Buying a House: Home Inspection Checklist Tips for New Homeowners

If you’re a new home buyer, it’s important to be cautious during the process. One of the best things you can do is prepare a buying a house home inspection checklist ahead of time. That way, you can reduce the risk of buying a home with hidden issues. When you schedule a home professional home inspection, having a buying a house home inspection checklist will ensure that all areas of concern are addressed. As long as you hire a qualified home inspector, you can trust they’ll use their trained eye to look for any defects and potential issues. While you can always perform your own assessment, you probably don’t have the experience to spot defects so you can make an informed decision. Now, let’s get into the checklist!


Starting from the bottom up, your buying a house home inspection checklist should include an inspection of the foundation. Including the foundation in the checklist is necessary because foundation repair can be quite costly. Part of these costs may involve hiring specialized concrete services for stabilization. Additionally, if there’s something wrong with your foundation, this could lead to moisture problems. The cost will significantly increase if you need to hire a basement mold remediation or a water damage restoration service. You can avoid all these costs by being proactive. When a home inspector uncovers potential issues with the foundation, you can either negotiate with the seller or get the foundation fixed yourself.

Alternatively, the seller can hire a foundation repair company and get the issue fixed before you move in. You should never consent to buying a home with a damaged foundation for the full price. Having an inspection done is absolutely essential because even if everything seems fine from the outside, you might end up forking thousands of dollars down the line to fix a settling foundation. Therefore by doing your due diligence and spending a relatively small amount of money now, you can potentially save large sums of money down the line. Even if you’re in the business of flipping houses that require foundation repair, it pays to know what you’re up against.

Roof and Attic Space

Another thing you can’t afford to omit from your buying a house home inspection checklist is an inspection of the roof and attic space. Hiring an inspector with the right skills to inspect your roof and attic space is a good financial investment that can give you some good insights into the value of the property you want to buy. For starters, you should get a roof inspection because you want to sleep well at night knowing the roof over your head is up for the job. Your home’s roof is the first line of defense against extreme weather and a faulty roof can lead to all sorts of problems. For instance, if a roof has been damaged after a storm, it’s important to schedule hail damage inspections to ensure it hasn’t developed leaks.

If there’s no storm damage having a certified roof inspector on board is also good because it also confirms that the roof was installed correctly. They will make you aware of any present issues with the roof’s condition, even when buying a newer home that looks good at first glance. Common roof repair issues include leaks, sagging, damaged or missing shingles, rust, and dents. Checking the roof from the ground with an untrained eye is not always good enough to uncover essential details, such as the age of the roof and its overall condition.

Windows and Doors

Two more things to add to a buying a house home inspection checklist are the windows and the doors. Windows are a big investment and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, having the wrong type of windows can increase your heating and cooling costs. That’s because old and faulty windows are generally not energy efficient. They’re responsible for air leaks, which makes it harder for the HVAC system to maintain the desired temperature. Therefore, you should ask your home inspector to check whether the windows are structurally sound and can seal properly. If the windows are multi-paned, the inspector should ensure no signs of moisture between the panes.

Otherwise, if you purchase a home with leaking windows that don’t close properly, you may have to invest in window replacement. As mentioned, this gives rise to energy efficiency concerns. Additionally, when the windows are drafty, this lets moisture in, which can encourage the growth of mold or mildew. You also have to think about the security risk when you have windows that can be opened easily from the outside. Similarly, it’s preferable to buy a home where all the external doors are in good condition with advanced locking mechanisms. That way, you’ll have more peace of mind.

Septic, Well, and Plumbing System

If the home you’re planning to purchase has a septic, well, or plumbing system, these are major systems that have a great impact on the overall function of the home. You should be especially cautious if you’re buying an older home because these systems tend to experience wear and tear over time. Depending on which system is in place, you’ll need to create separate checklists. For instance, your plumbing checklist should include the toilet, shower, faucet, sinks, garbage disposal, and sewer system. All components should be tested to see if they’re functioning well and to eliminate the possibility of leaks. Additionally, your buying a house home inspection checklist should include a good inspection.

A good inspection is crucial because if the well is going to be the primary source of water, then you need to know if the water is safe for use. It’s common for well pumps to develop problems, so have this component checked out as well, so you know whether to hire a well pump service. Similarly, if there’s a septic system, the last thing you want is to invest in a septic tank install, so make sure the tank has been cleaned and is in good condition before you make the investment. Keep in mind that since the septic system is located underground, it may not be possible to identify all issues without first excavating. Your best bet is to obtain a maintenance record because septic systems that are well-maintained tend to remain in good condition for longer.

