Although architectural details, wall and floor coverings, modern conveniences and many other factors are important in the buying decision, the focus of this inspection is on the structural, mechanical, electrical condition of the property.

The inspection is designed to give the real estate agent or prospective purchaser a system to detect some of the readily accessible major flaws or deficiencies in the significant components and systems of a home. It is not designed to, nor does it profess to facilitate detection of all flaws, problems or occurrences that might exist in any given home.

To maximize time efficiency and to ensure all of the major sections of the home are take into consideration, we have developed a systematized approach to the inspection. This is a simplified overview of systems that professional home inspectors use when they are inspecting a home.

To assist you in following the system, we have provided a checklist that will guide you through your own inspection.

The Inspection SystemEdit


The first step in inspecting a home is to examine the big picture for the home. Notice the area the home is located in. Are there other homes of similar age and construction details relative to the home you are inspecting? A comparison will give you a general idea of the up keep of the home. Have there been significant modifications to the exterior of the building and if so, how is the workmanship?


Start at the exterior front of the house and work your way around the house (clockwise or counter-clockwise) at a distance which allows you to view a complete face comfortably. On each face (front, sides, rear) start your visual inspection at the top of the structure and work your way down to the ground and lot area. As an example, you would start at the front and note the roof and chimneys, the gutters, fascia and soffit's. Then, moving down the exterior wall coverings (brick, wood, aluminum), noting windows, doors, etc. Examine any porches or decks down to the foundation, then the grade or slope of the lot area, followed by any coverings, such as flower beds, walkway's, interlocking brick, driveways, etc. Move closer to the house, to examine more closely any details which may have attracted your attention, without skipping any items. Having completed the front, move to the side of the house and start the same procedure (roof to ground).


On the interior, begin your inspection in the basement and then follow the system throughout each floor in the house. The system for inspecting the interior is to begin with the floor, go to the walls and then the ceiling, and then consider any appliances or other items in the room. Move from room to room, always in the same direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) so as to not miss any areas. If you see a door, open it!
In the utility room in the basement, first notice the floor, the walls (possibly the foundation walls are visible here), then the ceiling (floor joists may be visible), then go to the furnace, hot water heater, electrical panel, plumbing system, etc. When inspecting the floors, walls and ceilings, scan the entire areathat is visible, not just one section.
In a finished room you would notice the floors, walls (including windows) and ceiling. Next look for the heat sources, electrical outlets and switches, fireplaces, closets etc. In bathroom or kitchen, notice the floor, walls and ceiling, then the plumbing fixtures.


While performing the inspection, whether at the exterior, the interior or one of the mechanical systems, note the system first, then its relative condition. For example, if you were inspecting a wall on the interior of the home you would first note that the wall is plaster, and then examine the wall for cracks and irregularities.


The following are some typical problems or occurrences to look for in the major components and systems of the home.

ROOF Is the ridge (peak) showing a sag, or is it straight and level?
Is the roof sagging between the rafters or trusses?
Are there any signs of deterioration of asphalt shingles, such as curling, warping, broken edges, rounded corners or key holes(slits) becoming wider that normal?
Any loose flashing's, at the chimney, roof-to-wall connection or elsewhere?
Does the wooden roof deck appear rotten or delaminate under the last row of shingles?
Are there any roof vents visible?

CHIMNEYS Is the masonry cap cracked or broken?
Are any bricks flaking or missing? Mortar missing?
Is the chimney leaning?

SOFFITS AND FASCIA Note whether the soffit and fascia are wood, aluminum or plastic.
Any loose or missing sections?
If wood, are there any paint problems? Any visible rot?

GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS Ensure gutters slope down toward downspouts.
Any rust or peeling paint?
Apparent leaks or loose/sagging sections?
Are the downspouts extended away from the foundations?

WALL COVERINGS Look for missing mortar
Are the bricks flaking or cracking?
Look for loose, missing or rotten siding, deteriorated paint.>
Does the siding appear new? Does it hide the foundation wall?
Exterior walls bowed, bulged or leaning?

WINDOWS AND DOORS Look for problems with paint or caulking, and rotted wood components.
Are the windows new or older? Are they the original windows? How old are they?

PORCHES AND DECKS Cracking or flaking masonry?
Check for paint problems, rotted wood, and wood-earth contact.
Note any settlement or separation from the house.
Inspect the underside, if accessible.

FOUNDATIONS Check for cracks, flaking or damaged masonry.
Note any water markings and efflorescence (whitish, chalky substance)
Any bowing, bulging or other irregularities?
Soft mortar?

LOT AREA Does the grade slope away from the house?
Any settled/low areas next to the foundation, or cracked walks/driveway?
Is the property lower than the street or neighboring properties?

BASEMENT Note any evidence of water penetration (stains, mildew/odors, efflorescence, loose tiles etc.)

FLOORS Check for deteriorated coverings or cracked ceramics.
Any water staining or other damage?
Sloping or sagging?

WALLS Randomly sample to check that the windows and doors work.
Are the walls straight vertically and horizontally?
Look for cracked or loose plaster.
Look for stains, physical damage or previous repair evidence.
Any drywall seams or nails showing?

CEILINGS Check for cracks in the plaster or loose, sagging plaster.
Look for stains, mechanical damage or evidence of previous repair.
Seams or nails showing?

