What Will be Inspected During a Home Inspection?

The home inspection is a vital part of the home buying or selling process. It doesn't matter what end of the deal you are on, the outcome of the home inspection will have serious bearing on how it will end. So, to get yourself prepared for the home inspection, it's best to know what the inspector will be looking for. What some of the commonly found problems are, and (if you are selling) how to prepare for it? This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of inspection points, but rather an overview that can serve as a guide. Also, each inspection agency will have their own checklist, so the points that are checked may vary from agency to agency. However, generally, they will fall under these next few categories.

First off, the home inspector will check out the structure as a whole; meaning he or she will check things like the foundation, roof, crawl spaces, and attic. While checking these parts of the home, they will be looking for integrity, water damage, and anything else that may be a problem. If there is any sort of cracks in foundation, walls, or roof, that will be a major problem that will reflect poorly against the home on the report.

Similarly, water damage of any kind will put a very large black mark on the inspector's report. Water usually comes in quietly without anyone knowing as a silent killer. If there is prolonged exposure to water in any part of the home, then wood, sheetrock and siding will begin to deteriorate creating safety hazards.

Exterior problems will also be inspected thoroughly when the inspector comes around. These will include caulking and seals around doors, glass, or any other gaps between materials; garage doors; decks; siding; etc. This step essentially is the checking of everything on the outside so that water doesn't seep in and so everything is working properly. Basic repairs can be done by yourself, but if you are uncomfortable with anything, or it needs expert attention, get an expert to help you - the same goes for any other repairs that need to be undergone in a home.

Plumbing is another issue that needs to be examined thoroughly when the house is being inspected. Any leaks in any line anywhere will present a structural integrity problem and will significantly lower the price of your home. The inspector will also check the water for purity and the fixtures to make sure they are properly attached.

Roofing problems, generally, can be an easy fix before the inspector comes. The inspector will first check the shingles or tiles of the home to make sure that none of them is broken or loose. They will also check to see if there are any branches that touch, or are near, the roof - these can be used by rodents to get on to the roof and into the house. Gutters and flashings are also tested to see if they are efficient and well affixed. Lastly, chimneys and other roof attachments are tested to make sure they are structurally sound and properly sealed.

Next, the entire electrical system will be examined. This will be everything from lines, grounding equipment, and outlets to switches, conductors, and so on. Mainly they will be tested to make sure they are working properly, but they will also be tested for safety. An electrical fire can strike at any time, but if the wires are all hooked up properly and working well, the possibility of a fire will drastically decrease. All carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms will also be tested. Insulation in the attic, crawlspace, and elsewhere will be tested and examined to be sure they are not deteriorating or insufficiently constructed. The vapor retarders will also be examined and tested as a part of the insulation report.

Climate control systems will also be tested. Whether the home has an air-conditioned or a swamp cooler, forced air gas heating or baseboard heating, it will all be tested. The inspector will make sure that all climate control systems are functioning properly and filters are clear of dust or debris. He or she will also check the chimney again to make sure that it is not filled with birds, debris or anything else to make sure it is safe to use.

Lastly, the inspector will check everything inside the home. The floors, stairs, cabinets etc., will all be examined thoroughly. Stairs, doors and windows will also be noted for their strength and integrity. Appliances that will be left with the home, like the refrigerator etc, will also be tested to make sure they are in working condition.

Common Problems found during home inspections

During the inspection, there will be things that need to be improved- for the most part. But, when homes are inspected, the most common problems that are found are: Stucco and siding problems - the exterior facade is suffering from stress or overexposure to the elements, causing it to crack or deteriorate. Electrical wiring - as stated earlier, electrical wiring can be a tricky thing to handle, and with the advances in electrical engineering and electrical code, it is hard to find a home that will not need some sort of upgrade.

Drainage toward the home - This would be if the front or backyard is sloped toward the home. This is a problem when it rains or if there is a flood, if the ground slopes back towards the home, it will cause water to seep into the foundation or crawlspace. Roofing material problems - broken shingles or tiles are common and easy to repair, so it is no surprise that this is one of the most occurring problems.

Once again, this is not supposed to be a comprehensive list of all the points an inspector will hit. For a full list, you will need to ask the inspecting agency themselves. If you decide to try and fix up your home a little before the inspector comes, be sure to consult a professional when doing any repairs, remember, safety first.