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What to look for on Home Inspection

Home Inspection Checklist: 10 Things to Make Sure You Catch Before Closing

Not a requirement, but a good idea when purchasing a home, a home inspection can make you aware of defects, both material and cosmetic. Some repairs can be very expensive and you will want to make sure that you know what you’re getting. Whether you perform an inspection yourself or hire the services of a professional home inspector use this list of 10 things to make sure you catch before finalizing the purchase of a home.

How Is the Roof?

Home inspectors perform an inspection that is mostly visual and some will climb to the roof peaks to inspect its condition while others won’t. Their typical mode of inspection is from the ground with a pair of binoculars. They may be able to see curled shingles and visible defects but they can’t tell if decking under the shingles is solid of if the roofing material is loose anywhere.

If you question the condition of the roof of the home you want to purchase do it yourself or have a professional roofer give you an opinion of its life expectancy. As the first line of defense for water penetration from above, you will want the roof to be in good shape when you move in.

Is the Basement Damp or Foundation Cracked?

You will want to do a thorough walk through of the basement and look for any signs of cracks in the floor and base of the walls, water damage and mildew. Water intrusion is the biggest enemy of a home’s soundness and water at the base of the home can be potentially cause problems to the entire structure if left unattended.

If the problems in the basement or with the foundation are very severe, you may want to find a different piece of property. While wet basements and cracked foundations are curable, it is an expensive undertaking and probably one that you may not want to undertake unless you are getting such a good deal.

How’s the Wiring?

Locate the fuse or breaker box. It should be easy to access and in good repair. Do a visual inspection of all rooms to make sure that there are enough outlets in the rooms. Check the kitchen and bathrooms for the presence of ground-fault circuit interrupters, GFCI, outlets. These are in areas where water and electricity are in close proximity and can prevent electrocution.

How’s the Plumbing?

Leaky faucets are easy to detect, but other plumbing, not so much. Turn on all of the faucets in the home, flush the toilets a time or two, then check all of the drains, and visually inspect plumbing under the house, if possible, to determine if there are any leaks. Look under the kitchen and bathroom sinks and inspect for leaks, too.

Homes with septic systems will require an inspection by a professional who will check the drain field and tank. If the home you are considering has a septic system, ask the sellers when it was last pumped out. Septic systems with material defects are expensive to repair.

Do the Heat and Air Systems Work Properly?

Often complex systems, if the home you are buying has a central heat and air system, or furnace it will be best to have it inspected by a professional. While it may appear to be in good order and work properly, the insides of these units can be quietly rusting away. Only a professional can test the system, inspect it and determine whether it needs immediate repair or if it is in good shape.

Do the Doors and Windows Leak?

Home inspectors and private companies can perform an air infiltration test that will determine if the windows and doors are leaking air. If they leak air it will cost you more for your utility bills. If air can come in, so can water, which isr is as big an enemy to the walls of your home as it is to the basement and roof. Cracks will offer water a way to penetrate your home, which can cause damage that you may not see until it becomes a major issue.

Are the Chimney and Fireplace In Good Condition?

Does it have a cap on it? Just like leaky basements, windows and roofs, water penetration into the chimney can cause damage that can make it unsafe to use. The mortar between the joints can crumble and fall out due to both moisture and age and an excessive build-up of creosote can cause a chimney fire. A professional chimney sweep can inspect a chimney and let you know its condition and if it needs immediate attention.

Are There Signs of Water Damage Anywhere?

Inspect under cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms and around the floors and walls of the laundry room for any water damage. Inspect the ceilings throughout the house for any signs of water stains that would indicate a leaking roof. Water damage of any kind should be questioned when you are doing your home inspection checklist.

Does the Home ave a Termite Infestation?

This is another item not covered by a home inspector and you will need to find a pest control company to inspect the home for infection of termites or other insects. Most lenders require a termite inspection prior to closing.

Is There Sufficient Insulation in the Attic?

Besides an inefficient heating and air, system insulation can cost you a great deal, if it is insufficient in the attic. It is easy to inspect it to check for the presence of insulation and whether there is an adequate amount for the particular climate.

Make Sure You Catch Any Defects

When you hire a professional inspector, walk through the home with them on the initial inspection. If any questions arise that need further inspection you can then bring in technicians for the particular system. The bottom line is, don’t take the sellers word for the condition of the property you wish to buy, check it out yourself.


2 Point Highlight

Not a requirement, but a good idea when purchasing a home, a home inspection can make you aware of defects, both material and cosmetic.

When you hire a professional inspector, walk through the home with them on the initial inspection.