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Question DetailsAsked on 7/7/2013

Should I hire a separate plumber, electrician, and structural engineer to conduct a more thorough home inspection?

My realtor has selected a company to conduct the general home inspection but I'm inclined to hire an additional company of my choosing (that isn't contracted by the Realtor) to inspect the plumbing, electrical, and structural foundation. Is this a waste of time and money?

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1 Answer

Voted Best Answer

When you say "your Realtor", I presume you are the buyer. The inspection is not for the Realtor - it is for your protection and you are probaby paying for it, and if you want the inspector to look closer at anything in particular you should so note it to him, or even go with him on the inspection (that is what I recommend, though will costs $100-150 more as it delays his progress, pointing things out to you).

Unless you have reason to expect problems, a normal certified home inspector is the norm. Plumbers and electricians are likely to cost you about $100-175 each for an inspection, a structural engineer more like $250-400, so that is the better part of $1000 in additional inspections, in addition to the $250-400 for the normal house inspector.

On a fixer upper or deteriorated or over 40 year old home, then maybe you would be wise to do that, and of course if it will give you peace of mind over the coming years, go for it. I admit I spent about 2-3 hours in each house I have bought (on 2-6 year old houses) on my "buy" (as opposed to first-look) inspection, including going up in attic, opening up electrical panels, testing HVAC sysstem, testing every light and using a tester on every outlet, opening windows, testing every toilet and drain, going up onthe roof, etc - so that was equivalent to the amount of inspection you are talking about, so I understand where you are coming from. It just is not normal.

Another alternative would be to go online and google for home inspection checklists, make up your own, and take it through the house (if you do not already have a binding offer in) and check for any deficiencies. If you have a binding offer submitted already, then inspectors are probably your only means of getting out of the deal for defects in the house, so your call on how careful you want to be.

If Realtor is working both sides of the deal and that is why you are not so comfortable with his/her choice of an inspector, thinking they might have chosen one who will "softball" the inspection, you have the right to choose you own inspector instead of the one he/she chose,, and that should have been disclosed to you - failure to do so is an ethics violation and possibly illegal.

Bear in mind the time limit for inspections - usually only a week or two after signing the contract, so you have a very limited time to get whatever you want done.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


The simple answer is to hire a home inspector that YOU are comfortable with. If you feel that the referred home inspector might not be protecting your interests, don't hire them! After all, the purpose of hiring a home inspector is to make sure that you are making a wise real estate investment by reporting on the overall condition of the home.

Look for a home inspector with a state license (if required in your state) and a membership to a trade organization like InterNACHI or ASHI. This is the best way to ensure that your inspector is legally-compliant and well-educated about the issues that could be present in your home.

If there are any major defects that warrant examination by an expert in that field, it will be notated in the report. Home inspectors have tons of general construction knowledge, but we do not have the specialized training and equipment that an electrician or plumber would have.

You can hire any of the professionals you listed to perform comprehensive inspections of particular systems, but as the previous poster said, it is going to be expensive and more than likely isn't needed.

Jenni Boucher @ Manatee Home Inspection Services


Answered 7 years ago by ManateeHomeInspector

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