Home Inspection Checklist

The PropertyClub Team
Jul 27th 2020
When you're buying a house, you want to make sure you protect your investment by getting a home inspection. Here's a checklist of what your inspector should look at to make sure you have no unwanted surprises or regrets.

You’ve just found the home of your dreams, and your offer was accepted. Now it’s time to dig in and get some insight into what you are buying by performing a home inspection. Getting the house inspected is one of the most important steps in purchasing your new home. 

Here is a checklist to ensure you understand the ins and outs of a home inspection, as well as info on how to find an inspector you can trust, how to prepare for your home inspection, and how to read and understand the home inspection report. 

Home Inspection Rundown

Essentially, a home inspection comes after an offer is accepted on a home by the seller. The buyer then will arrange for an inspection. It is an essential part of the process of buying or selling a real estate property. The inspection is an examination of the condition of the property that the buyer is attempting to secure. The inspector, upon hire, will assess many aspects of the property in question. This will range from the overall condition of the home to whether or not everything functions. It will include examining heating and cooling systems, electrical, plumbing, sewage, insect damage, fire damage, water damage, and safety hazards. The roof and foundation will also be carefully inspected.

All of this is taken into account to determine what could potentially impact the home and property value. From this inspection report, the buyer will choose to move on to closing on the property, negotiate items based on the findings, or cancel the contract altogether. Typically, the buyer is responsible for paying for the home inspection. 

It should be noted that the appraisal is very different from the home inspection. This can be confusing to some buyers who often lump the appraisal in together with the inspection. 

Finding an Inspector

Usually, your real estate agent will be able to provide you with recommendations for home inspectors that they have worked with in the past and trust. However, doing some research on your own and asking for recommendations from those close to you is also a good idea. You can usually request a sample report from inspectors before hiring to get an idea of what they include in their reports. By doing this, you’ll help ensure you find the best fit for your needs.

You will find that some home inspectors are much more thorough and detailed than others, so don’t hesitate to ask them about what’s on their typical checklist. 

Acting quickly and being prepared to hire your inspector as soon as an offer is accepted is essential to keep your home buying process running smoothly! 

Preparing for the Inspection

While most home inspections cost between $300 to $450, the price depends on the location and size of the property in question. An inspection of a larger house can easily cost double. 

You should have your own checklist of items and areas of the home you are attempting to secure that you would like to have inspected before the inspector arrives. Some essential things to include on this list are the roof, foundation, rain gutters, exterior paint and stucco, and the attic space. All doors and windows on the home should be on that list as should plumbing fixtures, faucets, water heater, electric panel, power outlets, light switches, thermostats, air conditioning units, walls, floors, and ceilings. Have your inspector run all appliances to check for proper function. If the home is two stories, the stairs, steps, and railings should also be looked at. The garage and basement are very important and can be included on your list as well as the driveway and any walkways on the property. Safety MUST be taken into accounts with any trip hazards in these areas. 

What is Involved in a Home Inspection?

The inspection will last for a few hours, especially if your inspector is doing right by you and going into depth. Being present is great, so you can learn about your future home’s condition and have the problem areas pointed out to you. This will give you a great idea of what you want to do after the inspection as far as requesting repairs, backing out, or continuing to move forward onto closing. 

What do Home Inspectors Look For? 

Home inspectors take a look at the big picture and the minutia. They will look at any basements and crawl spaces and analyze any mildew stains and odors, looking closely for any evidence of black mold. They will check that gutters are clean and allowing for proper rainwater flow. 

The roof and chimney will be carefully examined for any deterioration of the shingles or other roof coverings. They will search for any signs of rotten elements below the shingles that calls for repair. The plumbing of the home will be thoroughly analyzed, searching for leaks and poor water pressure. Plumbing issues are a big issue as they can lead to water damage down the line.

The home’s electrical systems will be examined, and the inspector will be looking to ensure that the property’s electric and circuit breaker configuration is adequate for the home needs and requirements. They will be checking all ground fault interrupters (GFI) and the overall wiring of the house. 

Air conditioners and heaters will be taken into consideration as well as all major appliances. 

Damages to the structure and cosmetic aspects of the home will also be noted. 

How to Use and Read a Home Inspection Report

While you can't technically fail a home inspection, you may wish to reconsider buying the home if huge problems are found and outlined in your report. You will need to analyze which items on that report are necessary to have repaired upon move in. For the things you are concerned about, you can get quotes on repairs to get an idea of what you want to ask for from the seller based on the report’s findings. In some cases, damages may be too significant to move forward, and you may want to cancel the contract and continue your search. In other cases, you may feel comfortable with the inspection report and will move forward with the home buying process. 

Home inspections ensure and protect your investment!