Eventually, your buyers are going to conduct an inspection. You may as well know what they are going to find by getting there first.  Having an inspection performed ahead of time helps in many other ways, such as:
  • It allows you to see your home through the eyes of a critical and neutral third party.
  • It alerts you to immediate safety issues before agents and visitors tour your home.
  • It may alert you to items of immediate concern, such as radon gas or active termite infestation.
  • It permits you to make repairs ahead of time so that ...
  • Defects won't become negotiating stumbling blocks later.
  • There is no delay in obtaining the Use and Occupancy Permit.
  • You have the time to get reasonably priced contractors or make the repairs yourself, if qualified.
  • It helps you to price your home realistically.
  • It may relieve prospects' concerns and suspicions.
  • It may encourage the buyer to waive his inspection contingency.
  • It reduces your liability by adding professional supporting documentation to your Seller's Disclosure statement.
Never hire an inspector who is not a member of InterNACHI, which provides the most trusted and rigorous training for inspectors in the industry.
Copies of the inspection report, along with receipts for any repairs, should be made available to potential buyers.


This list of terms covers most of the common household dangers likely to be encountered by InterNACHI inspectors. 
  • algae: microorganisms that may grow to colonies in damp environments, including certain rooftops. They can discolor shingles; often described as fungus.

  • alligatoring:  a condition of paint or aged asphalt brought about by the loss of volatile oils, and the oxidation caused by solar radiation; causes a coarse, "checking" pattern characterized by slipping of the new paint coating over the old coating to the extent that the old coating can be seen through the fissures. "Alligatoring" produces a pattern of cracks resembling an alligator hide, and is ultimately the result of the limited tolerance of paint or asphalt to thermal expansion and contraction. 

  • asbestos:  a common form of magnesium silicate which was commonly used in various construction products because of its stability and resistance to fire. Asbestos exposure, caused by inhaling loose asbestos fibers, is associated with various forms of lung disease. Asbestos is the name given to certain inorganic minerals when they occur in fibrous form. Though fire-resistant, its extremely fine fibers are easily inhaled, and exposure to them over a period of years has been linked to cancers of the lung and the lung-cavity lining, and to asbestosis, a severe lung impairment. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber sometimes found in older homes. It is hazardous to your health when a possibility exists of exposure to inhalable fibers. Homeowners should be alert for friable (readily crumbled or brittle) asbestos, and always seek professional advice in dealing with it. 

  • bleeding:  the migration of a liquid to the surface of a component or into/onto an adjacent material. 

  • blister:  an enclosed, raised spot evident on the surface of a building. They are mainly caused by the expansion of trapped air, water vapor, moisture or other gases. 

  • blue stain:  a bluish or grayish discoloration of the sapwood caused the growth of certain mold-like fungi on the surface and in the interior of a piece, made possible by the same conditions that favor the growth of other fungi. 

  • bubbling:  in glazing, open or closed pockets in a sealant caused by the release, production or expansion of gasses. 

  • buckling:  the bending of a building material as a result of wear and tear, or contact with a substance such as water. 

  • carbon monoxide (CO):  a colorless, odorless, highly poisonous gas formed by the incomplete combustion of carbon. 

  • cohesive failure:  internal splitting of a compound resulting from over-stressing of the compound. 

  • condensation:  water condensing on walls, ceiling and pipes; normal in areas of high humidity, usually controlled by ventilation or a dehumidifier. 

  • corrosion:  the deterioration of metal by chemical or electrochemical reaction resulting from exposure to weathering, moisture, chemicals and other agents and media. 

  • crater:  pit in the surface of concrete resulting from cracking of the mortar due to expansive forces associated with a particle of unsound aggregate or a contaminating material, such as wood or glass. 

  • crazing:  a series of hairline cracks in the surface of weathered materials, having a web-like appearance; also, hairline cracks in pre-finished metals caused by bending or forming; see brake metal

  • cupping:  a type of warping that causes boards to curl up at their edges. 

