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Your Home Inspection Checklist

By Mary Lamphere

Whether you're purchasing a home in North Carolina or you're planning a home remodeling project, chances are you'll have to have a home inspection as part of the overall process. Home inspections are an integral part of the home buying process and are typically paid for by the potential buyer, a.k.a. you! Before you spend $400 or more on a home inspection, take a pre-inspection walk-through with this home inspection checklist to make sure that everything is already in proper working order.

A failed inspection could result in the need to pay for another inspection later on so it's really better to just go over the items on this list before you schedule a paid inspection from a professional. If you find items that are not in working order, consider having them repaired before you schedule an inspection of the home. This could save you money in the long run!

Inspecting the Property Grounds

The first area that the inspector will look to is the property grounds. Is the driveway intact? Are there steps or railings leading up to the home? Make sure that all decks, porches, fences, gates, sidewalks and patios are safe and well maintained. If there are steps leading up to the residence, they should be clean, steady and stable. Grounds inspection will also include a check of the grading near the foundation of the home and the general landscaping.

Inspecting the Exterior Structure of the Home

The exterior of the home should be clean, well maintained and free from any stress cracks or holes. Foundation walls must be secure, slabs must not be shifting or irregular, brick or stucco finish should not show stress cracks. The roof and flashing will be examined as well as the windows and gutters. If a gutter is leaking or a window is cracked, repair it before having the home inspected. Though these are seemingly minor details they could result in a poor inspection review.

Inspecting the Interior of the Home

Home inspectors in North Carolina are required to look at the ceilings and walls of the home and to report sagging, cracks or any signs of chipped or peeling paint. The condition of the closets throughout the home will also be noted as will the number of ceiling fixtures. Heating and cooling must be in working order and condensation lines should be free flowing to allow for release of excess condensation when units are running. Duct work and air returns should be clean.

Other items that should be fully functioning inside the home include:

  • smoke detectors
  • carbon monoxide detectors if there are any in the home
  • kitchen appliances (though home inspectors are not required to check these in North Carolina)
  • electrical outlets
  • windows and exterior doors
  • cabinets and countertops
  • ventilation in the kitchen

Inspecting the Plumbing

The plumbing system of the home should be free flowing. Your inspection should include a check to make sure that there are no leaks such as leaky faucets or lines. It's also important to make sure that there is adequate water flow and that the water heater works. If the home has a septic system rather than city sewer, the septic system location and condition will also be inspected.

Bathroom Inspection

Bathrooms should have working sinks, stopper valves and properly operating toilets. GFCI outlets that protect against the risk of shock must be used in wet areas bathrooms included. Bat vent fans must be working and shower enclosures should not leak or be broken. The drains should flow freely and supply lines must not leak or be damaged.

Kitchen Inspection

If kitchen appliances are staying in the home then you should inspect them to make sure that they are in working order. While the home inspector will not be required to make note as to whether the stove or refrigerator works, if you plan on purchasing a home with these appliances included in the cost then you should make sure that they work for your own benefit. The inspector will check to make sure that the sinks are properly installed and working, cabinets are secure to the wall and counters are not damaged.

This is a basic checklist of the items that you should make sure are properly functioning before you pay for a home inspection. Because you will likely be required to provide a legal home inspection report before you can purchase or sell a home, paying a professional home inspector will likely be part of your purchasing process. Do it right the first time and you'll save yourself the hassle, headache and money of having to try again!

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