Home Inspection Information

What should you expect from a home inspection? How do you know that you've received all the information that you should have? We've got some information here on home inspection and what should be included, so that you can evaluate any home inspector or inspection company that you are considering.

Most home inspectors who are certified through one of the major home inspection associations (such as the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors) will provide an inspection that confirms with the following points:

As the one who pays for the inspection, what can you expect in your report? Most inspectors will follow a standard report format. They should even be able to show you a sample of their work, or a blank report with the subject headings. You should look for the report to cover the following topics and address the following questions:

  1. ROOF
    Is the ridge (peak) showing a sag, or is it straight and level?
    Is the roof sagging between the rafters or trusses?
    Are there any signs of deterioration of asphalt shingles, such as curling, wasping, broken edges, rounded corners or key holes (slits) becoming wider that normal?
    Any loose flashings, at the chimney, roof-to-wall connection or elsewhere?
    Does the wooden roof deck appear rotten or delaminated under the last row of shingles?
    Are there any roof vents visible?

  2. CHIMNEYS
    Is the masonry cap cracked or broken?
    Are any bricks flaking or missing? Mortar missing?
    Is the chimney leaning?

  3. SOFFITS AND FASCIA
    Note whether the soffit and fascia are wood, aluminum or plastic
    Any loose or missing sections?
    If wood, are there any paint problems? Any visible rot?

  4. GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
    Ensure gutters slope down toward downspouts
    Any rust or peeling paint?
    Apparent leaks or loose/sagging sections?
    Are the downspouts extended away from the foundations?

  5. WALL COVERINGS
    Look for missing mortar
    Are the bricks flaking or cracking?
    Look for loose, missing or rotten siding, deteriorated paint.
    Does the siding appear new? Does it hide the foundation wall?
    Exterior walls bowed, bulged or leaning?

  6. WINDOWS AND DOORS
    Look for problems with paint or caulking, and rotted wood components.
    Are the windows new or older? Are they the original windows? How old are they?

  7. PORCHES AND DECKS
    Cracking or flaking masonry?
    Check for paint problems, rotted wood, and wood-earth contact.
    Note any settlement or separation from the house.
    Inspect the underside, if accessible.

  8. FOUNDATIONS
    Check for cracks, flaking or damaged masonry.
    Note any water markings and efflorescence (whitish, chalky substance)
    Any bowing, bulging or other irregularities?
    Soft mortar?

  9. LOT AREA
    Does the grade slope away from the house?
    Any settled/low areas next to the foundation, or cracked walks/driveway?
    Is the property lower than the street or neighboring properties?

  10. BASEMENT / ATTIC
    Note any evidence of water penetration (stains, mildew/odors, efflorescence, loose tiles etc.)
    Note any problems with insulation

  11. FLOORS
    Check for deteriorated coverings or cracked ceramics.
    Any water staining or other damage?
    Sloping or sagging?

  12. WALLS
    Randomly sample to check that the windows and doors work.
    Are the walls straight vertically and horizontally?
    Look for cracked or loose plaster.
    Look for stains, physical damage or previous repair evidence.
    Any drywall seams or nails showing?

  13. CEILINGS
    Check for cracks in the plaster or loose, sagging plaster.
    Look for stains, mechanical damage or evidence of previous repair.
    Seams or nails showing?

  14. BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS
    Check that all fixtures are secure.
    Are there any cracks in the fixtures?
    Note the condition of the tiles and caulking in the tub/shower area.
    Are the faucets working? Do they leak? Sufficient water pressure?
    Look for staining and rot under the counter-tops
    Randomly sample the operation of the cabinet doors and drawers.

  15. ELECTRO-MECHANICAL CONSIDERATIONS
    Type, style and age of heating & cooling systems. When were they last inspected or serviced?
    Type of water supply piping and drains - any visible rust and corrosion?
    Size and age of electrical service - are the outlets grounded? Visible wiring in good condition?
    Have there been any upgrades?

A good home inspection will normally cost less than $500, depending on the area that you live and the size of the home. In some cases (such as smaller condominium apartments which don't have basements or attics) it can be as little as $150 to $200. It can save you thousands of dollars; so it's well worth the investment.


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