Home inspectors are not omniscient, all though at times there seems to be that perception. I have heard on many occasions, "the inspector should have caught that". This includes things like damage found inside walls, leaks that occur years after the homeowners have moved in, and stuff that doesn't necessarily fall into a home inspection. Often I find by asking a few questions, the inspector wasn't at fault, the perception is off. However, there are times when it is clear to me things were missed.
I have found during my own inspections items that were not caught by previous inspections. Now I do not say something was missed easily. It has to very clear that the defect was in existence when a previous inspection was done. If I'm not certain, well then I'm not going to fall into the same "the inspector should have caught that" mentality.
During a recent home inspection, I found items that were probably not missed and almost certainly missed.
The home I was inspecting has a huge wrap around deck. Decks are my personal nightmare. I rarely find one that is without fault. Many have numerous issues. The deck on this particular home was poorly constructed and almost assuredly never permitted or inspected. The most glaring defect was the railings. A kid could drive a Big Wheel through those openings. I can not imagine any home inspector missing this or not reporting it. My "theory" is it was ignored, as well as the other issues with the deck, by the homeowners.
The second item I found was an incorrectly wired sub panel in the garage. The homeowner happened to be there when I was inspecting the panel. He stated this was never discovered during his inspection seven years ago.
I tend to believe that statement.
This is a safety issue. It is also easily rectified by a licensed electrician. Hard to believe this defect would not have been on a list of home inspection issues for repair given to the sellers.
Once again there would be a question of permits.
What all this proves is that not all home inspectors and thus home inspections are alike. It also shows that buyers may not always fix the problems discovered by their inspector, and that, "the inspector most certainly may have caught that".
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