Elli Davis

What to Look for in a Home Inspection

For the number of real estate transactions that occur each year in our city, there will always be a percentage of homebuyers who discover problems in their homes after they purchase them. These complaints have been known to stem from sellers not fully providing information about certain defects in the house, or inspectors who fail to find them.

Being that there are over 1,600 things that a home inspector looks for, there can be room for error. One solution is to know what to look for in a home inspection and provide a second pair of eyes to ensure everything is as it should be, or ask questions along the way. Here is a quick list of the main things to look for in a home inspection.


In the Kitchen


At the beginning of the home inspection, start the dishwasher. By the end of the inspection, there should be no leaks anywhere, and the cycle should have fully completed.



Bring a thermometer with you to the home inspection and set the oven to 350 degrees. After ten minutes, the temperature on the thermometer should be the same. Test also to see how quickly and how well the burners on the stove heat up.



Place a cup of water in the microwave for 45 seconds – it should heat up.


Throughout the House


One of the most important things of what to look for in a home inspection is the plumbing. Checking for water pressure in the multiple faucets and toilets in the house is incredibly important. You can simply test this by flushing every toilet in the house to see not only if it flushes, but also that it stops running after the bowl has been filled with water. Remember to check the water pressure of shower heads and taps, and how well their basins drain water. If the house runs on a septic system, the home inspector will most likely use dyes to test if there is a drainage problem in the septic drain field.

If the home you are looking to purchase is an older home, it would be wise to have a separate sewage inspection that looks at things that would not normally crop up in a typical home inspection. Finally, be on the lookout for leaks or water stains on the floor, ceiling, walls, and around the water heater.


Electrical Systems

Make sure with the home inspector that the electrical panel and circuit breaker are not only adequate for the needs of the house but that they fit with the current code. Ask your home inspector to look for receptacles with ground fault circuit interrupters and test that they work, are wired properly and are not “dummies”.



Your home inspector will check the heating and cooling systems throughout the house to ensure that they function, and provide a report on the energy efficiency of the systems. Also, have them check all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the home.


Mould, Mildew and Termites

When getting to the basement of the house that is being considered for purchase, check for any smells or damp stains that could insinuate mildew. Consider getting a separate mould, mildew and termites inspection for the house as a regular home inspection might not have the specific expertise to find the hidden, tricky and potentially dangerous ones. While it may add to your purchase price to hire an extra inspector, it will cost far less than the thousands you would pay if you found any of these three big-ticket issues in your home.


Outside the House


When your inspector is on the roof of the house, they should check for broken or cracked shingles. If the roof of the house you are considering purchasing is flat, ask your home inspector to check the low spots where water can collect, and see if there is any evidence of an issue. Also find out if the elements underneath the shingles are moist or rotted, as repairs will be needed in this instance. If any issues do crop up on the roof, it is a very good idea to get a roof repair company to quote you how much it would cost to fix, to see if the seller will fix it or adjust the price of the house.



While your home inspector is up there, ask them if they see any rot or decay. This can create issues in your basement such as developing mildew because of the poor drainage.


At the end of the home inspection, do not be afraid to ask the seller and the seller’s agent if there are any hidden defects in the house. If asked, they are obligated to answer truthfully and this can save you a lot of time and money later on after the purchase. Make sure during your home inspection that you truly know what to look for in a home inspection, looking at everything you see and use in a house. It may be a dream house in your heart, but it should also be a dream house on paper, and knowing what to look for in a home inspection can help keep your purchase a happy one!