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Third, a home inspector may be able to estimate how much longer a particular component may last before repairs or replacement is necessary, but an estimate is not a prediction. The home inspector has no special powers that enable him to predict the future. If the home buyer is looking for concrete assurances or predictions about the future, then a home inspector is not the correct person to consult.
First, there are certain areas that require very specialized knowledge, specific state licensing, and large amounts of time to thoroughly investigate. Examples include swimming pools, wells, septic systems, or solar energy systems. While a home inspector may notice a condition in any of these areas that indicates a potential problem and will note it in your inspection report, a thorough examination of systems like these is a specialized task for an appropriate professional.
Second, it is important to remember that a home inspection is primarily a visual inspection. What this means is that certain potential problems may be hidden from view. For example, it may be difficult or impossible to tell if a foundation wall is cracked if the basement is finished and the foundation walls are covered by drywall or paneling. A home inspector has many tools and talents he or she can draw upon but X-ray vision is not one of them.