Basic Home Inspection Checklist for Buyers

basic home inspection checklist

You’ve found the house of your dreams, your offer has been accepted, and now you’re ready to take the keys and make it the home you’ve always wanted, right? Well, first you should take the time to make sure there isn’t anything under the surface that will turn your dream home into the stuff of nightmares.

The importance of a home inspection can’t be understated. Coming prepared with a good home inspection checklist will ensure that you have a smooth experience during what can be one of the most stressful parts of the home buying process. Here’s a home inspection checklist for buyers to go through at the time of purchase to make sure they get everything they want from their new home (and nothing else).

Key Home Inspection Areas

Before the process even begins, there are some steps you can take to make your home inspection even easier. When you’re touring your prospective home, you may not want to bring up items of concern as you see them. However, it’s a good idea to write down or even take photos of potential problem areas during your tour so you can reference them when it’s time for a professional inspection. Keeping this in mind, let’s dive into the key areas to pay attention to when conducting your home inspection.


Any good home inspection begins with assessing the foundation and exterior of the building. These inspection checklist items are not to be overlooked, since a compromised foundation can spell disaster for your new home purchase.

  • Inspect the condition of the gutters and downspouts. Are they intact? Is there proper drainage leading away from the house?
  • Inspect the visible foundation. Are there noticeable cracks? Are there any sunken or squishy areas in the surrounding yard?
  • Look at the roof and siding. What type of siding does the house feature? Are there any missing shingles on the roof? Dark spots? Damage from the elements? When was the last time the roof was replaced or in need of repair?
  • Do the doors and windows open and close properly? Is it difficult to open any of them? Do the exterior doors lock appropriately?


After inspecting the home’s exterior, it’s time to address the living space. This is where you’ll be spending most of your time, so make sure you address as many items on this home inspection list as you can.

  • Are there any strange smells inside the house? Pet odors? Smoke? Acrid odors that could be evidence of mold or mildew?
  • Is there evidence of past water damage, like discoloration on the walls or warped flooring?
  • Do the interior windows and doors open and close properly?
  • Look around for fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Are they easy to find and working properly?


Unexpected plumbing woes are among the most expensive problems a homeowner can encounter. Make sure to check each room and fixture during your home inspection to confirm that everything is working to your satisfaction.

  • Check the kitchen and all the bathrooms. Is the water pressure satisfactory? Do the showerheads, sinks, and toilets all work properly?
  • How old is the water heater, and what type is it: gas or electric?
  • Are there any signs of leaks in the under-sink cabinets? How about in the tub and shower areas?

Electrical and HVAC

Another area that’s incredibly important to check is the electrical and HVAC systems. A good home inspection will allow you to catch potential issues before they become your problem as the new homeowner.

  • Is there sufficient ventilation throughout the home?
  • Is the thermostat responsive and working properly? Try changing the temperature on the air conditioning to see how quickly it reacts.
  • Are there any exposed electrical splices in the attic?
  • Locate the service panel. Are all the breakers or fuses clearly marked?
  • Do all the light switches work properly?
  • Have the electrical outlets been tested? Are there any that are loose or missing?

There’s a lot to think about when conducting a home inspection. Enlisting the help of a professional is paramount when taking on the task, but you can also save yourself a lot of time and stress just by having a proper home inspection checklist in hand. Good luck, and enjoy your new home!

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