Best of Philly Spotlight: Adam Smith’s Tips for Your Next Home Inspection

Don’t sign on the dotted line until you meet Adam Smith, our pick for Best Home Inspector.

home inspection

Our Best of Philly winner shares tips for home inspection. / Illustration by Kevin Whipple

Buying a new house? Don’t sign on the dotted line until you meet Adam Smith, our pick for Best Home Inspector. His boutique service includes a one-on-one walk-through that covers everything from small idiosyncrasies to turn-and-run deal-breakers. Here are some of his best tips for not ending up with a money pit.

Know the red flags.

Some issues are worse than others, and electricity is the most complicated and dangerous among them. Most homeowners’ insurers, for example, won’t cover a home with knob-and-tube wiring, which is very costly to remediate, Smith says. The roof is another big component to consider. Smith looks for even the smallest signs of water stains inside as well as any evidence of non-professional installation.

Some things seem like a bigger deal than they really are.

Cracks in the facade can look alarming, Smith says, but in a 100-year-old home, he expects to see some structural movement. The repair, done with star bolts, is usually straightforward.

Don’t ignore your waste lines.

According to Smith, the outgoing waste lines are a crucial but (literal) under-the-radar concern. In older homes — hello, most of Philly’s housing stock! — the outgoing waste lines under the front sidewalk are made of cast iron. Some of these are a century old, says Smith, but “the statistical life span of old cast iron is closer to 40 or 50 years old.” They’re on borrowed time, so be sure they’re reviewed.

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Published as “How to Stop Freaking Out About Your Home Inspection” in the August 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine.