What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

Written by Mickie Davis

September 1, 2022

Getting a Home Inspection? What do they look for?

If you found a home that you think is “it”, now what?

Is it safe?
Is the structure OK?
What about major stuff like AC and Heat. Do they work?
Do the appliances function?

These are things you need to know BEFORE you close the deal.
A home inspection gives you this information and more.

Your home is likely the MOST MONEY you will spend on one item in your life.
Make it count!

First, don’t judge an inspector by price. Judge them by experience and reputation. Saving $100 on a $400,000 purchase is not the wisest choice if the cheaper option misses big ticket items that you will be responsible for later.

Second, READ THE REPORT thoroughly. There will be lots of details in there you really need to know. If the inspector highly suggests a structural engineer check out a foundation issue, spend the extra money and get that done, or ask the sellers to help with the evaluation. It could end up being a deal breaker.

What’s most important in a home inspection?

What’s important to you may be different that others. If you are handy, those small repair items but not be a big deal. Someone else may have a different view and be looking for a turnkey home with zero issues because the don’t have the financial means to hire professionals to make the repairs after closing.

An inspector evaluates items in the home that are readily accessible and visually observable. They do not look behind walls and take apart cabinets.

The report is not just a list of defects, but a Big Picture view of the home.

Protect your Financial Future and potentially save yourself thousands to tens of thousands of dollars by getting a thorough home inspection by the best professional you can find.

Top Things Inspectors look for


Inspectors look for settlement problems, water intrusion, cracks, and slope. Inside the crawl space, the inspector looks for mold and deflection of dimensional lumber. They will tell you if there has been obvious work don’t on the foundation too.

Foundation repairs are expensive. It is the largest deal breaker.


Roof issues can also make or break a house deal. The best inspectors actually go on the roof to inspect for roof covering issues, soft spots in the decking, organic growth, proper flashing and rain runoff controls as well as issues with vents and skylights.


Home inspectors will look for leaks but also look at the entire plumbing system as a whole. This includes water heaters, pumps, tub and sink fixtures, toilets, etc.

They will look for past or current evidence of water intrusion such as staining or saturated wood or walls.

They’ll have a look at walls, flooring, and ceilings for evidence of moisture, and they will also check for cross-connection or contamination issues.


Although inspectors are not a code enforcement authority, inspection of the electrical system is usually done with current codes in mind. Even though those codes may not have been in place when the home was built, upgrading is usually suggested since safety is always a priority in the home.

Switches, receptacles, wire sizes, panel, circuit breakers, GFCI and AFCI are all examined.  

HVAC system

Everyone wants to know if they’ll have AC in the summer and heat in the winter, so knowing that the HVAC units are working is important. The inspector also check the thermostat.

Dealing with Issues

If the inspector finds issues that are unacceptable to you, what now? That’s where your Realtor comes in. They can help you negotiate with the seller to either pay for repairs, give a monetary credit off the price so you can have the repair done, or you can cost share for the repairs. Remember that everything is a negotiation. You can always walk away and find another home if you can’t come to an agreement.

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