When your offer's been accepted, it will generally be contingent on a professional inspection of the entire property, including improvements. The home inspector should provide a thorough examination of the property and look beyond the cosmetics to make sure that the home's general systems operate properly. The inspector will also look for large repairs that are needed, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. The following is an example of some of the items every home inspector should be looking for:
- Siding/Stucco: dents or buckling, cracks, dry rot or discoloration
- Foundations: cracks or water seepage, grading of yard does not slope towards home's foundation
- Insulation: condition & adequate rating for climate
- Doors and Windows: loose or tight fits, condition of locks, condition of weather-stripping, ease of opening, fogging of windows between panes.
- Roof: age, condition of flashing & sealants around pipes & skylights, pooling water, buckled or missing shingles, cracked tiles or loose gutters and downspouts
- Ceilings, walls, and moldings: drywall that is pulling away, water stains, cracks & holes
- Porch/Deck/Patio: Loose railings or step, rot, cracks, lifted concrete, pooling of water
- Electrical: condition of fuse box/circuit breakers, number of outlets in each room, test each outlet, switch & light fixture, GFCI outlets installed
- Plumbing: poor water pressure, banging pipes, leaking pipes, rust spots or corrosion that indicate leaks, sufficient insulation, water damage under sinks, toilets work, sinks & showers drain properly, garbage disposal works
- Appliances: check that dishwasher, stove/oven & microwave are working properly
- Water Heater: age, size adequate for the house, working properly, TPR pipe installed, earthquake safety straps installed, no signs of leaking
- Furnace/Air Conditioning: age, energy rating, working properly, condensation line is not leaking, heats or cools to the appropriate degree, condition of air filter.
- Miscellaneous: smoke & carbon monoxide detectors installed per code, condition of fireplace, flooring, countertops, sinks, cabinets.
- Garage: exterior in good repair; condition of floor (cracks, stains, etc.); condition of doors & their mechanisms, garage door opener is working properly
- Pool: Condition of pool & spa walls, tile & decking, cracks, concrete deck lifting (will not check equipment but will advise to have a pool professional inspect further)
- Attic: adequate ventilation, roof leaks, damaged duct work or insulation, rodents
- Driveways/Sidewalks: cracks, heaving pavement, crumbling near edges, stains
You should receive a written copy of the inspection report within 24 hours of the inspection. The report will review the conditions of the home, and provide details of all issues found and any suggested repairs needed. Remember, no home is perfect. If problems are found, we will help you negotiate through the process.