Mortgage 101: What Does a Home Inspector Look For?

Posted by Laine Smith on 8/9/15 10:41 AM

One of the major contingencies to a home purchase agreement is a home inspection. After all, your home is likely the largest purchase you'll make in your lifetime. A home inspection gives homebuyers an idea of a home's condition, possibly indicating future repairs and safety issues.


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What Items a Home Inspector Analyzes

Professional home inspectors look for defects or malfunctions in a home's structure, systems, and physical components. They'll inspect areas of your home such as:

  • Property grounds
  • Exterior surfaces
  • Exterior structure
  • Windows, doors and wooden trim
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Interior Rooms
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Miscellaneous safety features (smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, garage door condition, stairway and handrail condition)
  • Basement or mechanical room
  • Crawl space
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Heating/cooling systems

The Most Common Issues Home Inspectors Find

According to HGTV, these are some of the most common home defects inspectors find:

  • Faulty wiring. Outdated systems and homeowner additions are the most common offenders, especially in older homes.
  • Roof issues. Improperly installed roofing materials, such as flashing, are common. Repairs may be simple or require the entire roof to be replaced.
  • Heating/cooling system problems. Poor maintenance, improper installation and aged systems usually come up the most.
  • Plumbing defects. The most common issues are leaking or outdated systems. Repairs also range from simple to total system replacement.
  • Poor attic insulation and ventilation. A home lacking in insulation and ventilation will cause utility costs to skyrocket and downgrade an occupant's comfort.
  • Poor overall maintenance. Some homeowners simply don't take the proper strides to care for their home. If that is the case, you may have to invest in bringing the home back to its proper condition.
  • Poor drainage away from the home. Water needs to drain away from a home to prevent water issues. Gutters, downspouts and strategic landscaping can help rectify a home's drainage issues.
  • Minor structural damage. This can include cut or broken trusses in the attic. Repairs are usually needed but don't pose an imminent safety hazard.
  • Environmental issues. Mold growth is a huge scare for homeowners, especially when water has been an issue. Removal and remediation is recommended.

What Happens When an Inspector Finds Something Wrong

Home inspections are contingencies on purchase offers for good reason. If the home inspection of your potential purchase comes back with a negative(s), as a buyer, you have options going forward. Granted the issue isn't a total deal-breaker, you can work with your real estate agent and the seller to negotiate completed repairs prior to closing, a lowered purchase price or a closing cost credit to free up your own cash to do your own repairs post-closing.

Whether you decide to move forward or for-go the house altogether, you will have made an informed decision regarding your home purchase.

For more information about home buying and financing in general, download our free Mortgage 101 Handbook, a great resource for first-time homebuyers.

Download: Mortgage 101 Handbook

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