Don’t blame home inspector for every surprise defect

Some issues either don't warrant concern or can't be easily detected

DEAR BARRY: Before I bought my home, I hired a home inspector. At the time, he seemed to do a good job, but I was sorely mistaken. Since moving in, I have found two major problems. First, an exterior gas line had such a major leak that the gas company refused to turn on the service. Second, one of the ceiling beams is cracked clear through. If you shine a flashlight on the crack, you can see light in the attic, and this worries me about structural stability. Shouldn't these conditions have been reported by a competent home inspector? --Ralph DEAR RALPH: The unreported defects may or may not reflect against the competence of your home inspector. It depends on whether those conditions were visible at the time of the inspection and whether they were within the scope of the inspection. The location of the gas leak would have much to do with discovery by the inspector and the gas company. If the leak was occurring near the building -- at the gas meter, for example -- a compete...