If you’re looking to buy a new home, you may want to print this home inspection checklist so you can refer to it when it’s time to do your home inspection!
Home Inspection Checklist For Home Buyers
So you are at the fun part of your new home search! While you and your agent are touring, make notes on each home and if you see something that is unusual, make a note. If the home makes your top two or three, you can refer to your notes when re-visiting.
Pay attention to these common trouble spots:
Outside the house
Exterior: Are the gutters and downspouts properly attached, and do they drain away from the house? What kind of siding is on the home? Is it in good repair?
Roof: Do you see stains, dark spots or even moss? Any missing shingles or tiles? Ask when the roof was replaced.
Foundation: Do you see any big cracks? Are there trees close to the foundation? Does any part of the ground near the foundation seem soggy, squishy or sunken?
Windows and doors: Do they open and close easily? Do any seem misaligned? Do you see any signs of moisture around the frames or between the panes?
Also while you are walking the property, look for power lines, train tracks, busy streets, barking dogs, nosey neighbors etc!
Inside the house
Smells: Do you notice any unusual scents? (The real estate agent’s cookies baking in the oven don’t count! Think odors that might indicate the presence of mold or mildew.)
Attic and basement: Can you see any signs of moisture or water intrusion? If the attic or basement is unfinished, what kind of insulation do you see? Is it in good condition?
Heating and cooling: What systems are in place, and are they functional? Look for a serial number or manufacturing date to get a sense of the system’s age. If there’s been a replacement, is the old system still in place? (For example, if the home was converted from oil to propane, is there still an oil tank on the property? An improperly decommissioned fuel tank can be hazardous.)
Plumbing: How’s the water pressure? Do the fixtures work? Any signs of leaks in under-sink cabinets? How old is the water heater?
Electrical: Do all light switches work? Are all the outlets grounded? (If you spot any that are two-prong, those are definitely not grounded.) Does the house have an older electrical panel with fuses, a newer one with circuit breakers or both? Outdated wiring can be a hazard in itself and a hassle to upgrade.
Major appliances: If appliances like the oven, refrigerator, washer or dryer are included with the sale, what’s their condition?
If you don’t already have a lender or Realtor to work with, we’d be happy to match you up with a great team of professionals to help you buy your dream home! No cost to you. CoastalPropertyInspect@gmail.com
After completing the home inspection checklist:
Hang on to your home inspection checklist notes and photos for the official inspection. A professional home inspector will examine the property for anything that could, should or must be fixed. You will have an opportunity to review all issues that the home inspector found during the comprehensive inspection usually once the inspector has completed the inspection.
The home inspection is a vital step to take before you get the keys to your new home. While you’re getting ready to schedule the inspection, consider these other important actions.
Your inspection contingency
You are purchasing the most expensive item in your life. Don’t SKIP the inspection. Some sellers may have chosen to do a pre-inspection for the purpose of getting all of the items repaired. If they have the inspection report, please review it, but we highly recommend that you have your own home inspection. You will usually get a fixed time such as 17 days (or less if negotiated by the seller) to do all your inspections and get a response over to the sellers.
No matter how badly you want that specific property, it’s in your best interest to pay for a professional home inspection. Protect yourself further by making sure there is an inspection contingency in your purchase contract.
Including this condition gives you time to complete necessary inspections and get estimates of needed repairs, and it allows you to negotiate with the seller — or back out of the sale entirely, if something dire pops up. This also will include the termite inspection.
If repairs are needed, determine which are the most urgent, then negotiate with the seller. You could ask them to complete the repairs, but to keep the sale moving and give you control over the work, request a credit due at closing or a reduction in the sale price instead unless the item is big (and could get bigger) then have the seller perform the repair (such as a leak in the shower wall).
Pay attention to seller’s disclosures
Here in California, home sellers are required to disclose any known property defects. There are two sets of disclosures: Transfer Disclosure State and the Seller’s Property Questionnaire. These will have some vital information on material defects that are known to the seller.
Your Realtor will get the sellers’ disclosures after an accepted offer. You have several days to review and sign off on them. Different states have different disclosures and requirements.
If you see something on the disclosures that you have questions about, ask your agent to inquire about it so you have a clear understanding of the issue. Your home inspector will also be able to inspect any area a little more closely for you if you have any concerns.
In summary, use this home inspection checklist as a tool to help you as you are looking for your new home! Choose your home inspector wisely and make sure you discuss your concerns with them.
Coastal Property Inspections is InterNACHI Certified as a Professional Home Inspector in Southern California. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your upcoming home inspection, please call Chris: 949-396-9595