Building Inspector Checklist: What To Expect In Phoenix, Tx Edition

If you're buying or selling a home in Phoenix, TX, hiring a professional building inspector is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your investment. A thorough home inspection conducted by a qualified Building Inspector Phoenix  can uncover issues that may not be apparent to the untrained eye.

In this post, we'll walk through what you can expect during a standard home inspection in Phoenix, TX. We'll cover the basics of the process, the major systems and areas inspectors examine, how inspectors document their findings, and guidance for inspecting both older and newer homes.

Overview of the Home Inspection Process

A standard home inspection usually takes 2-3 hours to complete for a typical single-family home. The building inspector will visually examine the physical condition of the home and evaluate the condition of the major systems, equipment, structures, and components.

Here's a general overview of what happens during a home inspection:

  • The inspector will begin with the exterior areas - roof, siding, windows, doors, exterior outlets, driveway, etc. They will look for any issues with the roof covering, fascia, soffits, siding, trim, and exterior paint/finish.

  • They will check the condition of windows and doors as well as proper operation. The inspector will also examine any attached porches, decks, steps, handrails, guardrails, etc.

  • The inspector will run through all the home's levels and rooms, evaluating floors, walls, ceilings, doors, windows, outlets, cabinetry, sinks, faucets, lighting fixtures, and more. Bathrooms and kitchens get extra scrutiny.

  • Systems like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, water heater, and others will be inspected. The inspector tests basic functions and checks for proper installation, operation, and maintenance issues.

  • The attic, basement/crawlspace, insulation, ventilation, pipes, ducts, vents, and more will be viewed. The inspector looks for water intrusion signs, damage, leaks, pests, and other issues.

  • The inspector provides a summary of major discoveries and concerns at the end of the inspection. A detailed written report with photos is sent to the client afterwards.

Now let's take a closer look at specific areas and systems inspectors examine.

Areas and Systems Inspected

A home inspection covers a wide range of areas and systems. Here are some of the major elements included in a standard inspection:

Structural System

  • Foundation - inspectors check for cracked walls, moisture leaks, improper drainage, unevenness, and signs of settling.

  • Framing - inspectors look for proper construction techniques, deficient bracing, cracks, dry rot, water damage, and other flaws.

  • Roof structure - trusses/rafters are examined for defects and signs of sagging. Evidence of leaks is investigated.

  • Crawl spaces and basements - inspectors check for adequate ventilation, moisture issues, and structural problems.


  • Roof covering - inspectors evaluate roof condition, age, material defects, improper installation, leakage signs, drainage issues, and remaining useful life.

  • Siding and trim - inspectors check for cracks, water damage, rot, separation gaps, and finish failures.

  • Windows/doors - proper operation, glazing compound failure, decayed wood, fit within openings, and caulking condition are assessed.

  • Attached porches, decks, steps - structural integrity, railings, steps, hardware, and overall condition examined.

  • Grading and drainage - inspectors check for improperly graded soil, drainage deficiencies, moisture intrusion signs, and gutter/downspout function.

Electrical System

  • Main panel and subpanels - proper installation, grounding, bonding, overcurrent protection, and compatibility of components is checked.

  • Wiring - inspectors look for open junction boxes, exposed wires, restricted access to panels, undersized wiring, and other issues.

  • Switches and outlets - proper operation, grounding, polarity, GFCI protection near water sources, and condition are evaluated.

  • Fixtures - inspectors check operation and condition of installed lighting fixtures and ceiling fans.

Plumbing System

  • Water supply - inspectors check water pressure, pipe material/condition, proper support, valve operation, and signs of leakage.

  • Drain/waste lines - drain pipe materials, proper slope, venting, functional drainage, and signs of blockage or leakage are reviewed.

  • Fixtures and faucets - water flow, drainage, leaks, valve function, cross-connection threats, and fixture/pipe condition are evaluated.

  • Water heaters - fuel supply, venting, seismic strapping, leaks, safety valves, and energy efficiency are examined.

HVAC System

  • Equipment age and condition - inspectors check estimated age, overall condition, abnormal noises/vibrations, and deficiencies.

  • Distribution - inspectors verify proper installation of ducting and registers, insulation, air flow, and check for leaks.

  • Thermostat - inspectors test operation and control of system.

  • Combustion appliances - proper venting, fuel lines, starter switches, and space clearances are checked.


  • Walls and ceilings - inspectors check for cracks, water stains, bulging areas, rotting, and other damage. Signs of current/past leakage are investigated.

  • Floors - levelness, decayed or damaged subflooring, hardwood finish failures, loose tiles, and other deficiencies are reviewed.

  • Doors and windows - operation, hardware, condition of frames/trim, weatherstripping, and locks are tested.

  • Cabinets and counters - inspectors check for water damage, separation, broken drawers/hinges, and finish failures.

  • Garage doors and openers - operation, safety sensors, auto-reverse function, condition of hardware and panels/springs are tested.

Fire Safety

  • Smoke/CO detectors - location, operation, and age of detectors are checked.

  • Fire extinguishers - proper type, location, and maintenance tags are verified.

  • Fire sprinkler systems - inspectors visually check the presence of systems in newer homes. They do not test sprinkler function.

Pools and Spas

  • Pool shell - inspectors check for cracks, leaks, damaged marcite, and vinyl liner condition on in-ground pools.

  • Decking - inspectors check for cracked concrete, lifting of pavers, drainage, gates/fences, and handrails.

