Do You Have a Home Inspection Checklist?
(Inspector’s Note: If you live in San Antonio, New Braunfels, or any other part of Texas, then your home inspector is required to be licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission and the home inspection they perform is basically a more elaborate version of the checklist presented in this article. Read on for more info)
It seems that a lot of first-time home buyers have a lot of questions about home inspections and the home inspection process, and its understandable. What I would like for home-buyers to understand is that most every home has unique conditions that may affect the severity levels of different defects identified throughout the home inspection.
Lets take cracking drywall around windows and doors, especially around corners, for example. When a home inspector observes horizontal cracking, stair-step cracking, or cracking at a 45 degree angle of the drywall around a window or door, it will get noted as a wall deficiency. If we start seeing this defect in multiple places, it will then get noted in the foundation section of the report as evidence of structural movement. While foundation movement is always important, if the home was recently built or is brand new, we don’t worry TOO much, as some “breaking-in” of the structure is not uncommon given the tolerances most residential construction is produced under. If the home was older and the cracks had been painted over multiple times, it would be a sure-fire sign of differential settlement in the foundation and would be cause for further evaluation from a licensed engineer.
A Quick Home Inspection Checklist:
With that out of the way, here’s a brief, and I mean brief checklist of important home inspection items. Whether you are in San Antonio, New Braunfels, or anywhere else for that matter, these systems or components should be reviewed by any home inspector you hire:
The Structural Systems
- The Foundation and its performance, whether slab on grade or pier & beam
- The Grading and Drainage, to include gutters (but often not including area drains, contact your landscape professional for this)
- The Surface of the Roof, to include covering (such as shingles), flashing, and hazards found on or near roof surface
- The Structure of the Roof and Attic, to include structural members such as rafters/trusses, ventilation, and insulation
- The Walls, both interior and exterior, load-bearing and non-load-bearing
- The Ceilings and the Floors, interior and exterior
- The Fenestrations, such as Windows and Doors, both interior and exterior
- The Stairways and Railings
- The Fireplaces and Chimneys, including the the Chimney Chase on the exterior of the home as well as the the flue inside the home (if it’s accessible).
- The Porches or Decks present, unless they are detached from the structure
The Electrical Systems
- The Service Entrance, including the mast and weather-head (if above ground electrical)
- The Grounding Electrode System, or Grounding Rod, as well as the bonding of various components
- The Main Breaker Panel, and all components inside it, such as wiring, circuit breakers, panel cover and box
- Any and all Breaker SUBpanels (the smaller panels), and all the components inside
- Any visible or accessible wiring
- All accessible Lights, Fans, and Switches
- All accessible electrical Receptacles (plugs/outlets)
- All Smoke and Carbon-Monoxide Alarms
- The Doorbell!
The Heating and Cooling System, and Ductwork
- The Air-Handling Unit, or fan, that both the heating and cooling system use, as well as being used by itself to circulate air
- The Heating System, and all the various components that make it up
- The Cooling System, including the exterior condenser unit and the interior evaporator coil unit if visible (this one is hidden inside the air-handler)
- The Refrigerant lines that serve the cooling system and sometimes the heating system (if you have a heat pump)
- The Condensate Drain Lines (those things you pour bleach/vinegar into)
- The Evaporative Cooler or “Swamp-Cooler”, although this one only applies if you live in a dry-area (its much to humid in San Antonio, New Braunfels, or really any of the South-Texas area for evaporative cooling to be effective)
The Plumbing System
- The Water Meter and the devices near it, such as the main shut-off, pressure regulator valve, and back-flow prevention device for the irrigation system
- The Water Supply lines that are visible or accessible
- The Fixtures, such as faucets, hose spigots, shower/bath valves, etc.
- The Drains, especially sink drains
- The Water Heater, and the various components that are attached to it (or should be)
- The Hydro-Massage Therapy Tub, or those cool bathtub where you fill it up and turn a knob and jets of water massage your back and make bubbles (if they’re present)
The Appliances (that are present)
- The Dishwasher, including operation of internal components and installed drain
- The Garbage Disposal
- The Range Hood or Kitchen Ventilation System
- The Oven and Stove, including thermostat accuracy
- The Microwave, but only if it’s permanently installed
- Any Bathroom Exhaust Fans, especially to make sure they terminate to the exterior of the building and not the attic
- The Garage Door Opener, and the various safety features it has
- The Dryer Vent System
Whether you’re buying a home in San Antonio, Texas or any other place in the country, your home inspector should be checking these systems and components to give you a clear picture of the condition of your home.
Ensure You Know the Facts
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Home Inspector Kyle D. Scott
TREC # 23813 - TDA # 0819063
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