The not-so-sweet truth of home inspections

They're much needed and often skipped. Home inspections reveal those pesky hidden maintenance issues that most first time homebuyers miss.


Home maintenance issue

A lot of excitement comes with buying a home, especially if it’s your first. That excitement can easily disappear when unexpected issues come up. One of the most common mistakes a first time homebuyer can make is skipping the home inspection. When you skip the home inspection, you might be saving around $300-$400 (depending on the house), but an unexpected repair could be 2X that or more. Whether you decide to skip the home inspection or not, there are some important things to scrutinize before buying. Nobody buying or selling a home wants to lose money on unexpected costs that seem to come out of nowhere, so to avoid one of those “nice” surprises, here’s a list of things that you should check for when doing a walkthrough of a home. Each of these red flags and could mean a deeper problem and should be looked into further.


Trim and fittings-Are they tight, cracked, worn?

Paint-Is the paint covering the siding and trim smoothly? Is it cracked, peeling, or missing?

Concrete, stone, and masonry-Is there any damage, missing mortar, or exposed steel?

Siding-Is the siding discolored, damaged, or missing sections?

Exterior Stairs and railings-Are the stairs and railings secure? Do you see any damage or hear any unusual popping or creaking?

Roof and Gutters—Are the shingles is good repair? Are they flat? Are the gutters secured? Is there any noticeable damage to the roof and gutters? Do the gutters work well and push water away from the house?

Doors and Windows

Interior Windows and Doors –Can they open and close without any issue? Are there any broken or missing parts or pieces including the window panes?

Exterior Doors—Is there any damage to the doors? Do they open and close with ease? Check for gaps around the door.

Locks—Do all the locks work? Do you have all the keys to the locks? Do any of them look damaged? Do they fit the door and frame without issue?

Garage Doors—Is there any damage to the door, tracks, or machine? Does it open and close all the way? Do the safety sensors work? Do the garage door opener remotes work?


Carpet—Is the carpet stained, damaged, or missing sections? Is it loose or tightly installed?

Vinyl and Linoleum—Are there any stains, bubbles, depressions, gaps, or ridges? Is there any damage?

Wood Floors—Is it missing any pieces? Is there any damage to the floor? Have they been refinished recently? Is there any warping or soft spots?

Tile—Are all tiles installed? Are there any cracks? Is there any missing grout? Is the grout discolored or cracked?

Floor Joists—Do you hear any cracking or popping while walking through the home?

Appliances, Fixtures, Surfaces

Appliances—Are all appliances present? Do they work?

Cabinets—Do all drawers and doors work? Are there any missing parts or pieces?

Faucets and Plumbing Fixtures—Are there any parts, pieces, and fixtures? Do they all work? Is there any damage? Don’t forget to check toilets and showers.

Electric Fixtures—Is there any damage to the electrical fixtures? Do they all work? Don’t forget to check plugs, light switches, and the electric panels.

Light Fixtures—Do all the light fixtures work? Is there any damage?

Glass Doors and Mirrors—Is there any damage or cracks? Is everything installed correctly and secure?

Interior Stairs and Railings—Are the stairs and railing secured? Is there any damage? Do you hear any unusual popping or creaking?

Drywall and Paint—Is the paint smooth or are there cracks? Check the ceilings and walls for any damage. Is there any sagging or bowing? Are there any holes?

Furnace, AC/Swamp Cooler, and Water Heater—Do all work properly? Is there any damage? Are they outdated or in need of replacing?

Filters and Thermostats—Does the thermostat work? Are the filters clean and correctly installed?

Basement and Attic

Signs of Water Damage—Are there any leaks or dampness?

Signs of Cracking—Check floors and foundation walls

Defects—Check floor joists, support columns, beams, insulation, plumbing, and electrical


Landscape –Is the ground around the foundation sloping away from the house? Are there any signs of Erosion? Does water puddle anywhere around the house? Are plants around the home alive? Are there any trees that could cause damage to your home (e.g. willows)? Are bushes and trees planted at least 2-3 feet away from the foundation?

Window Wells—Are the window wells clean?

Crawl Space—Are the vents and flaps to the crawl space clean and working well?

I know that is a long list, but it could save you time, money, and many headaches by addressing and acknowledging the issue before it becomes a major problem. If you have any questions about these or want to find a great home inspector, contact us and we can help.

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