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Many homeowners I’ve worked with are aware of the importance of a home inspection. After all it’s one of the easiest ways to find out if a home has any hidden secrets or serious maintenance issues.

However, more than 1 in 10 homeowners (12 percent) confused a home inspection with an appraisal, according to a survey released by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

The survey also found that more than one in every four homeowners (28 percent) mistakenly believes the purpose of an inspection is to verify that a home complies with local building codes.


So, what exactly is a home inspection checklist and why do you need one?

home inspection checklist

For the new homeowner a “home inspection” sounds like a thorough review of the entire house. If there are any problems they should be found during an inspection, right?

Well, the truth is that an inspector will only make “visual inspections” of the home.

This means an inspector may not be able to detect any problems that are hidden in the walls or under the floors that they cannot see.

After making inspections of “readily accessible, visually observable, installed systems and components” (via ASHI Standards) the inspector will create a report that may include both descriptions and photos of what they observed.

If you’re getting ready to buy a home (even if it’s brand new), my checklist will help you prepare questions to ask the home inspector both before and after the inspection.

Most home inspections occur before the sale of a home on behalf of the buyer. However, this isn’t the only time you should inspect your home.

You may consider using this guide and checklist to complete a DIY inspection every few years to catch any potential problems.

Even if you don’t know the first thing about home construction or inspections, it’s important to be at the house during the inspection. Feel free to tag along with the inspector and ask questions along the way. Their job is to identify any potential problems for YOU.

Also during the inspection you can point out any areas that you were concerned about during your pre-inspection walk-through.

Keep in mind that even if a home inspection comes back clean, there may be hidden problems that will reveal themselves later when you least expect it.

Inside our checklist we reveal the answers to the most common questions home buyers and sellers have about inspections.

In fact, some of the secrets we reveal might make the inspection industry fighting mad. So grab these valuable guides now before they make us take them down!

Discover the mistakes most homeowners make before, during and after an inspection!

Thousands of homeowners just like you have already downloaded our home inspection checklist. Get your own printable PDF copy sent directly to your inbox! BONUS: After you sign up you’ll receive our weekly tips for homeowners completely free!

For a limited time only, you can download our printable PDF checklists ($27 Value) completely free. It’s great for home buyers and sellers.

All you need to do is enter your email address, then download the checklist instantly. It doesn’t get any easier than that. So, what are you waiting for?

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This is the most comprehensive guide available on the internet. Download this PDF form today while it’s still available. It’s becoming so popular we might take it down and start charging full price for it.

What’s Included in Our Printable Home Inspection Checklist?

Want to know what’s included in our inspection checklist before you download it? We’ve included a few items your inspector will look for.

STRUCTURAL

  • Can you access under-floor crawl spaces and attic?
  • Are there any cracks or visible damage in the foundation?
  • Is the floor structure in good condition? Is there noticeable damage?
  • Are the walls straight? Are they bowed or sagging?
  • Are window and door frames square?
  • Is there damage to the ceiling structure?
  • Does the roof structure appear to be in good condition?

EXTERIOR

Exterior Siding, Flashing and Trim

  • Are there signs of wood rot?
  • Are there signs of termite damage?
  • Are the bricks and mortar in good condition?
  • Are there dents or scratches in aluminum siding?

Exterior Doors and Windows

  • Are all doors and locks operational?
  • Do windows and skylights have visible condensation or fogging?
  • Are the windows properly sealed? Are there visible gaps around the windows?

Decks, Balconies, Stoops, Steps, Porches, and Railings

  • Is the balcony pitched away from the house for proper drainage?
  • Are the supporting beams in good condition, with no signs of rot or wear?
  • Check condition of the posts, railings, floor and steps
  • Do you see any signs of rot?
  • Do you see any termite damage?
  • Are the railings secure?
  • Are the steps sturdy?
  • Does the porch have adequate foundation support?

Vegetation, Grading, Surface Drainage, and Retaining Walls

  • Is there standing water in the yard?
  • Is there water around the foundation?
  • Does the yard slope away from the house?
  • Is there 12 inches of clearance between the building and foliage?
  • Is there a 6 inch clearance between grade and trim?
  • Is there 2 inch clearance between hardscape and trim?
  • Are tree roots affecting the foundation?
  • Does the sprinkler have broken heads and malfunctioning valves?
  • Are trees trimmed away from power, phone and cable lines?

