What is a home inspection?
Just in case you’ve never had a home inspection – here’s a quick rundown. A home inspection is a visual examination of a home’s interior, exterior, structure, and major systems. The purpose of a home inspection is to find problems that could be costly to repair or harmful to your health. As a home buyer – getting a home inspection before closing a deal is one of the smartest things you can do.
Home inspection checklist: Any home inspection will vary depending on the specific home – as each home is different. However, there are eight essential categories.
Defects on the exterior of the home are usually noticeable – even without the trained eye of a professional inspector. We’ll be looking for:
Cracks, peeling, loose pieces or damage to the siding
Stains, old paint or peeling paint
Clearance between the ground and siding materials on the walls
If the walls of the home are free from climbing vines & trees are planted far enough away from the home
Damaged or old roofs can lead to bigger issues, so we will inspect the materials and integrity of the roof and roofing materials. The attic’s condition can affect the roof, and vice versa, which is why inspecting both is necessary.
What kind of shingles are used
Condition of shingles
Proper use of flashing
Excess roofing cement, tar, or caulk
Chimney condition (has proper flashing, masonry condition, chimney is straight)
Insulation is present and installed correctly
Proper or adequate roof ventilation
Plumbing, exhaust or appliance vents do not vent into attic
No evidence of damage or decay to structure
Staining or water spots on ceiling
Presence of intact or cut trusses
General presence of moisture – especially near roof penetrations
If the home’s foundation is damaged, this can lead to costly repairs. Since the foundation of the home is essential to a home’s structural integrity, this is an item that will be inspected during every home inspection.
Proper grading (drainage) away from base of home
Downspouts and gutters in good condition and directed away from the home
Detached garages, decks, etc in good condition & free from rotting or termite or other insect damage
Driveways and sidewalks aren’t cracked/shifting
No standing water near home or in yard
The interior of the home should be well maintained and free from damage. Every home will have typical wear and tear. However, the inspector will be looking for signs of abnormal damage – which could mean underlying problems.
Walls and ceilings are painted & in good condition
Cracks on walls or ceilings
Windows latch, are intact, & sealed with caulk/weather stripping
Doors leading to exterior are sealed & open/close easily
Rooms are insulated & properly ventilated
Walls and ceilings are free from moisture spots
Flooring (especially hardwood) are level to the ground & free of moisture or soft spots
The structure of the home is the wooden framework that was built before drywall, insulation and anything else was added. The structure is often called the “bones of the house”, and if it’s damaged or built incorrectly the home may be unsafe.
Foundation is in good condition – if the foundation is cracked or shifting this will affect the structural integrity of the home
Door frames are straight allowing doors to swing in and out of the frame with ease
Window frames are straight on all four sides & without gaps
Ridge and fascia board lines are level & straight
Baseboards around all interior walls are flush with the flooring & not lifting or separated
Flooring (especially hardwood) is flat and not bowed or lifting
Exterior walls are straight and free of bowing or sagging
Electrical problems can be dangerous and costly to repair if there is severe damage, so we’ll be checking the electrical systems thoroughly. If we find defects in the home’s electrical systems, we’ll recommend having a professional electrician evaluate to determine the severity and cost to repair.
DIY repair jobs – electrical systems should never be DIY jobs and this can cause significant damage to the entire system
Light switches work & all bulbs light up (a bulb that isn’t lit may just need to be replaced, but can also mean faulty wiring)
Absence of electrical faults in receptacles
All cables are attached to service panel with cable connectors
Visible wiring is in good condition, secured, protected, & without exposed splices
Branch circuits are free from solid strand aluminum wires which are a safety hazard
All wall outlets are working & intact (not pulled out of the wall)
GFCI outlets are installed where required (bathrooms, garages, crawl spaces, basements, laundry rooms & anywhere a water source is present.)
Plumbing problems are some of the most expensive repairs – and not something you want to deal with. We will inspect all plumbing systems and determine if a professional plumber should be contacted for further analysis.
Visible pipes intact, free from damage
Pipes are free from signs of leaking or staining on surrounding materials
Toilets are securely fastened and dry around the base & free of warped or water-stained flooring
Water heater working properly, free of rust, vented properly
Water heater is adequate size conditional to number of beds/baths
Water pump produces steady flow and doesn’t short cycle
All faucets (indoor & outdoor) in working condition, sealed, & without leaks
Hot water temp is between 118°F to 125°F (not under or over)
Water runs clear through all faucets
All drains are clear, don’t bubble, and drain at reasonable pace
8. HVAC (Heating/Cooling System)
Although some homes don’t have an A/C system installed, most homes have a heating system. Your inspector will make sure the HVAC system is working, so you and your family will have a comfortable home.
Type of system (boiler, forced air, etc)
HVAC is in working condition
Flues slope up to chimney, no open seams
Ductwork isn’t damaged or old
Separate flues for gas/oil/propane and coal/wood (if applicable)
Absence of odor from gas
A/C unit is working (if applicable) and free from rust
Vents are clear and properly ventilated
Remember that each home is different, so there may be more items on our inspection list.
However, it’s safe to say that these eight categories will definitely be inspected.
No home is perfect, so we’ll almost surely find defects. But that doesn’t mean that the home isn’t right for you.
We’ll talk you through our findings and help make sure you understand the current condition and what you might want to negotiate for.