A Buyer's Home Inspection Checklist

 Our Guest Author Today:  Marianne Lewis 

A house waiting for a home inspection.

The day of the inspection is one of the most anticipated moments in the home-buying process because it's the first time you'll be able to see the inside of the house after submitting your offer. However, this is also your chance to inspect the property and make sure you're comfortable with the state of things. As a buyer, a home inspection is not merely an opportunity for you to negotiate a lower price with the seller or walk away from the sale because of its catastrophic condition. For new homeowners, it serves as an instruction handbook for routine maintenance. Before going through with a purchase, you should get a professional inspector to look at the state of the property. But to narrow down your options when house-hunting, you can do the preliminary inspections yourself. We've compiled this home inspection checklist to help you correctly evaluate the state of the property you're buying.

What to look for

During a home inspection, you should be very thorough. It is, after all, one of the most important steps before buying a property. During an inspection, you should look at the home's interior and exterior, including the attic, basement, crawl space, and roof. If you couldn't take a look at these areas before making an offer, now is your opportunity to do so. Segment the areas in your checklist for home inspection to more easily focus on each one. Here is our home inspection checklist.


Consider the property's foundation and see whether it may cause any issues in the future. After all, it's one of the most crucial things to look out for when buying a house, especially if you are thinking about buying a fixer-upper. Examining the foundation of a home is one of the most important factors you should keep in mind at the time of your purchase. Many underlying, "invisible" problems might stem from a bad foundation. Begin by examining the foundation, paying particular attention to the type of material used (typically concrete or cinder block) and the structure's overall condition. Note whether there is a basement or crawl space. Foundation settlement may be the cause of cracks or moving walls. Broken floor joists, mold or fungus, water penetration, and indications of vermin are further red flags. 


Heating and cooling systems - This includes both indoor and outdoor units. Look at the model and try to identify any corrosion or damage. Use the thermostat to check the heat and air conditioning functions, including the emergency heat. Additionally, you should note the number and location of vents and the cleanliness of air filters if possible. 

Hot water system - Be sure to check the water heater as well. The water heater's age and functionality are the primary considerations. Conduct a visual inspection for leaks, rust, and insulation and note the serial and model numbers that should be carried out on each water heater.

Safety systems - You shouldn't forget about the inspections of the safety systems. The correct locations for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors must be followed. They need to be in good operating order and up to date. If the property has a security system, you may ask the seller to show you if and how it works. 

Electrical system - If you're a bit adept, you could examine the electrical panel in the house. Check the safety and damage of the panel, and note the required voltage. This is extremely important if you're buying an older home because systems can significantly differ in these houses. You might want to get the help of somebody well-versed in all things electrical.

Windows and doors

Ideally, all windows and doors should be simple to open, close, and lock. There should be no water staining or rot on the windows sills. To avoid drafts, ensure that all edges are properly sealed. Note if there are screens or window coverings. There should be no sticking or rubbing of inside doors. A key lock should be available for the buyer if there is one. It goes without saying that any damage or breakage on the windows and doors should be documented.

Walls, floors, and ceilings

During an inspection, look at the floors to see how they're doing as a whole. The biggest concern you’re looking for are any slopes or shaky places, but also pay attention to the finishes. As far as safety and livability concerns go, buyers should be aware of any ripped carpet, broken tile, or damaged wood.

Roof and the gutter system

Take a look at the gutter system. Clear and secure gutters and downspouts are essential. Flashing should be in good condition around all joints and protrusions. There will be a thorough examination of the roof by a professional inspector for any signs of material damage. But in case you can take a look at the roof yourself, you should put it on your home inspection checklist. The roof can be a costly issue for you if you don't identify the problems before buying. Thus, we believe that a thorough inspection of a home's roof is one of the most important issues one needs to handle. No missing or cracked shingles or tiles are acceptable. It's important to note the presence of any mold or fungus, as this can shorten the lifespan of any material. You can also look at the roof from the attic if there is one accessible. 

Final words

Now that your home inspection checklist has been finished, your agent can bargain with the seller. In some cases, the seller is willing to do the repairs or pay for them in cash at closing. If you and the seller are unable to reach an agreement, you can always choose to walk away from the deal. Consider the house inspection as one of the best tools a buyer has to ensure that their home acquisition goes as smoothly as possible. This is especially important if you are buying a house remotely. We hope our checklist has given you an idea of what to watch for. After all, it's not every day that one buys a house - plenty of caution is advisable during this process.

Author bio:

Marianne Lewis is a content creator behind PortaBox Storage, and has been working as a writer for over a decade. Her experience in the world of real estate has allowed her to make a full-time living writing about the industry. When not behind a computer screen, Marianne enjoys taking long walks and playing with her dog.

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