  • damp-proofing:  a process used on concrete, masonry and stone surfaces to repel water, the main purpose of which is to prevent the coated surface from absorbing rainwater while still permitting moisture vapor to escape from the structure. Moisture vapor readily penetrates coatings of this type. Damp-proofing generally applies to surfaces above grade; waterproofing generally applies to surfaces below grade. 

  • decay:  disintegration of wood and other substances through the action of fungi. 

  • distortion:  alteration of viewed images caused by variations in glass flatness or in homogeneous portions within the glass; an inherent characteristic of heat-treated glass. 

  • drippage:  bitumen material that drips through roof deck joints, or over the edge of a roof deck. 

  • dry rot:  see fungal wood rot

  • feathering strips:  tapered wood filler strips placed along the butt edges of old wood shingles to create a level surface when re-roofing over existing wood shingle roofs; aso called "horsefeathers." 

  • fungal wood rot:  a common wood-destroying organism which develops when wood-containing material is exposed to moisture and poor air circulation for a long period of time (six-plus months); often and incorrectly referred to as "dry rot." 

  • fungi (wood):  microscopic plants that live in damp wood and cause mold, stain and decay. 

  • incompatibility:  descriptive of two or more materials which are not suitable to be used together. 

  • lead-based paint:  Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around homes. Lead may cause a range of health problems, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children age 6 and under are most at risk because their bodies are growing quickly. 

  • migration:  spreading or creeping of a constituent of a compound onto/into adjacent surfaces; see bleeding

  • mud cracks:  cracks developing from the normal shrinkage of an emulsion coating when applied too heavily. 

  • mushroom:  an unacceptable occurrence when the top of a caisson concrete pier spreads out and hardens to become wider than the foundation's wall thickness.

  • photo-oxidation:  oxidation caused by rays of the sun. 

  • ponding:  a condition where water stands on a roof for prolonged periods due to poor drainage and/or deflection of the deck. 

  • pop-out:  see stucco pop-out

  • radon:  a naturally-occurring, radioactive gas which is heavier than air and is common in many parts of the country. Radon gas exposure is associated with lung cancer. Mitigation measures may involve crawlspace and basement venting and various forms of vapor barriers. 

  • scrap out:  the removal of all drywall material and debris after the home is "hung out" (installed) with drywall. 

  • seasoning:  removing moisture from green wood in order to improve its serviceability. 

  • settlement:  shifts in a structure, usually caused by freeze-thaw cycles underground. 

  • sludge:  term for the waste material found in sump pump pits, septic systems and gutters. 

  • spalling:  the chipping and flaking of concrete, bricks and other masonry where improper drainage and venting and freeze/thaw cycling exists. 

  • splitting:  the formation of long cracks completely through a membrane. Splits are frequently associated with lack of allowance for expansion stresses. They can also be a result of deck deflection and a change in deck direction. 

  • ultraviolet degradation:  a reduction in certain performance limits caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. 

  • UV rays:  ultraviolet rays from the sun. 

  • veining:  in roofing, the characteristic lines or "stretch marks" which develop during the aging process of soft bitumens. 

  • warping:  any distortion in a material. 

  • water vapor:  moisture existing as a gas in air.
InterNACHI inspectors are trained in detecting these and other common household dangers.

From Household and Environmental Hazards - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/hazards.htm#ixzz3264tBjB7

