Home Inspection Checklist: What to Know Before Making an Offer

home inspection checklistHome shopping? It’s an exciting time in life but you want to make sure the excitement doesn’t shadow common sense. Don’t forget to ask the important questions and to look at every brick of the house to make sure the structural integrity is sound and you aren’t going to be walking into a fix-me-up involuntarily.

In case that ends up happening, there is a Home Improvement course you can take to walk you through some DIY projects.I’ve put together a check list room by room for you to use below as you do your prospective house walk-through.


  • Make sure you have decent water pressure and steady water flow in the sink, tub and shower head
  • Double check the sinks to make sure the drain works well (both to hold water and to drain)
  • Check for stains around the bathtub and floor that may indicate leaking in the past
  • Glance at the plumbing under the sink, make sure nothing is leaking
  • Flush the toilet so you know it works
  • Wiggle the toilet (sounds weird, but do it) to make sure it’s solid and not installed improperly
  • Turn on the fan and the lights and see how things look and sound


  • Check water flow, sink drainage and under the sink like in the bathroom
  • If there is a garbage disposal turn it on to check if it’s working
  • Around the sink and under the sink check for stains that indicate leaking, also check for rust of any pipes
  • Open the fridge and check the temperature, do the same with the freezer
  • Push the EZ button on the microwave to turn it on for a few seconds
  • Check that the over burners all turn on and the oven works
  • Make sure the dishwasher door closes adequately and the soap dispenser as well
  • Check all other appliances to ensure a working status
  • Check for a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection for outlets close to the sink

The home buying process can be tedious. Get expert advice on the whole buying process in this course.

Bedrooms/Living Room/Dining Room/Office Space

  • Test the electrical outlets in every room
  • Scope the floors out to see if there is any damage
  • Double-check that all the floors, doors and walls are even and level (sounds weird – but these things can be crooked!)
  • Check all of the light switches to make sure they respond when flipped
  • Look for a heating or cooling vent or wall mount in each room
  • Open and close the doors to the rooms and closets to check that they close appropriately (and lock)
  • Check the ceiling for any evident stains caused by a roof leak
  • Open and close the windows to see that they are bolted shut or non-functional, check for weather stripping and make sure they have proper locks and nothing is painted over
  • If there is a fireplace, make sure the flue opens or that an electrical one is correctly assembled and working

House Exterior and Yard

  • Check house for paint that is chipping or bubbled
  • Make downspout drainage is pointed away from the house
  • Look around the yard to see if there is any evidence of puddles or standing water
  • Double check the septic tank to make sure it’s not leaking
  • Take a deep breath, if you don’t smell anything, your future septic tank is doing its job
  • See if there are any wobbly looking trees or branches touching the house
  • Inspect any fences, sheds, or decks for termite damage or poor construction
  • Use the railings on the steps to ensure they are stable


  • For a chimney, make sure it’s properly flashed
  • Check to see that gutters are clean with no rust, the joints are sealed and there are no silt deposits – this could be a sign of improper draining
  • Make sure there isn’t an abundance of roofing cement or caulk (indicative of repairs made)
  • With wood shingles just check for mold and decay, broken or curling shingles
  • Exterior venting spots should be clean and open (not painted over or boarded off)

Heating and Cooling System

  • The system should have clean air filters
  • Any duct-work should appear in excellent condition, no rust or dents
  • Turn on the heat and air to check that it works as intended


  • Turn on the hot water and make sure it’s actually hot (standard is somewhere between 118F and 125F)
  • Any pipes that are visible just take a quick look to see that there is no rust and no spillage
  • Find out how old the water heater is and check it for rust and that it’s the appropriate size for the house
  • If there is a well, do a well water test and make sure it passes


  • The structure of the house should be unquestionably sound. No drooping or crookedness and no decay
  • If there is a garage, test the garage opener and/or keypad
  • Check throughout the house for carbon monoxide and fire detectors
  • Walk up and down all sets of stairs to check their stability and the railings security
  • Check the fuse box to make sure it’s not too hot and that everything appears okay

Thinking about building a house from the bottom up? Here’s a checklist for that: Building a House.

Alright, that’s a lot of questions and a lot of toying around with the things in your soon-to-be house – but you need to do it. Time and time again, owners will stage a place to look beautiful and they win over new homeowners who ignored all of the fundamental defects of the house. Be smart as you walk through each house and don’t feel like any question is a stupid one. If something looks out of sorts, ask. If something is out of sorts, tell your realtor or the owner that you are uncomfortable with this and would like to make a lower offer or want it fixed before purchasing. In the course Home Buying Tips learn all the real estate lingo that may be thrown your way. Understand the costs of purchasing a home by taking this course. You are the one with the money after all, looks like you can call at least some of the shots.