15 Home Inspection Areas of Concern
You don’t want or need to go into the home inspection business but knowing the main areas of concern for home inspectors can help you to keep an eye on conditions at home. Getting some advance warning of issues could help you to avoid large expensive problems later. Here are 15 common checklist sections in a home inspection report. You can do your own walk-through now and then to see if you spot warning signs.
Exterior Grounds – Look at the drainage around the house. Is there ground sloping toward the foundation, as that can cause water infiltration? Look for standing water near the foundation, check walkways, retaining walls, and other exterior structures for damage or water infiltration. Are your downspouts draining properly away from the structure, and are your gutters clean?
Roof – If you have composition shingles, are some of them curling, cupping, or losing granules? With wood shingles, look for mold, cracks, decayed wood, or curling. Are your flashings around roof penetrations in good shape, or possibly leaking? Is there decay of soffits or facia?
Structure – Is what you can see of the foundation in good condition, or is it stained or cracked? Are the exterior walls and corners straight and not sagging or bowed in any areas? Do window and door frames seem square at fitting properly?
Windows, Doors, and Trim – How is the caulking around window and door frames? Are they squared up and not cracking or showing signs of decay? Is all window and door glass in good condition?
Exterior Surfaces – Is there any cracking or mold evident in siding? Are joints in masonry or veneer surfaces cracked, broken, or flaking? Are there cracks in any stucco? Look for dents or damage in aluminum or vinyl siding. Remove vines growing on exterior surfaces. Are there stains or flaking of exterior paint?
Crawl Space – Is the space vented properly to allow moisture to escape? Is insulation on water pipes in good condition? Look for evidence of leaks in any supply or drain piping, as well as any moisture damage. Look for insect damage, such as small piles of wood shavings.
Basement – There should be no sign of moisture or stains that indicate moisture in the past. Are there any cracks in exposed foundation areas? Is there any efflorescence on concrete surfaces? On exposed wood surfaces look for cracks, sagging, decay, stains, or insect damage.
Plumbing – Check for damage or evidence of leaks in all exposed piping and joints. Is the water heater exhibiting rust or signs of leakage? Check pipes, p-traps, and under sinks for signs of leakage. Look for excessive rust on any plumbing surfaces. Look for any signs of water damage on surfaces under pipes.
Interior Rooms – Look closely at all walls, floors, ceilings, and molding for any signs of water infiltration or cracking that could be due to foundation settling. Do windows and doors fit and operate properly? Are wall coverings in good condition? Check wall electrical outlets for signs of burning. Check the operation of light switches and dimmers. Depending on the season, is each room heated and cooled properly?
Kitchen – If you have one, is the exhaust fan working properly? Are ground fault circuit interrupters working in the outlets? Is there any evidence of leaks around the dishwasher or under the sink? Are cabinets and hinges all in good condition?
Bathrooms – Check to see that the exhaust fan is working properly and that it doesn’t terminate in the attic. Is water pressure and flow proper in link, tub, and shower? Look for any evidence of water leaks under the sink or around the tub/shower. Is the toilet stable, not rocking, and flushing properly?
Electrical – Is all visible wiring in good condition with no signs of overheating or burning? Check inside the electrical panel box(es) for any evidence of loose connections, overheating, or melting of wiring.
Heating & Air Conditioning System – Is the filter clean or in need of changing? Is airflow out of all vents adequate; should be higher volume for cooling than for heating. Look for evidence of water leakage from area around the cooling coil or the drain pan. Be sensitive for gas odors. Is the ductwork in the area of the equipment in good condition?
Attic – Look for any evidence of roof leakage on attic supports or underside of roof surface, as well as around roof penetrations for flue and vent piping or skylights. Is all insulation in its proper place? Is attic venting as it should be? Look for any evidence of animal invasion, such as chewed wires or disturbed insulation.
Miscellaneous – Check the operation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Are stair rails in good condition and tight? Is the automatic garage door opener operating properly, including the safety device?
Do a walkthrough every six months or each year and note down anything of concern so you can call a professional to give you an opinion or make a repair.