What exactly is that home inspector looking for when he climbs up on the roof, descends into the basement or slides into the crawl space?
Along with diagnosing potential safety hazards and high-dollar repairs, there’s also a bit of archaeology involved. A good home inspector can discuss the quality of construction and maintenance your (potential) home has had.
No matter how old the home, your inspector will look at the basic “envelope” that shields it from weather and water. The inspector will walk the property to look at drainage.
The inspector will look for cracks in the foundation and examine the roof, rain gutters and flashings, as well as all the windows.
And the inspector will look at how the walls and roof intersect. The inspector doesn’t want to see lots of caulk because that usually means it’s not waterproofed. When done right, waterproofing is part of the home design — not something added after the fact.
The inspector will check out the home’s systems, from electrical and plumbing to heating and air. Here are a few of the points an inspector will cover:
Heating and air: How well does the heating and cooling work? Do they provide heating and cooling evenly to every area? Is there good airflow in every room? If there’s an air return, is it properly located and sized to serve the house efficiently?
Plumbing: Likewise, the inspector will check to see that the plumbing is done correctly, provides enough water to the house and drains properly. This is where you find out if you have sufficient water flow and pressure.
Electrical: An inspector will make sure that your electrical system provides enough power for the house and that it’s properly installed, bonded and grounded. He’ll also make sure that there are enough outlets.