What to Expect During a Home Inspection

As a home buyer in the Greater St. Louis area, you will likely choose to get the home inspected once you are under contract. Although some buyers choose to waive this in their contracts for one reason or another, it is a good idea to hire an ASHI-certified home inspector to look the home over, even if you do not intend to ask the seller to make any repairs.

A home inspection gives you more detailed information about the overall condition of the home prior to purchase. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to:

  • Evaluate the physical condition: Structure, construction, and mechanical systems
  • Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment structure, and finishes
  • Identify items that need to be repaired or replaced

You can think of it kind of like a yearly physical from a medical doctor. A home inspector, in this situation, will not necessarily pass or fail a home, but rather they will give you a better understanding of the home’s physical condition so that you can make a well-informed decision about your purchase.

Below is a helpful infographic and more detailed information on what inspectors typically look for to help you understand what to expect during a home inspection.

What to expect during a home inspection


Inspectors will look over the home's structural components such as the framing and foundation of the home to ensure it can stand up to weather and the earth surrounding it as it is expected to. They are looking for signs of foundation movement, weakness, an indication of moisture, cracks, and any structural concerns. They will typically check for the following:

  • Foundation walls
  • Foundation floor
  • Condition of the basement
  • Underfloor crawl space
  • Columns and beams
  • Floor structure
  • Wall structure
  • Ceiling and roof structure


The inspector will check for adequate insulation and ventilation throughout the home, including the attic and any unfinished spaces. They will look for improper ventilation which can allow excess moisture which may lead to mold and water damage. They will typically review the following:

  • Insulation in unfinished spaces
  • Attic ventilation
  • Vent piping through the attic
  • Crawlspaces
  • Foundation areas
  • Exhaust systems


The inspector will look over the roof's covering (shingles, etc), as well as the gutters and downspouts, vents, flashings, any penetrations, and the chimney and skylights, if applicable. They will be looking for problems such as missing, curling, or buckled shingles, nail pops, or any signs of water pooling or potential entry points of moisture into the home through the roof. They will typically review the following:

  • Roof covering (shingles, etc)
  • Flashings
  • Roof penetrations
  • Chimney(s), if applicable
  • Roof drainage system
  • Skylight(s), if applicable


The inspector will closely examine the home's plumbing, water supply, drainage systems, and water heating equipment as well as any drainage or sump pumps. Since water penetration in a home can cause significant damage, it is important the plumbing and water systems are in good working order without leaks. Things like poor water pressure, rust spots, or obvious corrosion can be signs of larger problems. The inspector will typically review the following:

  • Service piping into the house
  • Main water shut-off
  • Supply branch piping
  • Exterior hose bibs/spigots
  • Water flow & pressure
  • Faucets
  • Sinks
  • Traps & drains
  • Waste system
  • Drainage, wastewater & vent piping
  • Water heater(s) including vent piping
  • Fuel supply & distribution
  • Pump(s)


The inspector will take a look at the electrical systems in the home including breakers and fuses, service panels, disconnects, wiring, and other electrical components. They should inform you of the condition of these items and check for any potential problems with any electrical components, which can pose significant safety concerns. They will typically review the following:

  • Service drop (where the electric company connects to your home)
  • Service entrance wires
  • Electrical service rating
  • Main service panel(s)
  • Main disconnect
  • Overcurrent protection
  • Distribution wiring
  • Lighting, fixtures, switches & outlets
  • GFCI - ground fault circuit interrupter
  • AFCI - arc fault circuit interrupter
  • Smoke/heat detectors

Heating & Air Conditioning

The inspector will review the home's heating and air conditioning components, taking note of their age and condition, and should be able to give you an idea of their life expectancy. They will typically review the following:

  • Thermostat(s)
  • Heating system
  • Energy source
  • Safety switch
  • Combustion air
  • Venting, flue(s), & chimney(s)
  • Cooling system
  • Fuse/circuit breaker protection
  • Condensate drain
  • Heating & cooling distribution
  • Filter
  • Gas fireplace(s)

Interior Components

The inspector will take a close look at the inside of the home to understand the condition of all of the interior components that are not covered by other categories and will share any potential concerns. It is important to note that the inspection does not include testing for radon, mold, or other hazardous materials unless specifically requested. They will typically review the following:

  • Doorbell
  • Walls & ceilings
  • Floor surfaces
  • Windows
  • Interior doors
  • Closets
  • Stairways & railings
  • Ceiling fans
  • Cabinets & vanities
  • Countertops

Exterior Components

Like the interior components, the inspector will also look at the exterior components of the home. They will typically review the following:

  •  Driveway
  • Walkways
  • Stoop & steps
  • Porch, patio, & flatwork
  • Exterior doors
  • Exteriors cladding (siding, etc)
  • Eaves, soffits, fascia & trim
  • Window/door frames & trim
  • Exterior caulking
  • Deck and/or balcony
  • Railings
  • Fence condition
  • Grading & surface draining
  • Vegetation affecting structure
  • Retaining walls


If the home has a fireplace, malfunctioning or damaged components can be a huge safety risk. The inspector will look over the components of the fireplace for any potential issues. They will typically review the following:

  • Visible portions of the fireplace & chimney
  • Lintels (beams across the top)
  • Damper doors
  • Cleanout doors & frames


The inspector will often look for proper functioning of the home’s built-in and freestanding appliances. However, keep in mind that whether or not certain appliances come with the home will be outlined in your sales contract and varies with each home sale and not all of these items may remain in the home when you move in. They will typically review the following:

  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Ranges, ovens, cooktops
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator
  • Washer & dryer
  • Dryer vent

Reviewing the Inspection Report

It is important to understand when buying on the resale market that no home is going to be perfect. Just because an inspector identifies problems does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house. It is just a way to understand the overall condition and be aware of anything that may need attention. Your real estate agent will help you review the inspection report and decide if you should take any actions based on the findings.

Looking to purchase a home in the St. Louis area?

The Chad Wilson Group is a team of real estate professionals helping home buyers like you in the Greater St. Louis Area (St. Charles, St. Louis, Warren, and Lincoln Counties). Whether you are a first-time or an experienced homebuyer, we will work on your behalf as experts in your corner throughout the entire process to help make everything easier and more manageable. We work closely with many reputable inspectors and can vett and recommend a trusted company to you for your home inspection, so you can be assured that you are getting a thorough and complete inspection. Contact us or fill out the form below with any questions you may have or to get the process started!


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