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Buying a House in Boise, ID? These are the Things Your Home Inspector Will Look For

Posted On May 26, 2023


Are you planning to buy a house in Boise, Idaho? Moving into or investing in a Boise, Idaho, real estate might just be one of the greatest decisions you will ever make. As one of the fast-growing cities in the United States, Boise has a growing economy and a low unemployment rate, and offers a high quality of life, making it attractive to potential residents, investors, visitors, and businesses. Boise’s proximity to urban, rural, business, and wildlife areas allows you to live the best of all worlds and offers a variety of options for different lifestyles and activities.

The cost of living in Boise is relatively lower than in other major cities in the United States. It is also a family-friendly city with excellent education options and activities for children, including parks and recreational facilities.

When buying a house, a home inspection is one of the essential things you have to do before finalizing the sale. Whether you are a first-time or an experienced homebuyer in Boise, ID, It is important to remember everything you need to prepare for the home-buying process, including a home inspection. Read on to learn more about home inspections, why they are essential, and how they can be done efficiently.

What is a home inspection, and why is it important?


What is a home inspection anyway? Before you buy a house in Boise, Idaho, you must first understand everything that goes on in a home inspection and the requirements. While the step should be universal in most cases, it is something that’s optional for the most part.

But if you want to make sure that issues you aren’t aware of don’t arise once you buy a house,  ordering a home inspection is the way to go. An inspector will make a visual scrutiny of the house and its major systems, such as HVAC, the foundation, and plumbing.

Benefits of home inspection

While not mandatory, a home inspection is highly recommended. It will give you a better picture of the condition of the house you are about to buy. A home inspection will also ensure you get the most out of what you’re paying for. While it incurs additional cost ($400-$500 for a 2,000-square-foot home) and may take time (typically from 2.5 to 3 hours, or longer depending on the size of the property), a home inspection can save you money in the long run.

While you can perform the home inspection by yourself, hiring a professional home inspector will ensure comprehensive assessments, bring hard-to-notice issues to light, and provide you the results in a home inspection report. This report will tell you the areas that require fixing or further evaluation. A home inspection report will also help you with negotiations with the seller on the final sale price or who will pay for the repairs.

Schedule the home inspection as soon as possible. If there are major issues with the house, having it inspected early will help you decide whether or not you still want to pursue the sale. If further assessments and repairs are required, you will have enough time to do them.

Finding a home inspector

There are no statewide requirements for home inspections in Boise, Idaho. However, when hiring a professional home inspector, choose a licensed and experienced home inspector familiar with the local market and building codes. A home inspector based in Boise will have the proper knowledge of common issues in homes in this area. Choose the one with a good reputation for being transparent and thorough. You would want a complete and honest assessment of the condition of the house you want to buy.

If you are searching online, check the reviews from other clients, and make prior inquiries. You can also ask friends or family living in the area where the house is to see if they can recommend an inspector for you. Ask about their experience with their recommended inspector. Your real estate agent will also have a network of providers, and they can easily connect you with a home inspector.

What do home inspectors look for?


When hiring a professional home inspector, what is covered in their inspection could depend on the state standards – Idaho, for this matter, and the association that most inspectors belong to. If your home inspector belongs to either InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) or ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors), they may have their standards of practice that dictate what their home inspectors are required and not required to inspect.

While your home inspector takes care of the home inspecting process, it is worth knowing what home inspectors look for so that you are prepared and understand what the report entails. You can also ask for a sample home inspection report to ensure it is transparent, comprehensive, informative, and easy to understand.

What do home inspectors look for? Here is a home inspection checklist of the most common things with which you should be familiar.

Home inspectors look at the exterior and foundation

Your home inspector will check the condition of the structure, foundation, floors, walls, and ceilings. This covers visible elements like foundation walls, framing, slabs, posts, beams, and joists. They will inspect if there is foundation movement, cracks, structural concerns, and any indication of moisture and water penetration. If you are buying an older house, it is important to check if the foundation is solid, the sides are straight, and the window and door frames are square. On the exterior, the inspector will look for any siding and attic cracks, rot, or decay; blistering or flaking paint; and if there is an adequate clearing between the siding and earth.

