Home Inspection Checklist
If you are looking to purchase a home, especially if it is an older home, you will want to look out for any existing issues prior to purchase. Below are some items to be aware of.
It's just good practice to be observant and do your own due diligence when looking at homes to purchase. A good realtor will be a good source for information and history, but not all realtors/agents are as knowledgeable of what to look for. You will want to pay attention now or you could be paying later in the form of sometimes costly repairs.
Nothing replaces the opinion of a professional inspector hired by you to check the integrity of a home that you are about to purchase, however, below are some items that you can check on when viewing the home for the first time. This is by no means a complete list from a professional, just some ideas of things to look for.
Roofing – Is the roofline wavey, missing shingles, or have mismatched shingles? Is there rotten, deteriorating, or missing boards? If so, these can be clues indicating a leaky roof or poor drainage. For more tale-tale signs check inside the roof for rotten rafters, and /or water stains.
Exterior/foundation – On the exterior, be sure to check the foundation for any cracks. rotten wood, missing boards, or spaces in between bricks. In properties that are close to a body of water, be especially diligent to look for mold or gathering water in or around the foundation and crawl space. This will create mold and mold remediation is a time-consuming and costly endeavor.
Flooring – Are the floors wavy or uneven, spongy or rotten? This could indicate water damage, foundation issues, or termite damage.
Chimney –Check for cracks in the interior walls of the firebox and exterior masonry. Make sure the flews will draft properly.
Windows – Look for windows that won’t open or windows that appear foggy which is the result of cracked gas seals and is allowing moisture in between the panes. This doesn't affect the efficiency necessarily, it just doesn't look that nice and will at some point need to be replaced.
Doors - Check to see if the doors do not open or close easily, this could mean the foundation is moving, the doors are swelling due to temperature changes, or it could be simply an improper hanging job.
Plumbing - Check each faucet by turning on the water and making sure that both the hot and cold water are connected and operational, especially if the home has been vacant a while or being sold as-is. Check under the sinks for leaking water or water stains or backing up into the bowls. Also flushing toilets to see if they are operational and do not have any leaks.
Interior Walls/ceiling – Be observant of cracks, water stains, or separation at the seams, this could be something as simple as settling over the years and this is quite common in older homes or this could be simply bad taping and bedding from the contractor, but also it could point to a more severe problem as a foundation shifting.
Electrical – Open the control panel to see the age of the panel, look for any exposed wires (but do not touch) look for open junctions, or added panels. It is best to have a professional inspection, but these are clues about the age and wiring of the home. This can suggest whether there have been any home improvements and shotty additions by a homeowner.
Depending on the age of the home and whether you are wanting to move walls you may be required to update electrical, plumbing, etc., so it is always best to consult a professional in their area of expertise.
HVAC - It is best to make sure that both the heating and cooling are operational and running appropriately. Look for or ask when the unit was last serviced. Also, look at the vents as well as the air filters to see if they are clean or show dirt from years of neglect. This is a fine example of the level of care the home has received over the years.
Finally, look for signs of pests, ants, rodents, carpenter bees, or termites.
In Southern Maryland termites are prevalent so it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when you get them, so it's better to treat rather than repair. Here are some items to look for: excessively squeaky floorboards, crumbling or damaged wood, maze-like patterns in floorboards or walls, mounds of dry wood, termite pellets, piles of wings left behind, mud tubes climbing the foundation of your home, and flying termite swarms anywhere on the property.
As with anything, it is best to find a local professional in their field of expertise. I like to work with All in One Inspection for general structural & mechanical, termite, and many other necessary items. It is your investment, your money, and your decision. I have enjoyed working with All in One Inspection because they are timely, professional, and thorough with reports that are easy to read for everyone. The report will have items highlighted addressing any areas of concern as well as pictures and notes on suggested areas to investigate further. Some items that are safety concerns may be required to be repaired by your lender so a knowledgeable realtor will be able to navigate this part with you and seek a plan of action with the seller.
Happy house hunting and if you need an advocate to assist you in the endeavor, I am only a phone call away.