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The Home Depot

10 Things to Inspect before Buying a Home

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Home Inspection > 10 Things to Inspect before Buying a Home
10 Things to Inspect before Buying a Home

Buying a home – it’s a monumental commitment for most people. Because the process can involve many issues and considerations outside of the scope of average consumer knowledge, it pays to hire experts to help you through the home-buying process.


One of the most important steps in purchasing a home is inspecting it to learn about its condition. It’s imperative that you know what you’re buying before you sign on the dotted line. The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides information about the home inspection process. Specifically, you can learn the important questions to ask a home inspector prior to hiring a home inspection company.


Knowing the things to look for when buying a home will give you the knowledge and information necessary to proceed confidently to purchase a home.

  1. 1.Basement

    Basement Inspection

    An inspection of the basement must include careful examination to see if evidence of moisture problems exist in the home. Use your nose to detect damp or musty odors throughout the basement. Look for evidence of water leaking on the floor and ceiling of the basement. Check for signs of leaking around the foundation of the house. Check for evidence of rotting wood in exposed beams in the basement and also look for cracks in interior basement walls. Check plumbing systems in the basement for leakage and proper working order. If the house has a crawl space, inspect it for moisture and cracks in the foundation and in any exposed wood.

  2. 2.Attic

    Attic Inspection

    The attic is another area of the home that will provide important information about water problems inside the house. If possible, go up to the attic to assess the area. Look for evidence of water leakage and damage at the ceiling and walls of the attic. Use your nose to detect damp and musty odors. Check the insulation of the attic to see whether it has water damage. The insulation should also be sufficient for the geographical location of the house.

  3. 3.Plumbing

    Plumbing Inspection

    Plumbing systems in the house are exceedingly important. Examine the plumbing in the bathroom and kitchen, looking for evidence of leaks. If you notice water stains, sagging floors and mildew in plumbing areas, this indicates water leaks. Turn on every faucet to assess the water pressure. Check the speed that water drains down sinks and tubs. Inspect toilets for pressure and for leaks.

  5. Electrical Inspection


    Find the fuse box or the main breaker box in the home. This box must be easy to access and it should be in good condition. Check throughout the house to note the number of electrical outlets to ensure that the house has sufficient outlets. Check outlets in the kitchen and bathroom for ground fault circuit interrupters – GFCI. These inexpensive outlets can prevent severe shocks from occurring.

  6. HVAC Inspection


    The heating and air conditioning systems of the house are extensive and all-important. Check the capacity and models to ensure they’re the appropriate size for the house. Hire an expert to examine and inspect these systems to ensure they are in proper working order.

  7. 6.Exterior

    Exterior Inspection

    Check the exterior house from top to bottom, beginning with the roof. Make sure shingles are present and in good condition. Examine gutters and downspouts also to ensure the house has adequate water drainage systems and they are in good repair. Examine the foundation of the home for possible drainage issues. You shouldn’t see evidence of water around the foundation and the ground should slope away from the foundation. Check driveways and walkways on the property to ensure they are even and not cracking or crumbling. Examine the siding of the home to ensure it’s in good repair. Take a look at the landscaping on the property as well. Trees, shrubbery and other plants should not appear overgrown and unkempt. If a sprinkler system is installed, make sure it works properly. If the home has a deck or a porch, examine it carefully to notice any signs of decay or termite damage. Check the railings and steps to ensure they are secure. A porch should have a foundation – not simply sit on soil.

  8. Fireplace and Chimney Inspection

    7.Fireplace and Chimney

    Examine fireplaces and chimneys carefully. Check the mortar to ensure it’s not crumbling and loose. Look for a rain cap on the chimney. Examine the chimney for evidence of smoke and creosote staining the exterior.

  9. 8.Ceilings, Walls, and Floors

    Ceilings, Walls, and Floors Inspection

    Examine and inspect all ceilings, walls and floors inside the house, looking for evidence of leaking or water damage. Examine drywall for evidence of damage and pulling away from interior wall framing. Check for cracks in walls and ceilings, which could indicate structural damage to the house. Walk over all floor surfaces to notice any spongy or weak areas in the floors. Check floors to see if they slope at an angle in any rooms.

  11. Doors and Windows Inspection

    9.Doors and Windows

    Open and close all doors and windows to ensure they work smoothly and close properly. Check around windows, looking for evidence of mildew and moisture. Check windows for fog because this could indicate a seal broken.

  12. 10.Garage

    Garage Inspection

    Check the interior and exterior of the garage. Look at the flooring to ensure it’s not stained or cracked. Check the siding of the garage to ensure it’s in good condition. Open and close the garage doors to ensure they work properly. Check the connection of the garage to the house to ensure it’s settling in the same way the house is settling or to see whether it’s pulling away from the house. Ensure proper drainage around the foundation of the garage – the soil should slope away from the garage in the same way that it slopes away from the house foundation.


    With so many things to check and consider about a home, it’s important to hire an expert to inspect any home you are thinking about purchasing. Once you get the results of a thorough inspection, you will have the information you need to decide whether you wish to proceed with the purchase.

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