Deadly Mistake #1: Thinking you can't afford it. 
Many people who thought that buying the home they wanted was simply out of their reach are now enjoying a new lifestyle in their very own homes.  
Buying a home is the smartest financial decision you will ever make.  In fact, most homeowners would be broke at retirement if it wasn't for one saving grace -- the equity in their homes.  Furthermore, tax allowances favor home ownership. 
Real estate values have always risen steadily.  Of course, there are peaks and valleys, but the long-term trend is a consistent increase.  This means that every month when you make a mortgage payment, the amount that you owe on the home goes down and the value typically increases.  This "owe less, worth more" situation is called equity build-up and is the reason you can't afford not to buy. 
Even if you have little money for a down payment or credit problems, chances are that you can still buy that new home.  It just comes down to knowing the right strategies, and working with the right people.  See below. 
Deadly Mistake #2: Not hiring a buyer's agent to represent you. 
Buying property is a complex and stressful task.  In fact, it is often the biggest, single investment you will make in your lifetime.  At the same time, real estate transactions have become increasingly complicated.  New technology, laws, procedures, and competition from other buyers require buyer agents to perform at an ever-increasing level of competence and professionalism.  In addition, making the wrong decisions can end up costing you thousands of dollars.  It doesn't have to be this way! 
Work with a buyer's agent who has a keen understanding of the real estate business and the local market.  A buyer's agent has a fiduciary duty to you.  That means that he or she is loyal only to you and is obligated to look out for your best interests.  A buyer's agent can help you find the best home, the best lender, and the best home inspector in your area.  That inspector should be an InterNACHI-certified home inspector because InterNACHI inspectors are the most qualified and  best-trained inspectors in the world.
Trying to buy a home without an agent or a qualified inspector is, well... unthinkable. 
Deadly Mistake #3: Getting a cheap inspection. 
Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make.  This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection.  The cost of a home inspection is small relative to the value of the home being inspected.  The additional cost of hiring a certified inspector is almost insignificant by comparison.  As a home buyer, you have recently been crunching the numbers, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the best deals.  Don't stop now!  Don't let your real estate agent, a "patty-cake" inspector, or anyone else talk you into skimping here.   
InterNACHI front-ends its membership requirements.  InterNACHI turns down more than half the inspectors who want to join because they can't fulfill the membership requirements.  Texas House Check has fulfilled all of the training requirements.
InterNACHI-certified inspectors perform the best inspections, by far.  InterNACHI-certified inspectors earn their fees many times over.  They do more, they deserve more and -- yes -- they generally charge a little more.  Do yourself a favor...and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve.

