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).

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORSĀ®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.