Top Things to Check During a Home Inspection



Home inspections identify possible environmental, structural, and infestation problems that, if left uncorrected, could turn into dealbreakers. Certain items should always be on a home inspection checklist, and your particular situation may mean the inspector should assess additional items. Buyers should always conduct a home inspection, and sellers can arrange for one before putting the property on the market, to discover and address problems before they become obstacles to a sale.

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If you’re ready for a home inspection, select an experienced, certified inspector and discuss their process and the kind of report they’ll produce. When the date for the inspection comes, attend the inspection, ask questions, and make sure you understand what the inspector does and doesn’t do. For example, a home inspector can’t inspect what they can’t see or what their instruments can’t detect. A good home inspector will explain, in advance, what their fee covers, what costs extra, and what just isn’t possible. They should be versed in local building codes and be able to tell you if they see potential violations.

Generally speaking, top things to include during a home inspection are:

  • Checking for structural issues. A home inspector will look for cracks or bowing in foundation walls; bouncy floors; nail pops; gaps around windows or doors; and stairs, decks, or porches that list or lean.
  • Water damage. Water is the culprit in all kinds of problems with homes, from mold to structural damage and rot.
  • Plumbing and sewer system. Inspections should identify leaky pipes, clogged sewer lines, and water pressure issues. Your inspector may suggest or recommend you hire a plumbing company to run a camera down the sewer lines to make sure connections and pipes are undamaged. Damage can occur outside the home, all the way to where the line connects to the city sewer. Your plumber should help determine if the homeowner or the city is responsible for repair.
  • Electrical systems. Old, out of code or faulty wiring and overburdened circuits are dangerous. Outlets in damp or wet locations like kitchens and bathrooms should have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFI) and be properly wired.
  • Roof, chimney, and ventilation. Cracked chimneys and poor ventilation can cause dangerous gases to build up in the home. The roof should be in good enough repair to do its job of keeping water out of the house and protecting the home from weather. Missing shingles, sagging or uneven areas, rusty flashing, moss, and algae may all be red flags.
  • Infestations. Insects and rodents can do major damage to a home’s structure and can create unhealthy conditions. The inspection will look for signs of infestation and try to determine what sort of vermin are present.
  • Hazardous substances. Radon gas, lead paint, and asbestos could all be concerns with an older home.

No home is perfect, and every inspection report will have some items on it. Keep things in perspective and ask questions that help you sort the major from the minor issues as well as those that are merely cosmetic concerns. The inspection helps identify problems that you should address before you buy a property or put one on the market. Remember that every home is different, and this list just identifies some of the top things to check during a home inspection. Depending on the home’s age, location, and any local codes that apply, you may need to assess several other items.

About Anita Townes

Anita is a Realty Biz News Contributor and loves all things real estate from housing, marketing and investing.