The dream home you fell in love with at the open house can have some dark (and costly) secrets.  That’s why a home inspection is an absolute “must” when you’re purchasing real estate—especially after this year’s storms.

A home inspection assesses virtually all aspects of a house that can be seen or touched. In other words, the inspector will walk room-by-room through the entire house and also check out the exterior. However, he or she will not open a wall to inspect the plumbing or climb a ladder for a closer look at the roof. All the same, a licensed, qualified inspector (shop around and get references before you start house-hunting) will give you a detailed report covering the entire property.

With hope, your report will have more good news than bad. Here are the biggest problem areas to look out for:


For fire safety, the question you want answered is, “is the system up to code?” The report will point out deficiencies that need to be addressed.


Your inspection will cover supply, waste, and vent systems, hot water systems, fuel systems, sump pumps, and more—but not the septic system (if there is one). A good inspector will have an eye for signs of previous leaks, and may note where potential leaks may occur (usually due to piping material and/or age).


We live in a damp, humid part of the world, and that can take its toll on a structure. The effects can range from punky windowsills to mold in crawlspaces. Also, poorly graded grounds can prevent damaging water from flowing away from the structure.

Rot and insect damage

Your inspector will probe for wood that has rotted or suffered damage from termites or carpenter ants. However, he or she cannot lo


ok behind shingles or wallboard for further signs.


Cracks, moisture, leaks and other flaws will all be evident to a qualified inspector.


You inspector will use binoculars to view the roof from ground level. Qualified inspectors will know how to spot aging, damaged, or missing shingles, or other areas of concern.

OK, you’ve got the inspection report. What do you do about “red flags?”

Bottom line: You shouldn’t be on the financial hook for problems with someone else’s house. You have several choices:

  • Depending on the terms of your contract, you can walk away from the deal within a certain number of days. Read your contract carefully before you sign!
  • You can ask the seller to remedy the problems, at their cost.
  • You can try to negotiate the selling price down, to account for your out-of-pocket costs of fixing the problems.

One more important thing to note: Your inspector won’t give you guidance on how much a repair might cost. You’ll have to consult contractors and tradespeople for that information.

The inspection can be among the most stressful parts of buying a home. Your mortgage shouldn’t add to that stress. Pen Air is ready to do all we can to get you into your dream home, as easily as possible.