Inspection Checklist

You already know why you need to hire a great home inspector, but what does a home inspector really do? Is it something you could do on your own?


You can’t perform your own home inspection. (And if you knew how in-depth the job was, you probably wouldn’t want to. The average home inspection takes over 3 hours to complete, and the end result is a 20- to 50-page report, complete with pictures.)

While a good home inspector will invite you to come along for the inspection, here’s a quick checklist that you can use to ask the inspector questions or point out areas that concern you. Your home inspector will have his or her own checklist, which will likely be far more comprehensive than this one.

The Home Inspection Checklist

What to look for on the grounds:

  • Grading: make sure the grade is appropriate for drainage away from the house
  • Standing water
  • Leaks from the septic tank
  • Condition of the yard and walkways
  • Branches or bushes touching the house, including the roof
  • Condition of fences, sheds, porches, patios and decks
  • Security of railings on decks and stairs
  • Condition of driveway

What to look for on the exterior of the house:

  • Condition of siding or exterior paint
  • Cracks or breaks in masonry; cracks in stucco
  • Vines on the structure’s surface
  • Square (the angle, not the shape) windows and doorframes
  • Sides of house appear straight rather than bowed or saggy
  • Condition of the visible foundation
  • Condition of wood window and door frames
  • Condition of shingles (no mold, rot or decay, nor any missing shingles)
  • Condition of flat roofs
  • Condition of gutters
  • Condition of chimneys

What to look for inside the home:

  • Stains on the ceilings indicative of water damage
  • Evidence of decay or damage
  • Quantity and quality of insulation
  • Adequate ventilation in the attic
  • Plumbing pipes, exhaust vents or appliance vents in the attic
  • Open electrical splices in the attic
  • The condition of floors, walls and ceilings
  • Stains on floors, walls and ceilings
  • Cracks in floors, walls and ceilings
  • Windows and doors open easily and latch properly
  • Broken windows or doors
  • Weather stripping around windows and doors
  • Windows and doors have weep holes
  • Condition of lights and switches
  • Condition of electrical outlets
  • Condition of fireplace
  • Condition and location of the kitchen exhaust fan
  • GFCI protection on outlets near sinks
  • Appliances working properly
  • Pipes under sinks and toilets
  • Water flow in sinks
  • Exhaust fans in bathrooms
  • Proper drainage in sinks, tubs and showers
  • Condition and location of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Solid stairway treads and risers
  • Handrails in appropriate locations (and in good condition)

This isn’t an exhaustive list. There are things that a professional home inspector will be looking for, and once your inspection is complete, you’ll receive a detailed report that outlines everything he or she covered.

Let’s Find a Home to Inspect

When you’re ready to start your Sonoma County home search, call me at 707-869-1884 or contact me onlinecontact me online. I’ll help you find your dream home in the Sonoma County area.



Hiring a Home Inspector

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