Home Inspection Checklist

All the points you need to know

Buying a home can be stressful and expensive, but using a home inspection checklist can lessen the worries, fears and even the money invested. A home inspection is an in-depth and thorough inspection of every element of the house, including pests, mold, supports, electrical, plumbing and the overall condition of the house. In some cases, if the inspection is done by a professional as recommended, several professionals may need to inspect the house, in their various areas of expertise.

An inspector can note problems that might need fixing in the short or long term, and save the buyer money. For instance, some foundations need substantial repair, but no problems appear to the naked eye or anyone who's not a professional. Only an expert can find the problem and offer solutions. Knowing what needs to be done before buying a house can allow the buyer to negotiate a better deal or move on if the costs to fix the problem are too high.

A home inspection checklist should look similar to the following list. Some of it may not apply in certain cases, but it is a thorough and all-encompassing list for single family homes.

Outside the House

  • Propane tank: Should be securely mounted and have safety barriers.
  • Drainage: The house should have sufficient drainage, and anything that could cause drainage into the house (a bad angle for example) should have properly been fixed.
  • Trees / plants: Make sure that there are no interferences with utility lines or pipes. Also look for trees that might lean over the roof and cause heavy damage.
  • Exterior details: Look for peeling paint, dented siding and other forms of damage. Also check that gutters are properly secured and not clogged.
  • Roof: Check for sagging, missing shingles, shingles improperly placed near chimneys and sections of roof that might need replacing.
  • Doors: Make certain the doors are in good condition and the locks work. Another tip is to look for gaps in the doorframe that might allow water to seep inside.
    • Windows: Check for a proper fit, missing panes and any rot.
    • Foundation: Look for cracks in the foundation, and gaps or holes that can allow bugs or water in.
    • Driveway: Check for any damage that might require repairs or resurfacing.
    • Porches (might not apply): Check the porch to ensure it is safe; look at the support beams and safety features.
    • Garage: Make sure the doors work and close all the way. Look for damage to the roof, and check the foundation for leakage and cracks.
    • Interior Checklist

      • Walls: Look for cracks or peeling paint and wallpaper, as well as water stains.
      • Ceiling: Check for peeling paint or sagging beams.
      • Floor: The floor should be level without any loose tiles, carpeting or damaged areas.
      • Lights: All lights should be functional.
      • Electrical: Ensure that the outlets work and are firmly attached.
      • Windows: Test all the windows, make sure they open and close easily, and that there is no interior water damage.

      If at any point you feel uncomfortable or uncertain in conducting your own inspection, seek professional help.

      By Jennifer Eblin