What Does a Home Inspector Look For?

Hiring a home inspector can certainly be a major benefit when purchasing a home. Home inspectors save you time and money as a result by searching for imperfections in your property. The last thing you want to do is purchase a home that needs a new roof, or worse, has a cracked foundation, and not know about it. After all, appearances can be deceiving.

What does a home inspector look for?

There are over a thousand different items on the list that home inspectors are supposed to look for. A home inspector’s findings can help homebuyers decide whether to purchase the property or not. Most offers are almost always contingent on a home inspection.

A typical home inspector checklist:

Below is a reduced version of what home inspectors will look for.

  • Grounds: Home inspectors are looking for current or future water issues, such as faulty grading or downspouts. They inspect and evaluate pathways, retaining walls, sheds and railings.
  • Structure: They check to see if the house foundation is solid—appearing straight, plumb and with no significant cracks. Home Inspectors also check for straight walls that aren’t bowed or sagging. Lastly, they make sure that the windows and door frames are square.
  • Roof: Inspectors check for deteriorating shingles and other roof coverings. They see if there are ceiling drips, loose gutters and chimney defects. Then they make sure the flashing around the base of the chimney is watertight and that mortar and bricks are in good condition. They will ensure that there are no branches or bushes touching the house or hanging over the roof.
  • Exterior: The home inspector will look for siding cracks, rot or decay; cracking or flaking masonry; cracks in stucco; dents or bowing in vinyl; blistering or flaking paint; adequate clearing between siding and earth (which should be at least six inches to avoid moisture damage).
  • Windows, Doors & Trim: The inspector will check that wood frames and trim pieces are secure with no cracks, rot or decay and that frame joints are caulked.
  • Interior rooms: Inspectors are concerned about leaning walls, stained ceilings, insulation and insufficient heating vents that could make a room cold and drafty. They ensure that paint, wall coverings and paneling are all in good condition.
  • Kitchen: Inspectors make sure that exhaust fans vent outside and that electrical outlets have ground fault circuit interrupter protection. They also check for leaks under sinks and that cabinet doors and drawers operate properly.
  • Bathrooms: Inspectors want to see toilets flushing, drains draining and tubs securely fastened. They check for caulking conditions and evidence of leakage.
  • Plumbing: Inspectors check pipes, drains, water heaters for water pressure and temperature.
  • Electrical: Inspectors check that visible wiring and electrical panels are in good shape, that light switches work correctly and that there are enough outlets in each room.