Home Inspection Checklist: What Should Home Buyers Look For?

Home Inspection checklistBeing an informed consumer and homebuyer is essential to purchasing your new home.  And one vital component of buying a home is the home inspection.

You might be a buyer looking to buy your first home, so you should equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible before hitting the open houses with your REALTOR®.  Knowing what is on a home inspection checklist is a good start.

A deciding factor in the purchasing process can come down to a home inspection, so you should know what they entail, and what the possible outcomes mean for your potential home.

Having a good home inspector perform a home inspection goes a long way in buying a home with no serious problems.

You should never skip your home inspection.

Here’s what you should look for in a Massachusetts home inspection. 

What’s a Home Inspection?

First things first, what’s a home inspection, and what is its purpose?

When you buy a home, you should have a home inspection.  It needs to be conducted by a professional to assess the condition of the property.  It’s a non-invasive process, where the professional simply inspects what they can with ease, to ensure you’re not about to buy a property with some significant flaws or incoming repairs.

They will typically check the primary parts of the home, like the roof, garage, appliances, heating system, and electrical, and look for any cosmetic damages along the way. 

The home inspection works in favor of the buyer because it can be used as a tool to bargain with if the results are unsatisfactory, the buyer can negotiate a lower price or some other compensation. It’s even possible that the seller would offer you a home warranty.

If there are minor issues that require immediate attention that you feel ambitious enough to take on yourself, an inspection remains solely for peace of mind.

You and your REALTOR or agent can discuss the results of the examination, and based on how good or bad it is, you will determine your next steps. 

Know Your Stuff

When you hire a reputable home inspector, with an excellent reputation and experience, that will be half the battle. Going into a home inspection blind is not recommended, so you should do some research on the process before it happens.

Knowing what is going to be inspected and asking the inspector questions along the way will provide you with knowledge and perspective.

An inspection should take a few hours, so dedicate at least half a day to your realtor, the seller’s realtor, and the inspector. 

Finding a great home inspector could be as easy as looking up Google reviews and finding local favorites.

Your realtor likely has someone that they’ve worked with numerous times in the past. Hiring a professional, experienced inspector with certifications is essential to getting a trustworthy opinion. As the home buyer, you’ll be paying for the inspection service, so don’t skimp on the expense.


What To Look For In A Home Inspection

A home inspection is designed to give you an overview of the condition of a house as it sits.  Remember just like buying a used car, you are purchasing a home.  There are going to be some dings and dents.

What you want to avoid is having an unexpected serious or expensive issue shortly after moving into your new home.  And, what can be expected for maintenance in the future.

You want to know your home is safe, healthy, free from structural defects and that the home’s systems are in proper working order.

Bear in mind an inspector can only comment on what they see.  They cannot see behind walls, underground etc… 

The next section discusses some of the major point covered in a home inspection checklist.

What’s Included in a Massachusetts Home Inspection Checklist?

Here’s a checklist for you to focus on during your home inspection.  Don’t be afraid to ask your home inspector for a copy of their home inspection checklist or report so you can familiarize your self with what they will be assessing.

Home Exterior Checklist

  • Is your roof missing shingles?
  • Will the roof need to be replaced soon? How old is the roof?
  • What is the state of your flashing and trim?
  • Could there be leaks in your roof or foundation?
  • What condition is the siding?
  • Are there any visible foundation cracks?
  • Are there trees close to the foundation?
  • Where is the placement of the drainage around your home?
  • Does your yard have any soggy spots?
  • What’s the condition of your sidewalks and driveways, if applicable?
  • Is the landscaping to close to the foundation?
  • Are there trees to close to the house?

Home Interior Checklist

  • Have the appliances been well maintained, or will they need to be replaced?
  • What is the age of your Dishwasher, Oven, and Refrigerator?
  • Does the kitchen fan work?
  • Are the bathrooms properly vented?
  • Are there any visible leaks from your sinks or appliances?
  • Has there been previous damage to the home, like a fire, flood, etc.? 
  • Are there any cracks on any of the interior walls or ceilings?
  • Do the ceilings or walls have any staining on them?
  • Are the windows and doors operating properly?

Plumbing Checklist

  • Are there any visible leaks in the pipes and connections?
  • Are the toilets properly seated and operating properly?
  • Is the water shut off for the house accessible for emergencies?
  • Is there enough water pressure?
  • Are all the drains draining properly?
  • Are the home shutoff valves working properly?
  • How old is the water heater?  Does it provide enough hot water for the house?

Home’s Electrical Checklist

  • Are switches working properly?
  • Are outlets properly grounded and functioning?
  • Are there enough outlets?
  • Is the home’s weatherhead properly working?
  • Is the meter properly sealed from water penetration?
  • Is the electrical panel serviceable?  And is it properly sized for the home?

HVAC Checklist

  • How old are the furnace and air conditioner?
  • Are they in proper working order?
  • Does the house have adequate radiators or heating vents?
  • Is the oil tank still serviceable?
  • Is it properly vented and is the chimney in working order?
  • Is the system clean and are filters changed regularly?

Homes Basement Checklist

  • Are there signs of reoccurring water penetration?
  • Is there a sump pump?  Is it working properly?
  • Look for foundation problems, including bowing and cracking.
  • How is the structural integrity of posts and joists?
  • Are their signs of termites or carpenter ants?
  • Is there excessive humidity that is causing mold or the potential to cause mold?

Homes Garage Checklist

  • Check for cracks and damage on all walls, the ceiling, the door, and the roof. 
  • Are the lights functional?
  • Do the remotes work for the garage door? Does the switch?
  • Do the garage doors’ safety mechanisms work properly?

Post-Inspection: What Now?

Once the inspection is complete, thoroughly go through the report. If the results are on the cosmetic side, you can decide if you can live with those issues, or if you’re willing to take care of them yourself. If that’s the case, then great! You can proceed to purchase your dream home without issue. 

If some significant issues could end up being costly repairs, you need to decide if it’s worth the purchase. There are certain major repairs you could tackle on your own but maybe others you aren’t financially prepared for.

Perhaps you were planning on making renovations anyways, in which case you can proceed if you wish.  If there is structural damage, or electrical or plumbing issues, you may want to consider bringing in a contractor or two for a quote on fixing up the damage before you agree. 

You may be able to leverage a negative inspection to get a better price on the home or have the seller take care of the issues before you move in. Being a strong negotiator or having a seasoned realtor on your side is a huge benefit in these scenarios. 

Having a clause in your contract based on the home inspection is vital in any real estate transaction. It’s there to protect you if the review comes back poor, you can decide you want to back out, and there will be no penalty to you. 

Purchasing a home is one of the most important and most significant purchases you’re going to make. You want to make sure you’re getting a quality home for your money that isn’t going to require a lot of repairs in three months.

While inspections will never be 100% perfect, and there will be some things that get missed, it’s crucial in the home buying process. Checking the quality of your new home thoroughly with an inspection, along with other little thoughtful upgrades, can really increase the value of your property.

Other Home Inspection Resources:

Home Inspection Checklist: Here’s What To Look For, was written for Kevin Vitali by Chandler Crouch Realtors.

Chandler Crouch Realtors is a full-service real estate brokerage specializing in helping people buy and sell homes in North Texas. We bring together top Realtors, unparalleled service, and cutting-edge technology to provide the best possible experience for our clients.


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