Home Inspection 101

Here are the basics of hiring a home inspector, along with 12 things every good inspection should cover.

Here's a glance at how home inspections are supposed to work:

1. Every house should be inspected.
Otherwise, you’re relying on the seller to be honest enough to tell you every thing that’s wrong with the house. 

2. You hire the inspector, not your real estate agent.
You want him to work for you.

3. You can hire your own inspector. 
A real estate company often has a list of home inspectors from which you may choose. This does not mean you have to use one from the list. You can find lists of certified inspectors at the web sites of the two organizations that certify and train home inspectors: The National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

4. You will sign an agreement with the home inspector that outlines the scope of his work. The report you’ll get about the house’s condition after the inspection is for your eyes only and the inspector can only give it to the seller or real estate agent with your permission. 

5. A thorough inspection of a 2,000-square foot home should take 2 to 3 hours. A good inspector: 

  • walks on the roof
  • goes into the crawl space and attic 
  • removes the furnace and electrical panel covers to see what’s inside 
  • checks all electrical outlets and switches 
  • opens and closes all windows and doors 
  • examines the insides of closets and the undersides of stairs 
  • checks walls, ceilings and floors for defects 
  • checks water pressure and drain function in plumbing fixture 
  • flushes toilets to make sure they work
  • checks chimneys and flues to be sure they work
  • checks the exterior of the home for signs of weather damage, decay and settling
  • knows the soil and flooding problems in the area where you're buying

6. Once he’s finished with the inspection, the home inspector will go over the report with you, explain the defects he found and point out areas that may need maintenance in the near future.

7. You can ask the seller to correct the defects your inspector finds, or you can ask for money to make the repairs yourself.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Penthouse 101: The History Behind the Pricey Real Estate

Once undesirable, penthouses are now some of the most expensive properties on the market.

Real Estate Survival Guide: Seller's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the home-selling process.

Real Estate Survival Guide: Buyer's Checklist

Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the homebuying process.

Common Problems Found During Home Inspections

Look for these potentially expensive flaws when buying a house.

13 Home Staging Secrets

Highlight your home's strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to prospective buyers with these secrets.

Fresh News for 'Fixer Upper' Fans: Chip and Joanna to Open 'Hillcrest Estate' in Waco

Chip and Joanna Gaines announce their latest project — a beautifully restored colonial style home that will open as a vacation rental property.

Transitional Style 101

Not sure exactly what transitional style is? Get all the design details here.

How Soon Can I Sell My Home?

Is flipping your house a good idea? Here's what you need to know.

On TV

Island Life

6:30am | 5:30c

Island Life

7am | 6c

Island Life

7:30am | 6:30c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Desert Flippers

1:30pm | 12:30c

Desert Flippers

2:30pm | 1:30c

Desert Flippers

3:30pm | 2:30c

Flip or Flop

4:30pm | 3:30c

Flip or Flop

5:30pm | 4:30c

Flip or Flop

6:30pm | 5:30c

Flip or Flop

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Flip or Flop

8pm | 7c

Flip or Flop

8:30pm | 7:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Flip or Flop Nashville

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Flip or Flop

3:30am | 2:30c

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.