money

Check Out Your New Home: The Ultimate Home Inspection Checklist

Cash Lambert

Managing Editor

There's a lot to remember when you're buying your first home. To ease your concerns, it’s crucial to make sure that the home you’re buying is in good condition before you close. That way there won’t be any nasty surprises after you move in.

So you’re buying your first home . . . This is an exciting time—but it may also be stressful.

To help you on your way, we’ve compiled the best home inspection checklist for first time homebuyers.

Should First Time Homebuyers Hire a Home Inspector?

This is the first question many first time homebuyers ask. And the short answer is yes, you should.

Home inspection requirements vary by state. Your mortgage lender may not require a home inspection report to approve your mortgage, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one.

Even if your state doesn’t require inspectors to be licensed, you can find certified home inspectors. Check for certifications from ASHI, InterNACHI, or NAHI.

A good home inspector’s job is to go through your home and identify any potential problems. These problems could include obvious issues like termite damage, or they could be red flags that point in the direction of costly repairs down the line.

Your real estate agent can probably recommend a good home inspector in your area. If you’re not using an agent, ask your lender for a recommendation or search online.

Whichever route you choose for finding an inspector, you should follow these steps:

  • Check home inspector licensing requirements for your state
  • Make sure that your inspector is comfortable having you present during the inspection
  • Verify a good working credit by reading online reviews before you hire anyone
  • Ask to see a sample inspection report
  • Ask what is covered in the report and what isn’t

Hiring a home inspector with a solid reputation is an important step in the home buying process. A professional inspection will protect you in the short and the long term.

Make sure to check your home purchase contract to see if there’s a home inspection contingency. You may only have a limited time to complete your home inspection. If you do, you’ll need to schedule sooner than later. Don’t delay.

The Home Inspection Checklist

Your work doesn’t end with hiring a home inspector. You should still be involved in this process. It’s your home we’re talking about. So, what do you need to do during and after your home inspection to protect yourself and your new home? Checklists can be an especially useful tool here.

☐ Be Present During the Inspection

The first thing you’ll need to do for your inspection is easy: just show up.

While you aren’t actually required to be present, attending the inspection gives you the opportunity to find out about any potential problems early on.

You can also plan to complete some necessary tasks during your inspection, like measuring windows and figuring out where you’ll put your furniture. However, it’s always a good idea to ask your inspector to show you any serious problems they find.

☐ Make a List of Things You Want Inspected

The home inspector you hire will have their own checklist of things to inspect. You should review their list prior to hiring them. If there’s anything you have questions about, ask before you schedule an inspection.

You shouldn’t rely on the inspector’s checklist alone. It’s important for you to have a home buyer’s checklist too. There will likely be a good amount of overlap between your list and the inspector’s.

In case you need some help brainstorming, here are some things to include:

  • The roof
  • Attic space
  • Rain gutters and downspouts
  • Exterior paint, bricks, stones, or stucco
  • Walkways and driveways
  • Porches and balconies
  • The foundation
  • Basement or crawl space
  • Garage
  • Doors and windows
  • Walls, floors, and ceilings
  • Stairs, steps, and railings
  • Electric wiring, including the electrical panel, light switches, and power outlets
  • Heating, cooling, and ventilation system (HVAC) and thermostats
  • Plumbing, including fixtures, faucets, and the water heater
  • Any appliances that come with the home

You may want to follow the inspector to confirm that they’re checking the things on your list—and to review the condition for yourself.

☐ Be Aware of What’s Not Covered

A home inspector will inspect many things. However, there are some things that may not be included in their contract.

Since inspectors frequently limit their liability to the amount you paid for the inspection, it’s your responsibility to check the things that they don’t. In all likelihood, you’ll need to check these things on your own:

  • Swimming pool and equipment
  • Trees and landscaping
  • Sewer lines and septic tank
  • Drainage (this is especially important if your new home has soggy areas)
  • Strange odors
  • Lawn sprinklers
  • Fireplace and chimney
  • Floors covered by carpet
  • Pest infestation

Also keep in mind that if the roof or driveway are covered in snow, the inspector won’t be able to check them. Snow can also make it difficult (or impossible) for your inspector to check any crawl spaces.

☐ Take Photographs and Jot Down Notes

Another way to protect yourself as your inspector goes through the home inspection checklist is to take pictures. Bring a camera to your inspection. As the inspector works, take photographs of everything.

It’s also a good idea to take notes during the inspection. Don’t be afraid to ask your inspector questions. Many inspectors do not check for rodent infestation. But if you see damage that might be related to rodents, you can ask for their professional opinion.

☐ Review the Report Thoroughly

It will likely take the inspector several days to complete the home inspection report and deliver it to you. When you get it, be sure to give it more than a cursory glance. Here’s what to do:

1.     Read the report and make notes of anything that’s confusing.

2.     Call the inspector and get clarification on anything confusing.

3.     Ask the inspector’s opinion on how much repairs will cost. They won’t always give you a number, but some will.

4.     If there are major issues, call a couple contractors to get estimates.

5.     If necessary, call your real estate agent to discuss the report.

If there are any major undisclosed issues on the home inspection report, you may want to rethink your decision to buy the home. Minor repairs aren’t a big deal—but major problems can take a toll on your wallet and sanity for years to come.

Final Thoughts About Your Home Inspection

This home inspection checklist will help you to really understand the condition of your new home before you buy it. Instead of relying on your inspector, you’ll be able to confirm everything for yourself.

Buying your first home can be a great way to face your fear of the unknown—but the quality of the house you’re buying shouldn’t be undetermined. Hiring a qualified home inspector and doing your research are some of the best ways to protect yourself and find the perfect home for you and your family.