About 2.5 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home each year. The good news is that many of these incidents can be prevented by using simple child-safety devices on the market today. Any safety device you buy should be sturdy enough to prevent injury to your child, yet easy for you to use. It's important to follow installation instructions carefully.
In addition, if you have older children in the house, be sure they re-secure safety devices. Remember, too, that no device is completely childproof; determined youngsters have been known to disable them. You can childproof your home for a fraction of what it would cost to have a professional do it. And safety devices are easy to find. You can buy them at hardware stores, baby equipment shops, supermarkets, drug stores, home and linen stores, and through online and mail-order catalogs.
InterNACHI inspectors, too, should know what to tell clients who are concerned about the safety of their children. Here are some child-safety devices that can help prevent many injuries to young children. 
1.  Use safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries. Safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining access to medicines and household cleaners, as well as knives and other sharp objects.
Look for safety latches and locks that adults can easily install and use, but that are sturdy enough to withstand pulls and tugs from children. Safety latches are not a guarantee of protection, but they can make it more difficult for children to reach dangerous substances. Even products with child-resistant packaging should be locked away out of reach; this packaging is not childproof.
But, according to Colleen Driscoll, executive director of the International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS), "Installing an ineffective latch on a cabinet is not an answer for helping parents with safety.  It is important to understand parental habits and behavior.  While a latch that loops around cabinet knob covers is not expensive and easy to install, most parents do not consistently re-latch it."
Parents should be sure to purchase and install safety products that they will actually adapt to and use. 
2.  Use safety gates to help prevent falls down stairs and to keep children away from dangerous areas. Look for safety gates that children cannot dislodge easily, but that adults can open and close without difficulty. For the top of stairs, gates that screw into the wall are more secure than "pressure gates." 
New safety gates that meet safety standards display a certification seal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). If you have an older safety gate, be sure it doesn't have "V" shapes that are large enough for a child's head and neck to fit into.
3.  Use door locks to help prevent children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers, including swimming pools.
To prevent access to swimming pools, door locks on safety gates should be placed high, out of reach of young children. Locks should be used in addition to fences and alarms. Sliding glass doors with locks that must be re-secured after each use are often not an effective barrier to pool access.
Door knob covers, while inexpensive and recommended by some, are generally not effective for children who are tall enough to reach the doorknob; a child's ingenuity and persistence can usually trump the cover's effectiveness.
4.  Use anti-scald devices for faucets and shower heads, and set your water heater temperature to 120° F to help prevent burns from hot water. A plumber may need to install these. 
5.  Use smoke detectors on every level of your home and near bedrooms to alert you to fires. Smoke detectors are essential safety devices for protection against fire deaths and injuries. Check smoke detectors once a month to make sure they're working. If detectors are battery-operated, change batteries at least once a year, or consider using 10-year batteries.
6.  Use window guards and safety netting to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks and landings. Window guards and safety netting for balconies and decks can help prevent serious falls.  Check these safety devices frequently to make sure they are secure and properly installed and maintained. There should be no more than 4 inches between the bars of the window guard. If you have window guards, be sure at least one window in each room can be easily used for escape in a fire. Window screens are not effective for preventing children from falling out of windows.
7.  Use corner and edge bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces. Corner and edge bumpers can be used with furniture and fireplace hearths to help prevent injuries from falls, and to soften falls against sharp and rough edges.
Be sure to look for bumpers that stay securely on furniture and hearth edges.
8.  Use receptacle or outlet covers and plates to help prevent children from electrical shock and possible electrocution.
Be sure the outlet protectors cannot be easily removed by children and are large enough so that children cannot choke on them.
9.  Use a carbon monoxide (CO) detector outside bedrooms to help prevent CO poisoning. Consumers should install CO detectors near sleeping areas in their homes. Households that should use CO detectors include those with gas or oil heat or with attached garages.
10.  Cut window blind cords to help prevent children from strangling in blind-cord loops. Window blind cord safety tassels on mini-blinds and tension devices on vertical blinds and drapery cords can help prevent deaths and injuries from strangulation in the loops of cords. Inner cord stops can help prevent strangulation in the inner cords of window blinds.
However, the IAFCS's Ms. Driscoll states, "Cordless is best.  Although not all families are able to replace all products, it is important that parents understand that any corded blind or window treatment can still be a hazard.  Unfortunately, children are still becoming entrapped in dangerous blind cords despite advances in safety in recent years."
For older miniblinds, cut the cord loop, remove the buckle, and put safety tassels on each cord. Be sure that older vertical blinds and drapery cords have tension or tie-down devices to hold the cords tight. When buying new miniblinds, vertical blinds and draperies, ask for safety features to prevent child strangulation. 

11.  Use door stops and door holders to help prevent injuries to fingers and hands. Door stops and door holders on doors and door hinges can help prevent small fingers and hands from being pinched or crushed in doors and door hinges.
Be sure any safety device for doors is easy to use and is not likely to break into small parts, which could be a choking hazard for young children.
12.  Use a cell or cordless phone to make it easier to continuously watch young children, especially when they're in bathtubs, swimming pools, or other potentially dangerous areas. Cordless phones help you watch your child continuously without leaving the vicinity to answer a phone call. Cordless phones are especially helpful when children are in or near water, whether it's the bathtub, the swimming pool, or the beach.
In summary, there are a number of different safety devices that can be purchased to ensure the safety of children in the home. Homeowners can ask an InterNACHI inspector about these and other safety measures during their next inspection.  Parents should be sure to do their own consumer research to find the most effective safety devices for their home that are age-appropriate for their children's protection, as well as affordable and compatible with their household habits and lifestyles.

From Child-Proofing Your Home: 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/childsafety.htm#ixzz3260ymQ10