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Home Inspection Checklist

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


  • check the existing condition of all systems and equipment
  • look for unusual features that may increase or decrease appeal of the home
  • examine the general quality and condition of the structure
  • inspect routine repair and maintenance items
  • bring a powerful flashlight to use in basements and crawl spaces
  • bring a stepladder to check attic, underside of the roof, and light fixtures


  • make sure that all doorways, stairs, and walkways are free of obstructions
  • all stepping stones should be firm
  • railings should be steady
  • check external doors for good weather-stripping and thresholds
  • make sure doors are level, easy to open and close, with good hardware


  • make sure that spouts drain away from house
  • yard should slope away from the house to draw water away
  • earth should be at least 6-8 inches below top of concrete foundation
  • make sure gutters are well-attached and in good condition
  • look for a wet basement or crawl space


  • check for crumbling mortar around brickwork
  • look at stability of chimney
  • check for obstructions
  • make sure flue is lined with terra cotta (brick is in violation of most codes)
  • check to see if there is a working damper in the fireplace


  • check for water damage, especially around plumbing fixtures
  • test for soft spots in floor
  • check under house for water-damaged floorboards and supports
  • check the condition of the floors or carpet
  • check for moisture damage to parquet floors


  • check for cracks, shifting or settling
  • see if house is bolted to foundation (earthquake safety)
  • make sure mudsill is in good condition and dry
  • check if foundation has been retrofitted
  • look for structural problems like cracks in the basement floor


  • make sure furnace thermostat is operational
  • check the furnace venting
  • find out the ages of the heating and cooling equipment
  • ask about any problems the occupants may have had with the systems
  • run both the furnace and air conditioning to check output
  • check for attic insulation -- walls probably will be insulated too


  • find out if the owners have remodeled or made improvements to the house
  • inquire about the competence of the company who provided the service
  • check the licensure and credentials of the builder, owner, or technician


  • check that kitchen appliances and faucet are operational
  • check for asbestos, radon gas, and lead
  • check for cracking or peeling paint
  • check for attic ventilation (1 sq. ft. for each 150 sq. ft. of floor space)


  • look for termite and beetle holes in wooden supports and under house
  • check attic vents for hornet or wasp nests
  • check for rodent droppings in cupboards and under house
  • look for chew holes in roof, eaves, and wiring from squirrels


  • check for leaks around pipes and fixtures
  • test water pressure (turn on more than one faucet at once)
  • test hot water pressure (same method)
  • check walls around shower and for water damage
  • look for rust or leaking around hot water heater
  • make sure water heater is up to code
  • check the water pressure and see if there is enough hot water
  • find out the age of the water heater
  • ask whether the hot water system has been updated in any way


  • check for leaks or conditions that might lead to leaks
  • make sure no trees touching or overhanging the roof
  • look for dry rot or other problems around overhangs
  • check condition of shingles
  • find out the age of the existing roof


  • make sure cleaning and filtering system works properly
  • test thermostat
  • check for leaks or cracks


  • check the condition of drywall walls and ceilings
  • pay particular attention to the condition of taped joints
  • look for waves or cracks in the walls or ceilings
  • look for water spots from leaks in the roof
  • look for settlement cracks in walls


  • check for dry rot on panes, sills and frames
  • check for cracks in glass
  • make sure windows open properly
  • check that windows seal tightly and check caulking
  • check for moisture damage inside
  • see if bedroom windows are large enough to escape through in case of fire
  • open the windows to ensure that they are not painted shut
  • check casement window to see if the hardware is working properly
  • see whether double-hung windows have broken sash cords


  • test outlets, light sockets and switches to ensure they work properly
  • check to see if system is updated -- 3-prong outlets, circuit breakers, etc.
  • look for GFI (Ground Fault Interrupt) outlets in bathroom and kitchen
  • look for broken or loose outlets
  • test light fixtures
  • check blown fuses, overloaded circuits, broken outlets, or flickering lights


Kent Gipson is a realtor with Keller Williams. For more information, go to the Keller Williams website at www.kellerwilliams.com.

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