Home Inspections Are NOT Pass or Fail!

April 27, 2023

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Watch my video here for an overview of the inspection process when buying a home!

Over the years I have worked with many buyers.  And a lot of the buyers I have worked with over the years have told me that they thought that the home inspection was pass or fail – the inspector would tell them if the house passed inspection or not!  This is a myth!

So let’s talk a little bit about what home inspections are – or better yet, what they aren’t!  Home inspection are NOT appraisals that will determine the value of the home – that is what the appraiser that is hired by the bank is going to do!  It is NOT a code inspection – the inspector may know about code requirements for repairs and upgrades you may want to make to a house, but they are not licensed code inspectors – and any questions on code requirements needs to be directed to the city/county.  And a home inspection is NOT a pass or fail inspection – the inspector is NOT going to tell you if you should buy this house!

What the home inspector is going to do is to objectively assess the condition of the house.  They will prepare a report and give that to you for you to review.  Based on what the inspector sees and notes in the report, you will decide then whether or not this is a house you want to move forward with!

Because of the continued tight real estate market we are having here in Richmond, many buyers are either completely waiving the inspection or doing what is called a “Walk and Talk” in which they hire an inspector to go with them to look at a house during their time they are viewing the home!  If you do decide to completely waive an inspection, then there are some things you will want to look at when you are looking at the house:


  1. Look in the attic for any signs of leaking-water stains on sheathing boards, buckets in the attic to catch water coming through the roof!
  2. Any mold and mildew in the attic?
  3. Look outside at the shingles – are they cracked? curling? loose? missing?
  4. Are any shingles missing granules?
  5. Is there moss or algae growth on the shingles?
  6. Is there damage around the skylights and chimneys?
  7. Is there discoloration around the vents?


  1. Run faucets to see if the pressure is low in certain faucets.
  2. Fill a glass with water to see if it is discolored, which could be due to a release of iron if the house is old.
  3. Look at porcelain sinks to see if there is any brown stains on them.
  4. Are there dripping faucets?
  5. Are there toilets that won’t stop running?
  6. Are there drain problems?


  1. Are there a lot of extension cords around?
  2. Are lights flickering on and off?
  3. Are there broken light switches and loose outlets?
  4. Some buyers have a tester to see if any of the outlets have reverse polarity!
  5. Any exposed wiring?
  6. Switches and outlets that don’t work?


  1. Look at siding – is it warped?  Any peeling paint?  Are nail heads easily seen?
  2. Are there cracks in the foundation – some you should worry about and some could be normal settlement -take pictures & talk to a trusted person
  3. Are there a lot of weeds close to the foundation – this may mean there is excess moisture in this area and may be a drainage problem
  4. Are doors and windows pulling away from the house?
  5. Are any windows fogged – that may indicate some broken seals.
  6. If there is a chimney, is it leaning or tilting


  1. Inside the home, are there sagging or uneven floors?
  2. Are cabinets separating from the walls?
  3. Are there windows and doors which are not shutting properly?
  4. Are there any cracks on the interior walls and ceilings?
  5. Are any of the walls bowing?


  1. If the filter is accessible, take a look at that to see if it is dirty.
  2. Check the manufacture date on the back of the outside unit.
  3. If you feel that the HVAC is not properly cooling or heating, you may wish to request any service records the seller may have to show that it has been properly maintained over the years.

As you can see, there are a number of things you will want to look at when you are looking at homes.  Although this brief checklist cannot and should not replace a full home inspection, it will give you a pretty good idea if this house will be one that you will have minimal repairs to do after closing or will become a money pit after closing.

If you are thinking of buying a home and have questions, feel free to contact me and let me know – I am happy to sit down and talk!  No obligation – no pressure!  Have a great day!