Electrical System

As a new home buyer, discovering problems with the electrical system after purchasing can be devastating. The good news is that a home inspection should be good enough to identify any potential issues. Afterward, you’ll get a professional recommendation for any electrical problems that need to be fixed. Whatever the circumstances, it’s always good to work with certified and trained professionals that are qualified to handle electrical work. Electricity can be dangerous, so if you want to know if the existing system has any underlying issues, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Electrical inspections are a must-have in older homes where the electrical wiring and components are usually compromised and extremely outdated.

An electrical inspection will help you determine if the system is able to meet the demands of your modern lifestyle. Even if you’re buying an old home with updated wiring, you still need to confirm that the job was done by a skilled individual and there’s no need to upgrade the electrical components. If you include an electrical inspection on your checklist, then it’s up to the seller to fix the problem. However, once you buy the home, any additional electrical expenses will be met by you, even if the problem is not your fault. This is the ultimate reason to invest in a home inspection before buying a home for the first time.

HVAC System

Before you buy your first home, you might also want to enlist the services of a licensed home inspector or HVAC technician. The HVAC system is one of the essential components of your home, and if you want to move into a comfortable home, the HVAC equipment needs to be properly functional. You may want to ask the seller to hire an air duct cleaning service and schedule professional inspection and maintenance. You can also insist that the seller provide a warranty for the HVAC, so you’re not left saddled with huge costs in case something goes wrong.

Major Appliances

It would be ideal if your inspection focused on all the major appliances. Besides the air conditioner and the furnace or the HVAC equipment, other major appliances that need to be checked out include the dishwasher, freezer, refrigerator, washing machine, stove, and garbage disposal. Make sure you have someone who knows how to check these appliances as well as the associated electrical and plumbing connections. While you may not be able to accurately estimate the lifespan of the appliances, you can still spot issues that might necessitate a repair or replacement.


The truth is that there’s so much to cover when it comes to buying a house home inspection checklist. It helps to look at the home from an exterior and interior point of view. When it comes to the exterior, areas that need to be looked at include the siding, garage, exterior doors, grading, drainage, the deck or porch, and the roof. Additionally, you may need to look at the downspouts and gutters, crawlspace, and windows. If things like curb appeal matter to you, you need to look at areas like the driveway and determine whether you’ll need to hire asphalt services to upgrade the home’s appearance.

When it comes to the home’s interior, there’s also a long list of things that need to be inspected, such as the basement, sump pump, plumbing, insulation, ventilation, exhaust ducts, kitchen, bathroom, sink, faucets, fixtures, ceiling, exhaust fans, toilets, interior rooms, water heater, stairways, furnace, HVAC, and more. Each home is unique, so what you add to your checklist will depend on the state of the home. Generally, it’s good to ensure that your checklist includes all the physical components and the major systems on the home’s interior and exterior.

Additional Things To Watch Out For

If you hire a reputable home inspector, you can trust that they’ll do a thorough job of inspecting your home and provide you with all the details you need. However, keep in mind that a home inspector won’t do an in-depth analysis. Instead, they’ll examine the parts that are easily accessible and that generally don’t need specialized knowledge. That means your home inspector will likely not cover everything. For instance, they probably won’t be concerned with issues like pet infestation or landscaping, and they won’t inspect areas of the home that are not easily accessible. In that case, it’s essential to do your research, so you know exactly what the inspector covers or doesn’t cover. You should also assess the cleanliness level to figure out whether you need to factor in the cost of hiring home cleaning companies.

Some home inspectors offer additional or specialized services, such as lead paint or carbon monoxide testing, though this comes at an extra cost. In any case, your buying a house home inspection checklist will help you to be prepared as much as possible. Once you have completed your checklist, the next step is showing up for the inspection, asking questions, and jotting down the information you get from the inspector.

Now that you know what’s involved in creating a buying a house home inspection checklist, you should get started. The goal is for you to stay informed and on the same page with you and the inspector. After all, you can only ask the right questions if you know what the inspection process involves. It can’t be emphasized enough how a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. When you have a thorough and detailed buying a house home inspection checklist, you can use it to cross-check with the professional report you received from your inspector. This also helps you plan for future repairs and replacements in case you decide to give the home a pass. Additionally, creating a checklist helps you to easily identify your deal breakers, whether that’s mold or structural problems. Remember, when buying a home, there’s no such thing as being too careful.

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