Image of home inspector evaluating home.

What To Look Out For During Your Home Inspection

4-Minute ReadUPDATED: June 03, 2022


If you’ve made it to the home inspection stage of the home buying and selling process, you’re one step closer to closing! But before you can sell your house, it must pass its home inspection. Traditionally, home buyers will hire an inspector to evaluate the home and point out any issues that might be problematic.

As a seller, don’t worry! It’s likely that your home inspection won’t be perfect. To help you prepare for your home inspection and point out any common issues, here’s what to look out for when the time comes.

What Does A Home Inspector Do?

First, let’s talk about what a home inspector does. A home inspector is a professional, typically hired by the buyer, to visually assess the house. The inspector follows the state’s guidelines to ensure the home meets health, safety and mechanical standards. 

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

When conducting a home inspection, the main goal is to ensure the house is safe to live in. To do this, home inspectors typically take a thorough look at everything in and around the house. Rather than focusing on small errors like chipped paint or dents in the wall, home inspectors tend to focus on larger items that may be unsafe or malfunctioning.

What’s Covered In A Home Inspection?

To give you a specific idea of what’s covered in a home inspection, let’s take a look at the standard home inspector’s report or checklist. This will include checking out the home’s heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical systems, and any foundation or structural issues relating to the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, basement and doors.

Because home inspectors have a lot of territory to cover, it can be hard to prepare your home for an inspection. To give you an idea of common home inspection problems and suggest any necessary repairs, we’ll go more in-depth in each of these areas.

Most Common Home Inspection Problems

To help you prepare for your home inspection, here are the most common home inspection problems that you should be aware of!

HVAC Systems

Home inspectors will check out the home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to make sure they are running smoothly. Because these systems control the heating, cooling and airflow in your home, it’s important that they are properly functioning so that the air quality is safe and healthy. 

When inspecting the HVAC systems, inspectors tend to look out for dirty air filters, rusted material, combustion gas order, cracked ductwork and asbestos. 

The most common issues home inspectors notice when it comes to HVAC systems are improper installations, poor maintenance and equipment that is old or outdated. Most of these problems can be fixed by a professional, but in some cases, it might be easier to replace a part or even the HVAC systems altogether.


Plumbing is one of the most important areas to focus on before or during a home inspection because water damage can be detrimental to a home’s value.

To make sure there are no issues with a home’s plumbing system, inspectors will look at the septic system and check the home’s water pressure by turning on faucets and flushing toilets at the same time. Other common concerns are broken or rusty pipes, leaks, broken thermostats and sediment build up.

Electrical Systems

Another element that could cause significant damage to a home if malfunctioning is the home’s electrical systems. Therefore, to avoid injury and property damage, it’s important to have an electrician check out the home if the home inspector notices anything suspicious. Some of the things home inspectors will look out for when checking out a home’s electrical system are exposed wiring and faulty outlets or circuits.


While no one wants to think about having an insect or pest infestation in their home, it’s something that buyers and sellers should be aware of.

Carpenter ants, beetles, termites and rodents are some of the most common critters to look out for. These pests and insects can carry diseases and destroy wood and wires. If a home inspector were to find signs of an infestation, an exterminator would take care of the situation. 

Structural Components

When making sure a home is structurally sound, there are many things that home inspectors check. This can include all foundations from your roof to your basement. Take a look around your house to evaluate the quality of your roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, basement and crawl space. Make sure to also be aware of visible insulation that might be in your attic. Some common structural issues that home inspectors notice are uneven floors, gaps between walls and floors, large cracks in walls or brick, signs of mold, nails coming out of walls, and leaning walls or stairs. 

Home inspectors will also pay close attention to the roof and chimney. They’ll look for red flags including missing or damaged shingles, and moisture or signs of leakage. 

It’s very important that home inspectors look out for water damage because that can seriously harm a home and its value. When checking for water damage, home inspectors will look at the basement and check for roof leaks and plumbing malfunctions. Water damage can lead to mold, too, which can seriously affect the home’s structure and the health of those living in it.

What Would Fail A Home Inspection?

Don’t think of a home inspection as something that is pass or fail. If the inspection report shows that many repairs need to be made, you didn’t fail, you just need to reevaluate the situation and renegotiate with the buyer. It might mean that the buyer asks you to make some repairs or lower the price. Either way, make sure to communicate with the buyer and try to reach an agreement. 

Do I Have To Fix Everything On A Home Inspection?

As the seller, you’re not obligated to fix anything or everything on a home inspection. You and the buyer can agree to whatever works best for both of you, but know that the buyer can walk away from the deal if they’re not satisfied.

But don’t be scared of having to make repairs in your home! Home improvements can significantly boost the value of your home, and not all projects are difficult. There are many DIY home improvement projects that can level up your home without exhausting a lot of money or effort.

Final Thoughts

The home inspection is a very important part of the home buying and selling process. As the seller, you have time to prepare for your home inspection by taking a walk-through of your home and looking out for common problems that home inspectors point out.

Be prepared to make some repairs or negotiate with the buyer based on what the inspector finds. If you do decide to make some repairs to boost the value of your home, you might be interested in taking out a home improvement personal loan.

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