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7 Things You Really Need on Your House Inspection Checklist

by Joanna Tovia
Posted: June 04, 2017

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Want to be a real estate agent? It pays to prepare ahead for likely queries from savvy buyers on the lookout for flaws.

Serious homebuyers know what to look out for during a property that’s open for inspection, so it pays for real estate agents to have reassurances at the ready. 

Familiarise yourself with this checklist to make sure you’re as well versed as your potential buyers on property red flags, privacy concerns and maintenance issues to set their minds at ease.

1.    Where’s the sun?

House inspection checklist featuring a beautiful kitchen with ocean views
Image credit: Mackenzie Pronk Architects / Via Houzz - Contemporary Kitchen Design Photos


Orientation can make or break a sale, so be sure to do a little pre-inspection detective work to figure out which rooms will benefit from winter sun, summer shade and natural light year round. 

Many potential buyers will have aspect at the top of their lists, so why not get in first and use the sun as a selling point? Consider all seasons, rather than just pointing out where the sun enters the home on the day and time of the inspection.

2.    How is the home heated and cooled?

Buyers can forget about climate control when it’s comfortable in the home inspection on their first visit, but it will pay to point out heating and cooling systems and any natural airflow that’s an advantage in the home. 

Also have facts at your fingertips about the age and working order of heaters and air-conditioners in case of questions.

3.    Is the plumbing going to cause headaches?

Home inspection of beautiful bathroom with pink colour palette
Image credit: GIA Bathroom & Kitchen Renovations / Via Houzz - Contemporary Bathroom Design Photos


Leaks in bathrooms or pipes can be costly (and annoying) for buyers when they come to light later. 

Many real estate agents have a building report available for viewing on the day of inspection to put buyers’ minds at ease, and encourage them to turn on taps in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry to check the water pressure. 

Savvy buyers will also be looking at water colour and drainage speed to satisfy their plumbing concerns.

4.    Can you spot any cracks, damp or mould?

These red flags can put buyers off because they point to major problems. Mould, water marks, stains and paint damage can indicate ventilation issues, and so can damp and mildew odours inside kitchen and bathroom cupboards. 

Cracks in ceilings and walls can also be cause for alarm – the home’s foundations may be unstable and the issue costly to repair.

5.    Are pests and termites likely to be a problem?

Pesky vermin and damage from termites can be expensive to rectify and most homebuyers are well aware they should do what they can to find out early if their potential new home will yield problems later. 

Don’t be surprised if you see them tapping walls, posts and floorboards for tell-tale sounds of hollowness. Be sure mouse traps, rat poison and cockroach baits are out of sight before an inspection begins, and keep in mind that most serious buyers will order a pest inspection before making a final commitment.

6.    What about the neighbours?

Beautiful backyard with pool and plants and lounge cushions
Image credit: Apex Landscapes & Pools / Via Houzz - Contemporary Pool Design Photos


It’s all but impossible to get to know the neighbours ahead of a purchase but there are clues whether they’ll be noisy or nice. 

Smart buyers will turn any music off you have playing in the house during an inspection to listen out for traffic and neighbour noise. Don’t be surprised to find potential buyers peering over the fence to check out the state of the neighbours’ backyards – a tidy, well-maintained garden is often a sign of a thoughtful neighbour.

An unkempt junkyard, on the other hand, is cause for concern. If privacy is a worry, be ready to point out how screens, fences or plants could easily solve the problem.

7.    Does it have renovation potential?

Buyers looking to buy a home rather than an investment will be looking into the future to determine whether the property can meet their changing needs. 

Help them envisage how the home could be adapted over time – can walls be removed to open up a space, does the block have ample space to accommodate an extension? Are the floorboards beneath the carpet in good enough shape to be polished?

Some final advice

The better prepared you are for questions at an open-for-inspection, the more confidence a potential buyer will feel with their purchasing decision. 

In other words, doing your homework for all house inspection checklist concerns is sure to pay off!

Looking to take the next step in your Property Career? Get the most current industry and salary information about Real Estate here, or download a free course guide in Real Estate via the form below.


Joanna Tovia

Freelance journalist Joanna Tovia has been writing about architecture and interior design, travel and wellbeing for many years. Joanna is the former editor of The Daily Telegraph's Home magazine, and her expertise covers everything from renovating to what it takes to be happy in a home you love.

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