If you are considering buying a home, you’ve definitely heard the term “home inspection”. But do you understand what, exactly, a home inspector does? What is he looking for? What doesn’t “count”?
Inspectors are required to look for safety hazards (like a shaky handrail or an unsturdy deck) and material defects. Material defects are system failures like an air conditioning unit that doesn’t get as cold as it should, a leaking pipe, incorrectly wired electrical, etc.
They look at the exterior of the house to be sure the sheathing (stone, brick, siding, stucco) is in good repair, that the roof is not worn out and that, for example, there are no tree limbs overhanging the roof. They look at basements and attics to determine quality of insulation, air flow and whether there’s any water penetration. These areas also provide information about the structural integrity of the house. They look at the electrical and plumbing systems, check appliances, make sure doors and windows operate and lock as they are meant to, etc.
What does NOT fall under the scope of an inspection is cosmetic items. Stains on rugs, old countertops, dated bathroom fixtures, peeling wallpaper–these issues don’t compromise the safety of the house, nor translate to a system working incorrectly.
It’s easier to be prepared to read a home inspection report if you understand what the inspector is and isn’t examining.