Home Inspection Checklist

Here's a checklist of what you need to do prior to scheduling a home inspection:

  • Pick a date when you can block off four hours for the inspection (though it may take less). If the house is occupied, make sure this block of time is also convenient for the owner. The owner may be present during the inspection, though it is important that the inspector and the owner not get in each other's way.
  • Make sure there are no pets to interfere with the inspection.
  • Make sure there aren't any movers, contractors, or delivery persons scheduled to be on the premises during the inspection.
  • Make sure that the inspector has access, without having to move belongings, to all areas you want inspected, including the attic, crawlspace, electrical panel, and garage.
  • Arrange for all utilities and systems to be on, including water, electricity, fuel, heating, cooling, and plumbing. In addition, make sure precautions are taken to protect computers and other electronic devices from potential loss of data or equipment damage should an inadvertent power outage occur.
  • Arrange for someone, possibly you, to meet the inspector at the start and to unlock doors, gates, etc.
  • Sometime before the inspection starts, obtain and sign the inspection contract, arrange to make payment, and bring to the inspector's attention any particular concerns.
  • If possible, plan to attend the inspection. If you can't be present for the entire time, try to come near the end so that the inspector can provide you with a verbal walk-through.

Home inspection checklists help to fulfill client expectations.

The Washington State Standards of Practice (SOP) govern all home inspections in our state. They stipulate what certified home inspectors must and needn't do in conducting their business and in inspecting houses. This standardization provides clients with a set of guidelines so that they know what to expect from a home inspection.

The SOP are essentially a set of home inspection checklists in two parts. The first part, comprising six sections, deals with business practices and inspector-client relations. The second part consists of twelve sections that cover all the specific aspects of the home inspection itself. The checklists that make up the first part are summarized in the next paragraphs. The second-part checklists are replicated verbatim under the Resources section of this website, and are included with each client's inspection contract (pre-inspection agreement). However, for your convenience, a detailed checklist of everything included in a home inspection by HomeInspectionWA appears at the bottom of this page.

General home inspection checklists related to business conduct

  • A home inspector must keep all signed pre-inspection agreements and home inspection reports for a period of three years.
  • At a minimum, home inspection contracts must contain or state the property address; home inspector compensation; a general description of what the home inspector will and will not inspect, including all items required by the Washington State Standards of Practice; and a statement that the inspection does not include investigation of certain hazardous materials and conditions.
  • A home inspector must provide a copy of the pre-inspection agreement to client prior to the inspection, provide the client a copy of the home inspection report according to contract terms, and return client's money related to a home inspection report when ordered to do so by a court.

Ethics home inspection checklist

A home inspector must:

  • Provide home inspection services that conform to the Washington State SOP.
  • Provide full written disclosure of any special relationships or other conflicts of interest between themselves and any other party to the transaction.
  • Be unbiased and discharge his or her duties with integrity.
  • Not prepare a home inspection report that knowingly compromises the truth for the purpose of garnering future referrals.
  • Not practice any profession requiring a license without holding that license.
  • Not accept compensation for a home inspection from more than one party without written disclosure to the inspector's client.
  • Not, for one year after inspection completion, provide remedial work for compensation on any building inspected.
  • Not provide direct or indirect reward to anyone other than client for the referral of business.
  • Not disclose inspection report information without client approval unless required by law or if occupants are exposed to unsafe hazards.
  • Not advertise his or her home inspection services in a fraudulent or misleading manner.
  • Not accept a home inspection referral nor perform a home inspection when contingent upon reporting predetermined conditions.

Exclusions home inspection checklist

A home inspection:

  • Is not technically exhaustive, does not identify concealed conditions or latent defects, and does not involve destructive or intrusive testing.
  • Does not involve dismantling or moving of belongs and does not include inaccessible areas.
  • Is not concerned with code or regulation compliance.
  • Is not an environmental survey; does not involve the investigation of mold, asbestos, lead paint, water, soil, or air quality; and does not address the possible presence of or danger from environmental hazards such as radon gas, urea formaldehyde, toxins, carcinogens, mildew, fungus, and noise.

A home inspector is not required to:

  • Determine the service life, strength, efficiency, acoustic properties, or operating costs of any systems or components.
  • Determine the causes of any deficiency; the methods, materials, or costs of any corrections; or future conditions or failures.
  • Operate circuit breakers, utility shutoff valves, or any systems or components that are shut down or otherwise unresponsive to normal user controls.
  • Perform any illegal act or any procedure that is likely to be dangerous to inspector or others or that is likely to damage property.
  • Provide a warranty of any kind.
  • Determine the existence of or inspect any underground or decorative items.
  • Inspect detached structures, elevators, swimming pools, hot tubs, or sports courts.

