SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Buying a house is most likely the biggest investment a homeowner will ever make. But before buying a house homeowners want to make sure they hire a good home inspector who will catch any major repairs.

Homeowner David Schwartz says he learned the hard way. Days after buying a new condo, Schwartz said his movers discovered a leak underneath the sink.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Schwartz then called the inspector to see what exactly he had inspected.

“Did you check the refrigerator, the water, did you check the fire place?” he asked.

According to Schwartz, the inspector did not check any of those items. But home inspector Skip Walker says a home inspector should be looking underneath a sink and running plumbing.

Walker isn’t necessarily surprised Schwartz’s inspector didn’t live up to his expectations since the business is largely unregulated.

The state doesn’t require a home inspector to have a license and the Business and Professions Code defines an inspector as any individual who performs a home inspection. It’s up to the consumer to do their homework.

According to Walker, a home inspector should be testing major systems of the house, looking at performance of the roof, the foundation, major appliances, testing the heating system and plumbing system.

The California Real Estate Inspection Association has a thorough checklist on its Website. Before hiring a home inspector, consumers should ask for a detailed report as to what will be inspected. Because home inspectors aren’t regulated if consumers have a complaint the only legal recourse is suing in small claims.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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