The home inspection is one of the most critical benchmarks in the home buying process. This task is designed to help the buyer learn about the condition of a home before they sign on the dotted line. While a home inspection isn’t a guarantee that a home won’t have unforeseen issues, it’s the best defense a buyer has in getting a quality home. New buyers who are unfamiliar with home inspections have a lot of questions, most of which stem from what an inspector is looking for and what is covered in a final report.
In this article, we will discuss the many items that a home inspector will evaluate. This will not be an exhaustive list, but it will undoubtedly help buyers understand how comprehensive the process is. We will also talk about how home inspections in Arizona differ slightly from other states.
The Purpose of a Home Inspection
Buyers need to know what they are paying for when making an investment in a home. A home inspector will seek out things that may be hazardous, dangerous, faulty, or not to code that could place occupants in harm’s way. They will evaluate the condition of everything from the outside in so there is a full picture of what a new buyer can anticipate.
Keep in mind, some features may not be able to be evaluated if they pose a risk to the inspector, such as small attic spaces or what might lurk behind the walls.
Here is a comprehensive (not exhaustive) list of what home inspectors will be looking at in a home inspection appointment. These appointments can last anywhere from 2-3 hours, so plan ahead to be there so all the questions can be asked at one time.
- Driveways and walkways
- Decks and vegetation
- Retaining walls, drainage, and grading
- Exterior home materials, flashing, and trims
- Windows, shutters, balconies, and railings
- Exterior doors
- Garage doors or carports
- Eves and roofs if accessible and safe
- Chimneys, skylights, downspouts, again if safe to do so
- Doors, windows, seals, and thresholds
- Flooring and baseboards
- Walls, trims, and ceilings
- Electrical outlets and interior fixtures
- Kitchen appliances
- Plumbing and Electrical
- Kitchen and bath plumbing and fixtures
- Drains and waste management
- Venting both in the kitchen or baths
- Sewer systems and sump pumps
- Water heater and softeners
- Water shutoff valves
- Electrical cables and wiring
- Breaker box and grounding
- Furnace and HVAC systems
- Circuit interrupters or GFI Outlets
- Fire hazards
- Major appliances and home systems
- Thermostats and alarm panels
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors
- Wood and electric fireplaces
- Flues and other exhaust systems
- Air intakes and venting
The inspector will look for:
- Cracks in the foundation or structural walls
- Investigate crawl spaces for damage or pests
- Ensure load bearing structures are sound
Arizona Specific Inspections
Arizona is a different kind of environment, it is dry and hot and can wreak havoc on homes if they aren’t adequately cared for or built to code. Some of the items an inspector will look for are how the exterior of the property is withstanding the environment. They will look for signs of pests like termites, tarantulas, scorpions, and similar Arizona species. A home inspector may also offer specific tests for things like pests, radon, and asbestos.
There is so much more to a home inspection that typically depends on the specific property being evaluated. Contact your favorite home inspection professional to get a proper evaluation and know before you buy.