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The Ultimate House Inspection Checklist

June 10, 2024

So, you’re looking to buy a home? It’s an exciting journey, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. From comparing prices to exploring neighborhoods and finding the right realtor, the process can be time-consuming.

This decision is one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll make in your life. Being thorough in your inspection can make it one of the most rewarding as well.

While a home’s aesthetics can be tempting, it’s crucial to look beyond the surface. Beautiful interiors can distract from more critical factors. To help you focus on what truly matters during a home inspection, we’ve put together the ultimate home inspection checklist for 2024.

To ensure you don’t miss anything, we’ve provided a downloadable checklist at the end of this article.

Hire a Professional

Before you dive into inspecting the property yourself, consider hiring professionals for specific checks. A professional inspection can save you time and money by identifying issues early.

  • Pest Inspection: A pest inspection can reveal hidden infestations that could cost you a lot in future repairs.
  • Swimming Pool Inspection: If the property has a pool, ensure the fencing and safety measures are up to standard.
  • Surveyor: Hiring a surveyor to outline the property boundaries can help you understand your property rights.

windows looking worn but vintage

What to inspect indoors

Water Pressure

Check the water pressure in all taps and flush all toilets. Poor water pressure, drainage problems, and leaks can indicate underlying plumbing issues.

Windows, Doors & Floors

Inspect the windows and doors for drafts and proper functioning. Examine the floors for bumps and warping. Walls should be free of cracks larger than 2mm, which may require professional assessment.

Water Stains and Mould

Look for water stains, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Mould is not just an aesthetic issue; it can pose serious health risks. Pay attention to any signs of moisture or mildew inside cupboards.

Expanded Indoor Inspection Checklist

Electrical System

  • Light Switches and Outlets: Test all light switches and outlets for functionality. Look for any signs of faulty wiring or scorch marks.
  • Circuit Breaker Panel: Ensure the circuit breaker panel is easily accessible and in good condition. It should be properly labeled and have no signs of damage or rust.

Plumbing System

  • Pipes and Drains: Check under sinks and around toilets for any signs of leaks or corrosion. Ensure all drains are unclogged and water flows smoothly.
  • Water Heater: Inspect the water heater for any leaks or rust. Verify the age and condition, as older units may need replacement soon.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System

  • Furnace and Air Conditioning Units: Check the age, condition, and service history of the furnace and air conditioning units. Look for any signs of rust, damage, or leaks.
  • Ventilation: Ensure all vents are unobstructed and clean. Good ventilation is essential for maintaining indoor air quality.

Attic and Basement

  • Attic: Inspect the attic for signs of water damage, mould, or pest infestations. Ensure proper insulation and ventilation.
  • Basement: Check for any signs of moisture, mould, or structural issues. Look for cracks in the foundation and ensure the sump pump (if present) is functioning.

Kitchen Appliances

  • Stove, Oven, and Range Hood: Test all kitchen appliances to ensure they are in working order. Check for any signs of wear and tear.
  • Dishwasher: Run a cycle to confirm the dishwasher is functioning properly and not leaking.
  • Refrigerator: Ensure the refrigerator and freezer are cooling effectively and check for any unusual noises or leaks.
     

What to Inspect Outdoors

Roofing

  • Roof Tiles and Guttering: Check for rust, damage, or loose tiles. Ensure the guttering is secure and directs water away from the house.
  • Downpipes: Inspect downpipes to ensure they lead to stormwater drains and not onto the ground. Look for signs of flooding around the bases, which can indicate drainage issues.
  • Roof Lines: Use a ladder to check for wavy roof lines, which can indicate structural problems.

Exterior Walls and Foundation

  • Cracks and Damage: Look for cracks in the exterior walls and foundation. Large cracks can indicate structural issues that need professional assessment.
  • Paint and Siding: Check the condition of the paint and siding. Peeling paint or damaged siding can expose the house to the elements and lead to further damage.

The Garden

  • Fences and Gates: Inspect the condition of fences and gates. Ensure they are secure and free of damage.
  • Trees and Shrubs: Evaluate the proximity of trees to the house. Roots can cause structural subsidence, and overhanging branches can be a safety hazard.
  • Drainage: Check for proper drainage around the property. Ensure that water does not pool near the foundation, which can lead to moisture problems.

What to Do If There’s a Problem

If you identify any issues during your inspection, you’re already ahead of the game. Addressing these problems now can save you significant time and money down the road.

  • Request Repairs: If the house doesn’t pass inspection, you can request the seller to make necessary repairs before closing the deal.
  • Negotiate the Price: If the seller is unwilling to make repairs, you can negotiate a lower price to account for the cost of the repairs you’ll need to undertake.
  • Reassess Your Options: If the issues are too significant, it might be best to reconsider if this is the right property for you.

What a House Inspection Covers

As previously mentioned, homes are required to pass a pest and building inspection before they are sold. Inspectors will let you know if the problems are safety issues, major/minor defects and of any items that need to be replaced or closely monitored.

Most of the considerations will be on an aesthetic level, which means if nothing catches their eye, they won’t raise issues. Here’s a list of what they’ll look at when they do a complete walk-through of the home:

  • Foundations 
  • Pre-drywall
  • Grading
  • Exterior: Garage, roof 
  • Interior: Plumbing, Electrical, Ventilation
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Bathrooms
  • Laundry
  • Water heater
  • Fire safety

You won’t regret taking the time and effort to do a thorough inspection. A lot of it is DIY and can save you trouble and money in the future.

It forces you to have a realistic look at what you’re buying and if it’s worth it. Even if you have just 30 minutes to walk through the house, make sure it’s an efficient one.

Try and arrive even earlier so you maximise time and can scope out the spaces before the other viewers swarm in. If the first viewing checks most of your boxes, book a second one and ideally at a different time of day so you can monitor noise and traffic.

ultimate house inspection checklist involves garden

Downloadable Checklist

To help you stay organized and ensure you don’t miss anything, we’ve prepared a downloadable checklist for you.

Liked our article on the ultimate home inspection checklist?

We, at Soho, are always looking for more helpful and insightful ways to get you into your dream home, so keep browsing our search page to check out amazing listings available right now.

But don’t just stop there, download our app to get the full Soho experience. Just remember to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

And once you’re in, we’ve got you covered on interior design tips and organisational help! Watch this space for more posts every week!

FAQ Section on ‘The Ultimate House Inspection Checklist’

What is an inspection checklist?

An inspection checklist is a comprehensive list used during inspections to ensure all important aspects of an item, system, or location meet certain standards or requirements. It guides inspectors through each crucial point, ensuring nothing is overlooked.

How do you write an inspection checklist?

To write an effective inspection checklist, focus on including only essential items, limiting the list to about 10-20 points. This approach keeps the checklist manageable and helps inspectors maintain high levels of accuracy and efficiency during the inspection process.

What does a home inspection include in BC?

A home inspection in British Columbia typically covers all major components of a property, including structural elements, plumbing, electrical systems, windows, doors, and roofs. It identifies necessary repairs and potential issues, providing a comprehensive overview of the property’s condition.

What are the 3 main types of inspections?

The three primary types of inspections are:

  • Pre-Production Inspection: Assessing materials and components before manufacturing begins.
  • During Production Inspection: Checking quality and compliance during the manufacturing process.
  • Final Random Inspection: A thorough inspection of final products before shipment to ensure quality and specifications are met.

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Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
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