Home inspections will vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium; However, there are basic elements that a home inspector will check for in any property. You can use this list to help you evaluate properties you may purchase.
Here are 10 things your home inspection should cover:
A home’s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.
The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.
Doors and windows
Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
Attached porches, decks, and balconies
A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.
Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.
Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.
The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.
7. Air Conditioning
Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.
An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:
Walls, ceilings and floors
Steps, stairways, and railings
Countertops and cabinets
Garage doors and garage door systems
To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.
They’re charming, but they could be dangerous if not properly installed. Inspectors should examine the system, including the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel burning appliances.
For more information, try the virtual home inspection at www.ASHI.org, the website of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Lisa W. Jefferson is a Georgia Real Estate Broker with 20 years of experience under her belt. She is "blessed to be a blessing" and dedicated to helping the community stay educated on home buying, home selling, and investing. You can get the guide Take Charge! Buying & Selling Real Estate.