Inspections are an important part of the home-buying process and can save you from a lot of heartache and grief. An independent inspector can tell you what's wrong with the home (if anything), and refer you to a specialist to find out how much it will cost to fix the problem.

Here are six specialty home inspections you should perform before buying a home.


A home's heating and cooling system is one of its most important components. It can also be a costly system to repair or replace if something goes wrong.

If a general home inspector finds something off about the HVAC system, he or she will refer you to a technician that specializes in heating and cooling.

2. Electrical

A faulty electrical system can do more than just disrupt your daily life – it can also be a fire hazard.

An inspector will check a home's electrical system, but if something sets off a red flag, you will be referred to an electrician. An electrician will be able to tell you exactly what's wrong and how much it will cost to fix it.

Electrical systems can be complicated and expensive to fix, so it may be a deal-breaker if major repairs are needed.

3. Water and Sewer

A home's water and sewer systems should be in good working order before you buy – unless you don't mind spending a small fortune to make these repairs.

A special inspection may be required to check the home's plumbing as well as the sewer line and the vent stack lining. If a home's sewer pipe needs to be replaced or tree roots are growing into the water pipes, you may want to think twice about buying the property.

4. Pests

Pests can be both a nuisance and a threat to your home's structural integrity. A termite infestation, if left unchecked, can render a home uninhabitable.

An inspector will look for signs of pest damage, and refer you to a professional exterminator if necessary. An exterminator can eliminate most pests, even those that aren't wood-destroying.

5. Roof

As a general rule of thumb, a home's roof should be replaced every 30 years. If you're looking at an older home, there's a good chance that the roof will need to be repaired or replaced.

The inspector will refer you to a roofing specialist if there are signs of roof damage. Make sure the specialist does not offer repair services. He or she will be more inclined to recommend a repair or replacement regardless of the roof's condition.

6. Foundation

A home inspector may refer you to a foundation engineer, who can tell you whether the home's foundation is in need of repair or if the home is slipping.

Foundation issues can be a serious expense. If the home is older, there's a good chance that something will be off with the foundation. Only a foundation engineer can assess the degree of the issue and the cost of repairs.

Buying a home isn't a decision to be taken lightly, and every possible inspection should be performed before signing on the dotted line.