A home inspection is an important step in the home buying process. As a buyer, you don't want to put down a 20 percent down payment for what you think is a suitable house, only to move in and discover a host of issues you were unaware of.

When it comes to the inspection, there are different phases. Before you conduct this initial inspection, there are a few areas you want to look out for. Your goal is to spot obvious flaws in the house, and assuming you aren't purchasing the house for the purpose of flipping, there shouldn't be too many points of worry.

The Outside

Start with the outside. Focus on the surrounding lot, roof and backyard. Look for any obvious soggy areas or places where drainage is building up. This can pose a further problem if not handled immediately, particularly in the warmer weather, as insects may gravitate toward the area.

Ask the sellers when the last time the roof was replaced in addition to taking note of the overall condition. Also look for any trees that may be encroaching on it. While they may not pose a threat in the present, a severe storm can uproot the tree and cause it land on the roof. It may be worth consideration to at least trim the tree, if not knock it down to prevent serious issues in the future.

Look at the gutters and downspouts to ensure they're properly attached. Don't forget to find out if there is asbestos in any outdoor material, because if there is, additional costs will have to be factored in to replace or repair the materials, according to Zillow.

The Inside

The home's foundation is critical because if it's weak, that may be a signal of structural issues. However, other signs of deficiencies include the walls and ceilings in every room because cracks may be a signal of a shifting foundation.

Start in the basement to see if there is adequate insulation. Some homes may also have electrical and plumbing systems in the basement. For electrical, see if the panel has been updated and if there are any loose switches.

Another point of emphasis for the interior of the home centers around plumbing, appliances, and the heating and cooling systems, HGTV stated. Always ensure everything is properly working and record any unusual noises or smells. In fact, odors and a feeling of dampness could be a signal of a wet basement.

A first inspection has to cover a lot of ground. Take your time when doing so, take detailed notes and any other important information you will need.