Buying Into the Real-Estate Market: A Home-Inspection Checklist


Buying Into the Real-Estate Market: A Home-Inspection Checklist

If you’ve been a renter for many years, the idea of purchasing a home might be a long-term goal. Interest rates are low, and many regions have a surplus of homes for sale. Every home has its characteristics, which range from both positive and negative aspects. Part of every real-estate purchase is an inspection. A certified professional goes through your chosen property and verifies its structural quality. Learn about the features that each home inspection includes. Your dream home should come with quality materials.


Exterior Landscaping

A home inspector doesn’t critique the landscaping’s beauty. The physical land that the home resides on can tell a story about the structure’s quality. Inspectors look for low-lying areas, mysterious puddles and other features that don’t fit into the standard landscape. These features might indicate a plumbing problem that extends between the home and local, sewage lines. Inspectors also look for adequate drainage angles, which should slope away from the structure.


Exterior Surfaces

Inspections include an evaluation of the structure’s exterior. Inspectors look at these elements, including:

• Wood fascia

• Roof gutters

• Windows and frames

• Doors and frames

There shouldn’t be any evidence of pest or weather damage on the exterior. Porches and stairs are also a major checkpoint for evaluation. The walking areas must be safe and stable. Inspectors will note if any areas appear bowed, such as from water damage. Missing or damaged railings should also be fixed before the property transfers to a new party.


Exterior Foundation

A home’s foundation is one of the most important elements for evaluation. Homebuyers want a stable foundation. The entire structure remains compromised with a cracked or sagging base.

The foundation is difficult to see, but inspectors use clues on the exterior edges for analysis purposes. They’re looking for wide cracks, chipped pieces and other signs of wear. Narrow cracks aren’t cause for concern. The inspector will step back and gauge the level of the home based on the foundation’s strength. No property should have a tilted appearance from a curbside view.



A home inspection doesn’t normally include a detailed account of the roof’s health. Inspectors simply don’t venture onto the roof. However, they do make an educated decision by looking at the roof from the front and backyards. They’ll also inspect the roof from inside the attic.

Inspectors look for damages, leaks, holes and missing sections. They document every detail because a healthy roof is an absolute must for home buyers.


Attic Space

Most attics are unfinished spaces with bare, wood beams. Inspectors climb into the attic to verify that the structural beams are in good shape. If the home has any pest issues, such as termites, it will be apparent in the attic’s wood. Other elements being examined in the attic include:

• Water-damage spots

• Improper electrical connections

• Proper ventilation

No exhaust vents should release into the attic area either. The sellers would have to fix this situation before the home could be sold.


Interior Spaces

When it comes to inspecting the interior rooms, there are many features that must be examined. Walls, ceilings and door frames are just the start of an inspection. Inspectors look at the paint, any cracks and functionality when it comes to swinging doors. Locks should also work on every door. You’ll see the inspector switching on nearly every light, which ensures that the switches have connections to fixtures in the space.


Interior Systems

When you think of interior systems, the plumbing often comes to mind. However, there are other features in the home that are just as important. Duct work, water heaters, chimneys and other systems are inspection-worthy locations. They must all be in good, working order.

These systems also have a major element in common: they all have specific standards to follow from a safety standpoint. Home inspectors look over and try out each feature so that they can be cleared as functional.


Basement and Crawlspace

Your home may have a crawlspace. Inspectors venture into these areas to check for pests and water damage. They also look for vapor barriers that protect the home. It shouldn’t be damaged in any fashion.

Some homes might have basements instead of crawlspaces. Inspectors treat the basement as if it’s another interior room. No moisture or cracks in the floor or walls are allowed.


Plumbing, Electrical and HVAC Systems

The major systems in the household will be carefully examined. Each one will be activated and ran through a normal cycle. Both the air conditioning and heater must work without tripping any breakers. The inspector turns on most lights and other electrical items to see the system’s true reaction under a load. Flushing toilets, running water and activating the dishwasher are

also part of these tests.


Kitchen Evaluation

The inspector looks for any damage in the kitchen, such as cracks in the counter-top. Every appliance comes under scrutiny too. Inspectors open up cabinets to verify that they’re structurally sound. The sink’s plumbing becomes a focus too. Be ready for the garbage disposal to run as the water goes down the sink.


Bathroom Inspection

Bathrooms have a lot of items to be inspected. The inspector looks at these particular elements, such as:

• Toilet functionality

• Water damage in and around plumbing

• Sink drains with normal, draining speed

Water damage is a major concern in the bathroom. The toilet should be tightly sealed to the floor. Grout and caulk must seal the tub and shower into the wall. Inspectors also look into the cabinets so that any water damage is quickly spotted.


Garage Overview

The garage is one of the simplest spaces to inspect. The inspector looks over the flooring, walls and outlets. An attached garage should also have a firewall between the living space and vehicles. The door is also under evaluation so that it’s a continuation of the firewall.



Items that remain with the home, such as stoves and dishwashers, are also part of the inspection. They must be safe and functional as well. Some home buyers might ask the sellers about including the laundry system in the sale. This stipulation is a common one because leaving the laundry system in place is much easier than taking it along. With a laundry system remaining at the home, the inspector will look it over as well.

Remember that a home inspection occurs before you sign on the dotted line. If any major problems arise, you’re under no obligation to purchase the home. In fact, you can ask the sellers to fix certain issues. When sellers are motivated, they might fix the issue to gain your bid. Knowing all about a home’s features protects you from ever buying a “lemon.”
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