Buying and Selling

Ten Things to Know About Home Inspections

How to Be Sure You Get a Quality Inspection

You probably know a home inspection is part of the home-buying process. But do you know what the inspection is for? Whether you are a first-time home buyer or are in the process of making your second (or third) home purchase, having a qualified professional give your home a once over is usually a smart idea. The details vary from state to state, but here are 10 basics about what you can probably expect.

What's Usually Covered

1. Structural Elements

The inspector will check out the main structure of the house, such as the walls, roof and foundation. Even for a new home, you want to ensure that everything is to code and sound.

2. Exterior Elements

This part of the inspection may encompass everything from landscaping to grading, doors to windows, driveways and fences. While you may not think the exterior features are that important, they can impact drainage (among other things) and you do not want a home that will flood at the first heavy rain.

3. Roof/Attic

While this doesn't guarantee the roof's condition, the inspector will check the framing of the roof, the ventilation, and the flashing and gutters on the exterior.

4. Plumbing

Want to make sure your toilets, showers and sinks are all functioning? The inspector will check those areas, as well as identify your pipe materials.

5. Systems/Components

Your home won't be comfortable for long if the furnace and air conditioning units don't work. The inspector should also check the water heater, fireplaces and sprinklers.

6. Electrical

During the electrical part of the inspection, your home inspector will look over the main electrical panel, the home's circuit breakers, the house's wiring, and any fans and lighting fixtures.

7. Appliances

Odds are your home will come with appliances such as a dishwasher or range. The inspector will check these items out as well as smoke detectors and any other built-in appliances.

8. Garage

If your home has a garage, the inspector will evaluate the garage's slab, walls and ceiling, and will make sure the garage door functions properly.

What's Usually Not Covered

9. Mold/Mildew/Rodents

While no one wants this trio of unwelcome guests in their homes, a home inspection may not include a check for them. You might want to ask your home inspector if these issues are a part of the inspection.


Older homes may still contain lead paint, lead pipes or asbestos insulation. You may want to ask the inspector how you can find out if your home contains these materials, so you can safeguard your family against possible exposure.

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