What Is Checked During a Typical Home Inspection?

Posted on Mar 26, 2012

What Is Checked During a Typical Home Inspection?

The most important component of a good home inspection is a good home inspector. In the early days there were few standards for training or proficiency and almost anyone could buy a flashlight, a ladder and print up business cards. Home inspectors are now required to be state certified and they need to maintain continuing education or their license will be suspended.  Our company follows the Standards of Practice set forth by the state of  Wisconsin and your inspection will include:

The Structure

Our inspector will inspect entry ways, foundations, siding and porches looking for such symptoms of trouble as sagging roof lines, gaps in or damage to the siding, porches pulling away from the building, obvious signs of rot or certain types of cracks in foundations.

The Exterior

The exterior inspection will include a visual assessment of decks, balconies, eaves, soffits and fascias. The inspector will look at the grading of the land around the house for obvious drainage problems and check walkways and driveways for apparent deterioration or safety concerns. We will also visually inspect vegetation surrounding the house for obvious problems such as; the intrusion of roots near the foundation, buried utilities or overgrowth. Electric garage door openers will be checked to confirm they are in compliance with current safety standards.

The exterior inspection is not expected to include outbuildings or fences.

Roofing Inspection

Inspectors are not required to get up on any roofs. Portions of the roof visible from the ground maybe inspected from the ground or with binoculars.  Where safely possible, an inspector will also report on roof drainage systems, flashings, skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations (for vents and flues).

Plumbing Inspection

The plumbing inspection will consist of testing the interior water supply and distribution system including water pressure, water heating equipment and the appropriateness of vents, flues, and chimney. We will also flush toilets to check for leaks and run all faucets to assess water pressure.

Electrical System Inspection

The electrical inspection will consist of over current protections, grounding, and the presence of any aluminum wiring (a serious fire hazard and banned for many years in most states). We will remove the face of the electrical panel if it is safe to do so, check a representative number of switches and outlets with-in the house.

Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

The furnace will be tested by turning up the thermostat and checking the response. Air conditioning will also be tested if the ambient air temperature is above 65 degrees.

Home Interior:

The interior inspection will include a visual scan of floors, walls and ceilings for signs of water intrusion, or sagging. Stairways and railings will be checked for safety and a sample of windows and doors inspected for condition and ease of operation. The basement will be inspected for indications of previous water intrusion in addition to signs of structural problems.


Poor ventilation can lead to rot, mold, poor air quality or excessive energy consumption. We will inspect the insulation and vapor barriers in unfinished areas of the attic and in the foundation area and look for the presence and operation of any mechanical ventilation systems in the attic and other high humidity areas such as kitchens and bath.


Fireplaces, particularly in older homes are a frequent source of problems. We will inspect the integrity of the flue, proper draft, any blockages in the chimney (even a birds nest can be a major problem), and will visually inspect, as much as possible, the exterior of the chimney for damage to bricks, pointing, and flashing.