A home inspection also includes the land grading around the house, walkways, steps, driveways, decks, patios, and retaining walls. Land grading is a common issue in Idaho and is one of the most basic things to fix. Land grading is how the soil is situated around the home’s foundation. It should slope away from the foundation, moving water away from the property and maintaining the integrity of the foundation. It also reduces the risk of mold in the crawlspace.

Home inspectors look at the roof and gutters

What do home inspectors look for on a home’s roof? They will look to see if the roof is well constructed and if there are any signs of age or deterioration. The inspector will also check roof coverings, gutters, downspouts, and roof penetrations. Any defects related to the roof can cause ceiling drips and leaks. If there is a chimney or skylight, it will be checked to see if it is correctly sealed, flashed, and doesn’t have moss growth and debris.

Did you know that roofs need replacement after some years? Depending on the material used, a roof typically lasts from 12 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced. A home inspector will note whether or not the roof already needs replacement needs or estimate of how many more years it has left before it needs to be changed. The roof protects you and your home from the elements, so a roof in good condition keeps your house well-insulated and provides good ventilation.

Home inspectors look at major systems

The home inspector will check out all the major interior systems in the home.

  • HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)

    A thorough visual inspection of the home’s HVAC system ensures that the furnace, heat pump, air conditioner, ducts, and thermostat are working properly. The inspector will look for signs of gas or carbon monoxide leaks, which could be highly dangerous if left undetected.

    They will also inspect the HVAC system’s performance by checking if a gas or oil furnace lights properly and heats or cools the home as intended. Home inspectors will only usually check the heating system during the winter and the air conditioning system during the summer. Otherwise, it can provide an inaccurate reading.

    HVAC systems must be serviced at least once every year, and their lifespan ranges from 10 to 25 years depending on the type of system and how well they are maintained. Having them inspected will let you know their age and condition.

  • Electrical

    Faulty electrical systems are a leading cause of house fires. If you are buying an older home, it may have dated electrical wiring, unless the home went through an upgrade or renovation. Another common issue that the home inspector will look for is electrical outlets and switches that are not allowed.

    The first thing that they will check is the condition of the visible wiring and electrical panels. There must be no corroded wires and have proper amperage ratings. You also need to know if there are enough electrical outlets in every room of the house. Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets must also be installed in the rooms to prevent injury and electrocution.

    Outside the house, the home inspector will check if overgrown tree branches and bushes interfere with electrical wires.

  • Plumbing

    The home’s plumbing system must provide enough water to the house and drain as it should. Leaky pipes will lead to flooding and the development of mold. The home inspector will also check if the plumbing system provides sufficient water flow and pressure. Faucets, toilets, bathtubs, showers, sinks, waterlines, and pipes – all areas where water runs through will undergo inspection.

    The hydrants and pipes outside of the house will be checked and see that they have anti-freeze protection. The temperature, pipes, and pressure relief valves in the water heaters will be looked into as well. Aside from the plumbing system, the inspector may note down other parts of the house where water has seeped through or moisture has accumulated such as walls, flooring, and ceiling.

Home inspectors look at the attic, insulation, and ventilation

Insulation determines the energy efficiency in the house. If there is sufficient headroom for the home inspector to enter the attic, they will check the condition of the insulation in the attic as well as its ventilation. If the attic is poorly ventilated, it can bring in excess moisture that may lead to mold.

In addition, what home inspectors will look for in the attic is the condition of the roof from inside the house, electrical wiring, the presence of pests and the damage they may have caused, as well as signs of water damage.

If there is a furnace in the attic, the inspector will check for rust. As for fire damage, they will see scorched wood or soot.

Home inspectors look at the chimney and fireplaces

Having wood-burning and gas fireplaces are popular features in Southern Idaho homes. Signs of use, such as the normal wear and tear at the top portion of the chimney, include missing mortar or chimney caps. In the fireplace, the home inspector will look for any cracked chimney tiles. The home inspector will also check stoves and inserts, vent systems, the operation of dampers, accessories, and components, and any signs of damage or deterioration of the hearth or chambers.

