Your Complete Home Inspection Checklist

Home inspector examines attic furnace.

The home inspection is your chance to look closely at the condition of the home you’re planning to buy. Though inspections are conducted by licensed professionals, it’s in your best interest to make sure things are done thoroughly.

To help homebuyers understand home inspections and make sure nothing is overlooked, we’ve put together a free downloadable checklist.

Here’s what the inspector — and you — should look for when examining the home.

Grounds

  • Are the plants, lawn, and other vegetation well maintained?
  • Is the driveway in good condition?
  • Are walkways and patios in good condition?
  • Is there positive grading to direct water away from the house?
  • Are the retaining walls in good condition?

Exterior Structure

  • Is the siding of the home in good condition?
  • Are the trim and exterior walls in acceptable condition?
  • Is the framing in good shape?
  • Are all steps, stoops, and railings intact?
  • Has the porch or balcony been well maintained?

Roof

  • Is the roof in good condition?
  • Are there any holes or leaks?
  • Does the roof look like it needs replacing soon?
  • Are there any broken or missing shingles?
  • Are any chimneys or other penetrations in good shape?
  • Does the roof need flashing to redirect water properly?
  • Do the gutters drain?

Doors and Windows

  • Do all doors and windows open and close correctly?
  • Do all exterior windows and doors lock securely?
  • Do any doors or windows need to be replaced?

Basement

  • Is the foundation in good condition?
  • Is there any evidence of moisture, leaks, or other water damage?
  • Is there proper drainage and ventilation?
  • Does the sump pump work?

Crawl Space

  • Is there sufficient ventilation and insulation?
  • Is there any evidence of water damage?
  • Has the subflooring above it been damaged?

Attic

  • Are there signs of structural damage?
  • Is there proper ventilation and insulation?
  • Are there signs of leaks?

Electrical System

  • Do all the lights and outlets work?
  • What is the branch circuit wiring method?
  • What is the amperage rating of the service?
  • Where are the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms located?
  • Where are the disconnects and subpanels located?
  • Are there any exposed electrical splices?

Cooling and Heating Systems

  • Does the heating system work properly?
  • Is there a cooling system? Is it functional?
  • How are the heating and cooling systems powered?
  • Are the air filters clean?
  • Where are the access panels located?

Plumbing

  • Do all faucets and fixtures work?
  • Are any faucets leaking or dipping?
  • Does the water heater work?
  • Is there sufficient hot water?
  • Is there adequate water pressure?
  • Where is the water shut-off valve?
  • Where is the fuel shut-off valve?
  • Are the fuel distribution and storage systems working?
  • Are all the drains clear and functional?
  • Do all the vents work?
  • Are all the water pipes in good condition?

Bathrooms

  • Do the faucets work?
  • Do the toilets flush correctly?
  • Do the sinks, showers, and bathtubs drain fully?
  • Does the fan work?

Kitchen

  • Do all of the appliances work?
  • Do the faucets work?
  • Do the sinks drain?
  • Are the exhaust systems functional?
  • Are the countertops and cabinets in good shape?

Interior Rooms

  • Are the walls, floors, and ceilings in good shape?
  • Are the steps and stairways in good condition?
  • Do the garage doors work?

Miscellaneous

  • Are the laundry appliances working?
  • Are the laundry ventilation systems functional?
  • Are any fuel-burning fireplaces or stoves working?

What’s Not Covered By the Home Inspection?

Home inspections cover a lot, but missing something during the visual examination still is possible. It’s a good home inspection tip to know that the inspector might not notice certain hazards that are less visible, such as:

  • Mold.
  • Asbestos.
  • Lead paint.
  • Pests.
  • Swimming pool issues.
  • Air quality.
  • Radon issues.

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