Home Inspection Checklists

Written by Shirley Parker
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Consumer advocates have made available extremely useful checklists that a homebuyer might use to determine the need to hire a professional home inspector. It's always a good sign when someone facing a financial commitment as huge as buying a home does some diligent research of his own. This is especially true if he's being pressured to hire a particular home inspector.

Some professionals, however, have criticized these well-intentioned advocate efforts as being meaningless. Their opinion stems from the fact that an untrained individual won't know if an item is defective or not. This may be true when it involves structural problems or defects that remain hidden to individuals lacking proper expertise.

Using the checklists can be worthwhile, however. When the checklists are complete, a prospective buyer has made note of items that concern him, to be pointed out to a certified inspector. The licensed inspector may come up with additional items that need repair or can't be repaired. On the other hand, he may say that questioned items are within tolerances or meet code--whichever term is appropriate.

Other Uses for Home Inspection Checklists

Seasonal maintenance checklists are also very handy for the homeowner, helping to keep a home in good repair. Licensed inspectors, of course, arrive with their own checklists that can be preprinted forms. Today, there is software that makes the initial preparation of data for report writing less time-consuming, so the inspector may arrive with a laptop computer. But an inspector cannot fake anything. To do so could prove disastrous to the inspector's professional reputation and to the customer.

Home inspection checklists may come in a package that is very useful to someone dealing with a home builder, who probably works to his schedule, not the customer's. He may be building several homes at once, spending only a few hours a day or a few days a week on yours. You may have to "get after him" repeatedly.

Additional checklists include contractor and supplier lists, on which you record who performed what and who supplied the materials. There will be timelines for when critical stages must be completed, in the correct order. And everyone having a home built should do a final walk-through before closing. Hiring a professional home inspector is a good idea for that stage.

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