What Do Home Inspectors Look For in a Home Inspection?

If you are on the market for a new house, you have probably toured dozens of properties before finding one that really stands out. Real estate agents spend time and resources on creating the best possible first impression to potential buyers but just because a house looks great, doesn’t guarantee that it is in good condition. Before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to schedule a home inspection with local qualified professionals. A home inspection is a major part of due diligence before you buy a home but how much do you really know about them?

In broad terms, a home inspection is a visual assessment of a house. These are designed to provide current owners or potential buyers with valuable insight into the condition of key features like roofing, foundations and more. This information allows buyers, sellers and agents to make informed decisions. In the event that an inspection turns up serious flaws or damage, experts will offer options for repairs and replacements both immediately and in the long run.

What to Expect From a Home Inspector

It doesn’t take long to find a basic home inspection checklist online but these aren’t effective if you don’t know what to look for. For example, anyone can read up on signs of aged or damaged shingles but unless you are getting up on a ladder to see them, this information isn’t particularly useful. Hiring a professional home inspector to review a property means hours of in-depth care and assessments of even the hardest to reach areas of a home.

Home inspectors will review:

  • Roofing
  • Exterior Sufaces
  • Attics
  • Foundations & Structural Conditions
  • Drainage
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Heating & Cooling
  • Doors & Windows

Roofing: Home inspectors utilize ladders, drones and safety equipment to reach the heights of a home during their assessments. New technology makes it possible to perform thorough assessments of roofing and materials without stepping foot on surfaces themselves. A visual overview of these areas will inform experts about the condition of materials like shingles. With a clear picture of material condition, an inspection will inform readers of the approximate lifespan of roofing and when it will likely need to be replaced. In addition to roofing materials, inspectors will look at roof drainage, chimneys, sky lights and any other key features.

Exteriors: Exterior areas of homes are made up of a variety of different materials, each of which looks and acts differently. Typical home siding options include vinyl siding, stucco, and brick. These are inspected for cracks, bald patches and openings but the assessments don’t stop there. Home inspectors will check trim, balconies, porches, railings, fences and awnings. A standard inspection may or may not include assessments of garage doors.

Attics: Most attics in Calgary contain storage boxes and spiderwebs but they also contain something else: insulation. A home inspector will review whether or not the insulation in an attic is enough to make a home energy efficient. Depending in the construction date of the home, it is a good idea to test insulation and materials for the presence of asbestos. Another point of concern in attics is ventilation. Without proper ventilation condensation will quickly become a major problem resulting in mold, damp and rot.

Foundations & Structure: Calgary is known for extreme weather. With this in mind, it is important to note that many homes in Calgary have cracks in their foundations, particularly in older homes. More often than not, these cracks are caused by shifting and settling and aren’t a major point of concern. In the event that there are more serious cracks present a home inspector will refer homeowners to a local specialist for further assessments. Assessing the condition of a foundation in a finished basement is difficult but not impossible. In this case, thermal imaging can be used to detect mildew. If there is mildew in the home, it will often create a recognizable smell that most home inspectors are familiar with and can identify.

Drainage: Whether dealing with rain water or snow melt, water should always flow away from structures. If water is not directed away from a house, it can cause water damage and foundation issues. Correcting grading issues can be as simple as upgrading gutters and downspouts, which is a reasonable cost compared to repairing water damage or getting rid of mold.

Electrical: Homes in Calgary range from being updated and modern to traditional, heritage properties. This means there are many different types of electrical systems and wiring to be found in homes. A home inspector can advise owners or potential buyers about whether or not electrical systems should be updated. Inspectors will check up on electrical panels, outlets, wiring and breakers.

Plumbing Systems: Plumbing is one of the most complex systems in any home. This is why home inspectors spend ample time assessing and testing systems. Inspectors will check for any leaks, drainage issues, ensures the sump pump is working and will identify any issues with piping materials, like Poly B and PVC pipes. Home inspectors will turn on taps, flush toilets and assess the level of drainage to identify potential clogs and blockages.

Heating & Cooling: Calgary is extremely cold during the winter and hits high heats throughout spring and summer. With a climate like that, heating and cooling becomes incredibly important to homeowners. Inspectors will look at furnaces, advising on condition, average lifespans and the likelihood of when you can expect to need with repairs or replacements. In addition to furnaces, water heaters, HVAC systems, fire places and air conditioning units are inspected as well.

Doors & Windows: It is easy to take doors and windows for granted but these have a major impact on the overall quality, condition and comfort of a home. Poorly insulated windows will let cold air in during winter and let hot air in during summer. This means higher utility bills and a less comfortable living space. Home inspectors will check the condition of windows and doors themselves, as well as sills, frames and surrounding areas for signs of drafts and/or condensation. While checking the condition of doors and windows, home inspectors will look at the locks on front doors, windows and patio doors.

Book Your Calgary Home Inspection with Prospections

Home Inspections are not a standard set of tests and assessments but will vary from company to company. It is important to discuss with your home inspector which tests are available and when specialists should be contacted. Prospections is committed to thorough inspections for our customers, providing in-depth home inspection reports, advice and referrals to local repair and trade specialists.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For in a Home Inspection?