Red Flags to Look for in a Home Inspection

By Lane Stone

Photo by RODNAE Productions

Congratulations! You just bought a home. Now you need to schedule your home inspection. When you’re in the home during the time of your home inspection, it feels hectic. The home inspector is running around checking everything, and I mean everything… you may even have contractors or trades there looking into things. This is the time to step back, take a breath, and think about this easy-to-remember acronym: S-P-A-S. This will help you remember the red flags to look for in a home inspection. I expanded on SPAS below:

S – Safety Issues

Always remember “SAFETY FIRST.” These are issues such as electrical hazards, plumbing, HVAC, tripping hazards, broken windows, cracked chimney, missing c-clamp at the fireplace flue, missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, etc. Home is a place you want to feel safe, make sure it actually is before you move in.

P – Previous Issues

Look for potential previous issues such as stains on the ceiling, walls, under the cabinet, any patching… If you see a stain it could only be a previous issue that was already addressed. However, maybe it’s an ongoing problem. When you’re with your home inspector, do not hesitate to ask questions. In fact, question everything!  Now if it was a previous issue, make sure you ask the seller what happened, and how it was resolved. Did they do it properly, did they go through insurance, have them expand. You want to know everything about the home: past and present.

A – Aging Components

These are your potential deferred maintenance issues. Is the roof old, is the water heater on its last days, or maybe the home you’re buying has the first ever air conditioning unit! Whatever it is, you want to understand what potential issues you may face right away due to age. It’s one thing to pay top dollar for the home, it’s another to pay top dollar AND have immediate needs to repair/replace some very expensive components of the home. It all adds up, and it all adds up quickly. Know what you’re facing!

S – Structural Issues

Last but certainly not least. Look for cracks in the foundation, sloping, cracks along the window seals, door jams, or in the corners of the walls. If the home is built on a raised foundation, make sure your home inspector is checking everything out underneath. So you’re happy with the “location, location, location,” you’re happy with the amenities within the home, you’re happy with the floor plan, now we just need to be absolutely sure the structure of the home is solid. You can always change things cosmetically, or swap out a furnace, but any foundation issues could be the difference between a simple fix and demolishing the home altogether.

So there you have… when you’re at a Home Inspection, this SPAS. S-P-A-S.


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