Share

Written By

Cash Lambert

Cash Lambert is WealthFit's Managing Editor. He is the author of Waves of Healing: How Surfing Changes the Lives of Children with Autism.

Read more about Cash

RELATED TRAINING

 in 

MONEY

article
How Does Unemployment Work?

How does unemployment work? In this article, we explain how to apply for unemployment benefits step by step. Plus, learn how to maintain health insurance while being unemployed.

How Does Unemployment Work?

Cash Lambert

Read Now
article
Sitting At Home? Get a Financial Education Today — For Free

If you’re staying at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, or Covid-19, chances are you’ve already filled your time with movies and games. Why not use this time to learn about money? 

Sitting At Home? Get a Financial Education Today — For Free

Cash Lambert

Read Now
article
4 Ways To Conserve Your Money During the Coronavirus Crisis

Follow this simple 4-step process to spend less and save money during the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, pick from our list of 101 side hustles to boost your income.

4 Ways To Conserve Your Money During the Coronavirus Crisis

Cash Lambert

Read Now
article
What Are HOA Fees?

In this article, we answer the question: "what are hoa fees"? Learn what HOA fees pay for, how much these fees cost, and whether or not they’re right for you and your finances.

What Are HOA Fees?

Cash Lambert

Read Now
article
What the Coronavirus Tax Extension Means for Your Taxes ...

Because of the economic impact of Coronavirus pandemic, the IRS filing deadline — what’s known as “tax day” — has officially been moved by three months, providing tax relief.

What the Coronavirus Tax Extension Means for Your Taxes ...

Cash Lambert

Read Now
article
How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Here’s the right way to shop for an engagement ring. Learn how to show your care without disrupting your financial goals.

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Cash Lambert

Read Now
article
8 Ways to Save Money on Gas For Commuters

Discover 8 different ways to save money on gas as a commuter — including taxes, simple auto repair, fuel selection, and carpooling!

8 Ways to Save Money on Gas For Commuters

Cash Lambert

Read Now
article
How To Stop Spending Money You Don't Have

Are you a chronic overspender? If so, you need to understand how to stop spending money. Learn how to manipulate the habit loop to permanently change any bad habit and spend less money.

How To Stop Spending Money You Don't Have

Cash Lambert

Read Now
live talk
Is It Worth It? Money vs. Time.

Financial decisions are never easy especially when it involves great risks. Today, you will discover how to how decide what's financially best for you or not as host, Dustin Mathews, interviews a very special guest, The Millennial Millionaire.

Is It Worth It? Money vs. Time.

live talk
Budgets Are Sexy, Accidental Entrepreneur & The ‘Drama List’

From an accidental entrepreneur to a millionaire blogger, J. Money shares how his decision to get his personal finances in order lead him to build and acquire many successful blogs and hustle money like a pro.

Budgets Are Sexy, Accidental Entrepreneur & The ‘Drama List’

live talk
Reducing Taxes, 3 Little Pigs & Red Flags

In this episode, Dustin sits with Nevada Corporate Headquarters, Adam Kintigh, to discuss how you can incorporate your business, the difference between an LLC and Sole Proprietorship, and the proper salary you should be paying yourself.

Reducing Taxes, 3 Little Pigs & Red Flags

live talk
How To Get Rid of Student Loans

What if you could get rid of your student loans entirely? In this episode, Dustin sits with Travis Hornsby, Founder of the Student Loan Planner, to discuss the best repayment options, perks of refinancing , how to save thousands of dollars in the long term.

How To Get Rid of Student Loans

live talk
Wealth Can't Wait

In this wealth driven interview, Dustin sits down with David Osborn, New York Times best selling author of Wealth Can’t Wait and co-owner of one of the top real estate brokerages in the world, to discuss his journey to financial freedom and the well-cultivated methodologies that helped him get there.

Wealth Can't Wait

More Cashflow, Less Stress

More Cashflow, Less Stress

How To Boost Your Monthly Income By "Going With the Flow" of Wealth

Dale Gibbons

Watch Now
live talk
Master Your Money in 7 Days (or Less)

Learn the world's SIMPLEST cashflow method, how to reduce personal and business debt, and the 3 critical skills every business owner should have.

Master Your Money in 7 Days (or Less)

live talk
Getting Money For Your Business

If you run a business, you need to be aware of business credit. This credit score affects more than you might think.

Getting Money For Your Business

Master Your Cashflow

Master Your Cashflow

How To Turn Financial Chaos into Financial Peace By Taking Control of Your Cashflow

Dale Gibbons

Watch Now
live talk
Making Money Simple: Getting Your Financial House In Order

CIO of Plancorp, Peter Lazaroff shares the right way to manage your finances so that you can make better financial and life decisions.

Making Money Simple: Getting Your Financial House In Order

Zero Student Debt

Zero Student Debt

How To Make a Smart College Investment and Graduate Debt-Free

Ellen Long

Watch Now
The Early Retirement Blueprint

The Early Retirement Blueprint

How To Build Wealth Faster & Accelerate Your Retirement Timeline

Tom Wheelwright

Watch Now
Pay Less Taxes

Pay Less Taxes

How To Legally Reduce Your Taxes By Up To 40%

Tom Wheelwright

Watch Now
The Hidden Power of Life Insurance

The Hidden Power of Life Insurance

How To Leverage Life Insurance for Financial Security & Wealth Acceleration

Stuart Arakelian

Watch Now
Financial Adulting

Financial Adulting

The 20-Something's Guide to Debt, Investing, and a Wealthy Life

Ellen & Micah Long

Watch Now
Money 101 for Teens

Money 101 for Teens

The Ultimate Guide To Making, Spending, Saving, and Investing Money

JP Servideo

Watch Now