When buying a house, it is a good idea to have a professional house inspector look over the property. This house inspection checklist can help you and your inspector identify potential problems before you buy the house.
What you should pay attention to: Outside
When examining the exterior of a house, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Make sure that the chimney is straight and complete and that no bricks or mortar are missing. According to the American House Inspectors Society (ASHI) you should also ask your house inspector to check the tightness of the blinking. This is the sheet metal that prevents leakage at the point where the roof and chimney meet.
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You want the inspector to look closely at the roof, but while you’re on the property, Bob Villa recommends examining the roof from a distance to see if the roof line is straight or dips into the center.
Gutters should be clean, rust-free and securely attached to the house. Make sure that you bend or sag in the middle. Make sure that the gutters are connected to a downpipe so that the water can drain from the house ASHI. Above all, according to ASHI, they have to drain water into a downpipe and away from the structure.
According to ZillowYou should consider whether the exterior of the house, including the siding and paint, is in good condition or can be repaired soon. Zillow also recommends looking for loose boards or exposed cables.
Windows and doors
If you are looking for decay or putrefaction around the frame, Bob Villa advises. Make sure that no glass is broken, that the screens aren’t damaged, and that windows and joints are properly sealed, caulked, and insulated, ASHI says.
Make sure the house looks square on all sides without leaning or sagging. ASHI recommends Make sure that there are no notable cracks and that insects cannot reach wood. And Zillow still recommends making sure that there are no trees or roots near the foundation.
Property / land
Ask your inspector to look for stagnant water as this can be a common red flag for drainage problems or septic tank problems. Look for branches that touch the house or protrude above the roof. ASHI also recommends looking for large cracks in the driveway and sidewalks that may need to be repaired.
What you should pay attention to: interior
When you and the inspector move inside the house, you should look at the following components.
Zillow recommends looking for signs of leaks such as decay or water stains. ASHI says you should also look for signs of pests (nests, feces, etc.).
Bedroom, living room and dining room
According to ASHI, all floors, walls and ceilings should be spot-free and level. Test windows and doors to make sure they open and close easily and fit snugly in the frames.
Paint or other wall coverings should be in good condition. All outlets should be covered and working properly. Check all light switches to make sure they are working.
ASHI recommends testing the water pressure in showers, sinks and toilets. It is also a good idea to check that the fixings and tiles are securely attached and that you do not see any signs of leaks or water damage. Your home inspector can help you make sure everything is installed and working properly.
The inspector should check that all kitchen appliances are in good working order and that the sinks are draining, that the exhaust fans are venting to the outside, and that the outlets have an earth leakage breaker within six feet of the sink, ASHI says. It’s also a good idea to make sure drawers and cabinets open and close and appear to be in good condition.
Ceilings, floors and walls
As long as everything appears level, ASHI recommends to watch out for stains or decay and to ensure that there are no loose materials or tears. Your home inspector should be able to identify potential problems that may not be easily visible to the naked (or inexperienced) eye.
It is important that your fireplace is checked by a professional, the says National Fire Protection Association. He or she will confirm that the masonry is intact, make sure there are no stains or tears on the outside of the fireplace, and make sure that all components are working (smoke vent, damper, etc.).
Basement / foundation
According to ASHI, you should look for signs of water damage in this area. Have the inspector check for any signs of mold or mildew. Make sure that the floor and walls are free of cracks, bulges or discoloration. Any exposed foundation should be free of cracks or stains. Your home inspector can also look for signs of insect damage (such as termites) and ensure that they are sufficiently isolated.
Looking for a professional home inspector
Working with a professional home inspector can be a great way to ensure that you are aware of potential defects or problems in your future home. If you work with a real estate professional, they can probably refer you to nearby inspectors. You can find qualified inspectors near you through ASHI.
Buying a new home can be an exciting time, but it can also be many steps that can move quickly. If you have any questions during a house inspection, be sure to contact the inspector and your real estate professional.
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