Going through the home buying process can be a great deal of stress, to add to it a shotty home inspector can ruin your experience; this article is to help home owners and inspectors to do a better job. Here’s my list broken apart by category:
- Outlets: Test all of the outlets in the house using an outlet tester to find out if it has power or has wiring errors.
- Windows: Test all of the windows to make sure that they open and close freely, also look for moisture inside the windows which can signal an argon leak. Also look for rotting frames and make sure blinks and drapes have a spot to go.
- Doors: Test all of the doors and door handles in your house, my inspector missed many errors and my door handles fell off from touching them; also verify that the doors are wide enough to move furniture in or out
- Faucets: Test all faucets both hot and cold and look for leaks above and below the counter.
- Shower: Make sure that the shower easily turns on and off and doesn’t leak. Don’t be afraid to put a bit of pressure on the handle to make sure it breaks before you buy, rather than the day after. Also make sure that when the shower is on it becomes hot near the hot line(this is an early failure sign).
- Lights: Test all of the lights in the house to make sure they all work, don’t be afraid to bring extra bulbs because you don’t want to have to wire things after you buy it.
- Power Junction Box: Check to see if the house is properly wired as well verify that it uses a breaker box, rather than a fuse box, if it’s a fuse you may have issues with them constantly blowing.
- Washer : Test the washer and dryer on several settings to make sure they work and that they do not leak water.
- Dishwasher: Bring some sticky food, put it on a plate and put it in the dishwasher than run it to see if it cleans it.
- Fridge and Freezer: Bring a humidity and moisture sensor to make sure that the fridge and freezer are at your desired temps, a fridge should be well under 40 degrees f and a freezer should be under 0 degrees f.
- Furnace: Verify that the furnace works, try turning the house up to 78 degrees f(some require lighting a pilot light).
- Ac: Verify that the ac works to do so try turning the air to 66 degrees f
- Moisture: Test the moisture levels of outward facing walls to see if they exceed 40 to 50%.
- Mold: Make sure you don’t see mold hidden around any corners or cabinets, as well if you have direct air exchange between your furnace room and outside ensure that there is a de-humidifier present to prevent mold.
- Counters: Ensure that the counters are not overly damaged
- Drawers: Make sure that all of the drawers openly slide open and shut.
- Toilets: Firmly flush the toilet and look inside at the chain to make sure it wasn’t shoddy repaired.
- Carpets: Make sure the carpets and floors are securely fastened and in the condition that the seller claims.
- Attic: Look into any attics or crawl spaces to look for mold and water damage
- Water Damage: Check all of the floors and ceilings for signs of water damage, often water damage to lead to larger issues and mold.
- Fire Detector: Make sure the property has an operational fire detector.
- Carbon Monoxide detector: Make sure the property has a carbon monoxide detector near all bedrooms.
- Sprinklers: Check the number of sprinklers and make sure that it is both legal and meets the number needed for insurance discounts.
- Fireplaces: Make sure that any fireplaces work both at the base and via remote. Bring batteries to check the remote(they also may have a pilot light).
- Lead: If the house is built before 1970 consider performing tests for lead paint in the walls and on woodwork.
- Asbestos Tiles: If the house is built before 1970 consider testing any tiles to ensure that they do not contain asbestos.
- Radon: Test the radon levels in the basement to ensure it is safe and tolerable.
- Hidden Damage: Look behind any objects or below carpets to see if they put things over damaged areas of the house.
- Lighting: Check to see if there is lighting built into the ceiling of the house, it’s not a bad thing if they don’t but certainly may harm the houses value
- Walls: Check the walls to see what material they are made of(Plaster or sheet rock). Also look for any water damage on ceilings, and cracking of walls and ceilings;
- Roof: make sure there is not any visible wear to the roof, and that it appears to be in the condition seller claims, in addition; look for problem areas that look susceptible to leaking because of poor sealing like moonlights.
- Siding: Look at the house’s siding and look for signs of paint damage or peeling; also check to see if the siding is low quality like Masonite. And make sure the siding doesn’t touch the ground.
- Moisture Intrusion: Consider performing an intrusive moisture test in areas that look problematic to determine if the house has rotting or molding walls.
- Water Quality: Test the quality and drink-ability of well water for contaminants.
- Windows: Look at all of the windows for frame damage or cracking, also look under the windows for staining.
- Foundation: Look for any structural damage or slanting outside the home or in the garage.
- Faucets: Tests all the faucets to insure they work and don’t leak.
- Sprinklers: Ensure that the sprinklers work.
- Outlets: Check all outdoor outlets with a outlet testing to verify that they work.
- Drainage: Check the drainage at two major points, the first make sure there is a clear visible drainage away from the house; second make sure that the yard in generall is not lower than surrounding property; if it is lower you may run into issues with having ponds or even in home flooding.
- Survey: Ensure that the property lines actually match what you are being preseneted, often the shed you see may not be on your property.
- Septic: If you have a septic system verify that it works and that you could fit a septic system in a different area of your lot if your original septic fails. Also verify that it meets mound requirements/laws and ask when it was last cleaned
- Drop-offs: look for any major drop offs on the lot, they can sometimes lead to erosion and can make enjoying the lawn much less enjoyable.
- Radiation: Test the land for any types of radiation or hazardous chemicals
- Land Buildability: If you are buying a lot of land look into who owns it and if any of it is designated a wet land, if it is a wet land you cannot build on it or modify it. As well make sure that it has access or easements to get to major roads.
- Easements: Make sure you have easements to do everything you would like to with the property; as well make sure no one else has any easements to your land or you might be surprised when they build a driveway on your property.
- Mineral Rights: Make sure you have mineral rights or they may end up digging around your house for iron or oil.
- Flood plan: Ensure the property is not in a flood plain.
- Zoning: Make sure the property is zoned how you intend to use it such as multi-family for duplexs or single family for houses.
- Pests: Check any swamps for massive mosquito problems.
- Driveway: Ensure the driveway has no cracking, is properly sealed and has legal easements if needed.
- Trees: Inspect trees for disease.
- Retaining Walls: Ensure that any retaining walls are in good working order.
- Legal: Ensure units are separated by a fire safe wall.
- Local Law: Ensure all local rental laws are met, especially if it is in a major city like Minneapolis.
- Taxes: Ensure that the property tax is zoned a multifamily.
- Zoning: Ensure that the land is zoned as multi-family.
Legal Disclaimer: Please note this guide should not be relied on and does not claim this is sufficient to inspect a home, it’s intent is to help guide the process
If you live in Minnesota and are interesting in having me inspect your home:
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I’ve also attached some Amazon links below to the products I personally use