What a Home Inspector Looks For

By: Mark H. Stowers

Homes come in all shapes and sizes and that dream home could be a nightmare in waiting without a proper home inspection. Home inspectors play a vital role in real estate transactions. In protecting both the buyer and seller, their crucial work evens the playing field. From top to bottom, inside and out, Home Inspectors take a fine tooth comb to uncover any problems lurking and to assure each side of a property’s well-being. If it’s in a home, they inspect it – from electrical to plumbing, to roofing to foundations, windows to walls and even insulation.

For buyers, a home inspection gives them the opportunity to uncover possible problems and give a clear picture of the hopeful dream home. It also helps buyers continue the purchase process or start dreaming again. But what does a home inspector look for? Let’s break it down.

Jim Shaffer and Associates

First, they are looking at the easily seen parts of the house. And not always for problems but are putting together an educational overview of the house. In today’s market though, about 25 percent of purchases have the inspection waived. That can lead to buyer’s remorse and a possible money pit of problems. Think of the price tag of an inspection as saving you thousands if not tens of thousands in repairs. The price can be as low as $300 but the bigger the home with more to inspect, the price increases. A small leak found today can prevent a buyer from purchasing an even bigger and costly headache down the road.

Home inspectors scrutinize the foundation, roof, plumbing, electrical system, HVAC systems and more. The condition of each can firm up a sale or protect the buyer with added contingencies for repairs by the seller. The National Association of Home Inspectors has a comprehensive 1,600 item list they check off in an inspection.

Buyers often participate in the inspection as items are found and either repairs are explained or given the thumbs up on a positive inspection. Following the inspector also helps educate the buyer about their potential home as to where shut-off valves are located, how different systems work and educate you on simple fixes of smaller problems. And don’t worry about trying to remember each detail of the inspection. The inspector will give you a comprehensive overview of everything they inspected in a printed or digital form.

Jim Shaffer and Associates

For sellers, decluttering a home both inside and out, helps make the inspector’s task that much easier. If for some reason utilities have been shut off, have them turned on and have a key or access for the inspector. Turn on pilot lights for appliances and HVAC systems and fireplaces. Do an inspection yourself and check out any small problems before the inspector comes by. A simple maintenance repair or check by a licensed professional can also help move the buying process in a positive direction.

A home inspector is a great asset to have to help make the right decision. You may have fallen in love with the neighborhood and school district but buying a money pit will soon overshadow those benefits. But it may also guarantee that you’ve have found your dream home with a few easily repaired imperfections.