The following is a home inspection checklist for buyers that you can use along with your home inspector to ensure that everything is in good shape.
Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers: Major Systems
- Appliances. Before buying a home, turn on and test every appliance. Look to see if they are working properly without making noises, giving off unreasonable odors or showing any other signs of failure.
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The home's furnace, air conditioner and water heater all should operate without emitting odors or loud noises. They should also have clean filters and show signs of regular maintenance.
- Electrical system. A licensed electrician can go well beyond the basic tasks on this home inspection checklist for buyers. Still, a visual inspection of the panel and breakers to ensure that they are modern and in good repair with sufficient amps to run all of the appliances and systems is valuable. Testing outlets and fixtures to ensure that they operate properly can also provide an indication of deeper issues.
- Plumbing. As possible, inspect the home's pipes for signs of damage, rust or leaks. When you test fixtures, look for adequate water pressure and temperature. Watch water drains to ensure that the home's sewer capacity is adequate and properly functioning.
- Roof and attic. Even a visual inspection can show signs of damage such as deteriorating or missing shingles, clogged gutters or damaged chimneys. If the home has a flat roof, look for signs of repairs or patches to the membrane. Water damage on the attic's ceiling is a sign of roof leakage. It's also wise to look at the attic's insulation to ensure that it is both ample and undamaged.
- Exterior walls. A home's exterior should be in good repair with properly painted surfaces and caulk that has no cracks or other damage. In addition, the ground cover should be an appropriate distance from the siding to prevent termite intrusion. Professional termite inspection is also advisable in many regions.
- The home's structure. Even if you aren't a structural engineer, you can still spot if the structure is sagging or has a bow in the center. Windows and doors should be aligned, and the foundation should appear to be in good condition. In earthquake zones, the buildings should be bolted to the foundation.
- Garages and sheds. The principles that apply to the home also apply to connected or outbuildings like garages and storage sheds. Proper foundations, roofs, and sealing against the elements are equally important in these structures.
- The surrounding land. Survey the property to ensure that it gradually slopes away from the home for proper drainage. In addition, look carefully at any paved surfaces since cracks or upheavals could be signs of forces that may have also caused foundation damage.
What have you seen in home inspections? Has an inspection saved you from making an expensive mistake? If so, share your stories below in the Comments section.