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Why You Shouldn’t Buy a House Without a Home Inspection Checklist

A home inspection checklist is a rundown of features throughout a house that might be faulty or need fixing. Home inspectors use these lists while inspecting homes, which prevents them from accidentally overlooking small things and thereby guarantees that their inspection is thorough. Getting a good home inspection is crucial, since it can help you root out potentially costly problems before the house is officially yours. If any of these features don’t pass muster, you can renegotiate with the seller (to lower the price or pay for repairs), or back out of the deal entirely. Here, Realtor.com offers a rundown of the main things a home inspection checklist will encompass.

Structural issues

A home inspector will look for a cracked foundation, sagging beams, wood rot and uneven floors, identifying areas that may be compromised.

Roof problems

If the roof is sloped, an inspector will look for curling or missing shingles, worn granules, cracks in skylight sealant and loose gutters. If the roof is flat, the inspector will want to check for cracks in the seams and any kinds of divots or spongy areas.

Mechanical issues

From central air to water radiators, the heating and cooling systems in a house should be turned on by the inspector (regardless of the season) to ensure they’re in proper working condition.

Plumbing concerns

Although a home inspector can inspect only plumbing that is visually accessible, the checklist will include keeping an eye out for leaks under bathroom sinks, signs of corrosion and rusting of cast-iron drain lines, and water pressure.

Electrical troubles

Electrical issues could spark house fires, which is why inspectors check outlets individually to ensure they’re properly hooked up to power and grounded. They’ll also check for code violations and gauge the age of the electrical system.

Overall condition

Do the doors stick? Are there windows that have been painted shut? Will the oven that’s being sold with the house actually turn on? A home inspector’s checklist includes walking through the house and checking on these basic elements, so that issues can be rectified before you buy.


The home inspection checklist will include items that may compromise the safety of you and your family. That list includes:

• Open stair risers that are too high;

• Wobbly deck supports;

• Loose or missing handrails;

• Nonfunctional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors;

• Peeling paint if the home was built before 1978;

• Signs of mold;

• Spongy subfloors;

• Tripping hazards; and

• Signs that a chimney needs maintenance.

Should home buyers read the home inspection checklist?

Since a home inspection checklist is extremely detailed, home buyers should not feel required to peruse it in depth. However, you should make sure your home inspector is working off one. No one, not even the best inspector, can remember everything. After your home inspection, you should receive a report with detailed notes that analyze the condition and flag any potential problems. This document is the one you’ll want to scrutinize and discuss with your inspector. Even better: See if you can tag along during the home inspection so you can actually see any problems for yourself.