Home Inspection Checklist

The following checklist gives you an idea of what we inspect. Not all items apply to all houses, and a checklist is not a substitute for an inspection report. Preferred Home Inspection performs a complete inspection, takes photos, and makes notes that are helpful to homeowners.


  • Proper grading drainage away from house
  • No evidence of standing water
  • No leaks from septic tank or leech field
  • Yard, landscaping, trees and walkways in good condition
  • No branches or bushes touching house or overhanging the roof
  • Exterior structures (fences, sheds, decks, retaining walls, detached garages) in good condition, no evidence of termite damage or rotted wood
  • Railings on stairs and decks are adequate and secure
  • Driveways, sidewalks, patios, entrance landings in good condition, and pitched away from structure
  • Downspout drainage directed away from structure


  • Ridge and fascia board lines appear straight and level
  • Sides of house appear straight, not bowed or sagging
  • Window and doorframes appear square (especially bowed windows)
  • Visible foundation in good condition – appears straight, plumb, with no significant cracks

Exterior Surfaces

  • Adequate clearance between ground and wood siding materials (6″ minimum); no wood-to-earth contact
  • Siding: no cracking, curling, loose, rot or decay
  • Masonry veneers: no cracks in joints, no broken, spalling or flaking components
  • Stucco: no large cracks (discuss all stucco cracks with a professional inspector)
  • Vinyl or aluminum siding: no dents, damage, no bowing or loose siding
  • No vines on surface of structure
  • Exterior paint or stain: no flaking or blisters
  • No stains on exterior surfaces

Windows, Doors and Wood Trim

  • Wood frames and trim pieces are secure, no cracks, rot or decay
  • Joints around frames are caulked
  • No broken glass (window or storm panes) or damaged screens, no broken double-paned, insulated window seals
  • Storm windows or thermal glass used
  • Drip caps installed over windows


  • Composition shingles: no curling, no cupping, no loss of granulation particulate, no broken, damaged or missing shingles, no more than two layers of roofing
  • Wood shingles or shakes: no mold, rot or decay, no cracked/broken/missing shingles, no curling
  • Flat roofs: no obvious patches, no cracks or splits, minimal blisters/’alligatoring’ and wrinkles, no silt deposits (indicates improper drainage), sealed tar at flashings
  • Flashing around roof penetrations
  • No evidence of excess roofing cement/tar/caulk
  • Soffits and fascia: no decay, no stains
  • Exterior venting for eave areas: vents are clean and not painted over
  • Gutters: no decay or rust, joints sealed, attached securely to structure, no  bending or sagging, no sections of gutter or downspout missing, gutters clean, no mud deposits
  • Chimneys: straight, properly flashed, no evidence of damaged bricks or cracked joints, mortar/cement cap in good condition


  • No stains on underside of roofing, especially around roof penetrations
  • No evidence of decay or damage to structure
  • Sufficient insulation and properly installed insulation (moisture barrier installed closest to the heated area of the house)
  • Adequate ventilation, clear path into attic for air entering through soffit vents, adequately sized gable end louvers, all mechanical ventilation operational
  • No plumbing, exhaust or appliance vents terminating in attic
  • No open electrical splices

Interior Rooms

  • Floors, walls and ceilings appear straight and plumb and level
  • No stains on floors, walls or ceilings
  • Flooring materials in good condition
  • No significant cracks in walls or ceilings
  • Windows and exterior doors operate easily and latch properly, no broken glass, no sashes painted shut, no decay; windows and doors have weather-stripping, ‘weep holes’ installed
  • Interior doors operate easily and latch properly, no damage or decay, no broken hardware
  • Paint, wall covering, and paneling in good condition
  • Wood trim installed well and in good condition
  • Lights and switches operate properly
  • Adequate number of three pronged electrical outlets in each room
  • Electrical outlets test properly (spot check)
  • Heating/cooling source in each habitable room
  • Evidence of adequate insulation in walls
  • Fireplace: no cracking or damaged masonry, no evidence of back-drafting (staining on fireplace façade), damper operates properly, flue has been cleaned, flue is lined


  • Working exhaust fan that is vented to the exterior of the building
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (“GFCI”) protection for electrical outlets within 6 feet of the sink(s)
  • Dishwasher: drains properly, no leaks, baskets, door spring operates properly
  • No leaks in pipes under sinks
  • Floor in cabinet under sink solid, no stains or decay
  • Water flow in sink adequate
  • No excessive rust or deterioration on garbage disposal or waste pipes
  • Built-in appliances operate properly
  • Cabinets in good condition: doors and drawers operate properly


  • Working exhaust fan that doesn’t terminate in the attic space
  • Adequate flow and pressure at all fixtures
  • Sink, tub and shower drain properly
  • Plumbing and cabinet floor under sink in good condition
  • If sink is metal, it shows no signs of rust, overflow drain doesn’t leak
  • Toilet operates properly
  • Toilet stable, no rocking, no stains around base
  • Caulking in good condition inside and outside of the tub and shower area
  • Tub or shower tiles secure, wall surface solid
  • No stains or evidence of past leaking around base of bath or shower


  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where required by local ordinances
  • Stairway treads and risers solid
  • Stair handrails where needed and in good condition
  • Automatic garage door opener operates properly, stops properly for obstacles
  • Crawl Space
  • Adequately vented to exterior
  • Insulation on exposed water supply, waste and vent pipes
  • Insulation between crawl space and heated areas, installed with vapor barrier towards heated area
  • No evidence of insect damage
  • No evidence of moisture damage


  • Visible pipes: no damage, no evidence of leaks, no signs of stains on materials near pipes; drain pipes slope slightly down towards outlet to septic/sewage system
  • Water heater: no signs of rust, vented properly, sized to produce adequate quantities of hot water for the number of bedrooms in the house.
  • Water pump: does not short cycle
  • Galvanized pipes do not restrict water flow
  • Well water test is acceptable (where applicable)
  • Hot water temperature between 118 -125 degrees Fahrenheit


  • Visible wiring: in good condition, no ‘knob-and-tube’ wiring, no exposed splices, cables secured and protected
  • Service panel: adequate capacity, all cables attached to panel with cable connectors; fuses or breakers are not overheating
  • No aluminum cable for branch circuits

Heating/Cooling System

  • Appears to operate well throughout (good air flow on forced hot air systems)
  • Flues: no open seams, slopes up to chimney connection
  • No rust around cooling unit
  • No combustion gas odor
  • Air filter(s) clean
  • Ductwork in good condition
  • No asbestos on heating pipes, water pipes or air ducts
  • Separate flues for gas/oil/propane and wood/coal