The Ultimate Home Inspection Checklist for Homebuyers


After months of scouring real estate apps, attending showings, and doing your fair share of slow drives through neighborhoods to get a feel for the area, you’ve finally found the perfect home.   

So, if the seller has accepted your offer, the hard part is over, right? Not quite. It’s during this phase that the property officially goes into escrow and the window for a house inspection opens. This may be one of the most important steps in the homebuying process.

Home appraisal checklists and home inspection checklists for buyers are valuable tools to make sure everything is done quickly and efficiently. But why do you need to have an inspection? Do you really have to spend the extra money on this step? The answer is a resounding “yes!” A home inspection helps ensure that there aren’t any surprises when it comes to the condition of the home you are purchasing. We understand that buying a home—and participating in the real estate market in general—can be overwhelming, so we have created a home inspection checklist to help you stay organized and feel more prepared during the transaction process.  

We’ll walk you through a home inspection, from what it covers to the costs involved.  

What is a Home Inspection and Why is it Important? 

A home inspection offers detailed insight into your potential property’s current condition. Sometimes it proves a property is in great shape—other times, it shows the opposite. From repairs that need to be addressed immediately to maintenance that may be required down the road, identifying problems at this point in the process can be eye-opening for all parties. Home inspections give sellers the chance to fix any issues up front and affords buyers the opportunity to ask for credits and repairs. Basically, home inspections may save your hard-earned cash and prevent you from buying a money pit, or at least give you room for negotiation with the seller.  

A good inspector may be one of the best investments you’ll make. Here’s your house inspection checklist. 

First, Find an Inspector 

Your real estate agent will likely offer a list of professionals they trust and have used in the past, but you are free to choose your own inspector. Make sure to use those research skills. Check online reviews and read through the inspection company’s website. If the company appears to have recurring problems, you may want to look elsewhere. Remember, investing in a quality inspector could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.  

Traditionally buyers are responsible for the cost of the inspection, though sellers may choose to pay for independent evaluations as well. Hiring your own inspector means you can choose to get one with experience and a great reputation—always a plus when investing in your home. 

Next, Hire That Inspector 

Once you’ve found a qualified inspector that meets your budget, reach out and schedule your home inspection. The more valued the inspector, the more quickly their calendar fills up, so if you found a great one, chances are there’s going to be a wait. You’ll want to hop on their schedule as soon as possible.  

Finally, Prepare for the Inspection 

Home inspection costs can average between $300 and $500 depending on your state. One of our home inspection tips for first-time buyers is that money should also be budgeted to cover additional assessments, like inspections for radon, lead, and mold, should the need arise. 

Inspection Day 

Both home buyers and sellers can be present for the inspection. The process usually takes a few hours and is an ideal time to ask questions, bring up concerns, and take your own photos and notes. Follow a home inspection list of components and areas to be evaluated, including: 

  • Appliances
  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Doors and windows
  • Electrical panel, power outlets, and light switches
  • Exterior paint, siding, or stucco
  • Foundation
  • Garage
  • Plumbing faucets, fixtures, and water heater
  • Porches and balconies
  • Rain gutters and downspouts
  • Roof
  • Stairs, steps, and railings
  • Thermostats and the heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) system
  • Walkways and driveways
  • Walls, ceilings, and floors 

It’s important to note that inspectors can only report on physical components they can see. This means house inspections may not catch issues hidden behind walls or beneath the ground, such as in the sewer line, sprinklers, and fireplace.  

The Added Benefit of a Home Warranty 

Some sellers instruct their real estate agent to purchase a home warranty while their property is on the market to cover any system or appliance breakdowns during the selling process. A home warranty is also a great benefit for the home buyer. This is where American Home Shield comes in. The last thing you want to worry about is having to repair or replace your A/C or refrigerator when you move into your new home. Our home warranty plans cover up to 23 systems and appliances you use every day, and if a covered item can’t be repaired, we’ll replace it for you.  

Things break down. We get it. As a home buyer, purchasing a home warranty helps protect your budget and allows you to focus on the more fun aspects of being a homeowner. While homeowners insurance offers protection from things that might happen, a home warranty offers protection from things that will happen. Getting a home inspection provides assurance that you’re making a wise investment, and an American Home Shield® home warranty can extend that confidence by helping to protect your home’s systems and appliances, as well as your budget.  

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