The Complete List of What You Need to Ask During a Home Inspection

The Complete List of What You Need to Ask During a Home Inspection

  • Kimber Ward, REALTOR®
  • 12/20/23

Congratulations on taking another step toward becoming a homeowner! Embarking on the journey of buying a home is exciting, but it's also filled with many decisions and details that need to be addressed. According to, 88% of home buyers utilized a home inspection prior to finalizing their purchase. Moreover, 83% mentioned that their mortgage lender mandated an inspection. According to, these inspections can be vital in ensuring you're making a sound investment. Let’s dive deep into the world of home inspections and provide a thorough guide to arm you with the necessary information.

Fast Facts about Home Inspections

  • According to Windy City Home Inspection, an impressive 86% of homebuyers revealed that their inspection brought attention to at least one concern needing rectification.
  • Roofing complications were detected by roughly 19.7% of home inspectors.
  • Around 18.7% highlighted a concern within the electrical system.
  • Window issues were observed by 18.4% of the professionals.
  • Issues with the plumbing system were documented by 13.6%, and problems with water heaters were noted by 12.2%.

Understanding a home inspection

Home inspections offer potential buyers an in-depth view of a property’s physical condition. It allows them to know the ins and outs, from the basement to the attic, before making a commitment. While it might seem like just another step in the home buying process, a professional home inspection can save a lot of headaches down the road.

The distinction between a home inspection and a home appraisal

While both are vital steps in the home buying process, there's a marked difference between a home inspection and a home appraisal. The former delves into the home's physical components, while the latter is primarily about determining the property’s market value.

Who foots the bill for the inspection

In most scenarios in the Denver Metro, the potential buyer covers the cost of the home inspection. This makes sense, as it's the buyer's opportunity to dig deep and ensure the home is a good investment.

Unraveling the home inspection cost

Every home is unique, and so is the cost of its inspection. Depending on the home's location, size, and age, costs can vary. Remember, it's essential to factor in this expense when budgeting for your home purchase.  At this point in time in the Denver Metro, I would estimate around $500-$800 for home inspections including Sewer scope and Radon Test.

Unpacking the house inspection process: Insights for potential buyers

The house inspection process is more than just a walk-through. It's a comprehensive review of a property's physical structure and internal systems. Here's what you need to know:

All about the home inspection contingency

The home inspection contingency in a real estate contract offers buyers a way out if significant issues are uncovered during the inspection. This contingency can be crucial in ensuring you're not locked into purchasing a problematic property.

Deciphering the role of the home inspector

A qualified home inspector is a trained professional who examines a property's major components. It's essential to choose a licensed home inspector affiliated with reputable organizations, such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors or the American Society of Home Inspectors.

What to expect on inspection day

Inspection day can be nerve-wracking but also enlightening. It's the day you'll get a comprehensive view of your potential new home, warts and all. Typically, an inspection can last two to three hours, depending on the property's size.  I usually recommend a sewer scope and a radon test for all homes.  Sometimes this is a separate company with a separate cost, however, some companies provide all services.

Decoding the home inspection report

Post-inspection, you'll receive a detailed home inspection report. This report will list any concerns, from minor cosmetic issues to major repairs that need immediate attention that the inspector saw or witnessed at the time of inspection. This document is crucial in the negotiation phase with the seller. However, know that the inspectors/inspection reports do have limitations.  They report on items they have witnessed and deem material.  They do not perform engineering, architectural, plumbing, or any other job function requiring an occupational license. The sewer scope and Radon test, for instance, is a separate inspection. Or, if an inspector observes foundational cracks that are concerning, he/she may recommend an inspection by a structural engineer. Just know, there are limitations and the Homebuyer should be proactive in this process.

How to negotiate following the inspection findings

After reviewing the inspection report, you can decide if you want to proceed with the purchase, negotiate with the seller for repairs, or ask for a lower purchase price. Remember, the findings provide you leverage in these discussions.

The inspection checklist: Key areas to focus on

For a comprehensive understanding, here’s a detailed home inspection for buyers checklist:

The roof inspection is vital

The roof is your home's first line of defense against the elements. Inspect for missing or damaged shingles, signs of water damage, and the overall condition of the roofing material. Check for proper flashing around chimneys and vents.  In Colorado, with our 310 days of sunshine and inordinate amounts of hail, you especially need to pay attention to the age, health and warranty on the roof.

