14 Things that First-Time Homebuyers Must Inspect

Home inspector checking windows on the outside of home and making notes on his clipboard.
Every first-time homebuyer should pay special attention to the home inspection. (DepositPhotos)

Buying a home is a big financial investment, so it only makes sense to have your dream house professionally inspected before signing on the dotted line.

Even if you’re a dedicated do-it-yourselfer who’s well versed in home improvement, a home inspection can find problems you might miss, and detect serious structural issues.

What’s Included in a Home Inspection

A thorough professional home inspector will examine:

Young home buyer accompanies home inspector during inspection
It’s a good idea to accompany the home inspector during the inspection. (DepositPhotos)
  • Heating and cooling system
  • Plumbing and wiring
  • Roof and gutters
  • Foundation
  • Basement or crawlspace
  • Attic and insulation
  • Walls and ceilings
  • Floors
  • Doors and windows
  • Siding and trim
  • Decks, porches and railings

First-time homebuyers especially should look at these areas themselves:

Home Inspection checklist, part oneHome Inspection checklist, part two

How to Hire a Home Inspector

Before hiring a home inspector, find out:

House with magnifying glass and plans

  • What the inspection will and won’t cover.
  • How long the inspector has been in business.
  • Whether the inspector primarily works on residential properties.
  • Will the inspector provide you with references from other homeowners.
  • Is the inspector a member of an organization, such as American Society of Home Inspectors?
  • How long will the inspection take to complete the job (a thorough inspection should take 2-3 hours or more).
  • How long will it take to receive a report (the report should usually be available in 24 hours).
  • What will the report contain (the report should include a list of problems and an estimate of repair cost)
  • How much will the inspection cost (the average cost for a home inspection is around $300-$400).

The cost of a home inspection can vary depending on where you live, the size of the house, and what the inspection covers.

Generally, a home inspection will cost from 14¢ to 20¢ per square foot of living space, or around $300 to $400 for a 2,000-square-foot home.

If possible, accompany the inspector, to make sure the inspection is thorough and you can see any areas of concern firsthand.

Do not hire the inspector to perform the needed repairs, since this could pose a conflict of interest that might influence the findings of the report.

How to Find a Home Inspector

To find home inspectors in your area:

  • Ask for recommendations from your friends or real estate agent.
  • Look in the phone book under “Home Inspection Services.”
  • Search “home inspection” and your city on the Internet


    • NEVER ask the realtor for an inspector. This is a great big conflict of interest. If the inspector finds items that kill the deal; the realtor will not use them again. If the inspector depends on real estate agents for income; they buyers needs will become secondary to preserving the realtor/inspector relationship.
      Find an Independent Inspector on line.

      • That is not true, at least not on the Mississippi gulf coast. We have a couple of very good inspectors. But it is about the realtor looking out for their clients, not the inspector.
        The best advise is: be there!! You are paying for the inspection and you need to understand what the inspector finds. A good inspector would not have a problem with you being there and explaining all he finds to you.

  1. Great article! It is very important to a buyer and seller to inspect their property and find out the current condition of their house. I simply suggest to hire the professional home inspection.


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