Walkways, Patios, and Driveways

  • Does the driveway slope away from the house or have a drain?
  • Are there large cracks in the driveway or walkway?
  • Is the driveway or walkway uneven or buckling?
  • Is the driveway or walkway crumbling around the edges?
  • Is the driveway stained?

ROOFING

Roofing Materials

  • What is the style and pitch of the roof?
  • What is the roof covering? How many layers?
  • Are the shingles broken or missing?
  • Are the shingles buckled?

Roof Drainage

  • Are the gutters and downspouts in good repair?
  • Do you see pooling water?

Flashing

  • Is the coping broken or missing?
  • Is there proper flashing in place? Is it in good condition?

Skylights, Chimneys, and Roof Penetrations

  • Are there any chimneys, skylights, plumbing vents, etc.?
  • If the roof has a skylight, is it well-sealed?
  • Does the roof have ventilation?

PLUMBING

Bathroom Plumbing

  • Run the faucets. Do the drains empty slowly? Do they gurgle?
  • Is the water pressure too low?
  • Does the toilet flush?
  • Does the shower head work properly?
  • Does the bathtub/shower drain properly?

Kitchen Plumbing

  • Run the faucets. Do the drains empty slowly? Do they gurgle?
  • Is the water pressure too low?

Water Heater

  • Is the shut-off switch accessible?
  • If a gas water heater, is it vented?
  • Will the capacity meet your needs?
  • How old is the water heater?
  • Has the water heater been serviced recently?
  • Where is the main water shut off valve located?
  • Where is the main fuel shut off valve located?

HEATING

Heating System

  • Is the heating system easily accessible?
  • Can you locate the energy source?
  • Does the central heating system work properly?
  • Has it been serviced recently?
  • Has the filter been replaced or cleaned recently?
  • Is the ductwork in tact? Does it have signs of damage?

Chimney

  • Is the mortar crumbling or pulling away from the chimney?
  • Does the chimney have a rain cap?
  • Do you see smoke staining around the exterior of the firebox?
  • Is there creosote buildup in the firebox?

AIR CONDITIONING

  • Is the cooling system easily accessible?
  • Can you locate the energy source?
  • Does the central cooling system work properly?
  • Has it been serviced recently?
  • Has the filter been replaced or cleaned recently?
  • Is the ductwork in tact? Does it have signs of damage?

ELECTRICAL

  • Is the fuse box or main panel easily accessible?
  • Is the main panel in good condition (no rust or damage)?
  • Are there enough outlets in each room to meet your needs?
  • Are there CFGI outlets in the kitchen and bathroom?
  • Can you located the main power disconnect?
  • Are there overcurrent protection devices installed?
  • What is a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles?
  • What is the amperage and voltage rating of the service?
  • Where is the location of main disconnect(s) and sub panels?
  • Is there a solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring?
  • Are there smoke detectors?
  • What type of wiring methods are used throughout the home?

INTERIOR

  • Are there any water spots on ceilings, walls or floors?
  • Is the drywall pulling away on the walls?
  • Are the walls cracked?
  • Do the floors feel spongy or weak?
  • Do the floors slope in any of the rooms?
  • What is a representative number of doors and windows?
  • Do any of the interior doors bind?
  • Do any of the interior windows bind?
  • Do the windows and sills have signs of mold or mildew?
  • Are the windows foggy or discolored?
  • Are any of the windows or doors broken?
  • Are the steps, stairways, and railings in good condition?

Garage

  • Is the floor cracked or stained?
  • Is the exterior in good repair?
  • Does the garage door function well?
  • If the garage is attached to the house, is it pulling away from the home?
  • If the garage is attached to the house, has it settled the same as the house?

Kitchen

  • Is there ventilation above the cooking appliances?
  • Are there GFCI outlets?
  • Do you see any signs of leaking under the sink?
  • Do you see any signs of leaking around the refrigerator?
  • Are the cabinets secured well to the wall?
  • Are the countertops in good condition?
  • About how many kitchen cabinets are installed?

