The Ultimate Home Inspection Checklist


 

Buying a home can be overwhelming, but a home inspection checklist can help you keep track. Thanks to our partners at American Home Shield, from costs to what’s covered, we walk you through a home inspection. 

 

There are a lot of moving parts in the homebuying process, including pre-approvals, loan applications, information gathering, fact-checking, and doc signing. And that’s before you even make an offer. Luckily, there are valuable tools, like a home inspection checklist, to help keep you on track.

 

Once the seller accepts your offer, the property officially goes into escrow and the window for a home inspection opens. But what is a home inspection exactly? It’s a professional evaluation of the property you intend to purchase that is completed by a third party. Assessing the home from a structural and safety standpoint, an inspector helps ensure the house is free of hazards, up to code and a wise investment. But what do home inspectors look for? What happens if problems are identified? Who pays for a home inspection, or repairs for that matter? To point you in the right direction and eliminate uncertainty, let’s take a closer look at what you need to know now and what to do next. 

 

What is a Home Inspection and why is it important?

An inspection offers detailed insight into a home’s current condition. Sometimes it proves a property is in great shape. Other times, a report spotlights issues the seller didn’t even realize existed. 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 upfront and affords buyers the opportunity to ask for credits and repairs.

 

Ready to take the next step? Follow this home inspection checklist:

 

Find an Inspector

Your realtor will likely offer a list of professionals he or she trusts and has used in the past, but you are free to choose your own. Remember, licensing is different in every state, so take that into consideration when looking for recommendations.

 

Hire an Inspector

It’s important to reach out and schedule your home inspection as quickly as possible. The more valued the inspector, the more quickly their calendar fills up.

 

Prepare for the Inspection

Home inspection costs average between $350 and $600 depending on your state. Money should also be budgeted to cover additional assessments should the need arise.

Wondering who pays for a home inspection? Traditionally buyers are responsible, though sellers may choose to conduct independent evaluations that they will pay for.

 

What do Home Inspectors look for?

Both homebuyers 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. Make a detailed 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 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 they may not catch issues hidden behind walls or beneath the ground, such as in the sewer line, sprinklers, and fireplace. 

Countertops Worth the Hype


Considering a kitchen remodel? Not all countertops are created equally.

 

With so many options on the market, it can be hard to decide what countertop material is right for your kitchen. While it may be tempting to choose a countertop based on aesthetics alone, it’s important to consider the durability, cost, and maintenance before making a decision. Here are some popular options and need-to-know details about each.

 

Granite

Once only found in high-end kitchens, granite has made its way to the heart of more and more homes. This durable, natural stone comes in a vast array of colors such as beige, black, brown, red, white and green. Because of its porous nature, granite must be sealed on a yearly basis. Even when properly sealed, it’s important to wipe up oils, wines, acids, and sodas immediately, as well as use a stone cleaner for routine cleaning. Cost varies depending on color and complexity but has become more affordable with granite’s increase in popularity.

 

Quartz

Quartz, often resembling granite or marble, is an engineered mix of mineral and resin. This extremely durable, low-maintenance material is a great alternative for busy kitchens. Quartz is harder and less porous than granite, so it doesn’t require sealing or polishing. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns and looks great in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. Quartz is scratch, stain, heat, and acid-resistant. Because quartz is manufactured, it doesn’t have natural color variations and veins. When shopping, looking at a small sample rather than a big slab will suffice.

 

Marble

Marble is a timeless and stunning option for a traditional or contemporary kitchen and is usually the most expensive. Carrara and Calacatta marble are synonymous with luxury, and instantly give your kitchen an elegant look. However, marble is very porous and has a high probability of becoming stained. If you choose marble, it’s important to seal it frequently and properly. Also, be wary as chips and scratches may occur.

 

Wood

Those opting for a warm, traditional cottage kitchen may gravitate toward butcher block-style wood countertops. These countertops require regular maintenance in order to maintain the wood’s natural beauty, so it’s recommended that you oil the surface with a mineral oil every four to six weeks. If not properly cared for, wood countertops will warp and crack. On the plus side, properly sealed wood countertops are sanitary and you can cut directly on the surface without damaging knives. Wood is also heat-resistant, which means you can place hot pots and pans directly on the surface.

 

Laminate

Laminate is perhaps the most cost-effective option available. Not only is it durable it’s also low-maintenance. Laminate is a great selection for those on a budget, and it comes in far more options than the familiar wood copycat – both neutral and bright colors are available. Laminate countertops are water-resistant but susceptible to scratches and heat damage, so be sure to use cutting boards and trivets when preparing and serving food.

 

8 Spring Flowers for Lone Star Landscaping


Spring is blooming all over North Texas, as seen from any car window the past few days. With fields of beautiful wildflowers popping up in city parks, off major highways, and at celebrated gardens, what better time to curate the spring landscape of your dreams. Whether you’re looking to refresh the backyard garden or improve your home’s curb appeal, these perfect plants are sure to flourish this season.

 

Bluebonnets – The iconic state flower of Texas features clusters of up to 50 fragrant blue blooms with a white tip and can be spotted off roadways all over this great state. Bonus: Bluebonnets attract butterflies and native bumblebees.

 

Indian Paint Brushes –  This eye-catching Texas native loves the sun and features stems topped with clumps of bright red, paintbrush-like spikes. With a reputation for being unpredictable, these flowers grow between 6 and 16 inches high.

 

 

Verbena –  Ideal for cascading over garden walls, hanging baskets and window boxes, these tiny purple blooms form round clusters and tend to cover large spaces. Plant these drought-tolerant perennials in partial shade and enjoy their dainty scent.

 

 

Tulips – The typically cup-shaped tulip comes in virtually any color and grows from 6 inches to 2 feet tall. Treated like annuals, tulips require well-drained soil to avoid excessive moisture and should be planted 4 to 6 inches apart.

 

 

Irises – This easy-to-grow perennial is reliable and comes in a variety of colors. The plants thrive best with plenty of sun, well-drained soil and a flowerbed to themselves, but make lovely cut flowers as well.

 

 

Fuchsia – The delicate blooms of the fuchsia plant add vibrant color and versatile aesthetic to any outdoor space. Fuchsia thrives in any semi-sunny spot and grows beautifully in hanging baskets, flower pots or in gardens over the soil.

 

 

Daffodils – These showy yellow flowers with a trumpet-shaped cup are hardy perennials that develop from a bulb and typically bloom in early spring. Plant these cheerful blooms in a sun-soaked area as a bold border or between shrubs for a pop of color.

 

 

 

Primroses – The nodding delicate blooms of primrose range in color and require moderate watering. These native Texas flowers like well-drained soil and spread extensively in open areas.