What Are Home Inspection Checklists For?
Home Inspection Checklists are designed to help the inspector make sure they check every area of the house that needs to be inspected. The inspection covers interior areas of the home as well as the exterior of the house including trouble areas such as the roof, siding, drainage and more.
The goal of a home inspection is to proactively find minor problems, preventing them from getting expensive and out of control.
This home inspection checklist does not replace a certified home inspection report, but can and should be used as a guide to better understand what areas of the home will be inspected.
Why Do Home Inspectors Need a Checklist?
Home Inspectors should use this checklist as a guide for their own work or to double check that their own inspection checklists incorporate all the potential problem areas necessary for home sellers and buyers to feel confident in the condition of the house and property.
How Home Buyers and Sellers Should Use a Checklist?
Home Buyers and Sellers should use this checklist as a way to make sure the reports they receive from a home inspector aren’t missing any major areas of the property. They can also use it as a way to spot check their own homes for potential issues and call for a professional home inspection when they are concerned about a potential problem. Proactively maintaining the condition of your home can save you from expensive repairs at the worst times. Try to incorporate checks with other routine maintenance of your home such as checking the shingles, gutters and downspouts while you are cleaning the gutters of your house.
Routine inspections help keep your family safe and healthy by finding mold, structural damage, or other issues before they reach dangerous levels.
Do I Need a Special Home Inspection Checklist For BC?
Although the BC climate can be different from other areas of Canada and the US, you can still use our home inspection checklist. Every home has similar qualities, but no two homes are the same in terms of their condition. Even new homes can have issues, and depending on the climate those issues can vary. In BC we commonly see a wet climate that can contribute to issues with a house during the inspection. Many of the issues one might expect to encounter in BC are included in the home inspection checklist.
Tips For Exterior Areas Of The Home That Need To Be Inspected
When you’re inspecting the property around the home make sure you are checking the:
- Lot Grading
- Drain Tile System
Any build up of water, especially in wet climates can go from a small puddle to a flooded basement in under an hour. Areas with poor drainage may have signs of previous water damage in basements that you could uncover during your home inspection as well. Inspecting the walls ceiling and any exposed parts of the foundation for cracks is an important part of a proper home inspection.
Other areas of the property to check include:
- Exterior Receptacles
These areas should be checked for their condition for example if the driveway needs to be resealed or the fence is in need of repairs or replacement in sections.
Garage & Carport
While you’re inspecting the garage or carport you should make sure to thoroughly check:
- Entries, Exits
The garage is an area that can be prone to harmful gas emissions, some of which are not easily detectable by our own sense of smell. Be cognizant of musty or other strange smells that may indicate an issue with an appliance or water leakage. Make sure the structure is built to code with proper safety measures being in place. You’ll also want to check these areas in while you are there:
- Walls (Interior and Exterior)
- Garage Door
- Roof (If Separate from Main Roof)
Garages may also be unfinished in some instances and if changes need to be made it’s a good idea to have your own contractor quote the work to make sure the work is done properly saving time for everyone involved.
All exterior openings of the home should be inspected while you are checking the house itself such as:
These areas should be properly sealed to keep moisture out and in good working condition. Other areas often needing particular attention can include:
- Exterior Walls
With these parts of the home in direct contact with rain, sun, snow, hail, animals, insects and more it’s important to ensure they are in good condition and will be so for a good period of time. Uncovered decks and porches can often take a beating from the elements and need to maintained on a regular basis for safety and longevity. Bugs and insects can also be a nuisance when weather conditions make your home a nice option for them. Checking for holes, wasp nests, and other signs of infestation are important.
Be sure to check the condition of handrails, as they directly impact the safety of all stairs in changing weather conditions.
Roofs can be particular areas of concern for homeowners in the lower mainland. A seemingly constant barrage of west coast whether can wear out shingles, overflow gutters, downspouts, and even cause moisture problems to pop up inside the home. While you are on the roof have a look at these areas:
- Shingles / Other Roofing Materials
Be sure to check inside the house to see if moisture is seeping into the home through openings in the roof such as:
Make sure the framing is properly constructed and is in good condition to bear the weight of snow loads or stand up to strong wind gusts as well. Check your locations average snowfall and recommended load bearing requirements if snow is a regular part of your winter.
Tips For Interior Home Inspection Areas
Once you’re in the attic space to check the roof framing ensure you don’t miss these other key areas of a thorough home inspection.
- Attic Framing
- Roof Sheathing
A properly ventilated and insulated attic or upper crawl space will help lower the energy costs of the home and help to ensure a safer living space for the homeowners and their families.
After you move on to inspecting the living space of the home you will need to check the primary areas of the home for their condition including:
- Interior Doors
Structurally these areas should be in good shape and built with proper construction methods that meet code. Checking the insulation is vitally important as well, and can reveal potential issues with moisture and mold. Make sure to identify whether the home was constructed during a time when asbestos was used before opening any walls. Have a proper analysis done if necessary to ensure no asbestos is present in areas that need to be opened.
The kitchen is one of the most high traffic areas of the home and it is important that you check the following areas for their condition:
- Smoke Detectors
The components that make up the sink are prone to more frequent breakdowns and should be inspected closely to ensure replacement or repair is or is not necessary.
- Plumbing Systems
- Garbage Disposal
Performing an inspection on the bathroom is part of a proper check of the home’s living space. You will need to locate and inspect the following areas for their condition and functionality:
- Plumbing Systems
The bathroom is another high moisture area of the home, and proper ventilation should be present to disperse moisture created from steam and prevent mold from growing. When checking the plumbing system look for issues with the water pipes, elbows, and valves as well.
The electrical components and systems that make up the home’s power supply need to be inspected for safety as well as working condition. Some major electrical components are also a source of heat and should be properly vented with exhaust fans where necessary.
- Main Panel
- Circuit Breakers
- Types of Wiring
- Exhaust Fans
If electrical systems need to be repaired make sure the homeowner contacts a qualified electrician to properly make the repairs or replacements for safety and the integrity of the whole electrical system. Electrical issues can be life threatening and should be fixed before minor problems become highly dangerous to the occupants of the home.
- Switches (Dimmers)
- Light Fixtures
Systems & Components
Each home has a series of systems and components that will need to be checked by the home inspector. There are different types of systems available that perform the same job such as furnaces, boilers, air handlers, or electric baseboard in the case of heating. You’ll need to identify the type of heating system being used to properly check for issues.
- Heating System
- Duct Work
Other components and systems that should be inspected include cooling systems, hot water tanks, tankless water heaters, and in some cases sprinklers as well.
- Air Conditioning
- Water Heaters
What To Do When Repairs are Needed?
Some home sellers may try to hire the cheapest repair person possible, and replace appliances with budget options. They wouldn’t be the first with the intention to spend as little as possible before selling the house.
To help avoid these types of situations from occurring or becoming an issue later on it’s a good idea to speak with a contractor you know and trust about the scope and cost of the work. Get an idea of how much the repairs will be and use this information as a reference against the work that was done or recommend your contact to the homeowner.
Inspection Tips For Homeowners to Remember
You are now armed with the knowledge to properly understand what goes into a home inspection and how you can help keep your home in good condition. Work on incorporating spot checks for moisture and some of the other common issues we’ve covered that can be found in your home.
Have a look at problem areas during spring cleaning, while you’re gathering seasonal decorations from the attic, or other activities that require you be in similar spaces.
Thanks for reading and please Contact Our Team at Mainland Home Inspections if you have any questions.