Inspection Tip:

Follow your inspector along if possible, and feel free to ask questions during the inspection. Do not hesitate to contact the inspector with questions once you have read your written report.



Common conditions in this category include the need for repairs to the house framing or foundation due to construction deficiencies, such as cut trusses and inadequate fasteners, or damage from water infiltration and wood destroying insect/organisms.


Roof issues commonly observed include worn or damaged roofing and flashings (the angled barriers found at roof openings or roof plane changes) requiring repair or replacement. Although average lifespan of a roof will vary by region and roof material, most roofs will exhibit wear by the time they are 20 years old.

Exterior Elements

Concerns at this area of a home typically include weather-related wear to all components; water infiltration issues, particularly at windows and doors; improperly constructed decks, stairs and railings; siding products with inherent materials or installation deficiencies; deteriorated older chimneys; and inadequate foundation area drainage and siding clearance issues.

Wood Destroying Insect Damage

A home inspection does not include an inspection for wood-destroying insects or other pests; however, these numbers represent observed damage associated with wood-destroying insects. Warmer climates will have higher incidents of infestation and resultant damage.

Interior Elements

Common defects requiring significant remedial work in the living areas of a home including ceiling, walls, or floor damage from plumbing and roof leaks, aged plaster, and framing settlement. Appliance replacement issues are also included in this category. Major concerns generally equate to aged, built-in units needing replacement. Significant fireplace/stove issues include chimney/venting deficiencies, both physical condition as well as function.

Central Heating Systems

The typical heating system has a life span range from 15-20-years before significant repair work or replacement is needed, whether due to wear related defects or inefficiency. Common concerns include improper exhaust gas venting, corroded components, fuel or control system malfunctions, and inadequate distribution.


While a home inspection does not include an energy audit, survey numbers represent the homes where a visual inspection indicated that the amount or placement of insulation in the attic or other readily accessible areas was significantly below current recommended levels. Most older homes need addition insulation and air sealing work to reduce energy consumption.

Electric System

Most electric system defects require immediate attention due to safety implications. Many homes will have some minor electric issues; listed numbers represent defects requiring significant repair or upgrades due to general aging of components: concerns with certain electric panels or wiring systems due to obsolescence and inherent safety defects; inadequate service capacity, distribution deficiencies; and lack of components with modern safety features.


Appliance life spans can vary significantly based on manufacture and system features. A standard home inspection will evaluate operation of built-in appliances as designated by local or industry standard.


Many homes are subject to water penetration concerns in basements and crawlspaces. Even homes on slabs can experience issues. The breakdown in this category represents homes that exhibited evidence of significant prior or active water intrusion conditions, whether due to chronic issues (poor roof and foundation drainage provisions, high water table) or a one-time or periodic major infiltration or flood event.

Central Cooling or Heat Pump Systems

The typical air conditioning or heat pump system components need major repair work or replacement after about 10-12 years, sometime depending on use, lack of maintenance, and climate related issues. Common concerns include older equipment, cooling adequacy issues, and improper distribution system provisions. Besides normal age- and wear-related issues, the survey also considers inefficient systems and limitations on the use of older refrigerants due to environmental concerns.

Plumbing System

These numbers represent physical defects associated with the water or drain system piping, plumbing fixtures, and water heaters, which typically have about a 10-year service life, as well as water flow or drainage issues.  Also included are issues with certain types of gas and plumbing system piping due to inherent product/material defects or installation issues.  Besides general age-related concerns, water heater defects include exhaust venting issues and lack of defective safety valves.

*Note estimated service life spans can vary considerably depending on region.  Your HouseMaster inspector will provide information appropriate for your home and location.