The Big 3: 3 Things You Need To Know About Your Home Inspection


Here’s a question:

What are the main things that a home inspector looks for?

If you are thinking about buying a home in the Triangle (Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas), understanding the crucial aspects of a home inspection can save you both time and money. As a Durham realtor for over 13 years, I have seen my fair share of home inspections - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are 3 things (or 5) that you really need to know about.

We call them ‘THE BIG 3’. Here they are:

  • ROOF

The first thing the home inspector is going to look at is the roof. They’re going to inspect for leaks, wetness in the attic, signs of moisture which indicates whether there is a past or active leak. They will also look for problems with flashing, ventilation, vents, attic and skylights if your home has them.

It is important to remember that the home inspection is going to be a basic roof inspection. If there seems to be a problem with the roof, you will have to get a roofer in to give you an estimate on how much it will cost to repair or replace that roof.


The second of the big 3 is your foundation. Any potential buyer is going to want the home to stand the test of time and that comes from a good foundation. The inspector is going to check cracks in the foundation as well as water penetration into the crawl space or basement.

Again, this is going to be a basic inspection by the home inspector. If there are any issues with the foundation, you will need to get a structural engineer to do a more thorough assessment and estimate, so be prepared for that.


The third of the big 3 is HVAC - heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The age of that system is going to be the indicator on whether it needs to be replaced or repaired. HVAC systems are designed to last 15 years. However, sometimes people will overstate the damage or need to replace the AC system and you need to take into consideration whether it is operating efficiently and doing its job. 

Story time:  My home was built in 1986 and I bought it in 1999. My home inspection report stated that I would soon need to replace both of my heat pumps. Guess what? I still haven’t done it! They have lasted 37 years so far!

In addition to the big 3, there are a few other things that you will want to have inspected depending on the age of your home. If your home was built in the 1980s in this area (Durham and Raleigh, NC), there is a lot of masonite siding which can be problematic. If it was built before that, you will want to know about any synthetic stucco which can also be problematic. Other things you will want to know: what kind of wiring do you have? What kind of piping do you have? Many homes in the Durham and Raleigh area built in the 1990s have polybutylene piping, which can be an issue and will require further inspection.

Your investment deserves the best protection, and starts with understanding what really matters. If you have any more questions about the home inspection process or are contemplating buying a home now or in the future, call or email me anytime, I’d love to chat.

Bill Stevenson

Spotlight Realty | Compass 101

Glen Lennox Dr. Suite 300 Chapel Hill, NC 27517

(919) 590-5755 | [email protected] 


Read more blog posts: Spotlight Realty Blog

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