Why a Checklist Is Needed
Performing a complete and thorough home inspection should be the goal of every home inspector. Not only is your reputation on the line, but having a trustworthy report is essential to the buying process for the buyer or seller. There may also be real estate agents, insurance companies, and lenders who depend on a reliable report.
A home inspector has many areas to inspect, and there can be a lot of risks and distractions. You may encounter mold, rust, asbestos, rodents, and insect infestations. At the same time, you have to be diligent about safety. Going into tight crawlspaces or up on rooftops can pose risks.
With these hazards, keeping focused during an inspection is key. Having a checklist can help you keep that focus, make sure you don’t miss anything important, and be able to produce a reliable report that your clients can depend on. In this article, we will discuss some key parts of a good checklist. In addition to this, please be sure to always refer to the guidelines and standards set forth by your state or home inspector association, such as InterNACHI, as there may be additional items to consider.
Inspect the Grounds
Beginning your inspection outside on the property is a good start before heading into the house. Sometimes you will notice signs of damage or hazards that may give you an idea of potential problems inside the house. Here are some things to look out for.
- Walkway/Driveway – Sinkholes, spiderweb cracks, potholes, and trip hazards
- Signs of Water Damage – Stagnant water puddles, insect breeding grounds, vegetation growing on the house, or water draining towards the house
- Septic Tank – Proper ventilation and drainage, pipes in good condition and not clogged or ruptured, and no unusual pungent smells
Exterior of the Home
After inspecting the grounds, proceed with the house. Start with the exterior before heading inside.
- Structure & Foundation – Solid and level without cracks or rot, rust on metal parts, movement or broken connections, and damage to concrete slabs or piers
- Roof – Roofline is straight, gutters are clear of debris, chimneys and skylights are intact, missing shingles or damage to any roof components, and moss or algae growth
- Deck – Signs of rot, damage to supporting posts, damage to the railing
- Exterior Walls/Siding – Slanted or bulging walls, deep cracks, rot, missing materials, chipped paint, water damage
Interior of the Home
The inspection of the interior of the home includes all rooms and open spaces, as well as their windows, doors, walls, ceilings, and floors.
- Kitchen – Rot, leaks, signs of damage, proper sink drainage, properly working exhaust fan, electrical outlets, and appliances
- Windows & Doors – Easy to open and close, gaps, proper alignment, functional locks, signs of rot or rust
- Walls, Ceilings, & Floors – Signs of mold, water damage, sagging, bulging, or warping
- Bathroom – Sufficient water pressure from the toilet, shower head, and sink faucet, proper flushing and drainage, signs of leaks or clogs
- Attic – Water leaks or damage, moisture, exposed electrical wires, good ventilation and insulation, pipes and chimneys
- Basement – Cracks and leaks, water damage, mold, pest infestation, sump pump
- Electrical Wiring – Electrical panel, functioning switches and sockets, ungrounded outlets, exposed wires
- HVAC – Temperature, speed, and efficiency of cooling and heating, ductwork, damper, and furnace
- Plumbing – Leaky pipes, pungent smells, water pressure, water discoloration, heating system’s water flow and signs of gas leaks
Your Checklist Matters
Always remember that the way you do your inspection can have a big impact on others. If you miss something during the inspection, it could cost the homeowner or buyer significant money that they were not expecting to pay. You can help make them aware of needed repairs or replacements ahead of their big decisions. You will also gain a great reputation by being diligent.
Having a checklist can help you be the best home inspector possible. It will remind you to check all the important parts of the property, and be detailed in your report.
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