A DIY Home Inspection Checklist

A DIY House Inspection

If you own your home or buying a home here is what is required for a DIY house inspection. If the home is yours this will help you to know what to correct and could save you a lot of money in the future. And if you are buying a home this could help you spot situations that could be problems.

What you need for a DIY house inspection.

  • Print this checklist
  • Gloves and binoculars
  • You will need a flashlight, flathead and Phillips-head screwdrivers

Start out side and check these locations

  • Check your roof’s shingles: Use binoculars to check shingles for curling, or other signs of wear.
  • Look at the gutters to see if they are clogged. Clogged gutters will cause water damage in other locations of the home.
  • Check gaps around doors and windows uneven spacing could be caused from bad installation or shifting of the foundation and you may require an expert.
  • Cracked caulk around the doors and windows could be letting moisture into the house.
  • Peeling paint on siding could be from water getting behind it and making it peel.
  • Too many plants and shrubs crowding your house will cause mildew to grow on the siding and give insects a pathway into your house.
  • Is the ground water running towards your house or away from it? Check the grade around the whole house.

Inside the house

  • Go in the attic and look at the structure to see if anybody notched out the trusses to make more head room. Trusses are engineered to work as originally designed and should not be altered.
  • Look for water damage around chimneys, plumbing stacks, vents and skylights. You will be able to see discoloration and stains if the water got into the attic.
  • Look at the insulation and see if it is thick enough and still fluffy and there is ventilation from the soffit area, and a ridge vent.
  • Are the pull-down stairs insulated?
  • Do the toilets wobble? If they do they will need new wax rings and there could be water damage to the floor.
  • Dryer vented properly and not into an enclosed part of the house, attic, crawl space.
  • Test the GFI receptacles in the bathroom and kitchen to make sure they work.
  • Check under all sinks for leaking pipes and drains.
  • Check interior doors to see if they close properly and the house did not shift.
  • Are there stains on the ceilings from water damage.
  • If there are tiles check the grout, if it is missing in a wet location you will have water damage behind the tile.
  • Give stair railings a good tug. You don’t want to be surprised later when you need them.

In The Basement

  • Use your screwdriver to poke at the joist to see if they are sound, especially if you notice the floors are sagging.
  • Are the floor joist full of improperly placed holes? Here are some general rules: No holes or notches in the top or bottom flanges of an I-joist. Big holes could be okay in the center, but not the ends, of the framing. Drilled holes must be at least 2 in. from top or bottom and no greater than one-third the depth of an I-joist. Notches in a conventional lumber joist should not exceed one-sixth of its depth or penetrate the center third of the joist span.
  • Look for termite tubes these will look like pencil-thick tubes snaking along joists and could be trouble. Call an exterminator to see if there is a problem.
  • If the water heater makes noise it may be soon time for a replacement, see if there is a date on it and if it is over 5 years old it may or may not give you a couple more years.
  • Check the pipes in the basement and look for any signs of leaks.
  • Look at the wiring and there shouldn’t be any splices in view. All splices will be in a box if properly done. Any questionable electrical work should be checked out by an electrician.
  • Check the foundation for hairline cracks. Cracks in a block or poured concrete foundation are nothing to panic about. Watch for cracks that are both horizontal and vertical, call a pro if you have these.