  • Equipment - pumps, filters, heaters, covers, valves, pipes, and visual surface conditions are checked. Inspectors do not perform leak tests.

  • Electrical - GFCI protection and bonding are checked around pools/spas. Light niches are examined.

  • Safety - compliance with pool barrier laws, door alarms, condition of drains and other anti-entrapment devices are reviewed.

Major Appliances

  • Ovens/ranges, cooktops, microwave, dishwasher, and garbage disposal - inspectors operate and check basic functions. They don't evaluate every setting/feature.

  • Clothes washer/dryer - water connections, venting, and operation during wash modes are checked. Exhaust ducts should vent outside.

  • Refrigerator - inspectors confirm operation in basic modes and examine overall visual condition.

As you can see, home inspectors thoroughly examine both the visible and inner workings of the home - often using ladders, flashlights, moisture meters, outlet testers and other tools to access and evaluate areas.

Next, let's look at how inspectors document these findings.

Inspection Reporting

Professional home inspectors take meticulous notes and digital photos during the inspection. These are compiled into a detailed inspection report that's sent to the client afterwards.

A typical report includes:

  • Overview summarizing major discoveries or concerns

  • Description of all areas and systems inspected

  • Detailed narrative of findings and deficiencies for each area/system

  • Supporting photos, diagrams, and other visual aids

  • Recommendations for repairs, replacements, upgrades, or further specialist evaluation

  • Summary of the home's overall condition given its age and location

  • Inspector's professional opinion of any significant defects or safety hazards

The report serves as an important resource for both buyers and sellers. Buyers can use it to understand the home's condition, negotiate credits or fixes, and budget for upcoming repairs/replacements if buying the home.

Sellers receive vital feedback on issues that should be addressed to attract buyers and maximize the home's marketability. And sellers can reference the report findings to prove or disprove any buyer claims after closing.

Overall, a comprehensive inspection report from a credible building inspector provides peace of mind to both parties in the transaction.

Unique Considerations for Older vs. Newer Homes

Building inspectors know that homes of different ages require some differing areas of focus during the inspection process.

For older homes, inspectors pay particular attention to:

  • Signs of aging, fatigue, and deterioration in roofing, siding, foundation, framing, and other structure/systems

  • Outdated, insufficient, or improperly modified electrical systems and wiring

  • Older plumbing and waste venting systems near or past their typical lifespan

  • Lack of ground fault interrupter (GFCI) outlets near water sources

  • Presence of materials like lead pipes, asbestos, knob and tube wiring that may be hazardous

  • Insufficient insulation and air sealing compared to modern standards

  • Past remodels/additions that may not comply with current codes

  • General wear and tear, deferred maintenance, and decline in materials/finishes

For newer homes, extra attention is given to:

  • Contractor quality and adherence to building codes during original construction

  • Warranty coverage and builder defect liability protections still in effect

  • Abnormal sounds, odors, stains, or other clues of concealed installation errors

  • Modern materials and installation methods used for roofing, siding, insulation, HVAC, and more

  • Energy efficiency features present like solar panels, EV chargers, tankless water heaters

  • Fire safety updates like hardwired smoke alarms, fire sprinkler systems

  • Compliance with current deck, railing, and pool barrier safety standards

Regardless of age, a home inspection aims to provide an accurate, objective assessment of the home's physical condition. And an experienced inspector knows where to look for clues that may indicate bigger issues in both older and newer homes.

Partnering With the Right Building Inspector

As you can see, a home inspection requires technical expertise across roofing, siding, structure, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and many other disciplines. That's why partnering with the right building inspector is so important for buyers and sellers in Phoenix, TX.

Here are a few tips for choosing a trustworthy, qualified home inspector:

  • Look for an inspector with Certified Professional Inspector (CPI) designation or membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). These indicate advanced training and continuing education.

  • Verify state licensure - in Texas, home inspectors must hold a real estate inspector license from the Texas Real Estate Commission.

  • Choose an inspector with 5+ years of experience in your local Phoenix market. Their inspection report will be informed by understanding common defects in local housing stock.

  • Read through sample inspection reports to understand the depth of detail and quality of analysis typical for the inspector.

  • Look for clear, straightforward communication from the inspector during initial contacts and information gathering.

  • Understand the inspector's policies about what they inspect and what's outside their scope. Some inspectors offer additional testing for radon, mold, water quality, etc. for an added fee.

  • Ask about any professional affiliations and credentials the inspector holds. Advanced certifications can indicate extensive expertise.

  • Don't make price the determining factor - a very low fee may indicate an inexperienced inspector or one who rushes through inspections.

Taking the time to research and choose the right home inspector will pay dividends through their insights and can help avoid nasty surprises down the road.


A pre-purchase home inspection provides critical insights into the current physical condition of a home. In Phoenix, TX, buyers and sellers should partner with an experienced, licensed building inspector they can trust to perform a thorough evaluation.

Knowing what to expect in the inspection process allows you to plan accordingly and make the most informed decisions about your transaction. Major defects uncovered in the inspection report can be addressed before closing, or used to negotiate repairs or price credits.

If you're involved in a home purchase in the Phoenix market, don't skip this important step. A few hundred dollars spent upfront on a home inspection can potentially save you thousands in unanticipated repairs or replacements later on. With an expert home inspection in hand, you can proceed confidently through the closing process knowing the home's true condition.