Home inspectors look at the interior

To ensure good living conditions in the house you are buying, every part of its interior must be inspected. While the home inspector is not required to check the household appliances (there will also be instances of these and the furniture will not come with the house when sold, anyway), the following are the areas they will inspect.

  • Windows, doors, trim
    Properly working windows and doors keep the heat in and the cold out and are energy efficient. The inspector will check if they open and close properly, the frames are secure and have no signs of rotting, the caulking is solid and secure, and there is no damage to the glass. They will also ensure that each room has at least one operating window that works as an emergency exit. The door frames should not sag or be off-balance – such instances could mean there is an issue with the property’s foundation.

  • Rooms
    What home inspectors look for in the rooms are leaning walls, which is a sign of faulty framing. They will also look for stained ceilings and adequate insulation. If a room tends to be cold and drafty, there could also be a problem with insufficient heating vents. In the kitchen, the home inspector will check if the rangehood fans vent to the outside. They’ll also find out if doors and drawers open and close properly.

Home inspectors look for safety features

Are there smoke detectors? Are they installed in the right places? Smoke detectors are typically found in or near sleeping areas. In cooking areas, they should not be installed too close to the stove to avoid being inadvertently set off by day-to-day cooking.

As mentioned, there should be ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. These protect you from shock in rooms where water and electricity are near each other, such as the bathroom and kitchen.

If there are glass features installed near stairs, bathtubs, and showers, they should be made of tempered safety glass. The stairs themselves need to have a uniform, safe height and angle and must be built according to code and standards. The handrails and guardrails also need to be properly installed.

Time and cost of a home inspection in Boise, ID


Depending on the size of the property and the number of rooms, a home inspection can take from 2 to 6 hours. The length of the inspection will also depend on the condition of the house – whether it’s newly constructed or a fixer upper.

Before getting a professional home inspection, compare costs. Inquire about the specific services included in a standard inspection and provide details about the home you wish to buy, specifically its size. Then, inquire about the cost of the service, the scope, and estimated time of completion. On average, rates are from $300 to $600.

Next steps after a home inspection


During and after the home inspection, ask questions to your inspector to better understand the results and what you should do next. Some questions you can ask include:

  • How bad is it? Is the home ready for move-in or do you need to do some work?
  • How can it be fixed? If the inspector finds a problem, they may tell you how to quickly fix it or suggest an expert for a second opinion.
  • What should be fixed first? If the inspector detects multiple problems, find out the most pressing issues so you can prioritize them.
  • How do the systems and features work if you are not familiar with them and how best to maintain them?
  • What is the remaining lifespan of the inspected systems and features? How often do they need to be checked by a professional?

After you receive the home inspection report and have second thoughts about buying the property, you will have choices about what you can do next.

  • An inspection contingency will allow you to walk away, especially if there are too many repairs needed and if there are major issues.
  • You can negotiate with the seller to lower the home’s sale price to compensate for the repairs. However, you should also know that the seller is allowed to refuse this request.
  • You can ask the seller to pay for the repairs before buying the home. Again, the seller can also refuse this.
  • If you still want to purchase the property and think you are still getting a good deal, you can pay for the repairs yourself.
  • See if you can also get the seller to meet you halfway, especially if there will be major repairs.

Find the best Boise, Idaho real estate with the Hoyte Group


Understanding what goes on in a home inspection will help you identify your priorities and what you are willing to accept in terms of repairs and maintenance before closing a deal.

For your peace of mind, look for quality homes for sale in Boise, ID, and the surrounding areas with our team at The Hoyte Group. Led by founding broker Elliot Hoyte, our full-service real estate brokerage will be there for you every step of the way, including looking for things like home inspection services to ensure your protection and make sure that you are getting what you are pay for,

Call us, The Hoyte Group, at 208.999.3076 or send us an email. You may also leave us a message here to get started.


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