With all of the different steps in the process of buying a home, it is easy to overlook just how important a good thorough home inspection truly is. The home inspection looks for any issues inside and outside that should be addressed prior to completing the sale to help prevent you from discovering too late that your dream home is actually a money pit. Recently, our friends from Rivertown Home Inspections joined us at an open house to demonstrate for 40 of our Century 21 agents what should be included in a properly-done home inspection. Here are a few key takeaways that you can use too:

Home Inspection by Rivertown Property Inspections- Inspections should include both interior and exterior, including surrounding land, driveways and sidewalks. Inspections should also look at grading, foundation and integrity of crawlspace access points.

- Exterior structural elements should be inspected up-close. Your inspector should climb up onto the roof to inspect condition of the roof and shingles up-close, as well as chimneys, skylights, gutters and any other structure that accesses the roof or is best examined from the roof. From the ground, the inspector should check the exterior of doors and windows, columns, steps, water spouts, exterior water hook-ups and exterior components of the HVAC system.

- Inside the home, the inspection should include the interior of windows and doors, walls, ceilings, floors, attic (including proper ventilation), basement and any crawlspaces that are accessible from inside rather than outside.

- Your home inspector should inspect all appliances for proper operation, including running appliances like washer, dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, stove/range and oven.

- The inspection should include a thorough look at the HVAC system components, whether heat pump system or other style, as well as inspecting hot water heater.

- Inspectors should do a complete examination of the electrical system in the home, including all switches, lights, fans, testing all plugs and receptacles to ensure they work properly and are code-compliant. Your inspector should also include smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as well, whether they are wired into the electrical system or battery-operated.

- Your inspection should include a full review of all plumbing throughout the home, including water fixtures, sinks, tubs, showers, drains, toilets, water main and all visible/accessible pipe lines under counters, in crawlspaces and basements or in garages.

- Your inspector should also recommend additional specialized inspections if they notice issues that require a specialist to assess them. In South Carolina, these issues may include suspected termite damage and mold issues.

A properly-done home inspection is your best protection against costly repairs that should be covered by the seller and ensuring your new home has structural integrity and is up to code so you and your family know your home is safe before you complete the sale.