BATHROOMS AND KITCHENS Check that all fixtures are secure.
Are there any cracks in the fixtures?
Note the condition of the tiles and caulking in the tub/shower area.
Are the faucets working? Do they leak? Sufficient water pressure?
Look for staining and rot under the counter-tops
Randomly sample the operation of the cabinet doors and drawers.

ELECTRO-MECHANICAL CONSIDERATIONS Type, style and age of heating & cooling systems. When were they last inspected or serviced?
Type of water supply piping and drains - any visible rust and corrosion?
Size and age of electrical service - are the outlets grounded? Visible wiring in good condition?
Have there been any upgrades?

Home Inpection ChecklistEdit


Can you get to the attic easily?  

Do you see signs of leaks or water damage?  

Is the attic well-ventilated (not damp)?  

Is the attic insulated?


Is the balcony pitched away from the house for proper drainage? 

Are the supporting beams in good condition, with no signs of rot or wear? 


Does the basement smell damp or musty? 

Do you see signs of water leaks on the ceiling or floor?

Do you see any signs of water seepage around the foundation?  

If beams are exposed, do you see any signs of termite damage?  

If beams are exposed, do you see any rotten wood?  

Do you see any cracks in the basement interior? 


Put pressure on the floor by the toilet. Does it feel spongy? 

Are there loose tiles? 

Is the caulking around the tub or shower moldy or missing? 

Is the floor of the shower (shower pan) cracked or damaged?  

Are the electrical outlets in the bathroom GFCI outlets?  

Do you see water stains, sagging floors, or signs of mold?  

Run the faucets. Do the drains empty slowly? Do they gurgle?  

Run the faucets. Is the water pressure too low? 

Do you see water stains, sagging floors, or signs of mold?

Run the faucets. Do the drains empty slowly? Do they gurgle?  

Run the faucets. Is the water pressure too low?

Does the bathroom have ventilation? (an adequate window or fan)

Ceilings, Floors and Walls

Are there any water spots on ceilings, walls or floors? 

Is the drywall pulling away on the walls? 

Are the walls cracked?

Do the floors feel spongy or weak?  

Do the floors slope in any of the rooms? 

Crawl Space

Is crawl space easily accessible? 

Is the crawl space damp? 

Do you see cracks in the foundation? 

Is the foundation crumbling?  

Is there moisture along the foundation?

Do you see any termite damage to the wood?

Do you see any signs of rotting wood? 

Decks and Porches

Check the posts, railings, floor and steps. 

Do you see any signs of rot?

Do you see any termite damage?  

Are the railings secure?  

Are the steps sturdy? 

Does the porch have its own foundation (not sitting on soil)? 

Doors and Windows

Do any of the interior doors bind? 

Do any of the interior windows bind? 

Do the windows and sills have signs of mold or mildew?  

Are the windows foggy or discolored (seal may be broken)?  

Are any of the windows or doors broken? 


Is there standing water in the yard?  

Is there water around the foundation? 

Does the yard slope away from the house? 

Does the driveway slope away from the house or have a drain?  

Does the house have rain gutters in good repair? 

Is there standing water in the yard?

Is there water around the foundation? 

Does the yard slope away from the house?

Does the driveway slope away from the house or have a drain?

Does the house have rain gutters in good repair?

Driveaway & Walkaways

Are there large cracks in the driveway or walkway?  

Is the driveway or walkway uneven or buckling? 

Is the driveway or walkway crumbling around the edges?

Is the driveway stained? 


Is the fuse box or main panel easily accessible?

Is the main panel in good condition (no rust or damage)? 

Are there enough outlets in each room to meet your needs? 

Are there CFGI outlets in the kitchen and bathroom?


If the exterior is wood, are there signs of wood rot? 

If the exterior is wood, are there signs of termite damage? 

If the exterior is brick, are the bricks and mortar in good condition?

If the exterior is aluminum, are there dents or scratches?


Is the floor cracked or stained? 

Is the exterior in good repair?

Does the garage door function well?

If the garage is attached to the house, is it pulling away from the home? 

If the garage is attached to the house, has it settled the same as the house?


Are the shingles broken or missing?  

Are the shingles buckled? 

Is the coping broken or missing?  

Do you see pooling water?  

Do you see signs of do-it-yourself repair?  

If the roof has a sky-light, is it well-sealed? 

Are the gutters and downspouts in good repair? 

Hiring a Professional InspectorEdit

  • ƒ Hire a knowledgeable inspector. Your inspector should have experience in engineering, architecture, or contracting. 
  • ƒ Require certification. Make sure your inspector is certified or has a professional affiliation. 
  • ƒ Require licensing. Make sure your inspector is both bonded and licensed. 
  • ƒ Beware of conflict of interest. Your inspector should not be in the business or repairing or remodeling homes. 
  • ƒ Be flexible about the cost. Home inspections cost between $300 and $700. It’s best not to select an inspector based solely on the fee. Highlyrecommended, licensed professionals who can accurately assess a home’s condition are worth the cost. 
  • ƒ Ask about the inspection report. Some reports are completed by hand, some are computerized. Some  reports are simply checklists, others may be more detailed. If you have a preference about the report format, ask before you hire. 
  • ƒ Ask about turn-around time. You’ll want to know how soon you can expect the finished report once the inspection has been completed.