Home Inspection Question

Updated on March 10, 2011
R.W. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
13 answers

We've put in an offer on a house. We're definitely getting a home inspection done....but the house does have a new roof and new windows. So I'm wondering, besides those, what types of things that a HI looks at are the biggest things to be concerned about? What findings are more worrisome than others? We know that no home is perfect (and this house is older), but we don't want to buy the house if it's a dud...but we don't want to be too paranoid of the little findings. Does that make sense?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

It is my personal opinion that home inspections are not all they are cracked up to be. While they can catch a few things they are not a magic bullet.

Our home inspector made little recommendations along the way as to how we could make improvements but failed to see that our furnace was undersized for our house.

Just remember that you won't find out everything.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

As a construction manager, I can tell you most home inspectors have half a clue at best. That being said, if you don't know much about construction, building codes, maintenance/repair, it is still probably worth it to get a home inspection. He will possibly catch any major issues, although in my personal experience, sometimes they will nitpick on stupid little stuff, and will completely miss major code violations.

In my opinion, if you know anyone in the construction industry who really knows their stuff, hire them to come do it for you. I do my own home inspections now because the issues home inspectors have missed on a few of my purchases have been pretty big ones. Also I'd encourage you to purchase a home warranty. That will cover most of the stuff the inspector will miss. =)

What you can look for yourself: any signs of previous water damage. This is a big red flag. Any crack in a wall or ceiling that is bigger than a hairline should be investigated (might be normal settling, might not). If the house is on a foundation, check that carefully inside and out for damage, settling, cracks. Have an HVAC guy check the air conditioning unit and the furnace (whether or not you get a home inspection, HVAC issues can cost BIG money to fix - it's worth the service call to have a specialist on this one). Check the water heater - assume if it's an older model, you may be looking at replacing it soon. Make sure its exhaust is hooked up properly. Check in the bathrooms that any tile surfaces (showers/bathtub surrounds especially) have all the grout intact. If you see any cracked tile in this area, that's a big red flag (water intrusion/mold is a possibility). Any funky smells should be investigated - mold often has a "dirty mop" sort of smell to it. Run any appliances (dishwashers, garbage disposals...) through their paces. Bottom line, you're just trying to figure out what kind of repairs or replacements you could be in for down the road.

Good luck with your house shopping!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I watch Holmes on Holmes all the time and the biggest thing that he suggests is to make sure you get an experience inspector who is out for YOUR best interest, not the sellers or the real estate agent. Also, With older homes, be wary of any additions or remodels. They are often done by DIYer's and are done correctly. Another note of caution is that if there are a lot of things wrong on the surface, than there is probably even more wrong behind the drywall! A good inspector will take pictures and document any issues they find. Make sure you're present for the home inspection and ask questions! Remember that a lot of the time, you can use the inspection to negotiate the sales price! Good Luck and Congratulations!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

If you have cable, you need to watch Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection. There are a ton of things that can be an issue. The biggest ones I've seen on the show are mold, heating/cooling issues, electrical, plumbing, and foundation problems.

Make sure any work that has been done had a permit! You don't want a house that someone has "done it themselves" WITHOUT a permit.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Our home inspection found a crack in the heat exchange of our furnace so that alone was worth the price!
They will check the foundation, the plumbing, the electrical service, look for mold, drainage problems, termites, radon--SO many things.
I'm sure the report will list major vs. minor issues.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Make SURE you have the entire yard (back/front) checked out for flooding/drainage and make sure there has never been water in the basement.


answers from Phoenix on

I'm an insurance agent in AZ. Ask your ins agent what questions are on the home app. things like how old the plumbing, electric, a/c may determine what rates you get and may help you decide if its worth it or not. good luck and congrats!



answers from Chicago on

Mold, possible termites, age of heating/air. When we bought our current place, the inspector was fantastic. he looked at everything. He estimated how long we could expect the furnaces to last, the hot water tanks. he checked the corners of the rooms that would have the highest possibility of previous leaks. Even with a new roof, there could be previous damage they merely painted over. Also, check the weight bearing walls for softness. At one house we looked at, you could feel the softening of the wall, that was a deal breaker. We are going to see a house tonight that is a short sale. If we do like it, no issues with heating and foundation give a green light. Rooms can be painted, light switches can be changed but plumbing and foundation issues can be very costly. Watch what the inspector does also. When we lived in a building that was sold, the "inspector" went through the place alone. All he did was turn lights on and off, check the ceiliing fans, walk through the basement in less than 5 minutes, and quick look at the windows. he did not even open any windows or look at the pipes in the bathroom or kitchen. He was done in less than 20 minutes. The purchaser stayed on the front porch. Big mistake. he got what he paid for. The basement kept flooding for 3 months after the purchase.



answers from Salt Lake City on

mold, termites, leaking water heaters, softeners, heater/electrical wiring, plumbing, foundation cracks/settling- these are the big ones
drywall can be fixed, plugs and switches can be changed floors can be re- done but if you have any of the problems above walk away



answers from Davenport on

First of all, good luck to you! The Home Inspector will inspect EVERYTHING - wiring, plumbing, heat/air, roof, windows, etc.

The one thing that my realtor told me when we had our home inspected before buying it was, "When you get the home inspection back, they may make it sound like your house is falling down." Some home inspector's are more detailed and picky than others. Our house is older also but the only thing that came back was some cracks in the dry wall, it needed a new roof and the deck was not attached to house.

Good luck to you (and congrats on the possible purchase).



answers from Philadelphia on

Heating system, electrical system, plumbing. If there was any work done recently, make sure all necessary permits were pulled for the projects. Maybe run a camera through the main drain out to the street to make sure it's clear (most inspectors will NOT do this, you may need to call Rotor Rooter or someone, but it's well worth the $$ because if you have to dig up that drain because it's about to collapse, it'll cost you over $10,000). Make sure the foundation is solid. Follow the inspector around to make sure they check every nook and cranny. Have him check for mold, radon, and lead. Good luck!



answers from Victoria on

We just had one done today. FYI.. Termite inspections and septic inspections are done seperate. (if you choose to and you should) They look at EVERYTHING in the house! Foundation. Appliances working, AC unit check for leaks on all plumbing fixtures. They check everything electrical, plugs hot water heater. Fire place, roof, windows. , smoke detectors. They will point out any noticable repairs or additions. They will look at it ALL. Just make sure you get a reputable inspector. You should try to pick one that is not involved with the buying or selling realtor. (They have been known to swing inspections to the realtors favor) Good luck- we are going thru the same thing right now.



answers from Charlotte on


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