A Basic Home Inspection Check List

Buying a new home is an exciting undertaking, but it is also fraught with risks that must be carefully guarded against. The process of choosing where you will live and which piece of property you will invest your life savings in includes many steps.

One of the most important of these is having a professional home inspection done on the house before making the purchase agreement final and irreversibly binding.

But what exactly is included in a pro home inspection? Actually, there are a number of different kinds of inspections you can have done, such as a 4-point inspection or wind mitigation inspection, but as to a comprehensive home inspection – here are the major features that ought to be included in it:

1. Full HVAC System Inspection

In reality, there are hundreds of items that are included on a full-blown home inspection report. We won’t list them all there but simply mention the main ones and summarize them in more general categories. That said, the HVAC system is certainly one of the major areas that home inspectors will look closely at.

The heating and cooling ducts, the furnace, central air systems, thermostats, vents and fans, and the general “breathability” of the house will all be looked at. You want a home that you can heat, cool, and ventilate at a reasonable cost without major repairs being necessary right after buying it.

2. The Plumbing System

Plumbing problems are the stuff homeowners’ nightmares are made of, and no one wants to move in and soon find him or herself stuck with major plumbing repair needs.

Inspectors will investigate the age, type, and condition of all plumbing pipes, the functionality of drains and drainage systems, water heaters, sump pumps, and all fixtures and appliances that use pipe-drawn water.

3. The Electrical System

A house fire could destroy your entire building, so it’s obviously extremely important to ensure that the new home has good, safe wiring and proper breakers, fuses, electrical panels, light switches, and outlets. A safety rating electric-wise will be in the report.

4. The Roofing System

The first thing most prospective home buyers ask is “how old is the roof?” That’s understandable since everything underneath the roof is protected by it – and a leak can cause serious and expensive damage.

Shingle condition, flashing, skylights, roof vents, age of roofing, and other aspects of a “healthy” roof will be included in the final home inspection report.

5. Foundation & Basement Condition

Needless to say, a home with a faltering foundation is in for some serious problems in the years ahead. The condition of the concrete of the foundation or slab and of the basement will be carefully scrutinized by your home inspector.

6. Structural Integrity

A good home inspection will take care to see that the building is structurally sound. That means it is framed well, its windows and doors are not out of square, its walls are straight, and its ceiling and floors are fully intact and reliable.

This is the skeleton of the house, that which holds it all together and gives it strength. The structural integrity of the building is obviously one of the most important issues – and it can sometimes need repairs and attention with older homes.

7. The Attic & Home Insulation

The attic is where most of the heat loss of the house occurs – just like most heat loss from our bodies goes out through our heads. It is crucial when it comes to energy efficiency.

The home inspection will take a look at the general condition of the attic and at the state of any attic insulation. If no insulation is there, you may need to add some.

8. Fireplaces, Chimneys & Flues

If the building has a fireplace/chimney or a flue through which smoke and heat exit, then it should be inspected to see if it is clean and in good condition. You will also need to know if these structures are solid and built and positioned in a safe manner.

9. Interior Staircases and Railings

Home inspections generally include an examination of the safety and condition of interior stairs and railing systems. If you have small children or elderly people living with you, this aspect of the home inspection takes on special importance.

10. Interior Rooms

A comprehensive home inspection includes a room by room inspection. Whether it be the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, or laundry room – there will be detailed notes on any potential problems with each and every room of the house.

11. Exterior Features

There are various exterior features and structures that your home inspector will look at. This includes checking for cracks or nicks in the siding, flaking off of masonry, cracks in cement or asphalt pavements, soffit and fascia condition, porches, outdoor stairways and balconies, and more.

12. Landscaping & Grounds

A full home inspection will also examine the grounds and landscaping to some extent. This generally focuses on looking for uneven terrain where drainage may be poor and puddling may become a problem. It also involves seeing that the turf, trees, bushes, and plants are all reasonably healthy.

What Doesn’t a Home Inspection Include?

At this point, you may be wondering if there is anything that is not included in a home inspection report. Yes, there is. The report may be as long as 50 full pages and include photographs. It may be extremely thorough and detailed and answer its purpose 100%.

But there are some areas that are not required, legally, to be included in a home inspection and may not be part of a standard inspection of a particular company. It varies from company to company to some extent, so don’t be afraid to ask – and you can ask to have things included that otherwise wouldn’t be as well.

Things not necessarily in a standard, basic home inspection report include:

  • Lawn sprinkler system condition and functionality.
  • Hot tub and swimming pool condition and safety level.
  • Whether or not specific areas of the inspection are up to local codes.
  • Termite and pest threats, if any.
  • The condition of water wells.
  • TV antennas and satellite dishes.
  • Alarm systems.
  • Smoke detectors.
  • Asbestos or lead presence
  • Kitchen appliance condition.
  • Central vacuum systems.
  • Condition of detached garages or sheds.

You can normally get the home inspection report the same day as the inspection is done. At most, it will be available within a week of completion of the inspection.

Be sure to understand the basics of what is and is not included – and don’t be shy about asking to include “extras” if you have some special concerns.

A good home inspection can help you identify possible problems with a home you are about to buy. This often results in the seller fixing the problem or in the buyer getting a discount for fixing it himself.

To learn more about professional home inspections or to schedule one today, contact Super Inspection Pros!

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