In our local market real estate consists of many old homes as well some new construction. No property is perfect, regardless of its age. Even a brand new luxury condo in downtown Seattle or Bellevue can have issues.The reality is, no matter how well you inspect, there are things you’ll discover only after living in your home. The goal of a home inspections is to thoroughly inspect so you know what you are getting yourself into and can make an informed decision before placing an offer.
Whether buying or selling, it’s always prudent to know what is listed on a home inspection checklist. Home inspectors use the checklist to note the condition of certain areas inside and outside the home. Lenders often won't extend a loan to a borrower until the seller makes repairs to noted areas or replaces appropriate items. As a seller, learning the list will help you fix areas that could cause problems in negotiations before listing your property. Buyers can use the list to follow along when attending the inspection. A buyer may identify areas that the inspector may not regard as critical to repair. For instance, boxes piled in a closet may be covering up a rotted floor. The inspector may not note the clutter. A buyer can require in negotiations that the boxes be removed and schedule another inspection for good measure.
The first item on a home inspection checklist is typically the structural components inside the house. Many areas included are the basement, interior foundation, floors, ceilings, walls, roof structure and attic.
Exterior and Roof
Inspection of the home’s exterior includes scrutiny of roof components, guttering, soffits and eaves, exterior windows and doors, decks, patios and wall cladding, trim and flashing. Garage door openers are also inspected, as well as the grading of the ground to ensure proper drainage away from the home.
Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC
Electrical, plumbing and HVAC areas include electrical wiring, outlets and light switches. Drains for water and waste, sump pump, water source and distribution, hot water system and the main water shutoff are scrutinized. Chimneys and flues and the gas source, vents and lines are all inspected.
Interior of the Home
Home inspectors scrutinize the interior of the home for anomalies and necessary repairs. Ceilings, floors, walls and stairways are inspected. Railings, steps and balconies are included in the checklist. Windows, doors and locks are checked for proper functioning and stability. Signs of water damage may indicate the harmful presence of bacteria or mold.
Ventilation and Insulation
The kitchen and bathroom typically require some kind of ventilation. Home inspectors scrutinize for the presence and proper placement of ventilation and the adequate and safe functioning of it. They also check for adequate ventilation in the attic, crawl space and subfloor areas. The basement is scrutinized for insulation and, in appropriate regions of the country, inspectors note the presence, placement and condition of vapor barriers.
What Your General Home Inspection Should Cover
- Siding: Look for dents or buckling.
- Foundations: Look for cracks or water seepage.
- Exterior Brick: Look for cracked bricks or mortar pulling away from bricks.
- Insulation: Look for condition, adequate rating for climate.
- Doors and Windows: Look for loose or tight fits, condition of locks, condition of weather-stripping.
- Roof: Look for age, conditions of flashing, pooling water, buckled shingles, or loose gutters and downspouts.
- Ceilings, walls, and moldings: Look for loose pieces, drywall that is pulling away.
- Porch/Deck: Loose railings or step, rot.
- Electrical: Look for condition of fuse box/circuit breakers, number of outlets in each room.
- Plumbing: Look for poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots or corrosion that indicate leaks, sufficient insulation.
- Water Heater: Look for age, size adequate for house, speed of recovery, energy rating.
- Furnace/Air Conditioning: Look for age, energy rating; Furnaces are rated by annual fuel utilization efficiency; the higher the rating, the lower your fuel costs. However, other factors such as payback period and other operating costs, such as electricity to operate motors.
- Garage: Look for exterior in good repair; condition of floor—cracks, stains, etc.; condition of door mechanism.
- Basement: Look for water leakage, musty smell.
- Attic: Look for adequate ventilation, water leaks from roof.
- Septic Tanks (if applicable): Adequate absorption field capacity for the percolation rate in your area and the size of your family.
- Driveways/Sidewalks: Look for cracks, heaving pavement, crumbling near edges, stains.
- And, he should answer your questions so you feel confident and informed about the home you are buying!