Home Inspection Checklist: Things to Inspect When Buying a Home

Written by Posted On Thursday, 07 January 2021 07:42

Buying a home is probably going to be the largest purchase you’ll ever make. If it isn’t in as good a condition as you expect, it could also be the biggest headache and expense you’ll ever make. To make sure you aren’t investing your cash into a money pit, professional inspectors can be hired to thoroughly check over the property.

Home Inspection Checklist: Things to Inspect When Buying a Home

Home Inspection Checklist Things to Inspect when Buying a HomeWhat Does a Home Inspection Cover?

The inspector will have a checklist and go through the whole house to look for issues. All the fundamental aspects of what makes a house, like the foundations, walls, roof, electrical system, and plumbing will be examined. Normally, the inspector will start outside before moving inside, starting in the basement.

They have a checklist of things to inspect, which will the following, among other things:

  • Missing tiles
  • Chimney damage
  • Rotting wood
  • Window seal problems
  • Leaking pipes
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Heating and air conditioning age
  • Electrical problems

We will take a look at some of the major areas which need to be carefully inspected. Sometimes more than one home inspector will need to be brought in to examine the following things.

The Roof

If you have a leaking roof it could be very expensive to repair. Homeowners can go for many years without having the roof inspected, so when it comes time to sell, the home inspection can often find problems. The attic will be checked for signs of water entering as well as mold on the beams.


If moisture can find its way into the home there is a chance mold will form. This can sometimes be an easy fix, other times it could be a problem that needs professionals. A certain type of black mold called Stachybotrys Chartarum can be toxic, but other types are minor problems.

You don’t really need to worry too much if a little mold is discovered. The inspector will inform you if it is a major issue or the toxic variety, which mold can be one of the major things to be aware of in a home inspection report.


Radon can naturally occur in certain areas. It is a radioactive gas that can be a cause of lung cancer if it builds up in the home.

The radon inspection will test the amount of gas in the home. If radon is discovered it can be dealt with by specialists to reduce the amount to safe levels.

It is also possible to find radon in the water, though this only happens if the water comes from a well. If this is found it is a more difficult and expensive problem to resolve.

Well Water

If the home isn’t connected to the water main, and instead a well is used, you should get it checked during the inspection. Even if the water pressure seems to be good there can still be issues that will be very expensive to fix.

The quality of the water is also going to be very important, and if there are problems discovered, the expense of drilling a new well is something you won’t easily forget.

Septic Systems

If you have a septic sewage system it will need inspecting. You will want to make sure that it works correctly and that it is capable enough for your needs. Is the system rated for the correct size of the house? Are there any bills available for work carried out on the system?

The inspector will also look at a mainline system to make sure the water flows away. The sewage system of a house can be difficult to check without specialist equipment, so there is only so much which can be checked in a normal inspection.

Electrical and Plumbing Systems

The inspector will check the electrical system, plumbing, and any appliances which are being sold with the home. They will look at the energy efficiency of the appliances as this is becoming more important to home buyers.

Leaking pipes in the plumbing system will be reported. If there are problems, it can be expensive to replace piping. Water-saving systems are also part of the checks carried out during the home inspection.

HVAC System

The inspector will also look at heating and air conditioning to check it works correctly. They will check that the homeowner has correctly maintained the systems, and find out how long they have been fitted in the house for. The older they get the more likely they will need to be replaced.

Windows and Doors

Are the openings in the outside of the home in need of replacement? If so, it will be quite an expensive cost. Not only to make sure the weather is kept out, but also unwanted visitors to your home. Broken windows are easier for a burglar to use to gain entry.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If the home has detectors they will be part of the inspection. They are usually easy to replace if they’re not functioning correctly, however.


A few mice or rats around a home is fairly common and can be dealt with by a cat. There are more serious issues, however, which could be found during the inspection and which require specialized pest control.

If you have a serious infestation of, for example, termites, they could damage the structure of the house. Without the professional inspecting of the home, this may go unnoticed with severe consequences down the line.

Lead Paint and Asbestos

While there are a lot of non-toxic paints today, unfortunately, it was the norm to use lead in paint in the past. While this has long since been outlawed, it is still possible to find older houses with lead paint on the walls.

It is only a problem if the paint flecks are swallowed, however. You should find out if this is going to be an issue if you have children and the home is older. If the owner of the house knows that there is lead paint they are federally mandated to disclose this fact.

Asbestos also used to be frequently used in the construction of a home. It was used as insulation and can be a problem if its fibers become airborne. Like lead paint, it is a problem if swallowed and can result in lung cancer many years later.

If there is asbestos in the home, it is only a problem if disturbed. You can choose to leave well alone or have professionals remove it, though this is expensive.

Final Thoughts

There are many steps to buying a home and as you can see, there are many potential problems that could cost you dearly if not discovered before you purchase the house. It is for this reason, that having a home inspection carried out is essential in the process especially if you plan on buying a fixer-upper.

If issues are found during the inspection, you should have a clause in the sales contract which allows you to walk away if you wish and still keep your earnest money. If the problems aren’t too serious, you can ask the owner to repair or negotiate on the price you are going to pay.

Don’t be afraid to ask the home inspector questions before, during, or after the inspection. If you aren’t sure what questions to ask a home inspector there are valuable resources online that will provide you with a list.

Rate this item
(1 Vote)
Michelle Gibson

Michelle Gibson is a full time REALTOR® who assists Buyers, Sellers, Landlords and Renters throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Specializing in residential real estate since 2001 Michelle covers Wellington Florida, Lake Worth Florida, Royal Palm Beach Florida, West Palm Beach Florida & Greenacres Florida.


Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.