Home Inspection Checklist
Do you have a home inspection checklist? When you are in the market for a home, whether you are an investor, or looking to live in a home, one of the most important considerations is the overall condition of the home you are interested in. If it isn’t one of your most important considerations, it should be.
A home/property may look great to the naked eye, but sometimes evil lurks beneath. You should have your home inspection checklist close by, or at least in mind.
When you are looking at homes with your agent, you won’t be able to have a full inspection done.
However, if you really like a home, and are thinking of submitting an offer on it, you might want to consider having a home inspector or someone else with a lot of related experience, take a look at the home.
He won’t be able to do a full inspection, but he can detect many issues simply by looking at the home.
His trained eye can spot many problems, and areas of concern that most others can’t.
This information can help you to make an offer based on what repairs are needed, or if you don’t want to deal with expensive, time consuming repairs, by allowing you to pass on the home altogether.
If you want to go forward with an offer, most real estate contracts allow for 10 days from date of accepted contract to have a full inspection performed, by a licensed home inspector.
Some contracts, such as the HUD contract, allow for 15 days to have a home inspection done. In most cases, the results of the inspection will provide you with the ability to change your offer.
Your offer can be changed by your asking for needed repairs or replacements to be done. Or by a reduction in the price of the home. Or by some other consideration.
Also, if the inspection results are much worse than you expected, this will allow you to back out of the purchase altogether.
These are the most important aspects of a home that should be in acceptable condition, or good working order. If any of these need repair or replacement, you may be looking at a large expense, not to mention time, and inconvenience.
Foundation/Structure The foundation, and structure are the most important components of a home that must be in good condition You want to look carefully at basement walls for cracks, especially horizontal cracks.
If you see any significant horizontal cracks in the foundation, run, don’t walk away from the deal. If there are vertical cracks, this is not a good sign, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the foundation is bad.
There are many good foundation repair companies that can repair and seal these cracks, and make the home solid again.
However, some of these repairs can be expensive, and you should take that into consideration if you like the home enough to make an offer.
Check for water, and mold in the basement. If there is a lot of water in the basement, this could indicate a serious problem.
Sometimes however, like in the case of HUD homes, the electricity will be turned off, and, as a result the sump pump will not be operational, which can cause a temporary state of water in the lower level.
This can also cause some mold to appear on the walls and other surfaces, and may not be an issue, if the water is only temporary.
If the electric has not been turned off for any extended length of time, and you see a lot of water in the basement, I would recommend crossing that home off your list.
You should also check the structure of the home to be sure that it is straight and flat. You can do this be looking at the exterior walls for any bowing or leaning.
If you encounter bowing or leaning, it’s time to go on to the next home, and cross this one off your list.
The evaluation of the roof is designed to determine if conditions exist which may cause the roof to leak. It may be difficult from ground level to see the true condition of the roof shingles.
If the shingles are bare looking, or if the shingle corners are bowing upward, this usually means that the roof is older, and it may be close to needing to be replaced.
If at all possible, go up to the attic, or the highest accessible room, and check carefully for any discoloration, or holes. If you see anything that isn’t uniform with the rest of the ceiling, it may indicate a problem with the roof.
Of course, if you come across any signs of leakage, this too is a red flag that the roof may be bad, or older.
Check to make sure that siding, trim/fascia/soffits, doors, windows, hose faucets, electrical cables, and any other electrical is in acceptable condition. Make sure power lines are not near or touching trees, or tree limbs. DO NOT under any circumstances, touch anything to do with electric! Simply note it’s condition, but DON’T TOUCH!
Grounds and Drainage
The objective of the grounds and drainage inspection is to ensure that water drains away from the home/structure, and all steps/surfaces are safe, and secure.
Grading, gutters, and downspouts, and even trees and shrubs should be checked to be sure they are designed to drain water away from the house/structure.
Walks, and steps, porches, decks, patios, and driveways should be checked to ensure that they are level, safe, and secure.
If the property has retaining walls, these should also be checked to be sure they are safe, secure, and in good repair.
Heating & Cooling
The heating operation, and cooling operation are checked. If you are viewing a home in the summer, and the home is nice and cool, odds are good that this system is functioning properly. Same in winter, if home is warm, this is a good indication that this system is ok.
Inspectors also check the system back up, the exhaust system, the distribution, the thermostat, gas piping, heat exchanger, humidifier, and filter.
You can usually tell if a system is older if you encounter rusting, paint chipping, color fading, odd noises, or other obvious wear and tear. Even if a system passes inspection, if it is showing signs of wear, and tear, it may only have a short life remaining.
It is not always easy to determine a plumbing systems condition by merely looking at it. It is always best to test it with the water on, and the resulting pressure it causes.
You can check the age of the water heater by looking at the decals/paperwork on the side of the water heater, as well as by simply looking at it. If a water heater is older, and had a lot of use, it is normally obvious to the naked eye.
Perhaps more important than the condition of the water heater, is the condition/age of the temperature and pressure relief valve. If it is a gas water heater, the thermocouple should always be in good working order.
This device detects heat from the flame, and if the flame is off, it automatically shuts off the gas. Gas applicances, and gas operation in the home is normally inspected by the local gas company.
Other aspects of the plumbing system that are inspected are the supply pipes, waste/vent pipes, functional water flow, functional waste drain, well system(if applicable), and septic system(if applicable)
The most important, and obvious thing about checking the electrical system, is loose, cut, or frayed wires, especially at the main breaker box. If you see any of these things, DO NOT touch them. Simply make a note of this, either mentally or on paper, and/or be sure you tell your Realtor.
This is truly an area that should be left to the professionals, but you can determine possible problems by what you see.
Inspectors check: wiring at the main box, all other wiring, proper grounding, GFCI outlets, amperage, and electrical appliances(if possible)
All interior rooms are inspected to make sure walls, ceilings, floors, surfaces, cabinets, fixtures, and appliances are safe, secure, and in acceptable condition.
Exterior: Roof, walls, eaves, electrical, and gutters are checked for safety, security, and conditon.
Interior: Walls/Ceiling/Floors, Firewall/Fire doors(if applicable), doors, and windows, garage doors, garage openers, electrical, and heating/cooling are all checked for safety, security, and condition.
This home inspection checklist will give you a general idea of some of what home inspectors look at, and for during a home inspection.
You can utilize this list to assist you in evaluating the condition of homes that you are viewing, and help you determine if you want to offer on a home, and if so, how much to offer.
This checklist is not designed to replace the services of a professional home inspection, and is to be used for informational purposes only.
I highly recommend using the services of a professional home inspector once your offer has been accepted in order to receive a thorough, and complete inspection of a property.
Depending on the type of home you are offering on, the results of your home inspection may enable you to ask for repairs, or monetary compensation, or to even possibly back out of the deal altogether.
Your investment in a home is well worth the investment in a home inspection.