What’s a Whole Home Inspection Involve?

This is the big one. A whole home inspection is the mother load of all inspections. Here is a look at the major points and what’s included in each one for most parts of the country.


whole home inspection


The Structure

Entry ways, foundations, siding and porches looking for such symptoms of trouble as sagging roof lines, gaps in or damage to the siding, porches pulling away from the building, obvious signs of rot or insect damage, settlement, certain types of cracks in foundations, cill or rim (the wooden support that sits on the foundation and into which the framing is fastened) and framing where it is exposed.



The Exterior

Visual assessment of decks, balconies, eaves, soffits and fascias. Obvious drainage problems, walkways and driveways for apparent deterioration or safety concerns. Vegetation surrounding the house for obvious problems such as root intrusion. Electric garage door for functionality.

Note this doe not include outbuildings or fences.

Roofing Inspectionroof inspection

Age of roof determined by hands on inspection (inspector climbs on roof) of by binoculars. Roof drainage systems, flashings, skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations (for vents and flues).





Plumbing Inspection

Testing the interior water supply and distribution system including water pressure, water heating equipment (estimating age and approximate time to replacement) and the appropriateness of vents, flues, and chimneys. Toilets for leaks and faucets for leaks and water pressure and the immediacy and volume of available hot water.

Electrical System Inspection

Over current protections, grounding, and the presence of any aluminum wiring (a serious fire hazard and banned for many years in most states). Switches and outlets in the house and note the adequacy of smoke detectors if the state does not require a separate inspection by the local fire department.

Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

No matter the time of year the furnace should be tested by turning up the thermostat and checking the response. Air conditioning cannot be checked if the ambient outdoor temperature is below a certain point. If the energy source is oil an inspector will check the condition of the tank and any visible lines running from the tank to the furnace. Some inspectors will run an efficiency check on the furnace for an additional charge.

Home Interior:

Floors, walls and ceilings for signs of water intrusion, or sagging. Stairways and railings for safety and code compliance and a sample of windows and doors inspected for condition and ease of operation. The basement for indications of previous water intrusion in addition to signs of structural problems.


Poor ventilation can lead to rot, mold, poor air quality or excessive energy consumption. An inspector should check insulation and vapor barriers in unfinished areas of the attic and in the foundation area and look for the presence and operation of any mechanical ventilation systems in the attic and other high humidity areas such as kitchens and bath.


Any appliances included in the purchase will be checked for functionality.


If applicable-integrity of the flue, proper draft, any blockages in the chimney in addition to the exterior of the chimney for damage to bricks, pointing, and flashing.

Knowing these points will help you be more prepared for your whole home inspection and be able to assess from your Property Repair Estimate Sheet what repairs are needed.


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Erik Hitzelberger has been Real Estate Investor since 2007. While learning the ropes in the market down-cycle, he now teaches others how to use his systems and leverage other people’s expertise to achieve their own goals.

Erik Hitzelberger – who has written posts on Part Time REI.

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About Erik Hitzelberger

Erik Hitzelberger has been Real Estate Investor since 2007. While learning the ropes in the market down-cycle, he now teaches others how to use his systems and leverage other people's expertise to achieve their own goals.

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