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39 Things a Home Inspector Checks

What does a home inspection involve? There are dozens of features that a home inspector will examine to ensure the home’s safety and habitability. Here are some of the things you can expect your inspector to check out.


  • Outside

    • Puddles/standing water: Puddles or standing water could indicate a drainage problem.


    • A shed: Shed walls should be solidly built, and doors must open and shut smoothly.


    • Retaining walls: Leaning retaining walls might show instability in the ground.


    • Fences: Fences should be standing straight.


    • Paths: Buckling or crooked pathways are another indication of draining issues.


    • Deck/patio: Decks and patios must be free of holes and have adequate railings.


    • Trees and shrubs: Trees overhanging your roof or shrubs planted too close to the house might be flags.


    • Roof: The roof should be free from holes; materials should be in decent shape, and vents should be free and clean.


    • Gutters and drainage: Gutters should be secured to the roof, clear from debris, and draining away from the house.


    • Siding: The siding material will get a look for any signs of aging or damage, and to ensure the walls are straight.


  • Inside

    • Basement: Basements and crawl spaces will be inspected for moisture and pests.

      • Foundation: Foundation problems can make or break a sale; the inspector will check for stability and leaks.

      • Mold/mildew: Mold and mildew could mean a leaky foundation.

      • Plumbing or pipes: Any visible damage to your plumbing pipes, or stains around the materials, will be noted in the report.

      • Water heaters: The inspector will note the size of the water heater, note its ventilation and set temperature, and check for any signs of rust.


    • Attic: Inspectors will check for mold and mildew, leakage, and more in the attic.

      • Insulation: The attic is one of the best places to see if insulation is the right type and has been installed correctly.


    • Front door: Crooked door frames or doors that stick can indicate a foundation problem.


    • Windows: Inspectors will make sure windows open and close smoothly.


    • Walls: Leaning or tilted walls could show a structural problem with the house.


    • Ceilings: Water stains on the ceiling mean that water is leaking somewhere in the house.


    • Heat/cooling sources: Is the heat or cooling adequate for this part of the country?


    • Fireplace/chimney: The inspector will check for cracks or damage in the fireplace or chimney.


    • Kitchen

      • Range hood or exhaust fan: Your kitchen needs to be well-ventilated, so inspectors will check for that.

      • Outlets by sink: Any outlets by the kitchen sink must have a ground fault circuit interrupter.

      • Kitchen sink: The kitchen sink should have adequate water pressure, and should be free of any leaks or stains underneath.

      • Appliances: Any built-in appliances will get a once-over to make sure they operate properly and aren’t causing any issues.

      • Cabinets drawers: Cabinets and drawers that don’t open or close smoothly can be another indication that the home’s foundation is shifting.


    • Bathroom

      • Toilets: Not only should toilets operate, but they also need to be secured.

      • Shower: The shower drains and water pressure, tiles and caulking, and flooring will all be examined.

      • Tub: Inspectors will check bathtubs for drainage, any signs of leaks or damage, and water pressure.


    • Garage doors: Do the garage doors open and close properly, and is the garage structurally sound?


    • Electrical

      • Visible wiring: Visible wiring is usually OK, but it has to be secured and protected, with no visible splices.

      • Electrical panel: The electrical panel must be the correct size for the home, and the connections must be in good order.

      • Outlets: Inspectors will note the number of outlets in each room and whether that number is adequate.

      • Light switches: Are all the light switches operational? You can expect your inspector to check.


    • General safety

      • Operational smoke/carbon monoxide detectors: Do the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work? (Yes, the inspector is going to set them off to check!)

      • Level floors: The floors should be level and free of cracks, stains, or signs of damage.

      • Stairs: Stairs should have solid risers and tread, with no loose boards or other issues, and hand railings (if necessary).

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