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Article: 8 items every home inspection report should include

What’s more, the report should estimate the remaining useful life of major systems and equipment, the roof, the structure, paint, and finishes—and give a list of recommended repairs and replacements to boot. For an averaged size home, a systematic home inspection by an ASHI member ranges from $400 to $700, depending on the region and the age of the home, but it can save tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs down the road.

Since the home buyer is an integral part of the inspection process, it’s vital to conduct some groundwork before the ASHI certified professional takes over. Spend some time reviewing the seller’s property disclosures, reading documentation about the house from the local building department, and preparing a list of questions and concerns regarding the home. Then familiarize yourself with the process by looking over this list of eight things every home inspection report should include.

1. Grounds and Exterior

During an inspection, a professional should first examine the home exterior and overall condition of the property. Areas of interest include grading and drainage, evidence of standing water or leaks, the integrity of the foundation and siding, the condition of the exterior paint and landscaping, and any damage to the deck, garage, patio, stairs, or driveway.

2. Roof, Windows, and Doors

The exterior structural components of the home are some of the most expensive to repair or replace, so a home inspector should carefully evaluate the condition and expected lifespan of these elements. On the roof, he/she will likely focus on the shingles, gutters, exterior vents, flashing, soffits, chimneys, and fascia boards. When inspecting windows and doors, he/she will search for decay and rot, cracks, improper installation, lack of caulking, and other damage.

3. Attic

The attic is often overlooked when a prospective buyer visits a home, but it can hold important clues to the overall structural integrity of the property and the integrity of the roof above. The inspector will make sure he/she doesn’t find missing or poorly installed insulation, structural damage, improper ventilation, and exhaust or plumbing pipes that terminate within.

4. Basement/Crawl Space

Moving to the opposite end of the house, the basement or crawl space is another component of the home inspection report. The inspector will look for moisture and evidence of pests, as well as foundational, structural, and insulation-related issues. If your house has a crawl space, the area will be inspected for similar problems.

5. Interior Rooms

When it comes to interior rooms, you have to worry about more than choosing the perfect paint color, since these inner spaces can reveal critical structural issues. The inspection report should cover any defects with the floors, walls, ceilings, windows, interior doors, paint and trim, lights and switches, outlets, temperature control, insulation, and fireplaces.

6. Kitchens

The kitchen is often called the heart of the home, so it’s important to ensure every feature is in tip-top shape. Some aspects of the kitchen to scrutinize include the size and functionality of appliances, the exhaust fan, the drainage and water flow, the safety of outlets, and the condition of cabinets and drawers.

7. Bathrooms

Bathroom problems can be a pricey proposition to fix, so an inspector will want to carefully examine the following areas: toilet, exhaust fan, sink, tub and shower, tiles, caulking, flooring, and fixtures. What’s more, the water flow and water pressure should be properly scrutinized, and the inspector should note any issues with plumbing and leakage.

8. Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical

Any home inspection must include a thorough evaluation of the heating and cooling systems, as well as the plumbing and electrical work. The inspector should first indicate the age and expected lifespan of all components, then pay attention to certain areas of concern. For the HVAC system, this includes airflow, ventilation, filters, ductwork, the condition of flues, and the presence of rust, asbestos, or odor. In regards to electrical systems, the inspector will examine wiring, the main service panels, cables, fuses, and breakers. Finally, he/she will check the plumbing system for pipe damage or leaks, and ensure the water heater is working properly.

By Donna Boyle Schwartz @

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