I am in the process of buying a house in Indio, California

In the event my offer is accepted, what type of inspections do I need to do. I am actually living in the UK (the property will be a short stay rental investment). To better understand what is typical in the US, I purchased the NOLO guide to buying a house in California.

It lists a number of inspections including:

  • General Inspection (Covers the roof, plumbing, electrical and heating systems, foundation, and drainage Note: it is only a visual inspection. By law, the inspectors cannot inspect anything that is hidden by walls or by large furniture.)

  • Pest Control Looks for termites and other pests

  • Flood inspection

  • Earthquakes inspection

  • Fire inspection

  • Landslide inspection

  • Landscape inspection

  • Mold inspection

  • Asbestos inspection

  • Lead inspection

  • Radiation inspection

Are all these inspections needed? It seems a little excessive.

  • 1
    Ha. There's even another one you should get: an environmental inspection. In particular, some lots in California were previously orchards and may have pesticide contamination in the soil.
    – user11599
    Jan 29, 2019 at 2:58
  • 1
    Um, Indio seems a strange place to invest in a short-term rental property.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 30, 2019 at 5:25
  • 1
    @mkennedy Why? It's become a resort destination, sort of an extension from Palm Springs. Number of spas, casinos and golf courses in the area. And two major events: Coachella and Stagecoach.
    – user71659
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:17
  • 1
    Good points! I'm not acoachella fan so I didn't make the connection.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 30, 2019 at 19:11

2 Answers 2


You do want a home inspector as @mhoarn_psprep says.

California has buyer-friendly laws. First, the realtor you employ has a fiduciary duty to you. You want to be sure that you have a "Buyer's agent". In some states (formerly all the other 49) the agent who is talking to you has fiduciary responsibilities to the seller or the seller's agent. Bad. Your agent has the incentive to get a thorough inspection and to insist on repairs or downward price modifications.

Second, California is a mandatory-disclosure state. The house will have what is colloquially called a "termite report", but which in fact should enumerate all defects known to the owner. If you inspect in the dry season and they didn't mention the basement floods every winter, you have recourse, since this is something they would have noticed.

  • The house will have what is colloquially called a "termite report", but which in fact should enumerate all defects known to the owner. The seller has offered to do a termite and home inspection report, but I’ve read that it is better to get my one one done. Is that true? Jan 29, 2019 at 15:46
  • 1
    Your own is better, but in several states including CA, the seller is required to do one, too. Jan 29, 2019 at 17:35

What you are looking for is a home inspector.

I would look at the website for the American Society of Home inspectors:

The Mission of ASHI is to set and promote standards for property inspections and to provide the educational programs needed to achieve excellence in the profession and to meet the needs of our members.

ASHI is the most respected professional association for home inspectors in North America. Through ASHI’s continued efforts, ASHI's Standards of Practice—covering all of a home's major systems—are now part of many pieces of state legislation and are recognized by consumers as the authoritative standard for professional home inspection.

from their FAQ

What does a home inspection include?

The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) publishes a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that outlines what you should expect to be covered in your home inspection report.

I would expect that an Earthquake inspection would only be done in a few states.

  • 1
    Although California is one of those states for an earthquake-related inspection; e.g., whether the foundation has been bolted down. Jan 28, 2019 at 23:14

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