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Renting or buying a house is perhaps one of the biggest investments that you can undertake. However, amid the excitement, you may overlook some things that may come back to haunt in terms of additional costs or loss of your entire investment.

In this article, we are going to help you create a checklist of the items you should look out for before renting or buying a home.

But first things first…

What is Home Inspection?

It’s a non-invasive visual inspection of a home to ascertain the present condition of major systems and other accessible features. This process mainly focuses on the home’s performance, rather than the design or cosmetic issues.

Home inspections can be conducted before or during the sale or rental transaction by the potential buyer or even through hiring a certified inspector.

And since human is to error, chances of overlooking or forgetting to inspect certain aspects and areas may occur. To make sure you avoid this nasty experience, we have compiled a sequenced checklist to help you zero in on the important areas to check during your home inspection


During your home inspection, the first spot you should check is the basement. This is because faulty basements can significantly affect the structural integrity of the whole house as they form part of the basement.

Any signs of water or dampness inside the basement should ring alarm bells. As such, you need to establish whether the source of the water is as a result of gutter malfunctions or a landscaping problem. Dirty gutters or poor landscaping leaves water puddles near the foundation resulting in the water seeping through basement wall cracks. Once you have established the real problem, proceed to request your agent for rectification.

Another reason why you should check the basement for dampness is because of molds. This is a common problem in many houses and left unchecked, could render the house unlivable.


Leaking roofs can cause a number of problems; staining the ceiling boards, flooding of the house, or even a collapsed roof. According to recent research conducted in the US, it’s estimated that roofing problems contribute close to 40% of homeowners’ insurance claims in the country. This goes to show how much of a big problem roofing is hence you should pay special attention.

If you notice any ceiling board stains, deteriorated roof covers or missing shingles, you should make it your priority to get it fixed before moving in.

Electrical Wiring

This may come as a no-brainer suggestion, but it’s extremely important to check the integrity of the electrical wiring of your home and ensure that it’s up-to-standards. We have seen instances where houses have gone up in flames due to faulty wiring.

With the ever-evolving technology, there have been multiple changes in the wiring configurations. If you are renting or buying an old home, ensure that it isn’t using the K&T model whereby wires are tucked inside a tube and buried underground. This is because a slight pipe crack could leave you exposed to the risk of electrocution.

Another thing to check in terms of electricity is the voltage. Most modern homes use electrical appliances that require optimum voltage to work. You don’t want your fridge or washing machine to be rendered useless due to low power voltage. If possible, you can hire an electrician to help you determine the voltage and ensure that all the outlets work as intended.


Poor piping is a nightmare that you would rather read about but not experience. Recently, there was a story going around about a family that lost a son as a result of electrocution due to flooding caused by a leaking pipe.

One sign of poor plumbing is a stained damp floor. If you notice any of that, chances are that there is a leaking pipe. To avoid the nightmare of having to deal with a flooded floor, you can use an infrared torch to pinpoint the distress points and have them rectified.

While at it, ensure the kitchen sinks and the toilet bowls are flowing without any issues. We all know what a clogged toilet bowl means—disaster.

Heating System

Winter can be stinging cold and the last thing you want during this period is to manually heat your house. Ensure you evaluate the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems to ensure they are properly working by physically inspecting them.

If possible, you can request for maintenance documents for the entire HVAC system to see the last maintenance date and how regularly it’s checked.

Other Supplementary Home Inspection Checks

  • Structure and foundation.
  • Presence of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  • Exhaust fans.
  • Lead paint
  • etc

Wrapping Up

There you go, a comprehensive home inspection checklist to use during a home inspection.  As you can see, it doesn’t take rocket science to do it. However, don’t let the simplicity of it deceive you as the devil lies in the details. Ensure you check and countercheck even the minute details and ensure they look and work as they should. It would be disastrous to discover an issue after signing the dotted lines yet you personally inspected the house.