The Home Inspection WA home inspection checklist

The following is a categorized checklist of everything we include in a home inspection. It meets, and in some cases exceeds, what is required by the Washington State Standards of Practice. We always use and refer to this list during an inspection to ensure that we are thorough. This means that we often take longer to complete an inspection than our competitors.

Site

  • Ground slope and drainage
  • Condition of driveway, walks, patios, decks, railings, and steps
  • Vegetation and/or soil too near structure
  • Trip, stump, or tree hazards

Structure

  • Type and condition of foundation, footings, posts, pillars, columns, and wall structure
  • Type and condition of sub-floor beams and joists
  • Sill rot
  • Encroaching tree roots

Exterior

  • Vegetation and/or soil too close to siding
  • Condition of downspouts, gutters, crawlspace vents, and hose bibs
  • Type and condition of siding, masonry, soffits, and fascia boards
  • Condition of protective coverings
  • Condition of electrical receptacles, lights, and wiring
  • Condition and operability of windows, doors, bolts, weather strip, and doorbell

Roof

  • Type, pitch, number of layers, and estimated age of roof
  • Type and condition of flashing, venting, and skylights
  • Presence of moss and debris
  • Plumbing vent height and placement relative to windows

Attic

  • Type and condition of trusses, rafters, and ceiling joists
  • Type and estimated depth of insulation
  • Adequate ventilation of the space
  • Insulation or weather stripping of the access hatch, ducts, and skylights
  • Proper plumbing vent and fan vent termination
  • Clearance of heat sources to combustibles
  • Condition of electrical junction boxes, receptacles, and wiring
  • Evidence of vermin or insect infestation

Garage

  • Type and condition of trusses and rafters
  • Fire-rated and auto-closing garage/house door and condition of weather stripping
  • Vehicle door operability, auto-reverse mechanism, and infrared eye
  • A vehicle door manual lock not disabled
  • Garage floor condition, slope, and drainage
  • Presence of protective bollard(s) and ignition sources at least 18" above the floor
  • Condition of electrical junction boxes, receptacles, and wiring
  • Evidence of vermin or insect infestation
  • Condition and safety of stairs and railings

Crawlspace

  • Standing water and/or moisture level, and adequate ventilation of the space
  • Condition of vapor barrier and insulation
  • Insulation of supply plumbing and ducts
  • Cellulose and other debris
  • Condition of electrical junction boxes, receptacles, and wiring
  • Evidence of vermin or insect infestation
  • Sump pump operation

Electrical System

  • Service type, and condition and clearances of service wiring
  • Circuit rating, over-current protection, service grounding, and panel condition
  • Double taps or solid aluminum branch wiring
  • GFCI and/or AFCI circuitry

Plumbing & Utility

  • Water and fuel shutoff locations
  • Measure water pressure
  • Type of piping for service, supply, drain, waste, and vent
  • Washer catch basin and/or drain and check for cross connections
  • Condition of dryer duct and vent

Water heater

  • Type, condition, manufacturer, age, and capacity
  • Measure water temperature
  • TPR valve, drain line, and seismic strapping
  • Flame condition, presence of corrosion or melting, quality of combustion air

Heating & Cooling Systems

  • Type, condition, manufacturer, age, capacity, and servicing history
  • Placement of thermostat and temperature differential
  • Condition of ductwork, filtering, venting, and drain lines
  • Quality of combustion air

Fireplace, Stove, & Chimney

  • Type, condition, manufacturer, and servicing history
  • Hearth depth and damper
  • Condition of chimney, chimney cap, and flue
  • Clearance of flues to combustibles
  • B-vent height and placement relative to windows

Kitchen

  • Check dishwasher air gap and other potential cross connections
  • Condition of disposal and range hood
  • Oven anti-tip bracket
  • GFCI operability and grounding and polarity of receptacles
  • Operability of lights, switches, and fans
  • Operability of faucets and drains, testing flow, drainage, venting, and evidence of leaks
  • Condition of traps and vents
  • Condition of cabinets, counters, and caulking

Bathrooms

  • Condition of sinks, toilet, shower, and tub
  • Operability of faucets and drains, testing flow, drainage, venting, and evidence of leaks
  • Check potential cross connections
  • Condition of traps, fans, and vents
  • GFCI operability and grounding and polarity of receptacles
  • Operability of lights, switches, and fans
  • Condition of cabinets, counters, and caulking

Other interior rooms

  • Type and condition of flooring, walls, and ceilings
  • Operable heat in all habitable spaces
  • AFCI or smoke detector operability
  • Grounding and polarity of receptacles
  • Operability of lights, switches, and fans
  • Operability and condition of doors and windows
  • Sufficient bedroom emergency egress
  • Condition of stairs and railings