Home Inspection Checklist
by Mike Plank
Although architectural details, wall and floor coverings,
modern conveniences and many other factors are important
in the buying decision, the focus of this inspection is
on the structural/mechanical/electrical condition of the
The inspection is designed to give the real estate agent
or prospective purchaser a system to detect some of the
readily accessible major flaws or deficiencies in the
significant components and systems of a home. It is not
designed to, nor does it profess to facilitate detection
of all flaws, problems or occurrences that might exist
in any given home.
To maximize time efficiency and to ensure all of the major
sections of the home are take into consideration, we have
developed a systematized approach to the inspection. This
is a simplified overview of systems that professional
home inspectors use when they are inspecting a home.
To assist you in following the system, we have provided
a checklist that will guide you through your own inspection.
THE BIG PICTURE
The first step in inspecting a home is to examine the
big picture for the home. Notice the area the home is
located in. Are there other homes of similar age and construction
details relative to the home you are inspecting? A comparison
will give you a general idea of the upkeep of the home.
Have there been significant modifications to the exterior
of the building and if so, how is the workmanship?
Start at the exterior front of the house and work your
way around the house (clockwise or counter-clockwise)
at a distance which allows you to view a complete face
comfortably. On each face (front, sides, rear) start your
visual inspection at the top of the structure and work
your way down to the ground and lot area. As an example,
you would start at the front and note the roof and chimneys,
the gutters, fascia and soffits. Then, moving down the
exterior wall coverings (brick, wood, aluminum), noting
windows, doors, etc. Examine any porches or decks down
to the foundation, then the grade or slope of the lot
area, followed by any coverings, such as flower beds,
walkways, interlocking brick, driveways, etc. Move closer
to the house, to examine more closely any details which
may have attracted your attention, without skipping any
items. Having completed the front, move to the side of
the house and start the same procedure (roof to ground).
On the interior, begin your inspection in the basement
and then follow the system throughout each floor in the
house. The system for inspecting the interior is to begin
with the floor, go to the walls and then the ceiling,
and then consider any appliances or other items in the
room. Move from room to room, always in the same direction
(clockwise or counter-clockwise) so as to not miss any
areas. If you see a door, open it!
In the utility room in the basement, first notice the
floor, the walls (possibly the foundation walls are visible
here), then the ceiling (floor joists may be visible),
then go to the furnace, hot water heater, electrical panel,
plumbing system, etc. When inspecting the floors, walls
and ceilings, scan the entire area that is visible, not
just one section.
In a finished room you would notice the floors, walls
(including windows) and ceiling. Next look for the heat
sources, electrical outlets and switches, fireplaces,
closets etc. In bathroom or kitchen, notice the floor,
walls and ceiling, then the plumbing fixtures.
While performing the inspection, whether at the exterior,
the interior or one of the mechanical systems, note the
system first, then its relative condition. For example,
if you were inspecting a wall on the interior of the home
you would first note that the wall is plaster, and then
examine the wall for cracks and irregularities.
For a printable Home Inspection Checklist visit us at
Article submitted by the American Home Inspector Directory
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