It can cause long-term health concerns. A lead paint test can determine the presence and concentration of lead in the home will help to protect the occupants from potential exposure.

Additionally, the test results can be used to develop a plan of action to reduce lead levels. The lead paint can be either removed or encapsulated. Having a lead paint test is essential for ensuring the safety of any occupants in the home.

It becomes more vital when children live in the house as they are prone to chewing on exposed wood.

Chimney Inspection

A Level 2 chimney inspection is a worthwhile investment when purchasing a home. The home inspector will do a visible inspection of the chimney's exterior and the firebox.

However, a general inspector will not be able to determine the condition of the inside of the chimney.

A Level 2 inspection is a more thorough inspection of the chimney and venting system.

This type of inspection is recommended when it's clear there has been heavy usage of the fireplace. The home inspector may notice significant build-up within the chimney.

A Level 2 inspection covers all visible components of the chimney. It can detect potential issues such as water leaks, blockages, corrosion, and cracked or broken components.

Level 2 inspections can alert you to any existing or potential problems with the chimney, ensuring that your home is in good condition.

Well Inspection

When a home is serviced by a well and not public water, a well inspection is essential. A well inspector will check the quality and quantity.

You don't want to drink water with anything that could create health issues. That is possible when you have a well, as it could become contaminated. The inspector will take a sample and send it to a lab for analysis.

You will get a detailed report with the findings. It is essential to look over the report carefully. You will need a filtration system if the readings are outside normal limits.

It is equally important to check the well's quantity. Inspectors will run the well for a few hours to ensure you have adequate gallons per minute and an acceptable recovery rate.

Septic System Inspection

Having a septic system inspection is an essential part of the home-buying process. A septic system inspection can reveal potential issues with the system.

Septic systems are complex structures that require regular maintenance and monitoring.

An inspection can detect any faulty parts, leaks, or blockages that may be present in the system. An inspector can alert you to any potential issues that need to be addressed.

Additionally, an inspection can help you ensure that the system works properly and lasts for years. By having a septic system inspection, you are taking an essential step in protecting your home's and its occupants' health and safety.

In some states, sellers must inspect their septic systems before transferring the title to the property. For example, Massachusetts has what's called a Title V inspection.

Pool Inspection

An inspection is essential when purchasing a home with an in-ground pool.

A pool inspection can help protect the buyer from potential legal and financial liabilities. The inspector will look for signs of damage, wear, and tear. There may also be potential safety hazards.

They can also check the pool equipment to ensure it is in good working condition and meets local safety codes.

The inspection can help detect any potential issues before they become costly repairs. A pool inspection is a smart investment and can help protect the buyer from potential issues.

Final Thoughts on Specialty Inspections

Specialty inspections are a worthwhile investment when buying a home. You may need to negotiate with the seller to correct some of these issues.

Lead paint, chimney, septic system, and pool inspections can help identify any potential risks and help protect the home, its occupants, and the buyer from potential liabilities.

Overall, these inspections are an essential part of the home-buying process and can help ensure that the home is a safe environment for years to come.

Finding a home inspector you love can be invaluable as a source of referrals for other types of specialty inspections.

Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate industry with 38 years of experience. Bill is well respected for his informative articles for buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame, Realty Biz News, and his own authoritative resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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