Evaluating the property's exterior and grounds

From foundation cracks to rotted wood, the exterior can reveal a lot about the home's overall health. Also, grading and drainage around the property is critical.  An inspector may be able to see if moisture/rain is directed away from the property or if there is any water pooling around the foundation. Make sure to check the garage, driveway, walls, and any outbuildings.

Foundation and Structural Components:

Inspectors will look at the foundation for cracks, settling, or other signs of instability. Uneven floors or doors that don't close properly may indicate foundation issues. They will check for any visible signs of damage to walls, ceilings, and supports and look for sagging or uneven floors, which could indicate structural problems. As mentioned above, If any structural issues are identified, it's advisable to have a structural engineer inspect the property

Delving into the basement

A professional home inspection checklist always includes the basement. It's vital to check for dampness, adequate insulation, structural/foundation issues that may be seen and the condition of visible plumbing.

Environmental Concerns

As mentioned previously, moisture in a home is always of high concern.  If there are signs of moisture and/or mold, a mold test is recommended which would be performed by a different company.  Also, I always recommend a Radon test as part of the process (in Colorado), unless the home already has a mitigation system and Sellers can show the results of a recent test. Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally in soil, rocks, and water.  It comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up.  The EPA recommends homes be fixed if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) or more. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to radon, EPA also recommends that Americans consider fixing their home for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.

Exploring the attic

From ensuring proper insulation and ventilation to checking for pests like carpenter ants, the attic can hide a multitude of issues.

Plumbing and bathroom inspections

From water pressure to visible plumbing, ensure everything's in working order. Inspect plumbing fixtures, pipes, and drains. An inspector should look for leaks, water stains, or signs of water damage and test faucets and flush toilets to ensure they are functioning correctly. And finally, an inspector should check the water heater for signs of rust or corrosion. You can also look to see if the water heater is past it’s useful life–maybe 8-12 years for a gas water heater.  You can also look at the manufacturer’s warranty.

Kitchen walkthrough

Broken appliances, leaky faucets, damaged cabinets? The kitchen is an essential area to inspect thoroughly. Check for water damage or signs of wear and tear.

Assessing the interior rooms

From door frames to light switches, every detail matters. Check windows, electrical outlets, and overall condition.

Understanding the electrical systems

Dangerous wiring can be a significant deal breaker. The inspector should look at the electrical panel for outdated wiring, circuit breaker issues, or signs of overheating. Test light switches and outlets to ensure they are working properly. And, check for any exposed wires or unsafe electrical practices.  If further testing is needed, an electrician could perform a further inspection.

Inspecting heating and cooling systems

Inspectors will check the HVAC systems for proper function, age and signs of wear. Check air filters, thermostat settings, and test both heating and cooling functions and look for any unusual noises or odors. Understanding the useful life of the HVAC system based on industry standards is crucial. However, if the system is older but functioning correctly, sellers may be hesitant to replace it solely due to its age.

House Inspection FAQs

How long does a home inspection take?

Typically, a professional home inspection can last two to three hours. However, this might vary based on the home's size and location.

What fixes are mandatory after a home inspection?

There are no "mandatory" repairs after a home inspection. However, the buyer can use the inspection results to negotiate with the seller for repairs, discounted purchase price or other options.

What are the most common problems found in a home inspection?

Common problems include roofing issues, electrical anomalies, foundation concerns, and plumbing complications.

Remember, the goal of a home inspection is to ensure your potential new home is a sound investment, free from unexpected and costly surprises. Arm yourself with knowledge, ask the right questions, and trust in certified home inspectors to guide you through the process.  I can always provide you with recommendations for Inspection companies that my clients have used in the past.

About Me… Kimber Ward

With a passion for personalized service and a wealth of industry expertise, I am committed to making your home-buying or selling journey a seamless and rewarding experience.  If you're looking to buy or sell a home, I would love to be your dedicated partner in real estate.  And if you have any questions about the Denver Metro or Colorado real estate market, contact me today.  And for a closer look, check out my website Kimber Ward.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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