General Home Inspection Checklist Items
Construction of walls, ceilings, floors, roof and foundation. Ask about horizontal cracks versus parallel cracks. Does the foundation seem secure? Does the roof leak? Has there been a fire in the attic?
Wall covering, landscaping, grading, elevation, drainage, driveways, fences, sidewalks, fascia, trim, doors, windows, lights and exterior receptacles.
Roof and Attic.
Framing, ventilation, type of roof construction, flashing and gutters. It does not include a guarantee of roof condition nor a roof certification. How many layers are on the roof? When will it need to be replaced?
Identification of pipe materials used for potable, drain, waste and vent pipes. including condition. Toilets, showers, sinks, faucets and traps. It does not include a sewer inspection.
Systems and Components.
Water heaters, furnaces, air conditioning, duct work, chimney, fireplace and sprinklers. Usually a separate chimney inspection is performed if the inspector suspects there is a problem. Not all home inspectors will check sprinklers.
Main panel, circuit breakers, types of wiring, grounding, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans and light fixtures. Ask if the electrical panel is on a recall list.
Dishwasher, range and oven, built-in microwaves, garbage disposal and, yes, even smoke detectors. Washers and dryers are typically included as well if they remain with the home.
Slab, walls, ceiling, vents, entry, firewall, garage door, openers, lights, receptacles, exterior, windows and roof. If the garage is attached to the home, it might also require a pest inspection, depending on the type of loan the borrower is obtaining.
Home Inspection Checklist Items Needing Service
Home inspection reports do not describe the condition of every component if it's in excellent shape, but should note every item that is defective or needing service. The serious problems are:
Health and safety issues (within reason)
Roofs with a short life expectancy
Furnace / A/C malfunctions
Moisture / drainage issues
Home Inspection Checklist Items Sellers Should Fix
If you have a choice, it might be smarter to hire your own contractors and supervise repairs. Before issuing a formal request to repair, consider the seller's incentive to hire the cheapest contractor and to replace appliances with the least expensive brands.
Although home inspectors are reluctant to and, in some cases, refuse to disclose repair costs, call a contractor to determine the scope and expense to fix minor problems yourself. No home is perfect. Every home will have issues noted or flagged in a home inspection. Even new homes.
A repair issue that will be be a deal breaker for a first-time home buyer, causing the buyer to cancel the contract, will not faze a home buyer versed in home repair. Talk to your agent, family, friends and call a few contractors to discuss which types of defects are minor. Perhaps a simple solution is available such as replacing a $1.99 receptacle, which can resolve many outlet problems.
Pat yourself on the back, too, for getting a home inspection. Some buyers feel a home inspection is unnecessary, especially if they are buying new construction. If a light switch doesn't work or the air conditioner blows out hot air, those are problems you can see and test. The problems that aren't readily identifiable to you such as code violations, a furnace that leaks carbon monoxide or a failing chimney, are the types of defects a home inspector could identify in a new home. Builders' contractors make mistakes, too.
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