This article is sponsored by Home Inspectors of North Georgia and is part of the Bipper Media article marketing program.

When it comes time to buying or selling a home, the list of things to get done seems to be never ending.  From talking to real estate agents, consulting with mortgage brokers, and everything in between – a real estate transaction is no joke.

In fact, purchasing or selling a home is one of the most time consuming transactions that you’ll ever experience.

But there is one key step along the way that simply cannot be overlooked, and that is a proper home inspection.  The home inspection process is equally important for both the buyer and seller.

Although a home inspection is not required for a real estate transaction, it is the best way to protect both the buyer and seller, and mitigate risks from issues that may arise during the transaction process.

As you know though, when it comes to home inspections – just like with any other service – not all home inspection companies are created equal.  There are some home inspectors that will just fly through the home as quickly as possible, only taking note of the most obvious problems they see.  But to ensure that you are mitigating the risks that come along with buying or selling real estate, finding the best home inspectors available is critically important.

Below are 8 key areas that every professional home inspector must cover:

#1:  Structural Elements

The structural elements of the house are critically important for every home inspection to review and analyze thoroughly.  When it comes to things like your walls, ceilings, the foundation of your home, the floors, and yes… even the roof – these are all key areas that if not properly inspected and fixed (if damage is found) could cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

#2:  Home Exterior

The exterior of the home is equally important for home inspectors pay close attention to.  Things like your gutters, driveway and sidewalks, decks and patios, the siding of your house, and even the trim – these areas again, can end up costing thousands of dollars to fix if problems are caught initially.

#3:  The Roof & Attic

Even though the roof was inspected along with all the other structural elements of the house (see point #1), a good home inspector and home inspection company will take the time to inspect the roof and attic separately.  These are two components of every house that simply cannot be ignored by the home inspection company, the seller of the home, and especially the buyer of the home.  You don’t want to be the one having to replace your roof six months after you move into your house.

#4:  Plumbing & Drainage

Oh yeah… this is something that will tear up your checkbook with a quickness if problems aren’t caught up front.  The plumbing of any home that you are buying or selling must be in tip-top condition.  And if it’s not, then make sure it’s annotated on the home inspection report and if need be, adjust the purchase / sales price according to account for fixes.  When it comes to plumbing, the home inspector must check things like toilets, sinks and faucets, piping and leaks, shower and tubs, water pressure and more.

#5:  Electrical System

The electrical system could not only cost you thousands of dollars to fix, if any problems popped up suddenly, but any issues represents a fire hazard for those living in the home.  The best home inspectors will ensure they’ve checked the main electrical panel, all circuit breakers, ceiling fans and light fixtures, and anything else in the house that is powered by electricity.

#6:  Home Systems, Components, and Key Equipment

How important is it for you to ensure that your chimney and fireplace, central heat and air, and other key systems in your house are in perfect working order?  Down here in Athens, Georgia during the summer months, I can assure you the last thing any home owner wants to deal with is a broken down air conditioner.  Well having a proper and thorough home inspection can mitigate the risks associated with dysfunctional home systems and components.

#7:  Household Appliances

Here’s another area that could have you dropping thousands of dollars unnecessarily if you don’t have a proper home inspection.  Your household appliances are more than likely going to be put to work within hours of you buying your new home.  And ensuring that, during the buying and selling process, the appliances in the house are all in good working order is critically important.  Again, a solid home inspection company will take the steps to properly inspect these appliances.

#8:  Garage (structure & door opener)

And finally we’ve made it to the garage.  You wouldn’t think there’s a lot going on here in the garage, but from a home inspection perspective, think again!  There’s a lot of critically important elements that MUST be inspected in the garage.  Your garage walls, the slab floor, the electric garage door openers, and the garage door itself, must all be properly inspected by the home inspector.

So did I miss any other key areas for a proper home inspection?

And what have you found to be the biggest areas of opportunity that a home inspector finds?