Home Inspection Limitations: What Home Inspectors DON’T Usually Inspect

Home Inspection Limitations:

What Home Inspectors DON’T Usually Inspect


“Why didn’t this come up in the home inspection?”

Uh, oh. This is the question no home buyer ever wants to find themselves asking after closing. Unfortunately though, this is the case with many home owners who aren’t aware of the exact things home inspectors look for. Home inspections are much more limited than what many first-time home buyers may realize.


“The purpose of a home inspection is to look for material defects of the property – things that are unsafe, not working or that create a hazard”, said Kurt Solomon, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Home buyers, however, “They think we can see through walls and predict the future”, he said.


What Inspectors DON’T Inspect:

 They DON’T test for environmental safety such as lead in paint, asbestos, or radon in the air, although they might point out if a house is at risk for such dangers.

Inspectors can also overlook mold. If these toxins exist behind walls or hidden in floorboards they will not see them.

They DON’T examine child-safety issues, such as how easy it is to fall down staircases or get into cabinets. And most inspectors lack expertise of pool safety which is one of the biggest risks for young children.


That means that home buyers not only need to take matters into their own hands, they also should budget ahead of time for any unforeseen surprise expenses after the home purchase. Here a couple of ways to avoid or at least mitigate those costs.


Interview Your Inspector: Many buyers (especially first-time buyers) will hire whoever their Realtor recommends to do the inspection. An inspector’s knowledge is a value and not all inspectors are as knowledgeable as others. Buyers should ask how much experience they have, if they get up on the roof, if they have any environmental-friendly knowledge, and if they have any child safety knowledge.


Look For Common Hazards: Homes that were built back in the 50’s had railings that were 6 inches apart, making that a hazard for babies/children to fall through. Today the rule is 4 inches. Pools should be enclosed by gates that are at least 6 feet tall with self closing hinges and latches that are at least 54 inches off the ground and out of reach of children. Inspectors generally don’t test for environmental hazards. Homes that were built prior to 1978 often contain lead, and 9-by-9 inch floor tiles in basements are likely to contain asbestos.  If buyers are aware of these dangers before closing they can ask the seller to pay for all or some of the abatement, containment or removal costs. 


Reference: MSM Real Estate


If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling

a Nashville Home please contact:


Emily Lowe 

The Lipman Group | Sotheby’s International Realty 

Office: (615) 463-3333 / Cell: (615) 509-1753