New Home Inspection Checklist

What to Look for When Inspecting a House

Your home is your castle, so be sure the one you want is ready for your reign. Before you move into a new home, make sure that it is structurally safe and capable of providing you a secure and enjoyable living space. Additionally, if you are buying a home, it will likely be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. You want to be sure that you’re not buying a money pit, and you can do this by having it inspected by a competent and qualified home inspector. A thorough home inspection for a new or previously owned house, apartment, or condominium should be part of your plan to be safe. Find out what to look for when inspecting a house and follow our new home inspection checklist.

Who is a Home Inspector?

You want your inspector to be a qualified professional who inspects the structure (or bones) and components of a home up close and personal. An inspector should be someone capable of identifying any immediate or likely future problems to the home or any periphery components. If possible, be there and safely watch the inspector at work. Ask questions. Once the inspection has been done, you should get a written report describing any problem areas. In some instances, such as if you are renting a place, you may be the one to do an inspection, and you may be limited to what areas you can inspect.  However, you can still ask the property owner or representative any questions about the areas to which you want information.

What Must Be Inspected

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) works from a standard operating policy that identifies the minimum detail that you can expect from a home inspection. These inspection areas include the following as applicable:


The condition of shingles or other roofing material is checked, as well as any vents, chimneys, rain gutters, or other items. Exterior Surfaces – this includes the type of covering or materials the outside of the home is constructed from such as siding, stucco, brick, paint, etc. It would also include the exterior lights and electrical plugs, shutters, or other items.

Structural Elements

The visible parts of the foundation and the walls or other load bearing areas would be checked for signs of damage and sagging or bowing. Also, the windows and doors would be checked for alignment and function.


The attic should have sufficient insulation and proper ventilation. Also, it would be checked for any signs of leaking or water damage.

Plumbing and Electric

Check for leaking pipes, functional toilets, sinks, bath tubs, showers, and water heater. The electrical system must be code compliant for inspections of visible wiring, circuit breakers, outlets, light fixtures, and hard-wired fans.

Heating and Air Conditioning

Checking this includes the furnace, air-conditioning, water heater, chimney, vents, and fireplace. CO alarms should be inspected, as well.

Basement and Garage

These are checked for a visually solid foundation. Walls, floors, ceiling, and roof are all inspected for signs of water intrusion or damage. The garage door should also be inspected to make sure it works properly, a there should be a check for any visible mold (black mold, etc.).


As applicable, inspect for the proper function of range, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, washer or dryer, and any other appliances.

Outside Property

As applicable, check for any leaks from the sewer or septic tank, condition of the driveway, fences, sidewalks, and mailbox.

Extra Inspection Considerations

Some areas that should be inspected may not be covered in standard home inspection checklists. You may need to hire a specialist to conduct inspections of these items: Water wells, lawn sprinkler systems, pest control, swimming pool, spa, or hot tub. In older homes, you may also want to inspect for asbestos or lead paint.

Discuss the home inspection with a real estate agent, or research your choices on your own. You can check for credentialing with several organizations for further assurance that the home inspector is qualified. These organizations include the National Association of Home Inspectors, the National Institute of Building Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors, and the International Society of Certified Home Inspectors. Be sure to research the process and find a home inspector you can trust.

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