Property pre-purchase inspection services determine the condition of a property at the inspection time. A general home inspection, which is always advisable, concerns the whole house. A specialized home inspection, which is not always necessary, focuses on specific house parts.
Below are some reasons to commission a specialized home inspection.
Damage or Malfunction Signs
Commission specialized inspection if the general inspection reveals signs of damage that require further investigation. For example, you should conduct a specialized inspection if:
- The general inspection reveals signs of chimney damage
- The roof has organic growth, such as algae, which might hide serious damage
- The general inspection shows signs of water damage, such as ceiling or wall stains
Some of these signs can hide expensive damages. For example, water exposure can corrode electrical contacts, increase resistance, and shorten the electrical system's lifespan. Err on the side of caution and investigate them before purchase.
Similarly, a house with telltale signs of system or appliance malfunctions requires further investigations. For example, a specialized inspection can reveal whether slow drains signify a major drainage problem.
The older a house is, the more you should consider specialized inspections. Old houses typically have more problems than new ones. Problems with old houses make sense since:
- Materials, structures, and appliances deteriorate with time
- Multiple repairs and renovations, which are likely over the years, affect a property's original design and safety
- Some old buildings have dangerous materials that are not in use today
For example, builders used construction materials with asbestos (a carcinogen) decades ago. Thus, properties from that era require specialized inspections to detect asbestos presence.
Topography or Location
Property risks vary by topography. For example, flooding is more likely to affect a property at the foot of a hill than one at the top. Some areas are prone to soil erosion, mudflows, and settling soils. Properties in such areas require specialized inspections to investigate potential flooding or foundation damage.
Some special features or installations require special inspection. For example, a swimming pool requires a specialized inspection to verify its soundness or safety. Otherwise, you might buy a home only to realize that the pool's electrical system is malfunctioning and dangerous. For the same reason, specialized inspection is necessary for underground oil tanks.
You do not need a reason to commission specialized inspection. You can have one for your peace of mind. Your general home inspector can refer you to professionals who offer specialized inspections.