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Prepare For A Home Inspection

As a seller you need to know what to expect during the home inspection process. You should also fix anything that may have a negative impact on the inspection findings. The cleaner the home inspection the more likely you will have a smooth transaction.

Here are a few items to have inspected and repair as needed:

An exterior home inspection checklist should include the following:

Grounds:

  • Good drainage, including downspouts, away from the house with no standing water.
  • No evidence of leaks from septic tank.
  • Landscaping, driveway and walkways in good condition with no significant cracks.
  • Trees in good condition without overhanging or touching the roof.
  • Detached garage, shed, fence and deck show no rotted wood or evidence of termites.
  • Deck and stair railings are secure.

Roof:

  • Shingles are not missing or damaged and show no curling or cupping.
  • No evidence of excess roofing cement or patches.
  • Flashing around roof penetrations is present and in good condition.
  • No decay or staining on soffits and fascia; fascia board lines appear straight and level.
  • Vents for eaves are clean and not obstructed.
  • Gutters show no decay, staining or rust and are securely attached with downspouts.
  • Chimneys are straight and show no evidence of damage; flashing and cap are in good condition.

Outside structure:

  • Visible foundation appears straight and plumb, in good condition with no significant cracks.
  • Exterior walls appear straight with no sagging or bowing.
  • Window and door frames appear square.
  • No wood-to-ground contact.
  • Siding has no cracks, decay or curling.
  • Bricks show no damage or cracks in joints.
  • Stucco shows no large cracks.
  • Aluminum and vinyl siding is not loose and shows no dents or damage.
  • Paint is not flaking or blistered.
  • Exterior walls show no staining.

Doors and windows:

  • Doors have weather-stripping and latch properly.
  • Thermal glass or storm windows are installed.
  • No condensation inside double-paned windows.
  • Frames and trim are secure with no cracks or decay.
  • Joints are caulked.
  • Drip caps are installed.

An interior home inspection checklist should include:

Basement:

  • No evidence of moisture.
  • No evidence of water damage to above floor.
  • No staining or major cracks in exposed foundation.
  • Visible floor joists show no damage, decay or staining and appear straight.
  • Sump pump operates properly.

Crawl space:

  • Adequate ventilation to exterior.
  • No evidence of damage from moisture or insects.
  • Water supply and waste pipes are insulated.
  • Insulation between crawl space and heated areas.

Attic:

  • No evidence in attic of staining from roof.
  • Structure shows no damage or decay.
  • Adequate ventilation through soffit vents and end louvers; mechanical ventilation is operational.
  • Plumbing, exhaust and appliance vents extend through roof.
  • Insulation is sufficient and properly installed.
  • Electrical splices are contained.

Electrical:

  • Service panel has adequate capacity with cables attached properly.
  • No knob-and-tube wiring.
  • No aluminum cable for branch circuits.
  • Cables are secured.
  • Visible wiring is in good condition.
  • No exposed electrical splices.

Plumbing:

  • Visible pipes show no damage or evidence of leaks.
  • Drain pipes slope toward main waste outlet to sewer or septic system.
  • Water heater is appropriate size for home and shows no signs of rust.
  • Manufacture date of water heater is within length of expected use.
  • Water pressure at fixtures in home falls within accepted range.
  • Hot water temperature at fixtures does not exceed 125-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Water from well is tested.
  • Water pump does not short-cycle.

Heating and Cooling:

  • No gas odor.
  • Air conditioning and heating to operate well with good air flow throughout home.
  • Air filters clean.
  • Flues have no open seams and slope up to chimney connection.
  • Ductwork is in good condition.
  • No rust around cooling unit.

Bathrooms:

  • Working exhaust fan vents to exterior.
  • Adequate water flow and pressure for hot and cold water at all fixtures.
  • Tub, shower and sink drain smoothly.
  • Visible plumbing under sink is in good condition and cabinet floor shows no water damage.
  • Toilets flush and fill properly.
  • Toilet is stable, with no rocking or stains at base.
  • Caulking inside and outside of tub and shower is in good condition.
  • Tiles are secure.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles for all electrical outlets located within 6-feet of sinks.
  • No evidence of leaking around base of tub or shower.

Kitchen:

  • Working exhaust fan vents to outside.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles for all electrical outlets located within 6 feet of sinks.
  • Dishwasher drains properly and shows no evidence of leaks; door and baskets operate properly.
  • Plumbing under sink is in good condition and cabinet shows no stains or decay from past leaks.
  • Garbage disposal is operational and shows no rust or deterioration.
  • Water flow to sink is adequate and drains properly.
  • Built-in appliances operate properly.
  • Cabinets are in good condition; doors and drawers operate properly.

Interior rooms:

  • Floors, walls and ceilings appear straight, plumb and level; no stains.
  • Doors open easily and latch properly when closed; no broken hardware.
  • Flooring materials in good condition.
  • No significant cracks in walls or ceilings.
  • Windows and doors operate easily and latch properly, no broken glass, no sashes painted shut.
  • Paint, wall covering, paneling in good condition.
  • Wood trim installed well and in good condition.
  • Lights and switches operate properly.
  • Adequate number of 3-pronged electrical outlets in each room.
  • Electrical outlets test properly with spot checks.
  • Heating and air conditioning vents in all rooms.
  • Fireplace has no cracking or damaged masonry and shows no staining, which could indicate back-drafting; flue has been cleaned and is lined; damper works properly.

Miscellaneous:

  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order and located in required and recommended areas.
  • Stairway treads and risers are solid.
  • Stair handrails located in required areas are in good condition.
  • Automatic garage door operates properly and stops for obstructions.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list, and it is not meant to replace a professional home inspection checklist and report. Only use this as a complementary point of reference and keep in mind that not every checklist item will apply to every home. 

Here are a few infographics to help you along the way.

home inspection checklist

prepare for an inspection

10 common home inspection issues

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