Home Inspection Checklist | My Move

Home Inspection Checklist

Author: Dawn Allcot

In many states, home inspection is required by law before the purchase of residential property. Your realtor can let you know about specific laws in your state.

Even in states where it is not required, going through a home inspection checklist is a good idea. It's the equivalent of having a professional mechanic look over a car before a purchase. A new car represents an investment of $10K to $40K and up, whereas homes are, at minimum, four times that amount and in most areas, much more.

A professional, certified home inspector can spot structural damage that could cost tens of thousands to repair, leaks, storm damage, problems with plumbing, hot water heaters, furnaces and other appliances, and a host of other things the normal homebuyer's untrained eyes will not see. He'll also be able to comment on the general upkeep of the house as he goes through a home inspection checklist.

What to Expect From a Home Inspection

When you have a home inspection, your certified inspector will walk you through the house, exterior and interior, and point out all the areas he's inspecting. Expect him to go from ceiling to floor in every space with a home inspection checklist.

He'll let you know what is fine, what may need work down the line, and what could be a deal-breaker on the house. If the home inspector notices damage in certain areas, such as with a heating system, you can request the sellers fix it before closing.

Download our Home Inspection Checklist to help guide you as you analyze the overall condition of your home.



Exterior Home Inspection Checklist

  • Roof (age? general condition? how many layers?)
  • Chimney (good condition? no cracks?)
  • Foundation (intact? no significant cracks?)
  • Grade or slope of the lot (downgrades can cause flooding in homes with basements)
  • Condition of walkways, driveway and stairs
  • Gutters (falling down? leaking? need cleaning?)
  • Handrail on stairs

Interior Home Inspection Checklist

Basement /Utility Room Inspection

Most basements house important appliances required to keep your home comfortable. The inspector should carefully check these items for their age, general maintenance and proper operation. He'll turn the heat on and let it run to see if it works properly, and he should do the same with a central air conditioning unit. Here are some of the areas to inspect in a basement:

  • Hot water heater
  • Furnace
  • Oil burner
  • Electrical panel
  • The basement for signs of water damage, visible leaks

Home Inspection in Every Room

The home inspector should go from floor to ceiling in every room of the house. Here are some of the things he should look for and check:

  • Water damage
  • Damaged floors, floors not level, cracked tiles
  • Termite or other pest infestation
  • Cracked walls
  • Electrical outlets in good visible condition
  • Light switches
  • Heat sources (the heat should be turned on at the beginning of the inspection to make sure heat is being delivered to every room adequately)
  • Closets (from floor to ceiling: closet doors work, no water damage, no cracks)
  • Doors and doorknobs (open and close as expected?)
  • Windows (age? maintenance? signs of leakage? peeling paint? condition of caulking? cracked glass? do they open and shut properly?)

Home Inspection Checklist: The Kitchen

In addition to the home inspection performed in every other room of the house, the home inspector should look at the condition, age, and general maintenance of kitchen appliances.

  • Do faucets leak? Are pipes under the sink in good shape?
  • Does the stove function properly?
  • Is the refrigerator in working condition?
  • Do vents work properly?
  • Random check of kitchen cabinets and doors (do they open properly?)

Home Inspection Checklist: The Bathroom

In the bathroom, the home inspector should flush the toilet and make sure it runs properly, check beneath the sink for the condition of the pipes, run the bathtub and shower water, check the ventilation system (if applicable) and do a close inspection for any leaks or water damage.

Skipping a Home Inspection Can Cost You

A home inspection may cost a few hundred dollars, but it will ensure your piece of mind when you close on your new home.

Illustration by Kena Ravel