20-Point Checklist for Home Inspections

It happens far too often. You move into your dream home and discover problem after problem. Mildew and moisture here, hidden cracks and stains there. Sometimes house inspectors fail to find defects and  previous owners that fail to disclose them. Buyer beware is always sound advise. To protect buyer’s interests we’ve come up with some precautions for them to take.

Here is our checklist for home inspections:

icon for home inspections1. Flush toilets and make sure they stop running once they are filled.

2. Check for signs of flooding, stains or cracked tiles by looking behind pictures and under beds, carpets and area rugs. If anything is sitting on kitchen or bathroom counters lift them up to look for defects.

3. Confirm that all electrical outlets are in working order.

4. At the beginning of the inspection run the dishwasher. By the time the inspection is done it will likely have completed its cycle. Check for leaks.

5. Test stove burners. Put the oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes then check the temperature.

6. Make sure that there is sufficient water flow from all faucets. Check that all sinks, showers and tubs drain well.

7. Run a number of faucets simultaneously then flush an upstairs toilet to see how the water pressure holds up.

8. Look at the floor underneath the water heater for stains, leaks or black mold.

9. Make sure windows open freely and that they are not painted shut.

10. Look for ducts in each room to make sure there is sufficient heating and cooling in all areas of the house.

11. Check the microwave to see if it heats up a cup of water after 50 seconds.


If there is an addition on the house find out if the heating/cooling system was upgraded.

13. Watch for water stains on the ceiling. These stains could indicate hidden mold from a leaking roof or plumbing issue.

14. Have your inspector check the roof for damaged shingles.

15. If the building has a flat roof, look for  low areas that water could pool.

16. Have your inspector carefully look at the eaves to see if there is any damage and confirm they are free flowing.

17. Find out if the owner has a plan with their gas or oil company to inspect the furnace. Confirm when it was last inspected.

18. Are the major appliances showing signs of age or rust? Discontinued models mean replacement parts may not be available.

19. Some people opt for a mold inspection if there has been any flooding in the area. Mold removal can be very expensive so this added precaution can safe thousands of dollars.

20. A separate sewage inspection can be helpful for older houses. For under $350 you can scope out the entire sewer system with video to identify potential problems.

Always ask the seller and the seller’s agent if they know of any defects that may not be visible. They are legally obliged to answer truthfully.

Follow this checklist for home inspections and  you will be better protected against costly surprises after closing. For additional information please contact the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI).