The Home Inspection for Buyers

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is the thorough review of a home’s structure and systems by a certified home inspector. If your purchase contract specifies an inspection contingency – and it should, unless you choose to waive this contingency – you can cancel escrow or request repairs if issues are uncovered.

What is inspected in a home inspection?

  • Structural conditions such as the foundation, beams and floors
  • Roof condition
  • Functionality of appliances
  • Condition and quality of plumbing
  • Electrical system functionality and whether wiring is to code

The home inspection identifies safety issues such as tripping hazards, stairs that are not to code, loose handrails, etc.

What is not inspected in a home inspection?

A home inspector will generally not check septic systems, wells, underground pipes or sprinkler systems, swimming pools and spas or playground equipment.

What if I’m buying a home with a rainwater catchment system?

If you’re buying a home with a rainwater harvesting system it should be inspected by a qualified professional as part of your due diligence. Not all home inspectors have catchment system expertise and are qualified to perform this work. When inspecting the catchment system the inspector will examine visible elements such as the roof, gutters, downspouts, external pipes, tank, filters and pump. The water produced by the system should also be tested. If you’re financing your purchase, the lender will usually require testing. If you’re a VA buyer you must use a VA-approved water testing company. For information on purchasing a home with a rainwater catchment system in Hawaii please see Buying a Home with a Rainwater Catchment System in Hawaii.

What if the inspection turns up issues?

According to the National Association of REALTORS® the most common reasons for homes to fall out of contract are home inspection discoveries, financing problems and appraisal issues. If you know what the issues are, you can deal with them. You can estimate costs to make needed repairs. Buyers sometimes ask sellers to make the repairs prior to close of escrow or the sales price is renegotiated to reflect home inspection discoveries. Because the buyer pays for the home inspection, it is up to the buyer whether to share results of the inspection with the seller. You may choose to share all of the report or portions of it.

Home inspectors on the Big Island

 As a real estate agent I can’t recommend specific home inspection companies. Instead, I can offer my clients options. The Big Island has several home inspection companies to choose from, to include HouseMaster of Hawaii, Pacific Inspection Group and Leyva Home Inspections.


Jack Stamm and Jeff Lux are the HouseMaster of Hawaii home inspection team. Jack brings 20 years of hotel engineering and home construction experience to the job. He’s a member of the National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Jeff brings 20 years of home inspection experience and has performed over 10,000 home inspections on the Big Island. Jeff is also a member of NIBI and a member of American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA). HouseMaster delivers a comprehensive digital inspection report with photos the same day of the inspection. Contact Erin at 808.443.7374 with questions or schedule your inspection online.

A recent HouseMaster inspection provided information that was crucial to my off-island buyers deciding whether to pursue a home purchase. Due to serious issues with the roof construction that Jeff discovered, and other construction quality concerns, my buyers decided against buying the home. The photographs of the roof were helpful to the buyers and also to me when I explained why we were canceling escrow.


Tom Burgess, owner of Pacific Inspection Group is a Board Certified Master Inspector and member of InterNACHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. He’s inspected over 6,000 properties and has both residential and commercial inspection experience. Pacific Inspection Group is a veteran-owned business and offers a 10% discount to vets. Pacific Inspection Group inspects rainwater catchment systems and provides water testing services for FHA/USDA/VA loans. Pacific Inspection Group has mold expertise. They perform inspections on Saturdays. Contact Tom at 808.344.9474 for a quote or schedule your inspection online.

A recent inspection performed by Scot of Pacific Inspection Group identified important concerns regarding the long-term functioning of a rainwater catchment system. The report made recommendations that will be useful to my buyer in improving and maintaining the system to ensure its future functioning.


Chief Inspector Daniel Leyva has 27 years of experience and 10 certifications covering all facets of construction and a degree in Building Inspection Technology. He is a certified inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). H performs residential, commerial, new construction and progress inspections. The inspection report itemizes the condition of structural and operational details and is usually provided within 24 hours. Call 808.464.7900 or request an inspection. 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here, while deemed reliable, is gathered from third-party sources. It may contain inaccuracies. It is provided without warranty or guarantee of any kind. Interested parties must independently verify any information they deem material or important to their decisions. It is essential to perform your own research when enlisting a company to provide services. Material shown here was collected from various websites, the content of which may change over time. Businesses routinely change their services and offerings.

Copyright© Lisa A. Kramer. All rights reserved // August 2021

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Aloha! I’m a real estate agent on the wonderful and amazing Big Island of Hawaii. I live up the hill from Keauhou Bay, just south of downtown Kailua-Kona. I love to help people. If I can be of assistance, get in touch.

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