Home Inspection of a Property Prior to Purchase

One of the complicated tasks in purchasing a house is the assessment of its physical condition. Since repairs to structural and mechanical systems are usually costly, a preliminary home inspection can help you avoid them, or at least anticipate the cost and factor it into the buying price. Even if you are looking for an old home that you want to renovate, you’d be in a better position to sign the purchase offer by pricing it right considering the current condition of the property after doing a home inspection.

home inspectionA home inspection requires some technical knowledge on structural and mechanical systems. Shown in this article are some important technical considerations when looking at a property for sale.

Home Foundation

This is probably the most important feature to look into when doing a home inspection. A house might be built over a basement, a crawl space or over a concrete slab that lies flat on earth. Whatever the base of the foundation is, it is important that this part of the structure is able to support to whole weight of the house above it and that it is evenly distributed to the soil below. Lateral forces of the earth that tend to push the foundation inwards should also be covered to avoid leaks and cracks on the foundation. For areas prone to very cold climate, make sure that the concrete slab which serves as the main foundation is covered in walls well below the frost line. Home foundation repair can be an expensive item and should be checked out completely during the pre-purchase inspection.

Building Materials

From the foundation to the roof, houses can be made of different materials and a varying composite of these building materials. For the foundation, poured concrete and concrete blocks with metal reinforcements are the most common building material used. Both wood and concrete are resistant to moisture penetration and when properly placed offer a good foundation for a house to be built on. When doing a home inspection, the materials for the foundation may be hard to inspect as they can be hidden beneath layers of dirt. Look for exposed part of the masonry foundation for cracks. While it is not possible to diagnose foundation problems with cracks alone, it can be an indicator of a potential problematic condition. Also, check if the gutters and downspouts are in good shape. If they are not, chances are rainwater has run down the foundation walls and has caused damage to the foundation. Further, it is prudent to really test by digging through the pile of dirt.

The main part of the house is the easiest to see when doing a home inspection. However, it could be made of a composite of different building materials. Wood is usually durable and may last for a long time. Keep an eye on the glass components such as the windows, doors and partitions. Broken glass can lower the value of a property. While they are easy to replace, they are most often costly. Plastics and other materials that may tear with use or go out of style should be noted.


The floors of the house can have multiple purposes. One is that it is used to support the walls and the roof. When on a home inspection, floors at all levels should be inspected. Make sure that it is sturdy enough to support the weight of the people and furniture that you are planning to utilize within the property. Look at the ceiling joists that support the floor in the higher levels. Test for signs of decay. A soft wood can be an indicator of moisture damage or insect infestation.  A home with a crawl space (pier and beam foundation) can experience sagging or settlement from damaged support structures beneath the floors. These two factors can seriously affect the floors and the whole area damaged. Floor surfaces should also be examined. Most floors in old houses may have a need for refurbishing. A tile may have cracked or a carpet soiled and stained. These needs thorough attention in the home inspection.

Walls and Partitions

The exterior walls also functions as a support to the roof. In doing a home inspection, never forget to see if these load – bearing walls are sturdy and in good condition. Otherwise, replacing or repairing these walls can be very costly. Interior partitions might be less costly. However, check to see if the placement, design and décor are to your liking or can easily be adjusted to suit your test. A major renovation can again cost you a lot.  Also, be wary about dismantling inner partitions as they might also be load bearing. It is always wise to consult and engineer or architect for these types of repair work.


Lastly, check the roof of the property. This can be the easy part in a home inspection. Problems with the roof can easily be detected with a visual inspection. However, make sure that the materials used are not the banned types such as asbestos or others that are made of hazardous chemical components. Otherwise, you will end up replacing the whole roofing system at a gargantuan cost.

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