Bathrooms

  • Does the floor by the toilet feel spongy?
  • Are there loose floor or wall tiles?
  • Is the caulking around the tub or shower moldy or missing?
  • Is the floor of the shower (shower pan) cracked or damaged?
  • Are the electrical outlets in the bathroom GFCI outlets?
  • Do you see water stains, sagging floors, or signs of mold?
  • Does the bathroom have ventilation?

INSULATION & VENTILATION

Attic

  • Do you see signs of leaks or water damage in the attic?
  • Is the attic well-ventilated (not damp)?
  • Is the attic insulated?
  • Are there mechanical ventilation systems?

Basement

  • Does the basement smell damp or musty?
  • Do you see signs of water leaks on the ceiling or floor?
  • Do you see any signs of water seepage around the foundation?
  • If beams are exposed, do you see any signs of termite damage?
  • If beams are exposed, do you see any rotten wood?
  • Do you see any cracks in the basement interior?
  • Is there insulation and vapor retarders?

Crawl Space

  • Is crawl space easily accessible?
  • Is the crawl space damp?
  • Is there insulation and vapor retarders?
  • Is the crawl space well ventilated?
  • Are there signs of rodents or insects?
  • Do you see cracks in the foundation?
  • Is the foundation crumbling?
  • Is there moisture along the foundation?
  • Do you see any termite damage to the wood?
  • Do you see any signs of rotting wood?

What’s Included in a Home Inspection Report?

For homeowners undertaking their first home inspection it is absolutely essential to understand what’s included in the final inspection report as well as what’s not.

To help make this process easier we’ve outlined what a typical home inspection report will include and what it won’t.

There are many areas of the home that the inspector will not inspect. These areas will need to be inspected by another professional, or you will need to take on the task yourself.

At a minimum you should visually inspect any areas that you may be concerned about and call in a professional if you need more help.

Our checklist includes a small sample of questions to ask your inspector during or after the inspection. These questions were designed to be a guideline for you to use when looking at the home. Since there are thousands of variations of materials, possible problems and situations, you may need to research additional questions prior to the inspection.

A standard home inspection report includes:

  • Structural Components
  • Exterior Components
  • Interior Components
  • Roof & Attic
  • Plumbing
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Electrical

These are just a few examples of what an inspector looks for. But, you might be surprised what they don’t check for. Download this checklist to find out for yourself.

Why did others download the checklist? Here’s what they said:

“Selling our home and the buyer will be conducting a home inspection. Wanted to make sure I checked everything before the inspector comes and identifies items needing fixing.” -Melonie

“My son is fixing up a house getting it ready for a VA loan inspection. He is a first time home buyer and would like to make sure he doesn’t have to go back since he is on a shoe string budget. Thanks!” -Clara

“Thank you for the checklist! I am new to the home inspection field, and I am trying to find the best way to go about doing the inspections and trying to make myself unique.” -Lou

“I am a residential contractor and a friend is buying a home. We’ll probably do the inspection ourselves. I know what to look for, but nothing beats a checklist!” -Ken

“We are looking to buy a house and need a little guidance on things to be aware of. Thanks for the information!” -Ralph

“Thank you. I am trying to help a younger friend who is looking for homes find out what else he should look for. Your list is excellent!” -Jim

“Thanks! We got several houses and need an inspection list to go through the houses and keep records of the faults.” -Alta

“My son is getting ready to buy his first house. Wanted to learn more about home inspections. Thanks!” -Teri

“Thanks – exactly what I was looking for. I’m selling my house and trying to be prepared for the inspection.” -Denette

“I am a REALTOR and thought you have information not only useful to me but also to my clients. Great checklist!” -Steve

“We had put an offer in on a house and the inspection was scheduled for the upcoming Saturday. I just wanted a checklist to follow along with the inspector. Thank you.” -Peter

“Thank you for the checklist! I am just starting to buy homes and build my investment portfolio of rental properties in my area. Some items on your list I indeed almost forgot to look at – LOL” -Andrea K.

Download our printable home inspection forms completely free – Great for home buyers and sellers!