5 Most Important Things to Look for During Home Inspections

Knowing what to look out for during home inspections can make or break a sale. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home, there are certain steps you can take to know if a home is in good shape. 

Read on to learn what some of the most common home inspection issues are and how to catch them.

1. Doing Your Own Initial Inspection

If you’re trying to sell or buy a home, you may want to do a thorough inspection yourself before you have an official home inspector generate a report.

Start by checking the property from the outside and work your way in. Look for potential issues on the exterior, like roof damage or holes in the patio and deck area.

Depending on the area, you may want to research if there have been any natural disasters since the home was built and if the property suffered any damage. Water damage is easier to spot on the outside, so take note. 

Once inside, try turning on all the light switches and appliances to see what works and what doesn’t. If a certain portion of the home is showing electrical concerns, you’ll at least know to do a thorough inspection with a professional there.

Check to see if the home was built using asbestos. If so, you may want to have it removed before it becomes a hazard to your health. 

2. Water Damage

One of the first things you’ll want to check is any water drainage issues. Water damage is always a usual suspect when inspecting issues with a home.

But it isn’t always visible. Most water damage hides behind the walls where it is difficult to detect. Some inspectors are able to use an infrared camera to check for damage beyond surfaces. 

You may also want to look for signs of leaks on ceilings and the floors. A good way to know there is a water-related issue is by checking for mold.

Mold can be found in dark or damp areas, like the basement or under your kitchen sink. But it can also be found in carpeted areas. If your allergies kick up symptoms and cause irritation in the eyes and skin, your home likely has a mold problem.

Be sure to also check your spouts and gutters outside as well. If the gutters aren’t draining properly, the house could be at risk of flooding after a heavy storm. Look for signs of flooding in the basement and garage, or any other low lying areas.

3. Electrical Issues

When inspecting a home, it helps to know some basic facts about the home. For example, knowing what year it was built can help determine what sort of wiring was installed. 

If there were many owners since it was constructed, knowing about any renovations the home underwent can help. If the house underwent a gut renovation, it is likely that most of the electrical wiring was reinstalled or relocated. 

Check that there are no loose wires or any malfunctioning circuits. Overlooking a malfunctioning power plug can spark an unexpected fire. 

3. Roof Damage

During an inspection, don’t just settle on an indoor inspection. When conducting a walkthrough, make sure you plan to have access to the roof. In a safe manner, investigate the state of the roof.

Replacing and repairing a roof is often one of the most expensive aspects of home renovation, so you’ll want to spend a good amount of time scoping it out. Look for broken tiles or shingles that can lead to leaks.

You’ll also want to make sure it’s up to code. If it’s safe to walk on, check for any areas that feel like they might be caving in. 

4. A Faulty HVAC System

Depending on where you live, a home’s heating and cooling system can make all the difference. Knowing what you’ll be responsible for paying for as an owner or tenant can come in handy during a walkthrough.

Listen for any strange sounds coming from the heating system like hissing or clinking. This could indicate there is a crack in the boiler which can be a costly fix. If the home has a furnace, check that it is functioning properly.

If a home’s HVAC system is more than a decade old, it likely means it will start acting up in a few years if it hasn’t already. Look for maintenance records that show any repair information.

Inspect the existing ductwork around the house and look out for any gaps. Make sure to also investigate the type of insulation used, and how that will hold up during the hottest and coldest months. You’ll want to make sure the rooms cool or warm properly, which can help save money on your energy bill.

5. Proper Flooring

A home’s floors can say a lot about its owners. If a home is carpeted, you’ll want to inspect it well for fleas and stains if the previous owners had any pets. Try to find an area or corner where you can lift the carpet to check underneath to check for mold.

If the house has wood floors, check for any creaking noises, especially along the stairs. Look for any cracks along the edges where dust and dirt can accumulate. Wood floors also tend to scratch easily, so look in heavily trafficked areas like the kitchen and living room.  

What to Look for During Home Inspections

Home inspections can uncover a lot of things about a home that requires attention. But knowing what to look out for in advance can save you a lot of time and money.

If you’re looking to buy your dream home, check out our page for a list of properties.