Home Inspection Checklist For Buyers

Buying a house can be quite hectic and the real stress begins once you’ve selected a house. You’ve found a house of your dreams and the only thing left is to sign the contract. But the one key step that you cannot skip is getting that house inspected before purchase.

Most of the time, emotions are a key part when it comes to buying a house. And most people after selecting one don’t care much about the rest. And that can cause a lot of issues down the road. Those freshly painted walls, clean-looking exterior, and managed lawns are just there to fool you, and to hide the real condition of the house.

Getting your home inspected helps you in making an informed decision. Your home inspector with his home inspection checklist will thoroughly check for any signs of damage and tell you about how much more money you might need to spend in the coming years on repairs. Which can save yours from a lot of trouble.

So here you are, you’ve made the offer, the offer has been accepted, and now you’re waiting for the inspection day. But how can you be sure that the home inspector is doing his job properly?

It’s important that whenever you hire a service, you know what you are really getting. And when it comes to a home inspection. Having a proper home inspection checklist can help you with that. You can use this checklist to make sure that the inspector is not cutting any corners and is doing his job properly.

Home Inspection Checklist For First Time Home Buyers

Whether you’re working with a professional inspector or just checking the house yourself. You should know;

  • What to do during a home inspection and
  • What inspections to get when buying a house.

It’s important for buyers to be able to identify crucial inspection components. The more you’ll know about the process, the easier it’ll be for you to evaluate a property on your own.

Now with that cleared out of the way, now we can focus on the checklist. We’ve divided our home inspection checklist into 10 subsections.

  1. Grounds
  2. Structure
  3. Exterior surfaces
  4. Windows, Doors and wood trim
  5. Roof
  6. Attic
  7. Plumbing
  8. Basement
  9. Electrical
  10. HVAC

1- Grounds

  • Proper grading drainage away from the structure
  • No evidence of standing water
  • No leaks from septic tank or leech field
  • Yard, landscaping, trees and walkways in good condition
  • No branches or bushes touching the house
  • Fence, sheds, decks, retaining walls and detached garages all in good condition, no termite damage or rotten wood.
  • Railing on stairs and decks are adequate and secure
  • Driveways, sidewalks, patios, entrance landings in good condition, and pitched away from the structure
  • Downspout drainage directed away from the house.

2- House/structure

  • Ridges and fascia board lines appear straight and level
  • Sides of the house should be straight, not bowed or sagging
  • Window and doorframes appear square
  • The visible foundation appears to be straight, plumb and there are no significant cracks

3- Exterior Surfaces

  • Enough clearance between ground and wood siding materials – no wood-to-earth contact
  • Siding is in condition – no cracking, curling, rot, loose
  • Masonry veneers – no cracks in joints, no breaking, spalling or flaking components
  • Stucco should not have any significant cracks
  • Vinyl or aluminum siding shouldn’t have any dents or bow and the siding shouldn’t be loose.
  • No vines on the surface of the house
  • Exterior paint/stains shouldn’t have any flaking or blisters.
  • No stains on the exterior surface

4- Windows, Doors and Wood trims

  • Wood frames and trim pieces are secure, no cracks and no decay
  • Joints around the frames are caulked and sealed properly
  • No broken glass or damaged screens, no broken double-paned, insulated window seals.
  • Storm windows or thermal glass used
  • Drip caps installed over windows.

5- Roof

  • Composition shingles – no curling, no cupping, or loss of granular particulate. No missing or broken shingles, no more than two layers of roofing
  • Wood shingles – no mold, rot, or decay. No cracked or broken or missing shingles. No curling
  • Flat roofs – no obvious patches, no cracks or splits, minimal blisters and wrinkles, no slit deposit (indicates improper drainage), sealed tar at flashings
  • Flashing around roof penetrations
  • No evidence of excess roofing cement/tar/caulk
  • Soffits and fascia – no rotting or decay, no stains
  • Exterior venting for eave areas should be clean and not painted over
  • Gutters – no decay or rust, joints sealed, attached securely to structure, no bending or sagging, no sections of gutter or downspout missing, gutters clean, no mud deposits
  • Chimneys should appear straight, properly flashed, there should be no evidence of damaged bricks or cracked joints, mortar/cement cap must be in good condition

6- Attic

  • No visible stains on the underside of roofing, especially around the roof penetrations
  • No significant visible decay or damage to the structure
  • Adequate insulation and properly installed insulation
  • Sufficient ventilation, clear path into the attic for air entering through soffit vents, adequately sized gable end louvers, all mechanical ventilation operational

7- Plumbing

  • Visible pipes – no damage, no visible evidence of leaks, no signs of stains on materials near pipes. Drain pipes should slope slightly down towards outlet to septic/sewage system
  • Water heater – no signs of rust, adequate venting, should be sized to produce adequate quantity of hot water for the number of bedrooms in the house
  • Water pump – does not short cycle
  • Galvanized pipes do not restrict water flow
  • Well water test is acceptable (discuss with your home inspection company about tests mentioned)

8- Basement

  • No evidence of moisture
  • Exposed foundation – no stains no major cracks, no flaking, no efflorescence
  • Structural wood – no sagging, no damage, no decay or rot, no stains, no damage from Rodents or insects, sills attached to the foundation with anchor bolts
  • Insulation at rim/band joists

9- Electrical

  • Visible wiring – in good condition, no “knob-and-tube” wiring, no exposed splices, cables secured and protected
  • The service panel should have sufficient capacity, all cables attached to the panel with cable connectors. Fuses or breakers are not overheating
  • No aluminum cable for branch circuits

10- HVAC

  • Appears to be operating well throughout (good airflow on forced hot air systems)
  • Flues – no open seams, slopes up to chimney connection
  • No rust around cooling unit
  • Air filters clean
  • The duct-work in good condition

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