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Buyer’s Home Inspection Checklist

Buying a new home comes with a sense of excitement and anticipation. However, it is important not to let that excitement cloud your judgment. One crucial step in the home-buying process is conducting a thorough inspection of the property you are considering. This is where a home buyer inspection checklist becomes invaluable.

A home inspection checklist for buyers offers potential buyers insight into potential problems that may exist within a property before closing the deal. It goes beyond the surface-level appeal and helps uncover any serious structural issues, hazards, or worn-out systems that may not be immediately apparent. You may feel like you have found the perfect property, but a home inspection can reveal underlying issues that could result in significant costs. By having a checklist and conducting a comprehensive inspection, you can better understand the true condition of the property.

This step is often regarded as one of the most important in the process since it not only protects your investment but also ensures your safety and peace of mind. Without a thorough inspection, you may have unexpected and costly surprises after closing on the home.

Prepare yourself to ask the right questions and gather necessary information from the inspector by using a buyer home inspection checklist. It helps you understand that what you see on the surface isn’t always what you get, and certain areas are extremely important to check.

You can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase, negotiate repairs, and even reconsider the property altogether based on the inspection report. Explore what a home inspection does and does not include, what to look for when choosing an inspector, and a recommended checklist of issues to look for.

What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is when the buyer hires an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report that discusses the current condition of all major components. The report should highlight what issues need immediate attention. The goal of a home inspection is to take a deeper look into the details and condition of the home before closing. It typically happens after the seller accepts an offer and before the final appraisal.

A home inspection should help buyers prioritize the necessary repairs and improvements, as well as plan for upgrades in the future if they go through with the purchase. While it may seem like more of a convenience than a necessity, the inspection report can significantly impact the buyer’s decision. It gives them an opportunity to request that the seller address the repairs or lower the cost so that the buyer can cover maintenance costs. If there is a major problem or the two parties cannot reach an agreement, the buyer may decide to cancel the sale and look for a home in better condition.

Finding a Home Inspector

Because of the importance of an inspection, buyers should look for a qualified and reputable home inspector. If you are looking to buy a home, find an inspector early on in the process. Good inspectors are often in high demand and sometimes the seller will only give buyers a few days to complete the inspection, so it is important to have someone in mind before you reach that stage of the home-buying process. Schedule the inspection as soon as the seller accepts your offer so that you have ample time to review the report and decide how you want to proceed.

Once you find an inspector, ask them for a sample report. You can evaluate what they include and how detailed the comments are. Reports should be clear and easy to read. Regulations vary by state, so be sure to ask what is included in the inspection and what is not. If you have any specific concerns, you can bring them up to the inspector beforehand to ensure that they evaluate that area or system.

As the home buyer, you will likely pay for the inspection. This is because the inspection protects you from purchasing a home with significant problems that will need to be addressed. Pricing depends on the home’s location, size, and condition. You will want to budget for additional examinations in the event the inspector finds any problems or mentions something that will need to be investigated further. On average, inspectors cost $300-$600.

Buyer Home Inspection Checklist

The following is a great first-time home buyer inspection checklist to help you know what to look for and where potential issues may be hiding.

Buyer Home Inspection Checklist Infographic

What Is Not Included in a Home Inspection?

Although a home inspection offers a deeper look into the details of a property, some things are not typically included. Some inspectors offer specialized tests for additional fees, but it is important to understand what may be excluded from a standard inspection. Common exclusions include:

  • Airborne hazards and dangerous substances
  • Pest and rodent infestations
  • Landscaping
  • Fireplaces or chimneys
  • Odors
  • Wi-Fi
  • Swimming pool equipment
  • Inaccessible areas

What’s Next

Once you have a home buyer inspection checklist and understand the purpose of an inspection, there are a few steps to take moving forward. These steps ensure that you have a clear understanding of what to expect and allow you to make informed decisions moving forward.

Ask for a home inspection contingency

A home inspection contingency should be included in your purchase agreement. It protects you as the buyer and allows you to walk away from the deal if the inspection reveals major issues, particularly if the seller is unwilling to address those problems. The contingency gives you the flexibility to reconsider the purchase or negotiate repairs or adjustments to the price.

Review the seller disclosures

The seller disclosures provide information about any known issues with the property. By carefully reviewing these documents, you can make yourself aware of any existing issues that could potentially diminish the value of the property or affect your decision to proceed with the purchase.

Preview the home inspection

Take the time to preview the home inspection report thoroughly. This helps you understand the condition of the home as outlined in the report and identify any areas that require repairs or attention. This will allow you to prioritize the repairs and make informed decisions about negotiating with the seller.

Identify deal-breakers

Consider which issues you are willing to deal with and what qualifies as a deal-breaker. Having a clear idea of what will make it impossible for you to move forward with the purchase.

Find Your Home Inspector

It is crucial to find a reliable and knowledgeable home inspector. A qualified inspector will provide a thorough assessment of the property, uncovering any hidden issues and providing valuable insights into the condition of the home.

What Do You Do with Your Report?

Once you have the report from a completed home inspection, you can discuss any questions with the inspector and the seller. Be sure to hold onto your official inspection notes and photos to help with any negotiations about completing repairs and moving forward with the sale. If the report comes back with a long list of issues, you might want to reconsider buying the home.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the biggest red flags in a home inspection?

What is the difference between a home inspection and a home appraisal?

How long does a home inspection take?

Where can I learn more? has resources to help you with every step of the home-buying process. If you are looking for more information about what is included in a home inspection and how it can impact your decision, sign up for our newsletter. The email list offers valuable insights that can help you make more informed decisions and feel confident when you purchase a home.