You’ve made an offer on a home, your offer was accepted, and now you’re in escrow waiting for inspection day. How will you succeed? By crossing items off our thorough home inspection checklist. With a home inspection checklist by your side, you’ll move into the home of your dreams in no time.
Buying your first home is accompanied by a myriad of emotions. You’re excited because you finally have a place to call your own. You’re nervous to look at your savings account after paying a down payment. You’re exhausted after spending months working with an agent to find the perfect home.
Don’t worry, this rollercoaster of feelings is completely natural and will come to an end soon. The hardest steps are out of the way when all that’s left is an inspection and final walkthrough. And because the inspection process can be demanding, we’ve created an ultimate home inspection checklist to ease your fears and help transition you into the home of your dreams. Who needs first-time homebuyer 101 when you have this available?
What Is A Home Inspection
A home inspection is an examination of a newly purchased property for any potential issues. The process is typically conducted by a professional inspector, who will then provide a full status report on the home. The purpose of a home inspection is to reveal any problem areas before the end of the closing process. This provides both buyer and seller a chance to renegotiate or even walk away from the transaction if necessary.
While it may sound scary, a home inspection is actually one of the best safeguards put in place for homebuyers. In many cases, home inspections do not reveal any surprises at all. But, when they do, buyers can communicate with the sellers about a potential fix. Any fixes that are made can be checked over in the final walkthrough. It is absolutely crucial to get a home inspection, even if you have a great feeling about the property. The home inspection process can protect you and your wallet from several surprises in the future.
Ultimate Home Inspection Checklist
If you are working with a professional inspector, he or she should know what to look for. However, it’s also important for investors to be able to identify crucial inspection components. The more one knows about the process, the easier they will be able to evaluate a property of their own. Having said that, there are six categories essential to a house inspection checklist:
- Foundation: Evaluate the property’s foundation and whether or not it will pose any problems down the road
- Structure: Take a close look at the structural integrity of the home, as it will determine several other factors moving forward
- Exterior: Examine the exterior. Don’t leave any stone unturned, whether it’s on the roof or in the yard
- Interior: Walk through the house and be critical of everything you see
- Plumbing/HVAC: Don’t forget to take a look at the property’s plumbing and HVAC unit, as both are big-ticket items worthy of a closer inspection
- Electrical: While harder to examine than just about everything else, it pays to have an idea of how the home’s electrical system is operating
With that out of the way, here’s an extensive list of questions to ask yourself when referencing a home inspection checklist.
Foundation, Structure, and Exterior
The basis of a home inspection comes down to getting the foundation and structure properly assessed. Review these questions before meeting your inspector to make sure your property is up to par:
- Is the visible foundation in good condition?
- Are there cracks or shifts in the foundation at the base of the walls and ceiling?
- Is there proper drainage carrying water away from the house?
- Are there any obvious soggy areas in the landscaping?
- Is there any evidence of standing water?
- Are there leaks in the septic tank?
- Is there any evidence of termite damage or rotted wood?
- Are windows and door frames square or bowed?
- Are there large cracks in the stucco?
- Is the exterior paint-stained, peeling, or faded?
- Does the home look as though it will need repairs in the near future?
- Is the roof decaying?
- Does the roof have patching?
- Is the chimney in good condition?
- Do the gutters properly drain?
- Is the siding cracked, loose, rotted, or decayed?
While the interior areas of the home may seem the most straightforward, it is still important to know exactly what to look for during a home inspection. These questions can help you prepare:
- Are there any strange odors coming from inside the home?
- Are any appliances included in the purchase of the home? (I.e. refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, etc.)
- Is there evidence of proper insulation?
- Have the electrical outlets been tested?
- Are there stains or other damages on the floors?
- Will any flooring need to be replaced?
- Is there an adequate number of electrical outlets in every room?
- Do windows and doors operate properly?
- Are the joints around window frames caulked?
- Is there leakage in or around sinks?
- Is the water pressure adequate?
- Is there sufficient ventilation throughout the home?
- Do toilets operate properly?
- Can you easily spot the required smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?
- Are there stains on the underside of the roofing in the attic?
- Does the attic have sufficient insulation and ventilation?
- Are there any open electrical splices in the attic?
Plumbing & HVAC
Most first time homebuyers (or even long time homeowners) are unsure of how plumbing and HVAC systems work. The following points can help guide you through these potentially unfamiliar areas of a home inspection:
- Do the pipes leak?
- Are pipes rusted or damaged?
- Is the water pump in working condition?
- Does the hot water temperature exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit?
- Do pipes restrict water flow?
- Does every room in the home receive sufficient airflow?
- Does the cooling unit appear rusty?
- Have the air filters in the cooling unit been replaced recently?
- Is there a history of asbestos on heating pipes, water pipes, are air ducts?
- Can you smell gas?
The electrical systems of a property are another crucial aspect to any home inspection. The list below will help make sure you are covered when meeting with an inspector:
- Are there any exposed splices?
- Are cables secured and protected?
- Can you locate the service panel?
- Are fuses or breakers overheating?