Monday, December 21, 2015
By Jed Williams
What to Expect at Inspection

Whether you’re the buyer or the seller, if you’ve made it to inspection, congratulations. It took a while to get here, but the day has finally come. It can be a bit nerve wracking for both parties, but in the end it is so worth it. So what will your inspector be looking at? Everything. And that works in everybody’s favor. If you’re the buyer, you want to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. If the home has any issues that either you can’t repair, the seller won’t repair, or that you just can’t live with, you’ll want to walk away. If you’re the seller, those problems aren’t going away. If anything happens and the sale falls through, the next home inspector might be better than the first and find even more issues. Because it is the buyer’s responsibility to hire an inspector, they’ll want to ask their agent for recommendations. Talk to friends as well and make sure you’re hiring a trusted, licensed professional.

How the inspection process goes depends on the home. If you’re buying brand new construction, you’ll likely get a pre-drywall inspection. That means the inspector will check the home out before your builder puts up the drywall. This is so advantageous. Instead of cutting into the drywall to get a peek at wiring and plumbing, everything is out in the open. Your inspector can make sure everything is up to code and has been done correctly. You’re also welcomed to have the inspector come back after the drywall has been installed, but if he’s done a good job before the drywall went up, there should be nothing for him to find after. If, however, the home that has been lived in for a while, has its own yard, has a basement, as an attic, or any other number of conditions, the inspection could be entirely different. If you’re the seller, you’ll want to make sure all areas are open and easily accessible.

This list includes only a few of the items that the inspector will be checking. If you’re the seller, make sure to look at your home with this list in mind and get it ready for inspection.


  • Drainage away from the house
  • Landscaping and curb appeal in good condition
  • Exterior structures in good condition


  • Windows and door frames are plum and level
  • Foundation appears straight

Exterior of the home

  • Siding, masonry, stucco, or paint in good condition
  • No vines or stains on the house

Windows, doors, and trim

  • Joints are caulked
  • No rotting
  • No broken glass or damaged screens


  • Shingles are in good condition, no molding or rot
  • Gutters in good condition
  • Chimneys in good condition


  • No decay or stains on underside of roofing
  • Sufficient insulation
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Plumbing, ventilation, and electrical vented or tied off to code


  • Floors, walls, and ceilings are all square
  • All materials in good condition
  • Windows and doors latch
  • Lights work
  • Heating and cooling in good condition
  • Fireplace not damaged


  • Proper ventilation
  • Appliances in good, working condition
  • No leaks in plumbing
  • Cabinets and drawers in good condition


  • Proper ventilation
  • Water flow and pressure adequate
  • Caulking in good condition


  • Smoke detectors up to code
  • Solid stairway


  • No moisture
  • All exposed elements in good condition
  • Properly insulated


  • No damage to pipes
  • Water heater in good condition


  • No exposed wiring that isn’t secured and protected
  • Service panel has adequate capacity

Heating/ Cooling

  • Air flow is good
  • No rust around cooling unit
  • No gas odor
  • Clean air filters
  • No asbestos

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. There are multiple resources online, and checklists vary greatly. I hope this list gets you started thinking about what repairs you may encounter whether you’re the buyer or the seller. Depending on how negotiations play out, one or both of the parties may be responsible for fixing any problems that the inspector finds. Be prepared for the worst, as no home is perfect. If there are things that you think the inspector is wrong about, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. And expect the inspection to take a few hours. The longer your inspection takes, generally it means a better job he’s doing to make sure he checks everything off his list. You’re usually welcomed to walk the house with the inspector, if you’re the buyer, and you’ll certainly get his report when he’s finished.

Jed WilliamsJed Williams
Principle Broker and founder of Hagan Realty