If there is one piece of advice I give sellers it’s this: Get your home inspected BEFORE you place it on the market.
Well, if knowledge is power, then you will have all of the knowledge about your home before the buyer’s inspectors “find” something to thwart what may be an otherwise solid deal.
Think of a home inspection as an investment into the sale of your home. If you have it inspected and find only minor issues, then great – you now have a solid foundation on which to negotiate. If you find things that need immediate attention that you didn’t know about, think of it as a way to get ahead of the curve, get things fixed, and then go into negotiations knowing that surprise “issues” were already mitigated.
That said, a lot of people don’t necessarily know what goes into a home inspection. The Home Depot has put together a great home inspection checklist that will help you help your inspector and get you started:
(Almost) Everything you should know about home inspections:
An exterior home inspection checklist should include the following:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 (If applicable):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 not apply to every home.