Do You Need a Home Inspection When Buying a House

Updated: May 30, 2020

What is a home inspection

A home inspection is a visual check of the home and its basic systems to check for issues. Although home inspections aren't necessary they are highly advised so you don't end up with a surprise and you can even end up saving money asking for a lower sale price. It is advised that you join your home inspector through the home inspection so you can ask questions as you go. This will give you a better understanding of the issues than the inspection report on its own. Your home inspector will look for structural issues, functioning appliances and look for a variety of safety issues. Your new home likely dozens of issues, as no home is perfect. You and your real estate agent will review the home inspection report together to help identify major problems. We will then use your home inspection contingency to have the sellers fix the issues or reduce the price of the home. With a good inspector you will be able to move in with peace of mind avoiding potential problems.

House with inspection glass

What does a home inspection look for

The home inspection process covers a variety problems both inside and outside of the home. This includes checking the floors, walls, ceilings and more to search for water damage, cracks and more The home inspector however will not move furniture so it is important to have the house ready when they arrive.

Outside Structure

The home inspector will walk around the outside of the home and check for any structural damage. These could include a cracked foundation, ensuring that the ground is slopes properly for water to runoff away from the home, to the sidewalk and driveway. Sprinkler systems will be turned on to ensure they have pressure and cover the proper areas. They will also generally check the fence if you have one and ensure it is complete all the way around.

Roof and Attic

Roofing is something that can quickly get expense and will cost $6,000 to $12,000 to replace. The home inspector should check the attic as well as going on top of the roof and check the shingles to ensure they aren't curling, missing or loose.

Interior Structure

The home inspector will check the floors, walls, ceilings and more to search for water damage, cracks and more. The home inspector however will not move furniture or other things so it can be important to have all of this previously moved.


The home inspector will walk through the basement or crawlspace to evaluate signs of water damage or blatant structural damage. If you have additional concerns such as if you live in a neighborhood that has poor soil, it may be worth hiring an additional foundation inspection.


Your home inspector will check to ensure the garage door opens properly, the floor slopes to allow water drainage and double check that there is no structural issues.


Throughout the inspection process, the inspector will check the appliances that are included with the home sale. This includes checking the burners on the stove, verifying the refrigerator can hold temperature and turning on the microwave.


During the inspection the furnace will be tested and inspected to ensure it is working and properly circulating air. The air conditioning unit will also be tested assuming it is greater than 60 degrees outside, if it too cold the air conditioning unit could become damaged. HVAC systems can cost upwards of $4000 to replace the furnace and $3500 for the air conditioner.

Electrical System

During the home inspection, the main breaker box will be checked along with a multitude of outlets and light sockets.

Plumbing System

During the plumbing system inspection, the home inspector will check the main water shutoff, sink faucets and the water heater.

Plumbing Fixture

Additional home inspection costs

home inspectors themselves generally don't complete the following tasks, although many have subcontractors that they will work with to have these checks completed. If hired through your home inspector for an additional cost, they will generally come at the same time to get the new home thoroughly inspected. It is important to have a great Realtor®  as they can help save you money by identifying likely problems in your area and homes construction date.