Home Inspection Checklist: What Our Inspectors Look For (Infographic)

Date Published: September 20, 2017

Home Inspection Checklist Info graphic: Exterior, Foundation, Roof, Plumbing, Electrical, Heating, Cooling, Interior, Appliances, Garage, Lawn Sprinklers, Inspector checklist

The Importance of Having a Home Inspection Checklist

Buying a house is a big investment and because of that, we need to make sure we get your home inspection right. But a house has many different facets, so we break down our inspections into an organized home inspection checklist. No matter what type of house, how old it is, or where it is built, our inspectors follow a specific procedure in order to be extremely thorough and maximize the time spent at the inspection.

At Scott Home Inspection, we use a mobile inspection software on site that contains this checklist and we add our findings under each category. As you can see in the graphic above, the sum of all these categories should cover every piece of an average home. There are a few less common sections that are not part of the graphic, but we wanted to be as general as possible. Let’s take a deeper look into each piece.

Exterior, Lots & Grounds

The exterior section of the report is where most inspections will start. In this category, we look at the overall condition of the exterior ground level systems. This is one of the most important categories because the exterior systems protect your home from the elements. What we look at includes the following:

  • Wall coverings (siding), Flashing, and Trim
  • Eaves, soffits, and Fascias
  • Doors and Windows
  • Decks, balconies, steps, porches etc
  • Driveways and walkways
  • Grading and drainage

Foundations, Basement, and Crawlspaces

A house’s foundation is the base for the whole home. We do everything we can to find any foundation issues or potential issues with the home. This includes visual inspections of the exterior foundation wall, basement or crawlspace foundations, concrete slab defects, and cracking or settling. Foundation problems can be one of the most expensive repairs so it is important that a good overview is performed. We look at the following categories:

  • Foundations, Basements, and Crawlspaces
  • Columns or Piers
  • Floors and walls
  • Basement/Crawlspace insulation
  • Crawlspace Vapor Barriers and Openings

Roofing, Attic, and Ventilation

Everything above the house is just as important as below. The roof and attic are some of the most asked about items during an inspection. The roofing material is visually examined during an inspection, and we always enter every attic. This also includes the ventilation of the attic and all the flues and chimneys that penetrate the roofing material. Here is what we look for:

  • Roof Coverings
  • Chimneys, Flashing and Roof Penetrations
  • Gutters and Downspouts
  • Ventilation of Attic
  • Roof Structure and Attic
  • Attic Insulation and Vapor Retarders

Plumbing Systems

Next on our home inspection checklist is the plumbing. During an inspection, we test every fixture, faucet, and drain line in the home. We look for leaks, pressure issues, and known problematic piping material. Water damage is a huge concern when buying a home, so it is important to get a full overview. This also includes the hot water heater systems. Here are the plumbing items we look for.

  • Water and Fuel Shut-Offs
  • Water Supply Lines
  • Fixtures and Faucets
  • Toilets and Bidets
  • Drain, Waste, and Vent Systems
  • Hot Water Systems
  • Gas Distribution Systems

Electrical Systems

From the main panel to every outlet in the home, electrical is a big component of the home inspection checklist. There are many different facets of a home’s electrical, and we have run into every scenario. Here are the items we inspect:

  • Service Entrance Conductors
  • Main and Sub Panels
  • Main Disconnect Devices
  • Branch Circut  Conductors and Overcurrent Devices
  • Fixtures and Switches
  • Receptacle Operation (Polarity and Grounding)
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
  • Smoke and CO Detectors

Heating and Cooling Systems

An HVAC system inspection is a major part our home inspection process. We go through both systems, run full operational tests, and do visual inspections of the units themselves.  We also look at the thermostat and control devices. Here are a few of the items we look at during a HVAC overview:

  • Heating Equipment
  • Cooling Equipment
  • Chimneys, Flues, and Vents
  • Thermostat
  • Distribution Systems
  • Automatic Safety Controls

Interior Inspection

A home inspection is mostly concerned with bigger ticket items and major systems, but during our inspections, we also note the cosmetic condition of the interior of the home. This would include holes in walls, general flooring issues, or harmful wall covers. This is all documented in our interior section:

  • Walls, Ceilings, and Floors
  • Doors and Windows
  • Counters and Countertops
  • Bathroom Tubs and Surrounds
  • Venting Systems

Built-In Appliances

All of the permanent appliances in the home are tested during our home inspection. This is a limited evaluation where we run the units look for proper functionality. Below are the appliances we test:

  • Dishwasher
  • Range/Oven
  • Range Hood
  • Food Waste Disposer
  • Microwave Cooking Equipment
  • Refrigerator
  • Clothes Washer/Dryer

Garage and Sprinkler

If a home has a garage or a sprinkler system, we will always inspect these items. In a garage, we are looking for settling issues and garage door operations. With a sprinkler system, we help identify important characteristics and locations of shut-offs, and we will perform a brief test through all the zones. Here are the categories:

  • Garage Walls, Ceilings, Floors
  • Garage Doors and Door Openers
  • Sprinkler Operations
  • Sprinkler Controllers
  • Sprinkler Shut-off Valves
  • Backflow Preventers

Our Home Inspection Checklist Summarized:

As you can see, by following this simple home inspection checklist, we can be confident that no items were missed during our inspection. This allows our inspectors to be thorough, but also efficient when it comes to your next home purchase. There are also many add-ons that you can get during your home inspection that are not listed including: Radon Testing, Sewer Scope Testing, and Mold and Air Sample Test. These will help you get a better understand of issues that cannot be visually seen.

Also, if you are touring a home during an open house, our friends at Redfin have a nice article to check out as well – What to Look for When Buying a House.

If you choose to have us inspect your future home, you will receive an electronic report on the same day (sample reports) that outlines these categories in this exact order. This will help you and your realtor easily understand and break down the issues that are found.

If you are interested in having Scott home Inspection preform your pre-purchase home inspection, you can get more information here. You can also try our very simple to use online scheduler. You can pick a time that works for you online, and we will call to confirm all the information.

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About the Author: Chris Scott

Chris Scott is an ASHI certified home inspector with multiple years of experience in home inspections, blower door testing, duct leakage testing, and Boulder Rental License Inspections. Chris is also the Website Coordinator for Scott Home Inspection.

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