What is a Home Inspection Checklist?

Adam Hill

A home inspection checklist consists of a list of possible flaws or defects in the components of a house, that will need to be checked for in the event of its purchase or sale. It is designed to disclose possible problems which may or may not be apparent to the untrained eye upon a cursory visual inspection. Each state or jurisdiction has different laws governing inspection checklists, and they are not designed to be able to see every possible problem. For example, a typical home inspection checklist does not include things such as radon gas, asbestos or lead paint. Additional certification is usually necessary to be able to inspect for these specific hazards.

A home inspection checklist may list flaws of a particular property.
A home inspection checklist may list flaws of a particular property.

While home inspectors are ideally highly qualified, many jurisdictions do not require them to hold a license. Nevertheless, a reputable inspector should be able to pinpoint problems effectively. While potentially serious health hazards like radon are not part of the inspection, everything concerning the structure and safety of the house itself is. Some of the more important items on a home inspection checklist are the roof, walls, foundation and floor of the home. Defects or damage to these areas can be a nightmare, especially for a new homeowner.

Home inspectors will check for proper drainage elements of a house, including downspouts.
Home inspectors will check for proper drainage elements of a house, including downspouts.

The exterior elements of a property also feature on a home inspection checklist. An inspector checks for problems such as improper drainage, the condition of the windows, and the state of any exterior wall coverings such as masonry. One crucial element on this part of the home inspection checklist is to make sure that if there is a slope or grading of any kind on the lot, that it slopes downhill away from the home. Otherwise, mud and runoff could cause severe damage to the house in the event of severe weather, especially if the home has a basement.

There are many more things to inspect in the interior of a home than the exterior, but a home inspection checklist will include the more basic and essential of these. The inspector will review the condition of electrical connections, any ventilation systems, as well as plumbing. Major appliances such as the water heater and furnace will also be checked to make sure they are in good working order, as with any other built-in appliances that stay in the home after the sale, such as the dishwasher and cooking range.

Most types of professionals in the real estate industry are keenly aware of the importance of inspecting a property that is on the market, and will advise their clients accordingly. Despite this, some people may feel that a home inspection is unnecessary, particularly if they are buying a brand-new home. Many potential problems can be difficult to detect, however, and a professional inspector may be your best bet for solving these problems early.

A home inspection covers issues found both outside and inside the house.
A home inspection covers issues found both outside and inside the house.

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