What does a home inspector look for?

We break down the top issues home inspectors find when it’s time to sell your home

Have you ever wondered exactly what a home inspector looks for when they’re poking around the nooks and crannies of your home? To the typical person walking through a house, the residence may appear in fine shape with a few possible repairs to make here or there. But a home inspector’s job is to find what others might miss by evaluating the entire property with a fine-toothed comb.

Whether you’re selling a stylish condo in a city or a historic fixer-upper in the suburbs, read on for the top-line issues a buyer’s home inspector will be looking for and why hiring your inspector before you sell is a good idea.

1. Interior inspection

Inspectors scrutinize floors, walls and ceilings inch by inch. In addition to the primary area of residence, they survey attics, fireplaces and basements for insulation and ventilation issues. In homes with basements, inspectors look out for cracks in the foundation and signs of mildew and water damage, which can be costly for a new owner to repair. Inspectors also keep an eye on basic safety features, such as the location of smoke detectors and whether the home’s paint registers dangerous levels of lead. Finally, they’re looking for termite damage to the frame of a home, ceiling or wood floors ––for many homeowners in Arizona, this is all too familiar.

2. Exterior inspection

Inspectors begin with the roof, examining whether it has experienced normal wear or potentially needs more significant repairs. It’s one thing to have several shingles missing. It’s quite another to require a portion replaced entirely due to rot, age or water damage. Inspectors also scrutinize windows and siding. Are the windows sealed shut? Is there condensation between the multi-pane glass? Is the siding decaying from weather? Beyond the structure, inspectors also make a note of grading issues and if there could be potential damage from water accumulation around the perimeter of the home as this could potentially put the home’s structural integrity at risk.

3. Utilities and electric inspection

These days, buyers expect utilities to be relatively new and in working order. When it comes to utilities like water heaters and gas lines, safety is essential. When inspectors are checking plumbing, they evaluate every aspect from water flow and pressure to deterioration and leaks. Ceilings and walls are examined for any water damage and stains. And because broken or malfunctioning air conditioning and swamp cooling units are often to blame for costly roof issues, they are reviewed for age, mechanical wear and whether they’re evenly distributing air through every area of the home. Electrical wiring is especially scanned for red flags such as frayed and exposed wires.

When selling a home, it’s a good idea to collect as much information on your property as possible so you can make an informed decision on the sale price and know what you’re willing to negotiate on. Consider hiring a pre-sale home inspector. Their report will help you decide what is worth getting repaired before the house goes on the market and be prepared when a prospective buyer’s inspection report comes in.

Have you ever been surprised by what you read in a home inspection report? Let us know in the comments!