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What Kind of Things Should You Expect a Home Inspector Look For?

What an inspector will look forIf you are looking to buy a home, at some point it will need to be inspected.  If the inspector is a reputable one, there is an extensive list of things and places in the house that will need to be inspected.  Online you can find a lot of checklists to look at or download to help you through this process. Just remember that the following list is for a perfect house, but since there is no such thing as a perfect house, this list is just to advise you on what to expect.

Home Inspectors and the Grounds:

The inspector will be looking to see if there is proper drainage away from the house.  No one wants to have their home flooded, especially when watering their lawn. The next couple of things that will be looked for are pools of standing water and to ensure there are no leaking septic tanks or leach fields.  Yuck! You definitely don’t want to have to wade through that. He/she will check to see if the landscaping, yards and walkways are in good condition with no branches touching the house or overhanging the roof. Branches touching or overhanging the house can cause significant damage, especially during a storm. The next things that will be looked at, as far as the grounds are concerned, are sheds, decks, detached garages, fences, stairs, hand railings, etc. to make sure they’re in good repair and free of rot of any kind.

Home Inspectors and the Outside Structure of the home:

The next thing the inspector will look at is the ridge of the roof, the sides of the house, and the window and door frames, to see if they are straight and there is no bowing or sagging. Then there will be an inspection of the foundation to ensure it is straight with no visible cracks.  Next, he or she will check the siding for cracks, and if anything is curling, rotting or loose. No matter the type of siding he/she will want to see that there is no damage, dents, dings or destruction of any kind. Also, the gutters, are they rust and decay free with no sagging, bending or clogging?  Does the system drain away from the house?

home inspection reportHome Inspectors and Windows, Doors and Wood Trim:

The inspector will take a closer look at the windows, doors and trim.  He/she will be looking to see that the frames are in good shape. He/she will want to know if they are secure with no cracks or decay and that they are properly caulked.  Are the windows and screens free of damage and that they are in working order?

Home Inspectors and the Roof and Attic:

The inspector wants to see that the roof is in good condition no matter what the house is roofed with.  Whether it has been roofed with shingles, wood or tile it needs to be free of broken, cracked or missing pieces.  There needs to be no decay, mold, curling or damage. The chimney will be checked to see if it’s in good condition, straight and in proper working order?  The attic also needs to be in good shape, free of stains, mold or damage. There needs to be adequate ventilation and no plumbing, exhaust, or appliance vents spewing their exhaust into the attic.  If there were, that could cause you to get sick.

Home Inspectors and Interior Rooms:

The inspector will look to see that the floors, walls and ceilings are straight, free of stains and that there are no cracks.  He/she will ensure that the flooring is in good condition. He/she will also check to make sure wall coverings are not damaged and that the electrical outlets are adequate and in proper working condition.  Does the room have sufficient heating and cooling and is there evidence of acceptable levels of insulation in the walls?

Home Inspectors and the Kitchen:

The kitchen needs to have a working exhaust fan that vents to the outside and all electrical wiring, outlets, and switches need to be up to code and functioning properly?  Are the appliances in working right? The sink and pipes need to be leak free. The cabinets need to be in good repair with no damage, peeling paint or missing knobs. The cabinet under the sink needs to be leak free with no deterioration of the wood, garbage disposal or pipes.

Home Inspectors and the Bathrooms:

Again, everything needs to be in working order, good condition and free of any damage.  The plumbing needs to be done according to code so that things drain properly and that there is adequate water pressure.  As in the kitchen, the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom needs to be leak free, no damage or deterioration. The toilet should work right.  It should be checked to see if it is caulked properly, and does not rock.

Home Inspectors and Basement and/or Crawl Space:

The inspector will investigate to see that there is no evidence of moisture, that it is vented to the exterior, and that any exposed pipes are insulated adequately.  As with the other walls, ceilings, and foundation, they ought to be free of cracks, sagging, decay, stains, etc. There needs to be sufficient insulation between the basement/crawl space, and where required, a vapor barrier.

Home Inspectors and Heating and Cooling Systems:

You will want there to be good airflow coming through the system, and that there is no rust around the heating/cooling unit.  Beware of combustion gas oder if it is gas operated. Are the air filters clean and the ductwork in good condition. For older homes make sure the inspector checks for asbestos on the pipes and air ducts.

This is far from an exhaustive list, but it will give you a good idea of what you should expect an inspector to look for.  If you’re well informed you can make sure your home is inspected correctly and thoroughly. Make sure your inspector comes with credentials and references.  You don’t want to find out too late that your new home is, in reality, a money pit.

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