Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers (free printable)

Written by Andrew

March 9, 2020

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Have you ever wondered what a home inspector looks at when they are doing a home inspection? Here is a complete home inspection checklist for buyers that you can use to evaluate a house to see if there is anything wrong.

Some of the items in this home inspection checklist for buyers may not be relevant to the house you are looking at buying but these are the items they will be looking at (and possibly others). This doesn’t replace a home inspection by a certified inspector, but it can give you a head start on deciding if you want to make an offer on this house.

Outside Home Inspection Checklist

House Exterior

  • Check the exterior for any cracks in the stucco or brick.
  • Look at the eaves and drain spouts and see what condition they are in.
  • Look for any cracking or peeling paints.
  • Ensure stucco is in good shape and not flaking.
  • No damage to or bowing of siding.
  • Check for external tap to see if they work.

 

Roof

  • Check to see if there is any bowing in the roof.
  • Look to see how old the shingles are and if there is wear. (Old shingles can mean water seeping through the roof and lead to issues inside the house.)
  • Check for any shingles that are missing.

 

Adequate drainage and grading

  • This can be hard to see to an untrained eye.
  • Grading means you want the water that hits the house to drain away from the house. If this doesn’t happen, then the water drains back into the house and you can get water coming into the house.
  • Check for any septic leakage.

No Standing Water

  • This may be hard to check for if there hasn’t been a recent rain, but standing water can mean bigger issues. To tell if there is standing water, look at the yard to see if there are any pools or puddles.

 

Concrete in good condition

  • Check the driveway and walkways to see what condition they are in. Do they need to be replaced? Are they sinking in places? Make a note of any issues.

 

Foundation

  • You will want to look any visible cracks on the exterior of the house.
  • Look for bowed in walls and see if the house looks level from the outside.

 

Deck

  • Check to see the quality of the deck.
  • Look underneath to see how the posts are holding up. (An old deck could mean tearing it all down, which mean time and money.)

 

Other Structures

  • Extra buildings can be great for storage, but you want to make sure they are on a solid footing and in good condition.
  • Look for any visible issues and for rot.
  •  Check to make sure they are level and shingles are in good shape. This can also apply to things like the garage, retaining walls.
  • Check for termite damage.

 

 

Indoor Home Inspection Checklist

Inspecting a home on the inside requires a bit of detective work, certain things you will need to check in every room, while others are room specific. Don’t just take things at face value, do a little digging. Does the pain look new? Was it covering up a crack? Why is the area carpet only in this one room? What is it hiding? Having a inspector mindset will help you analyze each room and help you uncover more issues that just taking a room at face value.

All rooms

  • Floor is level and in good condition.
  • No stains on the floors, ceiling or walls.
  • No cracks in the ceiling, walls or floors.
  • Move area carpets to see if concealing anything.
  • Walls are properly insulated.
  • Each room is properly ventilated for heating and cooling
  • Doors open and close properly.
  • Windows open and close properly.
  • All windows are in good condition (no cracks).
  • Window screens are tightly sealed (no gaps).
  • Any usual odors.

 

Bedrooms

  • Has a window that passes egress.
  • Can adequately fit a bed and necessary storage.
  • Closet doors open and close.

 

Kitchen

Your kitchen will make or break a house. A healthy kitchen is great, and one that has issues can be a red flag for many home buyers.

  • Are there any signs of leaks under the drains (this is a great place to check for mice).
  • Swelling in countertops.
  • Swelling in flooring (could indicate water issues).
  • Do the taps work?
  • Is there hot and cold water?
  • Does the refrigerator work and the dishwasher work?
  • Dishwasher drains properly without leaks.
  • Does the oven and stove top work.
  • Are the appliances in good shape and well maintained.
  • Do any appliances need to be replaced or purchased.
  • Exhaust fan work and is it properly ventilated.
  • Cabinet doors and drawers all open and close properly.
  • Countertops are level and in good condition.
  • Outlets near water sources are GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and in proper working condition

 

Bathrooms

Bathrooms can make or break a house. A beautiful one can boost value to a home and a bad one can leave potential buyers walking away in disgust. Because of this there is a great need to make the bathroom be amazing, here is what to look for in your home inspection worksheet.

  • Bathroom is absent of mold in the shower.
  • No presence of black mold in the toilet.
  • Has a exhaust fan to remove moisture.
  • Fan is ventilated to outside not attic.
  • Bathtub, sink and shower all drain properly.
  • No swelling on the floor or walls from water
  • Caulking around toilet, sink, bathtub and shower are all present and in good condition.
  • No sign of water damage or leaking under the sink.
  • Tiles are secure and not needing any repair or re-grouting.
  • Toilet flushes and fills up at an acceptable pace.
  • Toilet is stable and level (see if it tilts or rocks)
  • Cabinet doors and drawers all open and close properly
  • Countertops are level and in good condition
  • Any unusual smells
  • Outlets near water sources are GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and in proper working condition

 

Basement and Crawl Space

  • Is there a handrail for the steps?
  • Are there stairway treads
  • No termite or other insect damage
  • No rodents
  • No water damage from upstairs or outside
  • Vapor barrier in crawl space
  • Lack of presence of water
  • No damage to visible wood
  • Visible external walls are free of cracks

 

Mechanical, Heating and Cooling

  • Furnace works and disperses heat evenly throughout the house
  • Cooling works and air flows through house properly
  • No gas odor
  • Air filters are clean and well maintained
  • Furnace is well maintained and serviced
  • Ducts have been cleaned in the past 5 years
  • Are the smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors working?
  • HVAC is working
  • No asbestos in house

 

Plumbing

  • Water is drinkable
  • Area is not on a boil water advisor
  • Are all the sinks draining quickly
  • What type of plumbing is being use (brass or poly)
  • Water pump works
  • Hot water tanks are in good condition (note the age)
  • Are the taps dripping?
  • Is there adequate water pressure
  • Hot water tank is large enough to handle family needs
  • Check for any leaking pipes

 

Electrical

  • Does every switch work and have a purpose (lights and ceiling fans turn on)?
  • What type of electrical panel is it ? (older houses can have old wiring and may be harder to insure such as knob and tube wiring)
  • Are the outlets properly grounded?
  • Electrical outlets are up to code (3 prongs)
  • How old is the panel?
  • Panel is in good shape and properly wired

 

Other

  • Garage door opener works
  • Door locks all work properly (no need to jiggle key)
  • Garage door can be opened and closed manually

 

Final Thoughts on Home Inspection Checklist

Once you have gone through this list on your own, should you decide the house is worth pursuing you will need to hire a home inspector. This will usually be done once an offer is accepted. If you would like this home inspector checklist in a pdf click here and we will send it to you!

 

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