If you’re in the process of buying a home, you may be wondering what goes into a home inspection. But there are two big obstacles to a home inspection that can make a visual inspection difficult or impossible: weather conditions and peoples stuff.
A home inspection is an important part of the home-buying process, as it can help identify any potential problems with the property.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a visual examination of a property. A professional home inspector will evaluate the condition of the structure and systems, making sure that everything is working as it should. This includes examining the roof, walls, windows, electrical system, plumbing system, furnace, and other major components.
Weather conditions (Snow, Rain, or Wind)
While home inspections provide valuable insight into potential problems and necessary repairs, home buyers should be aware that weather conditions can make an inspection more difficult or even impossible.
Rain, snow, and wind present serious obstacles to the inspection process, with snow, in particular, posing issues by covering up parts of the roof and preventing them from being visible. Snow can also cover decks, driveways, foundations, and the yard so inspection of those items may not be possible. Home inspectors do not shovel roofs, driveways decks, or the yard as part of the home inspection.
For properties with septic systems and cisterns/wells, these items may not be accessible at all for inspection. Lids freeze on and snow in general will hide the discharge system (field, mound, pump out, etc.)
Additionally, rain and gusts of wind (or high winds) can make inspecting the roof too dangerous for inspectors to walk on the roof. rain and windy conditions also make it impossible to use drones or inspection poles for roof inspections.
When it comes to home inspection, people stuff can pose obstacles just as formidable as anything the weather can throw at us. Whether it’s piles of furniture that block access to bedrooms or kitchen clutter that restricts visibility of key features like appliances and countertops, this kind of obstacle can make a visual inspection difficult or even impossible in some cases.
This is why potential home buyers need to keep this in mind when viewing potential future homes. If a home is extremely cluttered and full of personal items when they view it most likely will be that way for the inspection.
Dealing with obstacles
Planning and preparation can be key when it comes to overcoming the biggest obstacles to home inspection, including inclement weather and potential obstructions within a property. Going into an inspection prepared will allow you to think ahead and take preventive measures.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot anyone can do about the weather. Snow in particular is the most difficult to deal with. The only way to be 100% sure there is no snow obstruction in important areas of the home is to not buy a home in the winter.
Extreme wind and rain can usually be only for a short time so the inspector may be able to adjust his routine. It may be possible to reschedule the inspection or have the inspector come back at a better time. There may be a cost to rescheduling or respecting.
Ensuring that furniture, boxes, and personal items have been moved out of the way before an inspection is the only way to get a full inspection. Key areas such as the electrical panel, furnace, hot water tank, AC, sump pump, and attic should not have any obstructions or personal items in the way.
It is also critically important to have unhindered access to all doors, windows, and walls. Ask the homeowner/seller in advance to move large items such as boxes, couches, and personal items so that no part of the house is hidden from view.
FYI: Hoarder homes are real, just like what you see on TV and sometimes worse!
A home inspection can be a difficult job, but there are ways to overcome the obstacles that you may face. Weather conditions can make it difficult to inspect a home, but if you plan ahead and prepare for the conditions, you should be able to do your job. People’s stuff can also make it difficult or impossible to inspect a home, but if you or your realtor talk to the home seller before the inspection and ask them to remove any items that may obstruct access the home inspection should go smoothly.